Coming from .NET, we have what they call the ConfigurationManager, your one-stop shop into the land of the app.config or web.config files. .NET Core has introduced a new way of fetching and registering configuration, but I’ve yet to use that in anger.

ConfigurationManager is the entry-point API into a static configuration file, called app.config or web.config. By default, you access either the ConnectionStrings or AppSettings nodes, with the latter containing pretty much every configuration value under the sun that is not a connection string. It supports more advanced use-cases, such as custom configuration sections, but the basic usage is the two fore mentioned default sections.

So what does Scala offer regarding configuration value access? One of the most obvious libraries I came across was TypeSafe - Config. Authored by TypeSafe (re-branded as Lightbend), it’s a no-nonsense configuration library with a clear API.

So, let’s see this library in action. I started out with a simple SBT project, willed into existence using sbt new and the scala-seed giter8 template

sbt new scala/scala-seed.g8

This gives me a nicely structured Hello-World console application. I’ve removed the Dependencies.Scala class, as I want no more noise than I need to at this point. So we will declare all dependencies in the multi-project build.sbt file for now.

Speaking of which, this is how I add the dependency to config in build.sbt:

libraryDependencies += “com.typesafe” % “config” % “1.3.1”

I then add a new file in my project, called application.conf. Where you put this file is important, as there are conventions you need to know of. The following folder/file structure is recommended:


This will ensure that your application will find the right configuration file, without you having to link to a path or a resource manually.

Now onto the actual code, I’ve created an EntryPoint object, extending App. For those coming from .NET, this is your Program.cs with a Main Method. The name of the object is not important, but it needs to be an object and it needs to extend App. There are ways around it, and you can have multiple App extending objects, but to keep it simple just have one.

So let’s have a look at the contents of both the configuration file and the EntryPoint:


appConfig = {
  startupMessage = “This welcome message originates from the application.conf file.}


package me.meeus.spikes.configuration
import com.typesafe.config.ConfigFactory

object EntryPoint extends App{
  val config = ConfigFactory.load()
  val firstMessage = config.getString(“appConfig.startupMessage”)

When I compile and run, the output should look something like this:


Success! It’s not much, but it works. It’s not safe, though. There are myriad ways of dealing with missing application configuration settings,  but the most basic scenario - I request a value and one does not exist - throws a ConfigException$Missing exception. It also does not feel as functional as a library, and that is because it’s not. It’s a library designed to be agnostic of what language you’re using it in, as long as it runs on the JVM you’ll find a wrapper for it to access your configuration idiomatically.

So next time, I’ll look at Ficus, a Scala wrapper around Config, with the intention of moving away from representing configuration values as primitive types and moving towards strongly typed domain specific structures.