Programming language: Scala
License: Apache License 2.0
Tags: Serialization    
Latest version: v0.9.5

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Extensions for the Kryo serialization library including serializers and a set of classes to ease configuration of Kryo in systems like Hadoop, Storm, Akka, etc.


Serialization compatibility is NOT guaranteed between releases, and for this reason, we don't recommend using it for long-term storage. Serialization is highly dependent on scala version compatibility and on the underlying Kryo serializers, which take different approaches to compatibility.

Building Chill

> compile # to build chill
> publishM2 # to publish chill to your local .m2 repo
> publish-local # publish to local ivy repo.

Chill has a set of subprojects: chill-java, chill-hadoop, chill-storm and chill-scala. Other than chill-scala, all these projects are written in Java so they are easy to use on any JVM platform.


The chill-java package includes the KryoInstantiator class (factory for Kryo instances) and the IKryoRegistrar interface (adds Serializers to a given Kryo). These two are composable to build instantiators that create instances of Kryo that have the options and serializers you need. The benefit of this over a direct Kryo instance is that a Kryo instance is mutable and not serializable, which limits the safety and reusability of code that works directly with them.

To deserialize or serialize easily, look at KryoPool:

int POOL_SIZE = 10;
KryoPool kryo = KryoPool.withByteArrayOutputStream(POOL_SIZE, new KryoInstantiator());
byte[] ser = kryo.toBytesWithClass(myObj);
Object deserObj = kryo.fromBytes(myObj);

The KryoPool is a thread-safe way to share Kryo instances and temporary output buffers.

Chill Config

Hadoop, Storm, and Akka all use a configuration that is basically equivalent to a Map[String, String]. The com.twitter.chill.config package makes it easy to build up KryoInstantiator instances given a Config instance, which is an abstract class acting as a thin wrapper over whatever configuration data the system, such as Hadoop, Storm or Akka, might give.

To configure a KryoInstantiator use ConfiguredInstantiator with either reflection, which takes a class name and instantiates that KryoInstantiator, or an instance of KryoInstantiator and serializes that instance to use later:

class TestInst extends KryoInstantiator { override def newKryo = sys.error("blow up") }

// A new Config:
val conf = new JavaMapConfig
// Set-up class-based reflection of our instantiator:
ConfiguredInstantiator.setReflect(conf, classOf[TestInst])
val cci = new ConfiguredInstantiator(conf)
cci.newKryo // uses TestInst
//Or serialize a particular instance into the config to use later (or another node):

ConfiguredInstantiator.setSerialized(conf, new TestInst)
val cci2 = new ConfiguredInstantiator(conf)
cci2.newKryo // uses the particular instance we passed above

Chill in Scala

Scala classes often have a number of properties that distinguish them from usual Java classes. Often scala classes are immutable, and thus have no zero argument constructor. Secondly, object in scala is a singleton that needs to be carefully serialized. Additionally, scala classes often have synthetic (compiler generated) fields that need to be serialized, and by default Kryo does not serialize those.

In addition to a ScalaKryoInstantiator which generates Kryo instances with options suitable for scala, chill provides a number of Kryo serializers for standard scala classes (see below).

The MeatLocker

Many existing systems use Java serialization. MeatLocker is an object that wraps a given instance using Kryo serialization internally, but the MeatLocker itself is Java serializable. The MeatLocker allows you to box Kryo-serializable objects and deserialize them lazily on the first call to get:

import com.twitter.chill.MeatLocker

val boxedItem = MeatLocker(someItem)

// boxedItem is java.io.Serializable no matter what it contains.
val box = roundTripThroughJava(boxedItem)
box.get == boxedItem.get // true!

To retrieve the boxed item without caching the deserialized value, use meatlockerInstance.copy.

Serializers for Scala classes

These are found in the chill-scala directory in the chill jar (originally this project was only scala serializers). Chill provides support for singletons, scala Objects and the following types:

  • Scala primitives
    • scala.Enumeration values
    • scala.Symbol
    • scala.reflect.Manifest
    • scala.reflect.ClassManifest
    • scala.Function[0-22] closure cleaning (removing unused $outer references).
  • Collections and sequences
    • scala.collection.immutable.Map
    • scala.collection.immutable.List
    • scala.collection.immutable.Vector
    • scala.collection.immutable.Set
    • scala.collection.mutable.{Map, Set, Buffer, WrappedArray}
    • all 22 scala tuples


Bijections and Injections are useful when considering serialization. If you have an Injection from T to Array[Byte] you have a serialization. Additionally, if you have a Bijection between A and B, and a serialization for B, then you have a serialization for A. See BijectionEnrichedKryo for easy interop between bijection and chill.

KryoInjection: easy serialization to byte Arrays

KryoInjection is an injection from Any to Array[Byte]. To serialize using it:

import com.twitter.chill.KryoInjection

val bytes:  Array[Byte]    = KryoInjection(someItem)
val tryDecode: scala.util.Try[Any] = KryoInjection.invert(bytes)

KryoInjection can be composed with Bijections and Injections from com.twitter.bijection.


To use, add a key to your config like:

    akka.actor.serializers {
      kryo = "com.twitter.chill.akka.AkkaSerializer"

Then for the super-classes of all your message types, for instance, java.io.Serializable (all case classes and case objects are serializable), write:

   akka.actor.serialization-bindings {
     "java.io.Serializable" = kryo

With this in place you can now disable Java serialization entirely:

akka.actor {
  # Set this to on to enable serialization-bindings defined in
  # additional-serialization-bindings. Those are by default not included
  # for backwards compatibility reasons. They are enabled by default if
  # akka.remote.artery.enabled=on.
  enable-additional-serialization-bindings = on

  allow-java-serialization = off

If you want to use the chill.config.ConfiguredInstantiator see ConfiguredAkkaSerializer otherwise, subclass AkkaSerializer and override kryoInstantiator to control how the Kryo object is created.


To learn more and find links to tutorials and information around the web, check out the Chill Wiki.

The latest ScalaDocs are hosted on Chill's Github Project Page.


Discussion occurs primarily on the Chill mailing list. Issues should be reported on the GitHub issue tracker.

Get Involved + Code of Conduct

Pull requests and bug reports are always welcome!

We use a lightweight form of project governance inspired by the one used by Apache projects. Please see Contributing and Committership for our code of conduct and our pull request review process. The TL;DR is send us a pull request, iterate on the feedback + discussion, and get a +1 from a [Committer](COMMITTERS.md) in order to get your PR accepted.

The current list of active committers (who can +1 a pull request) can be found here: [Committers](COMMITTERS.md)

A list of contributors to the project can be found here: Contributors


Chill modules are available on Maven Central. The current groupid and version for all modules is, respectively, "com.twitter" and 0.10.0. Each scala project is published for 2.11, 2.12 and 2.13. Search search.maven.org when in doubt.

chill-scala is not published separately; to use it, reference chill. To add the dependency to your project using SBT:

"com.twitter" %% "chill" % "0.10.0"



Copyright 2012 Twitter, Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0.

Thanks to Yourkit

YourKit supports open source projects with innovative and intelligent tools for monitoring and profiling Java and .NET applications. YourKit is the creator of YourKit Java Profiler, YourKit .NET Profiler, and YourKit YouMonitor.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the Chill README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.