Saturday, September 26, 2009

Scala interpreter in Firefox' location bar

SimplyScala is awesome for trying out some quick Scala tricks. However, you can go one step further, and execute Scala one-liners in your Firefox location bar!

1. Create a bookmark to URL http://www.simplyscala.com/interp?code=%s
2. Associate a keyword to the bookmark. Mine is "scala", you can try something shorter like "s" or ">".
3. Now when you type "scala <expression>", the expression will be sent to SimlpyScala and evaluated. For instance, "scala List(1,2,3).reverse"

Why does this work? Whenever you have a keyword associated with a bookmark Firefox expands "%s" in the URL to the text following the keyword. Check this Lifehacker article for details.

The nice thing is that your bindings are kept in your session, so you can use variable names defined in previous invocations. There are inconveniences, for instance you cannot easily preview your history and it's hard to review inputs which are more than a couple of lines long.

I also find that in combination with URL-shortening services it's an acceptable alternative to using code snippet sharing sites like gist.github.com or paste.pocoo.org. The code is actually part of the URL, which makes sense for shorter code snippets. You don't have syntax highlighting, but you have the evaluated result readily available.

1 comment:

rahul said...

Nice information, thanks for sharing.

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