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Introducing A New Way To Get Started With Lightbend Technologies, And Saying Goodbye To Activator

Eugene Yokota Scala Team, Lightbend, Inc.

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

We’re changing how developers get started with Lightbend technologies, which 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.

Since launching Activator four years ago, we've learned a lot about what makes a good getting started experience for developers. One thing we learned is that as a “download-and-run” experience, our approach with Activator carried a number of significant drawbacks, such as:

  • Getting Activator to run well on a wide variety of machines.
  • Getting Activator to run reliably in a variety of network environments.
  • Meeting the dual requirement of “always updating” (unless told not to) and “never updating” (for users that want stability)

So, we've taken steps towards a new direction for getting started: a mostly online experience that emphasizes taking developers through what is possible with our Reactive Platform technologies (Akka, Lagom, Play, Scala and Enterprise Suite's commercial modules), followed by the user being able to download working projects that build with sbt, Maven, or Gradle. Here is what we've created so far:

Rapid Project Starter

The Lightbend Tech Hub now features a project starter that offers a web-based UI to quickly set up a new project based on a selected Lightbend technology. This is planned to be expand support for Maven and Gradle as well, in the future.

Giter8 templates as well as Akka sample projects are already offered on Tech Hub project starter as examples. Because the download contains "sbt" script, you don't have to install anything other than Java to get started on your first project:

Growing List Of Tech Hub Guides

Our Tech Hub Guides offer web-based tutorials for select examples. Unlike Activator, reading the tutorial no longer requires installation of special software.

The Power Of sbt, Giter8 and GitHub

Some of the ideas that were presented in Activator are now folded into the upstream sbt project. For example:

  • The "sbt new" command was added so users can start a project quickly. sbt new integrates with Giter8, which uses GitHub to host templates instead of relying on specialized infrastructure controlled by Lightbend. Our community projects are already providing seed templates, for example scala/scala-seed.g8, akka/hello-akka.g8, lagom/lagom-scala.g8 etc.
  • Offline installation for sbt 0.13.15, inspired by Activator packs all of the artifacts into single zip file.

Lightbend is committed to providing great getting started experience for Reactive applications using Scala, Akka, Play, or Lagom. Our method of providing the solutions is shifting from Activator to embracing widely used build tools like sbt, Maven, and Gradle and moving the tutorials to the web to further remove the barrier of entry for users.

We hope you enjoy this new experience, and feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below.



The Total Economic Impact™
Of Lightbend Akka

  • 139% ROI
  • 50% to 75% faster time-to-market
  • 20x increase in developer throughput
  • <6 months Akka pays for itself