Slick is a database library for relational databases. In the following guide we will see how to integrate it in a Scalatra application.

This guide uses Scalatra 2.8.2, Slick 3.3.2. You may want to check for a newer version.
See scalatra-slick for a minimal and standalone project containing the example in this guide.

Project Overview

The sample project contains a minimal setup. For this guide the following files are important:

  • build.sbt: we configure the sbt build and the dependencies here.
  • src/main/scala/slickexample/slick.scala: the scalatra application.
  • src/main/resources/ the connection pool is configured here.
├── build.sbt                        // sbt build configuration
├── project
│   ├──
│   └── plugins.sbt
└── src
    └── main
        ├── resources
        │   ├──      // connection pool configuration
        │   └── logback.xml
        ├── scala
        │   ├── slickexample
        │   │   └── slick.scala      // main code goes here
        │   └── ScalatraBootstrap.scala
        └── webapp
            └── WEB-INF
                └── web.xml

SBT Configuration

Let us start with the SBT setup by editing build.sbt. Slick 3.3.2 officially supports Scala 2.11-2.13, so let’s use Scala 2.13:

scalaVersion := "2.13.0"

Also you need to use an appropriate Scalatra version, for example 2.7.x which supports Scala 2.11, 2.12 and 2.13:

libraryDependencies += "org.scalatra" %% "scalatra" % "2.8.2"

For this guide we choose the H2 Database, so we need to add a dependency to it too.

libraryDependencies ++= Seq(
  "com.typesafe.slick" %% "slick" % "3.3.2",
  "com.h2database" % "h2" % "1.4.196"

Since we want to use connection pooling, we also need to add c3p0:

libraryDependencies += "com.mchange" % "c3p0" % ""

sbt is all set up. Lets proceed to the code.

Slick Setup

We put the database initialization code into ScalatraBootstrap. This is the class which gets executed when the web application is started. We do the following here:

  • Setup a connection pool when the Scalatra application starts. The configuration is load from src/main/resources/ c3p0 loads the .properties file by searching the classpath.
  • Stop the connection pool when the Scalatra application shuts down.
  • Create a Database object which represents the database. All database actions are run using that object.
  • Create and mount the application.
import com.mchange.v2.c3p0.ComboPooledDataSource
import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory
import slickexample._
import org.scalatra._
import javax.servlet.ServletContext

import slick.jdbc.H2Profile.api._

 * This is the ScalatraBootstrap bootstrap file. You can use it to mount servlets or
 * filters. It's also a good place to put initialization code which needs to
 * run at application start (e.g. database configurations), and init params.
class ScalatraBootstrap extends LifeCycle {

  val logger = LoggerFactory.getLogger(getClass)

  val cpds = new ComboPooledDataSource"Created c3p0 connection pool")

  override def init(context: ServletContext) = {
    val db = Database.forDataSource(cpds, None)   // create the Database object
    context.mount(new SlickApp(db), "/*")   // create and mount the Scalatra application

  private def closeDbConnection() = {"Closing c3po connection pool")

  override def destroy(context: ServletContext) = {

The connection pool configuration src/main/resource/ looks like this:



Now we are ready to start with the sample application. The code serves only as a proof of concept. For more detailed information about Slick’s features take a look at the documentation.

We create two Tables, one for the suppliers and another one for the coffees table:

import slick.jdbc.H2Profile.api._

object Tables {

  // Definition of the SUPPLIERS table
  class Suppliers(tag: Tag) extends Table[(Int, String, String, String, String, String)](tag, "SUPPLIERS") {
    def id = column[Int]("SUP_ID", O.PrimaryKey) // This is the primary key column
    def name = column[String]("SUP_NAME")
    def street = column[String]("STREET")
    def city = column[String]("CITY")
    def state = column[String]("STATE")
    def zip = column[String]("ZIP")

    // Every table needs a * projection with the same type as the table's type parameter
    def * = (id, name, street, city, state, zip)

  // Definition of the COFFEES table
  class Coffees(tag: Tag) extends Table[(String, Int, Double, Int, Int)](tag, "COFFEES") {
    def name = column[String]("COF_NAME", O.PrimaryKey)
    def supID = column[Int]("SUP_ID")
    def price = column[Double]("PRICE")
    def sales = column[Int]("SALES")
    def total = column[Int]("TOTAL")
    def * = (name, supID, price, sales, total)

    // A reified foreign key relation that can be navigated to create a join
    def supplier = foreignKey("SUP_FK", supID, suppliers)(

  // Table query for the SUPPLIERS table, represents all tuples of that table
  val suppliers = TableQuery[Suppliers]

  // Table query for the COFFEES table
  val coffees = TableQuery[Coffees]

  // Other queries and actions ...


Slick offers a query language to express database queries and Database I/O Actions (DBIOAction) which are basically composable database operations. A single Action can for example represent one or more queries. They can be composed using the DBIO.seq method

// Query, implicit inner join coffees and suppliers, return their names
val findCoffeesWithSuppliers = {
  for {
    c <- coffees
    s <- c.supplier
  } yield (,

// DBIO Action which runs several queries inserting sample data
val insertSupplierAndCoffeeData = DBIO.seq(
  Tables.suppliers += (101, "Acme, Inc.", "99 Market Street", "Groundsville", "CA", "95199"),
  Tables.suppliers += (49, "Superior Coffee", "1 Party Place", "Mendocino", "CA", "95460"),
  Tables.suppliers += (150, "The High Ground", "100 Coffee Lane", "Meadows", "CA", "93966"),
  Tables.coffees ++= Seq(
    ("Colombian", 101, 7.99, 0, 0),
    ("French_Roast", 49, 8.99, 0, 0),
    ("Espresso", 150, 9.99, 0, 0),
    ("Colombian_Decaf", 101, 8.99, 0, 0),
    ("French_Roast_Decaf", 49, 9.99, 0, 0)

// DBIO Action which creates the schema
val createSchemaAction = (suppliers.schema ++ coffees.schema).create

// DBIO Action which drops the schema
val dropSchemaAction = (suppliers.schema ++ coffees.schema).drop

// Create database, composing create schema and insert sample data actions
val createDatabase = DBIO.seq(createSchemaAction, insertSupplierAndCoffeeData)

Now we can create some routes:

  • GET /db/create-db creates the tables and inserts sample data
  • GET /db/drop-db drops the tables
  • GET /coffees queries the database

We put the routes in a SlickRoutes trait which we later add to the application. A DBIO Action is run through the Database object’s run method. The operations are run asynchronously and a Future is returned. Since we are returning the Future directly from the routes, we teach Scalatra how to handle a Future as result by mixing in the FutureSupport trait. When a Future is returned, the HTTP request is put to asynchronous mode and parked until the result is available. For more details about handling asynchronous operations, see the async guides (Akka, Atmosphere). The value db is later provided by the Scalatra application.

import org.scalatra.{ScalatraBase, FutureSupport, ScalatraServlet}

import slick.jdbc.H2Profile.api._


trait SlickRoutes extends ScalatraBase with FutureSupport {

  def db: Database

  get("/db/create-tables") {

  get("/db/load-data") {

  get("/db/drop-tables") {

  get("/coffees") {
    // run the action and map the result to something more readable map { xs =>
      contentType = "text/plain"
      xs map { case (s1, s2) => f"  $s1 supplied by $s2" } mkString "\n"


Finally let’s create the application:

class SlickApp(val db: Database) extends ScalatraServlet with FutureSupport with SlickRoutes {

  protected implicit def executor =


Congratulations, you have now a basic Slick integration working! Feel free to do your own modifications.