Developing on the Scala console with JavaRebel

Darren - 05 Oct 2009

If you're the type of developer who likes to mess around interactively with your code, you should definitely be using the Scala console. Even if you're not actually using any Scala in your code, you can still instantiate your Java classes, call their methods, and play around with the results. Here's a handy script that I stick in the top-level of my Eclipse projects that will start an interactive console with my compiled code on the classpath:


    tempfile=`mktemp /tmp/tfile.XXXXXXXXXX`
    /usr/bin/java -jar /mnt/bizo/ivy-script/ivy.jar -settings /mnt/bizo/ivy-script/ivyconf.xml \
      -cachepath ${tempfile} > /dev/null
    classpath=`cat ${tempfile} | tr -d "\n\r"`
    rm ${tempfile}

    exec /usr/bin/java -classpath /opt/local/share/scala/lib:target/classes:${classpath} \
      -noverify -javaagent:/opt/javarebel/javarebel.jar

(Since we already use Ivy for dependency management, this script also pulls in the appropriate jar files from the Ivy cache. See this post for more details.)

The javaagent I'm using here is JavaRebel, a really awesome tool that provides automatic code reloading at runtime. Using the Scala console and JavaRebel, I can instantiate an object on the console and test a method. If I get an unexpected result, I can switch back to Eclipse, fix a bug or add some additional logging, and rerun the exact same method back on the console. JavaRebel will automagically detect that the class file was changed and reload it into the console, and the changes will even be reflected in the objects I created beforehand.

The icing on this cake is that Zero Turnaround (the makers of JavaRebel) is giving away free licenses to Scala developers. How awesome is that?

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