Lightbend Activator


Activator will be EOL-ed on May 24, 2017.

We’re making it easier and simpler for developers to get started with Lightbend technologies. This unfortunately means that future releases of Play, Akka and Scala will no longer include Activator support, and Lightbend’s Activator server will be decommissioned by the end of 2017. Instead of supporting Activator to create and set up development projects, we'll be supporting standard Giter8 templates for sbt users and Maven archetypes for Maven users. So going forward,

To create new Lightbend projects

Instead of using the Activator command, make sure you have sbt 0.13.13 (or higher), and use the “sbt new” command, providing the name of the template. For example, “$ sbt new akka/hello-akka.g8”. You can find a list of templates here.

Also, as a convenience, the Lightbend Project Starter allows you to quickly create a variety of example projects that you just unzip and run.

To create new templates

If you want to create new templates, you can now do that in Giter8.

To migrate templates from Activator to Giter8

If you created Activator templates in the past, please consider migrating them to Giter8 with this simple process.

Create An Application Using the Web Interface

Once installed you can run Lightbend Activator's web interface either from a file browser or from a command line. From a file browser, double-click on either the activator (for Mac & Linux) or activator.bat (for Windows) script. From a command line, run the script with a ui argument:

activator ui

This will start a local web server that can be reached at: http://localhost:8888

Inside your browser you can now create a new application based on one of the 526 templates. Both Lightbend and the community have contributed templates to Activator.

Once you have selected a template and optionally entered a name and location, select the "Create" button to have your new application created.

Create An Application Using the Command Line

If you'd prefer to create a new application from a command line, run:

activator new

You will then be prompted to enter an application name and the template name to start with. The output will look similar to this:

Enter an application name
> hello-scala

The new application will be created in /home/typesafe/Desktop/hello-scala

Enter a template name, or hit tab to see a list of possible templates
hello-akka        hello-play        hello-scala       reactive-stocks
> hello-scala
OK, application "hello-scala" is being created using the "hello-scala" template.

To run "hello-scala" from the command-line, run:
/home/typesafe/Desktop/hello-scala/activator run

To run the test for "hello-scala" from the command-line, run:
/home/typesafe/Desktop/hello-scala/activator test

To run the Activator UI for "hello-scala" from the command-line, run:
/home/typesafe/Desktop/hello-scala/activator ui

Open an Existing Application Using the Web Interface

Existing applications can be opened by running activator or activator.bat from a project's root directory. If the Activator UI is already running, then open http://localhost:8888/home in your browser and either select a known existing app, or folder icon next to Open existing app to browse to an existing app.

Working with Applications in the Activator UI

Once you have created or opened an application in the Activator UI you can:

  • Read the Tutorial
  • Browse & edit the code (select Code)
  • Open the code in IntelliJ IDEA or Eclipse (select Code then the gear icon)
  • See the compile output (select Compile)
  • Test the application (select Test)
  • Run the application (select Run)
  • Inspect the application (select Inspect)
  • Create a new application or open an existing one (select the application's name in the top left then select Manage Applications)

Whenever you save changes to a source file in the application, the changes will be recompiled, the application will be re-run, and the tests will be re-run.



Lightbend Activator is licensed under Apache License, Version 2.0; including the command-line Launcher, HTML & JavaScript UI, Play Framework based server, and all tests included in the project.
The templates available in Lightbend Activator are licensed individually by the owner. Refer to template source code or owner for license information.

Lightbend Activator FAQ

Re-Launching Activator

To make it easy to re-launch Activator (either from a file browser or command line) after you've shut it down, you can either launch it the same way you did the first time, or you can launch it from the new application's root directory. If you launch it from the application's root directory then the UI will automatically launch with the application open. Otherwise you will need to open the existing application. To make it easy for others to launch Activator for your application you can put the activator, activator.bat, and activator-launch-VERSION.jar files in your SCM.

Behind a proxy

When running activator behind a proxy, some additional configuration is needed. First, open the activator configuration file, found in your user home directory under ~/.activator/activatorconfig.txt. Note that this file may not exist. Add the following lines (one option per line):

# Proxy settings
# Here we configure the hosts which should not go through the proxy.  You should include your private network, if applicable.
# These are commented out, but if you need to use authentication for your proxy, please fill these out.

nonProxyHosts, proxyUser, and proxyPassword also have https versions.

The above configuration will affect the Activator application, but not the sbt server process launched by Activator. To affect the sbt server process, copy activatorconfig.txt to ~/.sbt/jvmargs. ~/.sbt/jvmargs contains options for the sbt server process, one per line.

Proxy configuration goes in two places because Activator and sbt server are distinct applications.

Increasing the Timeout

By default Activator has a 10 second timeout to fetch the latest templates and check for a new version. On slow internet connections it might be necessary to increate that timeout. You can do that from the command line by including a -Dactivator.timeout=30s parameter or by putting that parameter into your ~/.activator/activatorconfig.txt file.

Increase Activator Logging Verbosity

If you are having problems with Activator you can try to increase the logging verbosity from the command line by including a -Dakka.loglevel=DEBUG parameter or by putting that parameter into your ~/.activator/activatorconfig.txt file.

Activator spawns an sbt server process, which logs to the <projectdir>/.sbtserver directory (<projectdir> is the application's source directory). Some problems may be best debugged by reviewing the sbt server logs.

Under the Covers

Activator applications use sbt under the covers. This means that anything you can do in sbt you can do with an application in Activator. For instance, sbt plugins can easily be added to applications in Activator just like they would normally be added.

Use the search/command bar in the UI

You can either search for files in the project, or execute sbt tasks commands (with autocomplete).

Why do I see the echo:* in my task list?

Echo is the project name for Activator's Inspect. Tasks that start with echo: are in the "Echo" build configuration, and relate to running Activator with Inspect's instrumentation added.

Why does Activator use backgroundRun instead of plain run?

In Activator, tasks are executed sequentially. However, `run` is a blocking task which would lock up the sbt engine that powers Activator. `backgroundRun` allows you to still `test` or `compile` while your app is running.

Can the code editor...?

The code editor is not meant to replace an IDE. It will probably never cover all your needs, but should be sufficient for many cases such as: training classes, presentations, demos ...

How to use the Inspector?

The inspector (found on the Run tab) allows you to extract information at runtime about your application. In the `run` tab, you can activate Inspect in the left menu. It will add the `echo` plugin to your project, then reload. From there, execute the 'run' command (by clicking the run button, or running it from the search bar).

As of today, you can inspect:

  • Your actors: Basic informations about the Akka system;
  • Actor errors: Get a complete stack trace for each Akka error;
  • Play requests: Summary of each request made on the server;

How to use the third-party monitoring tools?

Open the `monitoring` tab in the left navigation. From there you can, as of today, choose to add AppDynamics or NewRelic. Follow the inline instruction to configure them.

How to create a template or tutorial?

The Activator wiki shows exemple and guidelines to author tutorials.