Scala Language Annotations


  • @AnAnnotation def someMethod = {...}
  • @AnAnnotation class someClass {...}
  • @AnnotatioWithArgs(annotation_args) def someMethod = {...}


@Indicates that the token following is an annotation.
SomeAnnotationThe name of the annotation
constructor_args(optional) The arguments passed to the annotation. If none, the parentheses are unneeded.


Using an Annotation

This sample annotation indicates that the following method is deprecated.

def anUnusedLegacyMethod(someArg: Any) =  {

This can also be equivalently written as:

@deprecated def anUnusedLegacyMethod(someArg: Any) =  {

Annotating the main constructor

 * @param num Numerator
 * @param denom Denominator
 * @throws ArithmeticException in case `denom` is `0`
class Division @throws[ArithmeticException](/*no annotation parameters*/) protected (num: Int, denom: Int) {
    private[this] val wrongValue = num / denom
    /** Integer number
     *  @param num Value */
    protected[Division] def this(num: Int) {
      this(num, 1)
object Division {
  def apply(num: Int) = new Division(num)
  def apply(num: Int, denom: Int) = new Division(num, denom)

The visibility modifier (in this case protected) should come after the annotations in the same line. In case the annotation accepts optional parameters (as in this case @throws accepts an optional cause), you have to specify an empty parameter list for the annotation: () before the constructor parameters.

Note: Multiple annotations can be specified, even from the same type (repeating annotations).

Similarly with a case class without auxiliary factory method (and cause specified for the annotation):

case class Division @throws[ArithmeticException]("denom is 0") (num: Int, denom: Int) {
    private[this] val wrongValue = num / denom

Creating Your Own Annotations

You can create you own Scala annotations by creating classes derived from scala.annotation.StaticAnnotation or scala.annotation.ClassfileAnnotation

package animals
// Create Annotation `Mammal`
class Mammal(indigenous:String) extends scala.annotation.StaticAnnotation

// Annotate class Platypus as a `Mammal`
@Mammal(indigenous = "North America")
class Platypus{}

Annotations can then be interrogated using the reflection API.

scala>import scala.reflect.runtime.{universe ⇒ u}

scala>val platypusType = u.typeOf[Platypus]
platypusType: reflect.runtime.universe.Type = animals.reflection.Platypus

scala>val platypusSymbol = platypusType.typeSymbol.asClass
platypusSymbol: reflect.runtime.universe.ClassSymbol = class Platypus

List[reflect.runtime.universe.Annotation] = List(animals.reflection.Mammal("North America"))