macro for summoning implicit values
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Imps have also been described as being bound or contained in some sort of object, such as a sword or crystal ball. In other cases, imps were simply kept in a certain object and summoned only when their masters had need of them. Some even had the ability to grant their owners wishes, much like a genie.

-- Wikipedia entry for "Imp"


This is a very small library that exists to scratch one itch.

It provides a zero-cost macro to summon implicit values.

One use of this is the imp method, which is similar to implicitly (but without any of the latter's indirection). Previously, there were cases where context-bound syntax [1] or other indirection was not optimal due to the cost associated with implicitly.

There is a convention when creating type classes in Scala to provide an apply method on the companion object, to access an implicit type class instance. The summon macro can be used here to create a more efficient form of this method.

([1] By context-bound, I mean declaring a type parameter as [A: Magma], which corresponds to [A] with an (implicit ev: Magma[A]) parameter also.)

Getting Imp

Imp supports Scala 2.10, 2.11, and 2.12 (as well as Scala.js). If you use SBT, you can include Imp via the following build.sbt snippets:

libraryDependencies += "org.spire-math" %% "imp" % "0.3.0" % "provided"

// if you want to use the imp.summon macro you'll need this too:
libraryDependencies += "org.scala-lang" % "scala-reflect" % scalaVersion.value % "provided"

These dependencies are both compile-time only -- there is no runtime cost (in jars, size, execution time, etc) imposed by Imp.


Here's an example which creates a reversed ordering instance:

import imp.imp

val reversed = imp[Ordering[Int]].reverse
// equivalent to: Ordering.Int.reverse
// better than: implicitly[Ordering[Int]].reverse

Here's a definition of the Magma type class which uses imp.summon:

import imp.summon
import language.experimental.macros

trait Magma[A] {
  def combine(x: A, y: A): A

object Magma  {
  def apply[A: Magma]: Magma[A] = macro summon[Magma[A]]
  // better than: def apply[A](implicit ev: Magma[A]): Magma[A] = ev
  // (even using @inline and final)

  implicit val IntMagma: Magma[Int] =
    new Magma[Int] {
      def combine(x: Int, y: Int): Int = x + y

Magma[Int].combine(3, 4)
// equivalent to: Magma.IntMagma.combine(3, 4)
// also equivalent to: imp[Magma[Int]].combine(3, 4)
// better than: implicitly[Magma[Int]].combine(3, 4)

Known Issues

Dmitry Petrashko has argued persuasively that modern Hotspot optimizations mean that Imp is unnecessary. See the imp-bench repository for more information on his benchmarks.

Copyright and License

All code is available to you under the MIT license, available at and also in the COPYING file.

Copyright Erik Osheim, 2016.