Abstraction over future information 

Often, you can extend the utility of futures with simple abstraction. In this example we’ll leverage a web service to write an internal API that will tell us the temperature in a US city.

Palling around with Weather Underground 

In one method we’ll contain the construction of the request. In this case it’s an endpoint with all of the parameters in path elements.

import dispatch._, Defaults._

case class Location(city: String, state: String)

def weatherSvc(loc: Location) = {
  host("api.wunderground.com") / "api" / "5a7c66db0ba0323a" /
    "conditions" / "q" / loc.state / (loc.city + ".xml")

Note: Yes, that’s an API key. Use it sparingly to learn Dispatch in the Scala console, but get your own key if you are building some kind of actual weather application. We may reset this key at any time.

With this method we can bind to a handler that prints out the response in the usual way:

val nyc = Location("New York", "NY")
for (str <- Http.default(weatherSvc(nyc) OK as.String))

If you’re pasting along in the Scala console, you’ll see a bunch of raw XML.

Parsing XML 

Luckily, dispatch has another built-in handler for services that respond in this format.

def weatherXml(loc: Location) =
  Http.default(weatherSvc(loc) OK as.xml.Elem)

This method returns a future scala.xml.Elem. Note that Dispatch handlers, like as.String and as.xml.Elem, mimic the name of the type they produce. They’re all under the package dispatch.as where you can access them without additional imports.

Traversing XML 

At this stage we’re working with a higher abstraction. The Http.default instance used to perform the request has become an implementation detail that weatherXml callers need not concern themselves with. We can use our new method to print a nicely formatted response.

def printer = new scala.xml.PrettyPrinter(90, 2)
for (xml <- weatherXml(nyc))

Looking at the structure of the document, we can extract the temperature of the location in degrees Celsius by searching for the element “temp_c” using the \\ method of xml.Elem.

def extractTemp(xml: scala.xml.Elem) = {
  val seq = for {
    elem <- xml \\ "temp_c"
  } yield elem.text.toFloat

Temperature of the future 

With this we can create another high-level access method:

def temperature(loc: Location) =
  for (xml <- weatherXml(loc))
    yield extractTemp(xml)

And now we have at hand the future temperature of any location understood by the service:

val la = Location("Los Angeles", "CA")
for (t <- temperature(la)) println(t)

The information gathering is now fully abstracted without blocking, but what happens if we want to compare several temperatures?

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