Announcing template.scala: C++ Flavored Template Metaprogramming in Scala

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Announcing template.scala: C++ Flavored Template Metaprogramming in Scala

杨 Yang博 Bo

Hi, all,

I just published a new library template.scala, designed to create whitebox inline functions, providing ability similar to C++ template.

The template.scala library is similar to SIP-28 inline except template.scala provides whiteboxity.


scalaVersion := "2.12.1" // or "2.11.8"

resolvers += "Sonatype" at ""

libraryDependencies += "com.thoughtworks.template" %% "template" % "latest.release" % Provided

addCompilerPlugin("org.scalameta" % "paradise" % "3.0.0-M7" cross CrossVersion.patch)

A template function is created with a @template annotation.

def max(x: Any, y: Any) = {
  if (x > y) x else y

Unlike normal functions, a template function will not be type-checked until using it. Thus it does not raise a type error on x > y because the real types of x and y have not been determinated.

val i: Int = max(1, 2)
val d: Double = max(8.0, 0.5)

The max function will be type-checkd and inlined whenever being invoked.

If the type of x does not support > method, it does not compile:

val s: Symbol = max('foo, 'bar)
<macro>:1: value > is not a member of Symbol
def max(x: Any, y: Any) = if (x > y) x else y

Recursive template functions

Template functions can be recursive, as long as the number of calls are finite and can be determined at compile-time.

The following code creates a heterogeneous list.

sealed trait HList {

  final def ::(head: Any): head.type :: this.type = {
    new (head.type :: this.type)(head, this)


case object HNil extends HList

final case class ::[Head, Tail <: HList](head: Head, tail: Tail) extends HList {
  def apply(i: 0): head.type = {

  def apply(i: Int with Singleton): Any = {
    tail(i - 1)


Then you can index elements in the HList via template function apply.

val hlist = "foo" :: 1 :: false :: HNil

val s: String = hlist(0)
val i: Int = hlist(1)
val b: Boolean = hlist(2)

hlist(3) // Compile error

Note that the above HList code need TypeLevel Scala and -Yliteral-types flag.


  • @template functions always inline, never sharing similar implementations like C++ templates.
  • @template functions do not support type parameters.
  • Recursive @template functions must be resolved at compile-time.

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