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Calling Compiled Scala Code from Python using PySpark

Calling compiled Scala code inside the JVM from Python using PySpark

There is no doubt that Java and Scala are the de-facto languages for Data Engineering, whilst Python is certainly the front runner for language of choice with Data Scientists. Spark; a framework for distributed data analytics is written in Scala but allows for usage in Python, R and Java. Interoperability between Java and Scala is a no briner since Scala compiles down to Java byte code, but call Scala from Python is a little more involved, but the process is very simple.

The code used in this post builds upon the code used in a previous post and has the standard maven directory layout. To have a closer look, it can be found under code/posts/2020-05-20-Scala-Python-JVM

We will be calling simple.SimpleApp.hello() function to print "Hello, World!".

The simple Scala we will use is the following:

$ cat -n src/main/scala/simple/SimpleApp.scala

 1  package simple;
 3  object SimpleApp {
 4    def hello(): Unit = {
 5      println("Hello, Wolrd")
 6    }
 7  }

This will then be compiled and packaged using sbt to created a .jar file that can be included in the running JVM instance when launching Spark. Thus, after running:

$ sbt clean compile package

[info] Loading settings for project simpleapp-build from plugins.sbt ...
[info] Loading project definition from /Users/tallamjr/www/blog/code/posts/2020-05-20-Scala-Python-JVM/simpleApp/project
[info] Loading settings for project simpleapp from build.sbt ...
[info] Set current project to SimpleApp (in build file:/Users/tallamjr/www/blog/code/posts/2020-05-20-Scala-Python-JVM/simpleApp/)
[info] Executing in batch mode. For better performance use sbt's shell
[success] Total time: 0 s, completed 21-May-2020 13:18:19
[info] Compiling 1 Scala source to /Users/tallamjr/www/blog/code/posts/2020-05-20-Scala-Python-JVM/simpleApp/target/scala-2.12/classes ...
[success] Total time: 7 s, completed 21-May-2020 13:18:25
[success] Total time: 0 s, completed 21-May-2020 13:18:26

We obtain target/scala-2.12/simpleapp_2.12-1.0.jar which is supplied to Spark like so:

$ spark-submit --driver-class-path target/scala-2.12/simpleapp_2.12-1.0.jar simpleSpark/

simpleSpark/ is the where the pyspark code lives that will be calling the Scala function, let's have a look into that file:

from pyspark.sql import SparkSession

spark = SparkSession.builder \
    .master("local[*]") \
    .appName("simpleSpark") \

sc = spark.sparkContext

def logLevel(sc):
    # REF:
    log4jLogger =
    log = log4jLogger.LogManager.getLogger(__name__)
    log.warn("Custom WARN message")


print(spark.range(5000).where("id > 500").selectExpr("sum(id)").collect())


There is a bit of boilerplate to get the session started and some customisation with logging going on but the key lines of code are:

 8  sc = spark.sparkContext
25  sc._jvm.simple.SimpleApp.hello()

The resulting output after running spark-submit is:

$ spark-submit --driver-class-path target/scala-2.12/simpleapp_2.12-1.0.jar simpleSpark/

20/05/21 13:26:02 WARN Utils: Your hostname, Tareks-MacBook-Pro.local resolves to a loopback address:; using instead (on interface en0)
20/05/21 13:26:02 WARN Utils: Set SPARK_LOCAL_IP if you need to bind to another address
20/05/21 13:26:02 WARN NativeCodeLoader: Unable to load native-hadoop library for your platform... using builtin-java classes where applicable
Hello, Wolrd!


This post was inspired by Alexis Seigneurin's much more detailed post Spark - Calling Scala code from PySpark which I highly recommend reading.

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