Squeryl is a Scala object-relational mapper and domain-specific language for talking to databases in a succinct and typesafe way.

We’ll use Squeryl with C3P0, a “butt-simple” connection pooling library.

See scalatra-squeryl for an example project which expands on the concepts explained in this guide.


"org.squeryl" %% "squeryl" % "0.9.5-7",
"com.h2database" % "h2" % "1.3.166",
"c3p0" % "c3p0" % ""

Set up a C3P0 connection pool

Setting up C3P0 connection pool in Scalatra is just a matter of making a trait which does your database initialization. The initialization code itself can follow the C3P0 init example pretty closely:

package org.scalatra.example.data

import com.mchange.v2.c3p0.ComboPooledDataSource
import org.squeryl.adapters.{H2Adapter, MySQLAdapter}
import org.squeryl.Session
import org.squeryl.SessionFactory
import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory

trait DatabaseInit {
  val logger = LoggerFactory.getLogger(getClass)

  val databaseUsername = "root"
  val databasePassword = ""
  val databaseConnection = "jdbc:h2:mem:squeryltryout"

  var cpds = new ComboPooledDataSource

  def configureDb() {


    SessionFactory.concreteFactory = Some(() => connection)

    def connection = {
      logger.info("Creating connection with c3po connection pool")
      Session.create(cpds.getConnection, new H2Adapter)

  def closeDbConnection() {
    logger.info("Closing c3po connection pool")

You’ll likely want to load up your database creds by reading a config file, but that’s up to you. The configureDb() method will create a connection pool when it’s called, and in this case it’ll use an in-memory H2 database with the H2Adapter, so that we don’t have any dependencies on an external database server. Replace the connection string, driver, and adapter in this file if you’re using MySQL, PostgreSQL, or something else. Info is available on the

Inside the configureDb method, Squeryl’s SessionFactory gets wired together with C3P0’s ComboPooledDataSource.

Initialize the session pool

Now that the session pool is defined, it’ll need to be initialized. The best place to do this initialization work is in your application’s ScalatraBootstrap init method.

Open up src/main/scala/ScalatraBootstrap.scala, and import your DatabaseInit trait. In the case of this example, we’ll need import com.futurechimps.squeryli.data.DatabaseInit.

Then mix the DatabaseInit trait into ScalatraBootstrap, so it looks like this:

import org.scalatra.LifeCycle
import javax.servlet.ServletContext
import org.scalatra.example.ArticlesController
import org.scalatra.example.data.DatabaseInit

class ScalatraBootstrap extends LifeCycle with DatabaseInit {

  override def init(context: ServletContext) {
    context mount (new ArticlesController, "/*")

  override def destroy(context:ServletContext) {

The configureDb method is called when your application starts, and during the destroy phase of your application, the database connections are closed down again.

Setting up database session support

Let’s make a database session support trait which can be used in your controllers. A complete one with imports can look like this:

package org.scalatra.example.data

import org.squeryl.Session
import org.squeryl.SessionFactory
import org.scalatra._

object DatabaseSessionSupport {
  val key = {
    val n = getClass.getName
    if (n.endsWith("$")) n.dropRight(1) else n

trait DatabaseSessionSupport { this: ScalatraBase =>
  import DatabaseSessionSupport._

  def dbSession = request.get(key).orNull.asInstanceOf[Session]

  before() {
    request(key) = SessionFactory.newSession

  after() {


The key things here are the before and after filters which open a new database session on each request and close it after the request is finished.

Mixing database session support into your servlet

Now that it’s defined, you can mix your new DatabaseSessionSupport trait into any of your controllers, e.g.

class ArticlesController extends ScalatraServlet with DatabaseSessionSupport

Any controller with this trait can now use Squeryl models.

For full documentation of Squeryl, see the project website at squeryl.org.