Scripts, REPL, and Dependencies

Scripts, REPL, and Dependencies

sbt has two alternative entry points that may be used to:

  • Compile and execute a Scala script containing dependency declarations or other sbt settings
  • Start up the Scala REPL, defining the dependencies that should be on the classpath

These entry points should be considered experimental. A notable disadvantage of these approaches is the startup time involved.


To set up these entry points, you can either use conscript or manually construct the startup scripts. In addition, there is a setup script for the script mode that only requires a JRE installed.

Setup with Conscript

Install conscript.

cs sbt/sbt --branch 0.12.0

This will create two scripts: screpl and scalas.

Manual Setup

Duplicate your standard sbt script, which was set up according to Setup, as scalas and screpl (or whatever names you like).

scalas is the script runner and should use sbt.ScriptMain as the main class, by adding the -Dsbt.main.class=sbt.ScriptMain parameter to the java command. Its command line should look like:

java -Dsbt.main.class=sbt.ScriptMain -jar sbt-launch.jar "$@"

For the REPL runner screpl, use sbt.ConsoleMain as the main class:

java -Dsbt.main.class=sbt.ConsoleMain -jar sbt-launch.jar "$@"

In each case, /home/user/.sbt/boot should be replaced with wherever you want sbt's boot directory to be; you might also need to give more memory to the JVM via -Xms512M -Xmx1536M or similar options, just like shown in Setup.


sbt Script runner

The script runner can run a standard Scala script, but with the additional ability to configure sbt. sbt settings may be embedded in the script in a comment block that opens with /***.


Copy the following script and make it executable. You may need to adjust the first line depending on your script name and operating system. When run, the example should retrieve Scala, the required dependencies, compile the script, and run it directly. For example, if you name it dispatch_example.scala, you would do on Unix:

chmod u+x dispatch_example.scala
#!/usr/bin/env scalas

scalaVersion := "2.9.0-1"

libraryDependencies ++= Seq(
  "net.databinder" %% "dispatch-twitter" % "0.8.3",
  "net.databinder" %% "dispatch-http" % "0.8.3"

import dispatch.{ json, Http, Request }
import dispatch.twitter.Search
import json.{ Js, JsObject }

def process(param: JsObject) = {
  val Search.text(txt)        = param
  val Search.from_user(usr)   = param
  val Search.created_at(time) = param

  "(" + time + ")" + usr + ": " + txt

Http.x((Search("#scala") lang "en") ~> (_ map process foreach println))

sbt REPL with dependencies

The arguments to the REPL mode configure the dependencies to use when starting up the REPL. An argument may be either a jar to include on the classpath, a dependency definition to retrieve and put on the classpath, or a resolver to use when retrieving dependencies.

A dependency definition looks like:


Or, for a cross-built dependency:


A repository argument looks like:

"id at url"


To add the Sonatype snapshots repository and add Scalaz 7.0-SNAPSHOT to REPL classpath:

screpl "sonatype-releases at" "org.scalaz%%scalaz-core%7.0-SNAPSHOT"

This syntax was a quick hack. Feel free to improve it. The relevant class is IvyConsole.

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