Sunday, October 27, 2013

Typesafe Activator - Get to know cool stuff quick...

I've recently gave a short intro to Typesafe Activator at Sydney JVM community meetup

Motivation for the talk was my personal experience with Activator and how helpful it was when I wanted to dive into trying Play framework, Akka and other related technologies...

The reason it was helpful to me was very simple - learning new things needs time and good intro / kick start that will get you going...So here it was a kick starter - Activator that promised quick introduction to technologies like Akka, Playframework for Scala and Java devs.

Using it as simple as getting to downloading the application and executing it.

Application provides you with an IDE that completely browser based. Even though it has pretty limited features compared to fully fledged IDE like Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA it is still better (or same) compared to notepad++ or similar tool and provides code highlighting, highlights errors after compilation and provides nice editing features like block comment/uncomment, block indent, regex search/replace. Pretty cool for a web based IDE.

So the cool thing about Activator is that you can start trying things as quick as during 10 min break. Trying new things is easy and powered by Template system that is based on SBT build / Ivy dependencies resolution.

Templates come in different flavors - Playframework+ Slick, Play + Akka, Play + Spring + JPA, etc... this is quite cool to get a flavor you need and start your project. If project turned into something sizable and you would like to make use your favorite IDE - you can export it to Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA and continue development in more comfort. Another good point is that Templates are accompanied with tutorial and/or working example of the framework. That allows learning and experimenting with ready examples.

Activator comes with Typesafe Console that is subscription based but comes with several different licenses and set of features available for each license (free development license is available). Console is useful for profiling your application. You can check various Akka, Play stats in real-time: Message rates, various
Latency stats, Actor mailbox queue size and delays, JVM and OS health, etc...

In following post I'll explore more on how I've used one of the templates and in the process of experimenting with it turned it into a simple/sample Hello_RPG template/game.

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