Typesafe Activator

Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Typesafe Activator

Typesafe, the folks who make the play framework have a program called the Typesafe Activator.  Activator is a local running Web Application that runs on your own machine.

The following is a short tutorial.  It will help you install Activator and begin using it.

I am running the Activator from a Windows 7 Environment.

Download Typesafe Activator

Click on "Download Typesafe Activator" 

It will download a zip file.   (I downloaded mine on 8/18/2013 and it was named typesafe-activator-0.3.0.zip)

Unzip the contents and save them to a folder. 

Run Activator

The Activator includes an activator.bat file.  Double click on it to run it.

Or from the DOS command line run the following from the directory

> activator ui

From linux or mac run

> ./activator ui

The first time I ran the program it downloaded a lot of files (so it may take more time the first time you run it)

It should open your default browser to the following local page.  Its URL is http://localhost:8888/home

Click on Accept to accept the license.

Now you are at the default page, this is the Activator UI.

Create Web App

There are several different Template programs to choose from.  For my first go at it I selected "Reactive Stocks".

I want to change the default location to a folder I have on my desktop.  Click the folder to change the location.

Double click On "Desktop"

Then, in my case, select play-testing which is at C:\Users\patman\Desktop\play-testing

Then click "Select this Folder"

Click Create.

The Activator will create the program.

Your application is ready!

The screen you see now is the App Management Screen

On the right side you can see the Tutorial section.
Here you can read the tutorial that came with the template.

Reading the first page of the tutorial you will see that the app is running locally at http://localhost:9000/

Open this location in another panel on your web browser

Issue …..

For some reason mine got stuck trying to open the page but never actually opened.  To fix this I did the following

From the Activator

Click the Run tab.  Then click Stop

After the program stops click on Start

After the app restarted the page loaded fine for me.

The Web App

This app looks like some "live" stock feed with some fake data.


You can read and edit your code from within Activator.

Clicking the Code menu item will Display the code. 

As an example, clicking on Conf then routes will open the routes file for this application.

From the Activator web interface you can edit the files and save them.
I am not going to do that right now I just wanted to point that out.   If you do edit them and save them the Play framework will automatically recompile the program.

Open Project in IntelliJ

I for one prefer to use an IDE when programming, like IntelliJ.
To open this project in an IDE click on Open and select your IDE, currently it looks like it supports IntelliJ (which I use) and Eclipse.

I clicked on IntelliJ to create the needed files for an IntelliJ project.

You will get the message
"Your app has no IntelliJ IDEA project files. Generate them now." 
Click on Generate them now

Messages will scroll by as it generates the code.
If you are doing this for the first time it will download some libraries and may take some time.

In my case it took ~ 10 minutes to finish.

When it is done click "import the project into intelliJ IDEA

You will now see this note telling where the program is to open in IntelliJ

Open the project in IntelliJ

Click File  --> Open

Paste the location here and click OK

Click on Project

Here are the program files.

As a quick test  open  app --> views --> index.scala.html

Update "Reactive Stocks"  to

"Reactive Stocks Test Update"

And save it.

If you look real quick at the Activator web page you will see that the code is recompiling.

The default behavior of Play is to recompile if any of its files are updated.
Once the WebApp has been recompiled re-open the WebApp page.

You will see that it has been updated with the new text.

That is enough for a first introduction to Activator, or at least all I am willing to go into.


Activator seems pretty interesting.  I still need to learn the Play Framework so I can give a better educated opinion on it, but I think I will see myself using Activator.


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