1. Setting Initialization

Setting Initialization 

This page outlines the mechanisms by which sbt loads settings for a particular build, including the hooks where users can control the ordering of everything.

As stated elsewhere, sbt constructs its initialization graph and task graph via Setting[_] objects. A setting is something which can take the values stored at other Keys in the build state, and generates a new value for a particular build key. sbt converts all registered Setting[_] objects into a giant linear sequence and compiles them into a task graph. This task graph is then used to execute your build.

All of sbt’s loading semantics are contained within the Load.scala file. It is approximately the following:


The blue circles represent actions happening when sbt loads a project. We can see that sbt performs the following actions in load:

  1. Compile the user-level project (~/.sbt/<version>/)

    a. Load any plugins defined by this project (~/.sbt/<version>/plugins/*.sbt and ~/.sbt/<version>/plugins/project/*.scala) b. Load all settings defined (~/.sbt/<version>/*.sbt and ~/.sbt/<version>/plugins/*.scala)

  2. Compile the current project (<working-directory/project)

    a. Load all defined plugins (project/plugins.sbt and project/project/*.scala) b. Load/Compile the project (project/*.scala)

  3. Load project *.sbt files (build.sbt and friends).

Each of these loads defines several sequences of settings. The diagram shows the two most important:

  • buildSettings - These are settings defined to be in ThisBuild or directly against the Build object. They are initialized once for the build. You can add these, e.g. in build.sbt file:

    ThisBuild / foo := "hi"
  • projectSettings - These are settings specific to a project. They are specific to a particular subproject in the build. A plugin may be contributing its settings to more than one project, in which case the values are duplicated for each project. You add project specific settings, eg. in project/build.scala:

    lazy val root = (project in file(".")).settings(...)

After loading/compiling all the build definitions, sbt has a series of Seq[Setting[_]] that it must order. As shown in the diagram, the default inclusion order for sbt is:

  1. All AutoPlugin settings
  2. All settings defined in the user directory (~/.sbt/<version>/*.sbt)
  3. All local configurations (build.sbt)