A type-safe, boilerplate-free, key-value store in Scala
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.



PersistentMap is a type-safe, boilerplate-free, key-value store, built on top of Slick and scala-pickling. Unlike existing key-value stores, it does not require the user to manually specify the database schema; instead, serialization is done automatically using scala-pickling. It exposes a new type, PersistentMap[A, B], which extends collection.mutable.Map[A, B]. You use a PersistentMap just like a regular mutable Map, and all changes to its state are automatically propagated to an underlying database.

Here's an example:

import scala.pickling._
import scala.pickling.binary._
import scala.slick.session.Database
import st.sparse.persistentmap._

val database: scala.slick.session.Database = ...

// Create a `PersistentMap`.
// Of course, you can also connect to an existing one.
val map = PersistentMap.create[Int, String]("myMap", database)

// Add key-value pairs.
map += 1 -> "no"
map += 2 -> "boilerplate"

// Retrieve values.
assert(map(1) == "no")

// Delete key-value pairs.
map -= 2

// And do anything else supported by `collection.mutable.Map`.

// You can use arbitrary types in the store, so long as scala-pickling
// can handle them.

case class Foo(int: Int)
case class Bar(foos: List[Foo], string: String)

val otherMap = PersistentMap.create[Foo, Bar]("myOtherMap", database)

otherMap += Foo(10) -> Bar(List(Foo(1), Foo(2)), "hello")

As demonstrated in the above code, scala-pickling can handle existing case classes, but it is by no means limited to that. See Heather Miller's talk (slides) for more information.

For more detailed information on using PersistentMap, see the simple example project or the tests.

Update 9 December 2013

The library now includes two additional classes:

  • PersistentJsonMap allows you to use spray-json for serialization. This is useful for those cases in which scala-pickling still fails.
  • Memo provides function memoization using a mutable map you provide. You can get persistent memoization by using a persistent map. You can also control the scope of the memoization (e.g. global vs local) through the selection of the underlying database table. If you want global memoization but don't want persistence, just use an in-memory database.


You can use PersistentMap in your SBT project by simply adding the following dependency to your build file:

libraryDependencies += "st.sparse" %% "persistent-map" % "0.1.3-SNAPSHOT"

You also need to add the Sonatype "snapshots" repository resolver to your build file:

resolvers += Resolver.sonatypeRepo("snapshots")

Build Status

PersistentMap vs Slick

Slick is the premier (or at least the TypeSafe-backed) database interface for Scala. Like PersistentMap, Slick provides type-safety. However, Slick requires some boilerplate when defining tables, especially when the table stores records of an existing type. PersistentMap requires no such boilerplate, for the reason scala-pickling requires no boilerplate.

A bit of commentary

The implementation of PersistentMap is absurdly simple, but its utility is obvious. I hope a serious database project picks up the idea.

Known issues

  • org.xerial % sqlite-jdbc is broken in OS X Mountain Lion, so the tests as written will fail in that OS. If you're on Mountain Lion, you'll have to use a different database. I've had luck with MariaDB.
  • Unless you have MySQL set up the way Travis CI expects, the MySQL tests will fail. Travis CI's MySQL environment is explained here: http://about.travis-ci.org/docs/user/database-setup/.
  • The table typechecking currently uses runtime reflection, which has documented thread safety issues. For this reason, table typechecking currently lives in a synchronized block. Hopefully this solves the issue, though in my experience unexpected things can happen with concurrent runtime reflection.


MIT / I don't care