Different versions of Scala can be binary incompatible, despite maintaining source compatibility. This page describes how to use sbt to build and publish your project against multiple versions of Scala and how to use libraries that have done the same.

Publishing Conventions 

The underlying mechanism used to indicate which version of Scala a library was compiled against is to append _<scala-version> to the library’s name. For Scala 2.10.0 and later, the binary version is used. For example, dispatch becomes dispatch_2.8.1 for the variant compiled against Scala 2.8.1 and dispatch_2.10 when compiled against 2.10.0, 2.10.0-M1 or any 2.10.x version. This fairly simple approach allows interoperability with users of Maven, Ant and other build tools.

The rest of this page describes how sbt handles this for you as part of cross-building.

Using Cross-Built Libraries 

To use a library built against multiple versions of Scala, double the first % in an inline dependency to be %%. This tells sbt that it should append the current version of Scala being used to build the library to the dependency’s name. For example:

libraryDependencies += "net.databinder" %% "dispatch" % "0.8.0"

A nearly equivalent, manual alternative for a fixed version of Scala is:

libraryDependencies += "net.databinder" % "dispatch_2.10" % "0.8.0"

or for Scala versions before 2.10:

libraryDependencies += "net.databinder" % "dispatch_2.8.1" % "0.8.0"

Cross-Building a Project 

Define the versions of Scala to build against in the crossScalaVersions setting. Versions of Scala 2.8.0 or later are allowed. For example, in a .sbt build definition:

crossScalaVersions := Seq("2.8.2", "2.9.2", "2.10.0")

To build against all versions listed in build.scala.versions, prefix the action to run with +. For example:

> + package

A typical way to use this feature is to do development on a single Scala version (no + prefix) and then cross-build (using +) occasionally and when releasing.

You can use ++ <version> to temporarily switch the Scala version currently being used to build. For example:

> ++ 2.12.2
[info] Setting version to 2.12.2
> ++ 2.11.11
[info] Setting version to 2.11.11
> compile

<version> should be either a version for Scala published to a repository or the path to a Scala home directory, as in ++ /path/to/scala/home. See Command Line Reference for details.

The ultimate purpose of + is to cross-publish your project. That is, by doing:

> + publish

you make your project available to users for different versions of Scala. See Publishing for more details on publishing your project.

In order to make this process as quick as possible, different output and managed dependency directories are used for different versions of Scala. For example, when building against Scala 2.10.0,

Packaged jars, wars, and other artifacts have _<scala-version> appended to the normal artifact ID as mentioned in the Publishing Conventions section above.

This means that the outputs of each build against each version of Scala are independent of the others. sbt will resolve your dependencies for each version separately. This way, for example, you get the version of Dispatch compiled against 2.8.1 for your 2.8.1 build, the version compiled against 2.10 for your 2.10.x builds, and so on. You can have fine-grained control over the behavior for different Scala versions by using the cross method on ModuleID These are equivalent:

"a" % "b" % "1.0"
"a" % "b" % "1.0" cross CrossVersion.Disabled

These are equivalent:

"a" %% "b" % "1.0"
"a" % "b" % "1.0" cross CrossVersion.binary

This overrides the defaults to always use the full Scala version instead of the binary Scala version:

"a" % "b" % "1.0" cross CrossVersion.full

CrossVersion.patch sits between CrossVersion.binary and CrossVersion.full in that it strips off any trailing -bin-... suffix which is used to distinguish varaint but binary compatible Scala toolchain builds.

"a" % "b" % "1.0" cross CrossVersion.patch

This uses a custom function to determine the Scala version to use based on the binary Scala version:

"a" % "b" % "1.0" cross CrossVersion.binaryMapped {
  case "2.9.1" => "2.9.0" // remember that pre-2.10, binary=full
  case "2.10" => "2.10.0" // useful if a%b was released with the old style
  case x => x

This uses a custom function to determine the Scala version to use based on the full Scala version:

"a" % "b" % "1.0" cross CrossVersion.fullMapped {
  case "2.9.1" => "2.9.0"
  case x => x

A custom function is mainly used when cross-building and a dependency isn’t available for all Scala versions or it uses a different convention than the default.


sbt Reference Manual
      1. Cross-building