I have recently completed a Scala course on Coursera. Now that doesn’t turn me into a Scala programmer; however, the knowledge I acquired certainly has been very helpful with my everyday projects, especially when it comes to applying that knowledge to Java stream API. One of the tasks proposed by Martin Odersky was to implement a do-while loop using only Scala built-in features. This statement made a great impression on me. It’s proof of the power of the language and its features. In this blog post, I want to share the implementation of the do-while loop in Scala with you.

Roller Coaster

Scala already has its own do-while loop (even if it contradicts the functional paradigm). Here is what it looks like:

do {
  // repeat operation while condition is true
} while (condition)

Obviously, every programming language has something like this, but there are not so many languages that will allow me to implement such constructions by myself.

Instead of do-while keywords, I have to use repeat-until because I can’t use the reserved keywords. Here is my implementation:

def repeat(command: => Unit) = {
  new {
    def until(condition: => Boolean): Unit = {
      if (condition)
      else ()

Here is an example of client code:

var i = 0
repeat {
  println("Iteration #" + i)
  i = i + 1
} until (i < 5)

Okay, let’s try to understand what’s happening here.

The first line of the code is a declaration of the repeat function, which takes the command function as an argument. The important thing here is the => sign - it means that the command will be evaluated only when it is first needed. The terminology for parameters declared with the => sign is “call-by-name parameters”.

The next part is the creation of an anonymous object using the new {} construction. The object has only one method: until which takes call-by-name parameter as well.

In the function body you can see the command call. And it is actually the place where it will first be evaluated.

The next code is simple, if condition is true, then the until function will be invoked recursively. Otherwise an empty result will be returned.

Finally, the construction of a do-while loop becomes possible because Scala does not require using dots during function invocation.