Library dependency basics

This page explains the basics of library dependency management using sbt.

sbt uses Coursier to implement managed dependencies, so if you're familiar with package managers like Coursier, npm, PIP, etc you won't have much trouble.

The libraryDependencies key

Declaring a dependency looks like this, where groupId, artifactId, and revision are strings:

libraryDependencies += groupID % artifactID % revision

or like this, where configuration can be a string or a Configuration value (such as Test):

libraryDependencies += groupID % artifactID % revision % configuration

When you run:

> compile

sbt will automatically resolve the dependencies and download the JAR files.

Getting the right Scala version with %%

If you use organization %% moduleName % version rather than organization % moduleName % version (the difference is the double %% after the organization), sbt will add your project's binary Scala version to the artifact name. This is just a shortcut. You could write this without the %%:

libraryDependencies += "org.scala-lang" % "toolkit_3" % "0.2.0"

Assuming the scalaVersion for your build is 3.x, the following is identical (note the double %% after "toolkit"):

libraryDependencies += "org.scala-lang" %% "toolkit" % "0.2.0"

The idea is that many dependencies are compiled for multiple Scala versions, and you'd like to get the one that matches your project to ensure binary compatibility.

Tracking dependencies in one place

.scala files under project becomes part of the build definition, which we can use to track dependencies in one place by creating a file named project/Dependencies.scala.

// place this file at project/Dependencies.scala

import sbt.*

object Dependencies:
  // versions
  lazy val toolkitV = "0.2.0"

  // libraries
  val toolkit = "org.scala-lang" %% "toolkit" % toolkitV
  val toolkitTest = "org.scala-lang" %% "toolkit-test" % toolkitV
end Dependencies

The Dependencies object will be available in build.sbt. To make it easier to use the vals defined in it, import Dependencies.* in your build.sbt file.

import Dependencies.*

scalaVersion := "3.3.1"
name := "something"
libraryDependencies += toolkit
libraryDependencies += toolkitTest % Test

Viewing library dependencies

Type in Compile/dependencyTree in the sbt shell to show the library dependency tree, including the transitive dependencies:

> Compile/dependencyTree

This should display something like the following:

sbt:bar> Compile/dependencyTree
[info] default:bar_3:0.1.0-SNAPSHOT
[info]   +-org.scala-lang:scala3-library_3:3.3.1 [S]
[info]   +-org.scala-lang:toolkit_3:0.2.0
[info]     +-com.lihaoyi:os-lib_3:0.9.1
[info]     | +-com.lihaoyi:geny_3:1.0.0
[info]     | | +-org.scala-lang:scala3-library_3:3.1.3 (evicted by: 3.3.1)
[info]     | | +-org.scala-lang:scala3-library_3:3.3.1 [S]