Building using SBT

sbt uses a plugin called sbt-native-packager to allow conveniently packaging Java and Scala applications built using sbt as Docker images.


To use this plugin in your sbt application, add the following to your project/plugins.sbt file:

addSbtPlugin("com.github.sbt" % "sbt-native-packager" % "<latest.version>")

Now you can enable the appropriate plugins in your build, by modifying your project in build.sbt:

enablePlugins(JavaAppPackaging, DockerPlugin)

Here we’re telling native packager to package our application as a Java application that can be run from the command line. This will package up all the applications dependencies (jar files), and generate a start script to start the application. To generate this start script, native packager needs to know what the applications main class is. When the application only has one main class in its source folder, sbt will detect this automatically, but in case there are multiple, or the main class comes from a dependency, it can be set in build.sbt like so:

Compile / mainClass := Some("akka.sample.cluster.kubernetes.DemoApp")

Selecting a JDK

We recommend using the Eclipse Temurin 17 base image:

dockerBaseImage := ""

For a full list of Lightbend certified JDK builds and versions, see here.

Git hash based version numbers

This step is optional, but we recommend basing the version number of your application on the current git hash, since this ensures that you will always be able to map what is deployed to production back to the exact version of your application being used.

There are a number of sbt plugins available for generating a version number from a git hash, we’re going to use sbt-dynver, which incorporates the most recent git tag as the base version number, appends the git hash to that only if there are any changes since that tag, and also includes a datetime stamp if there are local changes in the repository. To add this plugin to your project, add the following to project/plugins.sbt:

addSbtPlugin("com.dwijnand" % "sbt-dynver" % "$sbt.dynver.version$")

For the plugin to work, you need to ensure that you don’t specify a version in your sbt build, since this will overwrite the version that sbt-dynver generates. sbt-dynver generates versions with a + character in them (the + is used to indicate how many commits have been added since the last tag, so 1.0+4 indicates this is the 1.0 tag plus 4 commits) and this is invalid for docker versions. To replace this with a - character, add the following to build.sbt:

ThisBuild / dynverSeparator := "-"

You may also want to configure the sbt native packager to tag your image as the latest image, this will be necessary if you’re using the latest tag in your deployment spec. To do this, enable dockerUpdateLatest in build.sbt:

dockerUpdateLatest := true

Configuring deployment

After building the docker image we need to deploy it. The Docker username and repository can be hardcoded in your build.sbt or taken from a property such as:

dockerUsername := sys.props.get("docker.username")
dockerRepository := sys.props.get("docker.registry")

In this case, we’re reading both variables from system properties, which ensures that the build is not tied to any particular docker username or registry. We’ll supply these system properties when we invoke sbt. The repository can be DockerHub or your private repository.

Building the docker image

Now that we’re setup, we can build our docker image. Run the following:

sbt -Ddocker.username=<user-name> -Ddocker.registry=<registry-url> docker:publish
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