IntelliJ Scala and Apache Spark Happy Together

In this tutorial, we’re going to review one way to setup IntelliJ for Scala and Spark development.  The IntelliJ Scala combination is the best, free setup for Scala and Spark development.  And I have nothing against ScalaIDE (Eclipse for Scala) or using editors such as Sublime.  I switched from Eclipse years ago and haven’t looked back.  I’ve also sincerely tried to follow the Pragmatic Programmer suggestion of using one editor (IDE), but I keep coming back to IntelliJ when doing JVM-based development.

But, you probably don’t really care about all my history, though.  Let’s get back to you.  You’re here to setup IntelliJ with Scala and hopefully use it with Spark, right?

Table of Contents

IntelliJ Scala and Spark Setup Overview

In this tutorial, we’re going to try to go fast with lots of screenshots.  If you have questions or comments on how to improve, let me know.

After you complete this Spark with IntelliJ tutorial, I know you’ll find the Spark Debug in IntelliJ tutorial helpful as well.


I’m going to make assumptions about you in this post.

  1. You are not a newbie to programming and computers.  You know how to download and install software.
  2. You might need to update these instructions for your environment.  YMMV.  I’m not going to cover every nuance between Linux, OS X and Windows.  And no, I’m not going to cover SunOS vs Solaris for you old timers like me.
  3. You will speak up if you have questions or suggestions on how to improve.  There should be a comments section at the bottom of this post.
  4. You’re a fairly nice person who appreciates a variety of joke formats now and again.

If you have any issues or concerns with these assumptions, please leave now.  It will be better for both of us.


Configuration Steps

  1. Start IntelliJ for first time
  2. Install Scala plugin
  3. Create New Project for Scala Spark development
  4. Scala Smoketest.  Create and run Scala HelloMundo program
  5. Scala Spark Smoketest.  Create and run a Scala Spark program
  6. Eat, drink and be merry

Ok, let’s go.

1. Start IntelliJ for first time

Is this your first time running IntelliJ?  If so, start here.  Otherwise, move to #2.

When you start IntelliJ for the first time, it will guide you through a series of screens similar to the following.

At one point, you will be asked if you would like to install the Scala plugin from “Featured” plugins screen such as this:

intellij scala

Do that.  Click Install to install the Scala plugin.

2. Install Scala plugin

If this is not the first time, you’ve launched IntelliJ and you do not have the Scala plugin installed, then stay here.  To install the Scala plugin, here’s a screencast how to do it from a Mac.  (Note: I already have it installed, so you need to check the box)

3. Create New Project for Scala Spark development

Ok, we want to create a super simple project to make sure we are on the right course.  Here’s a screencast of me being on the correct course for Scala Intellij projects

4. Create and Run Scala HelloMundo program

Well, nothing to see here.  Take a break if you want.  We are halfway home.  See the screencast in the previous step.  That’s it, because we ran the HelloMundo code in that screencast already.

5. Create and Run Scala Spark program

Let’s create another Scala object and add some Spark API calls to it.  Again, let’s make this as simple (AKA: KISS principle)  as possible to make sure we are on the correct course.  In this step, we create a new Scala object and import Spark jars as library dependencies in IntelliJ.  Everything doesn’t run perfectly, so watch how to address it in the video.  Oooh, we’re talking bigtime drama here people.  Hold on.

Here’s a screencast

Did I surprise with the Scala 2.11 vs. Scala 2.10 snafu?  I don’t mean to mess with you.  Just trying to keep it interesting.  Check out the other Spark tutorials on this site or Spark with Scala course on where I deal with this fairly common scenario in much more detail.  This is a post about Intellij Scala and Spark.

Notice how I’m showing that I have a Standalone Spark cluster running.  You need to have one running in order for this Spark Scala example to run correctly.  See Standalone Spark cluster if need some help with this setup.

Code for the Scala Spark program

import org.apache.spark.SparkContext
import org.apache.spark.SparkConf

  * Created by toddmcgrath on 6/15/16.
object SimpleScalaSpark {

  def main(args: Array[String]) {
    val logFile = "/Users/toddmcgrath/Development/spark-1.6.1-bin-hadoop2.4/" // Should be some file on your system
    val conf = new SparkConf().setAppName("Simple Application").setMaster("local[*]")
    val sc = new SparkContext(conf)
    val logData = sc.textFile(logFile, 2).cache()
    val numAs = logData.filter(line => line.contains("a")).count()
    val numBs = logData.filter(line => line.contains("b")).count()
    println("Lines with a: %s, Lines with b: %s".format(numAs, numBs))


6. Intellij Scala Spark Conclusion

You’re now set.  Next step for you might be adding SBT into the mix.  But, for now, let’s just enjoy this moment.  You just completed Spark with Scala in IntelliJ.

If you have suggestions on how to improve this tutorial or any other feedback or ideas, let me know in the comments below.

IntelliJ Scala Spark Additional Resources

As mentioned above, don’t forget about the next tutorial How to Debug Scala Spark in IntelliJ.

IntelliJ Spark Scala YouTube Playlist

See also  How to Debug Scala Spark in IntelliJ
About Todd M

Todd has held multiple software roles over his 20 year career. For the last 5 years, he has focused on helping organizations move from batch to data streaming. In addition to the free tutorials, he provides consulting, coaching for Data Engineers, Data Scientists, and Data Architects. Feel free to reach out directly or to connect on LinkedIn

12 thoughts on “IntelliJ Scala and Apache Spark Happy Together”

  1. This video is too good and helped me gain a lot of confidence .. but i was also looking for just another step of using SBT with it. Actual problem comes in when spark pulls in scala 2.10 and it contradicts the higher versions which are installed

  2. Extremely helpful Step by Step tutorial to setup IntelliJ with Spark 1.6.1. I was up and running in less than 10 minutes.
    Thanks a bunch Todd.

  3. Could you please teach the spark2.2.0 sbt version in intelliji idea?.we need to add the correct dependencies for all the spark libraries (core,sql,streaming,machine learning,graphx)

  4. Hi Todd

    It is a nice tutorial. But I get the following error when I run the code

    Exception in thread “main” java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: org/apache/hadoop/fs/FSDataInputStream
    at org.apache.spark.SparkConf.loadFromSystemProperties(SparkConf.scala:73)
    at org.apache.spark.SparkConf.(SparkConf.scala:68)
    at org.apache.spark.SparkConf.(SparkConf.scala:55)
    at PageRankGraphx$.main(PageRankGraphx.scala:9)
    at PageRankGraphx.main(PageRankGraphx.scala)
    Caused by: java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: org.apache.hadoop.fs.FSDataInputStream
    at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(
    at sun.misc.Launcher$AppClassLoader.loadClass(
    at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(
    … 5 morea

    Can you please help regarding this ?

  5. Hi,
    Excellent article. I followed the steps but I am still getting below error:

    2019-08-24 00:46:27 ERROR SparkContext:91 – Error initializing SparkContext.
    java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: System memory 259522560 must be at least 471859200. Please increase heap size using the –driver-memory option or spark.driver.memory in Spark configuration.
    at org.apache.spark.memory.UnifiedMemoryManager$.getMaxMemory(UnifiedMemoryManager.scala:217)
    at org.apache.spark.memory.UnifiedMemoryManager$.apply(UnifiedMemoryManager.scala:199)
    at org.apache.spark.SparkEnv$.create(SparkEnv.scala:330)

    Can you please help on this?


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