Scala Development in Netbeans and Ubuntu (And MacOSX)

The Netbeans IDE is a pretty lightweight but easily extensible IDE for different languages that run on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM):

  • Java - native support
  • Groovy - native support
  • Scala - plugin - works with Scala 2.8
  • Clojure - plugin called enclojure

This article covers setting up Scala in Netbeans 6.8 in Linux (works on MacOSX too) - includes installing Scala 2.8, check out the Netbeans guide for Mac and Windows installs and other tips.

Note: If you are feeling adventurous, you can download a Netbeans nightly build and add the Scala kit from the netbeans update center.

Any text in green are text or commands for you to enter.

Download Netbeans

Get the latest version of netbeans (6.8 at this point in time). If you are just doing Scala, go for the Java SE download, or Java download if you want Glassfish as well

You can add all supported technologies easily through the plugin manager, like you use the package manager with Debian/Ubuntu. Netbeans will only activate a plugin when you first start using it, so even if you install everything its still lightweight.

Install Netbeans

I create a folder called /opt/netbeans for the installation:

sudo mkdir /opt/netbeans</span></div>

Run the install file that you downloaded:

sudo sh ./</span></div>

Follow the installer prompts, entering the following path when asked to chose the install folder:


Go and download the latest version of Scala while you wait…

Download Scala 2.8

Download the latest Scala-2.8.0 snapshot of the runtime. Keeping the folder names, extract the zip file using file roller to /opt/scala/, so you will have an install in /opt/scala/scal-2.8.0r20979-bxxxxxx

If you dont have permissions to write to /opt, run the command

sudo mkdir /opt/scala ; sudo chown -R username. /opt/scala 

Substitute your operating sytem username above, keeping the full stop to add group access too.

To easily update Scala, create a symbolic link to the newly extracted scala runtime

sudo ln -s /opt/scala/scala-2.8.0.r20979-b20100225020147 current

Set the SCALA_HOME environment

For MacOSX, see the netbeans article for configuring the environment for MacOSX.

Edit the /etc/profile file:

gksudo gedit /etc/profile</span></div>

Add the following lines at the bottom of the file and save the file

# Scala runtime environment - latest version
export SCALA_HOME=/opt/scala/current

Load the settings into your current session by typing the following in your terminal window

source /etc/profile</span></div>

Test the environment variable is set using the echo command, when run it should print out:


Running Scala on the command line

Make the Scala commands executable:

sudo chmod a+x /opt/scala/current/bin/*</span>

Add Scala to your path by updating your shell resource file (ie. .bashrc or .zshrc)

# Add Scala to path for login scripts
export PATH=$PATH:$SCALA_HOME/bin/

Test Scala works

To test Scala is basically working, run Scala with the version option and you should get output as follows:

Scala code runner version 2.8.0.r20979-b20100225020147 -- Copyright 2002-2010, LAMP/EPFL

Without updating your executable path you can run:

$SCALA_HOME/bin/scala -version

If you did update your executable path, then just run:

scala -version

Add the Scala Plugin for Netbeans

Download the Scala Plugin for Netbeans (sourceforge page, download the latest zip file ~15MB)

Extract the downloaded zip file to /opt/netbeans/plugins using file-roller (or unzip)

Run the netbeans IDE from the applications > programming menu or just running netbeans on the command line.

In Netbeans, open the plugins manager by selecting the menu Tools >Plugins.

In the plugin manager, select the Downloaded tab.

Select the Add Plugins... button

Open the /opt/netbeans/plugins/nb-scala-6.7v1.1.0rc1 directory in the Add Plugins diaglog box and select all the *.nbm files


Select Install to add the plugins to Netbeans and follow the plugins installer wizard.

Important: when configuring the scala plugins, make sure you enter the correct path to the scala install as I have not found a way to change the Scala default environment in the plugin once configured.

Start a Scala Project in Netbeans

To create a new Scala project, open the project wizard by selecting File > New Project or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift N.

From the Categories list, select the Scala folder.

From the project list select Scala Application

Enter the details of your Scala application

Add Scala traits, objects and classes to the project

Go get functional !!!


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