ebowman / play-json-service-lib   1.2.0

MIT License GitHub

Library making it easier to create JSON-based services using Play Framework

Scala versions: 2.11 2.10



This project was forked from https://github.com/gilt/play-json-service-lib in order to provide support for Play 2.4.

play-json-service-lib is a library for Play Framework 2.4 that provides some helpers to make it easier to write services that provides RESTful JSON-based services using Play.

Play is slightly biased toward general purpose web development, and as a result there are some missing features that would simplify writing simple REST/JSON services.

This library collects a few useful tricks we’ve found helpful at Gilt and elsewhere, to make them easier to create RESTful JSON services. In particular,

  1. Returning objects to be serialized as JSON, without having to call Json.toJson everywhere.
  2. Easier support for basic Link header support when paginating.
  3. Support for returning a JSON document when an error occurs.
  4. Support for automatically including a Location header when returning a 201 CREATED HTTP response.

Installation & Configuration

Play 2.4

To use it with Play 2.4, include this in your libraryDependencies:

"ie.boboco" %% "play-json-service-lib-2-4" % "1.2.0"

You also need to register json for templates, so that errors can return a json document instead of the standard html error page. To do this, add this line to build.sbt:

TwirlKeys.templateFormats += ("json" -> "ie.boboco.play.json.templates.JsonFormat")

You'll also need to make sure both the PlayScala and SbtTwirl plugins are enabled. For example, a simple build might look like:

lazy val root = (project in file(".")). enablePlugins(PlayScala, SbtTwirl). settings(
  name := "play-2.4-example",
  scalaVersion := "2.11.7",
  libraryDependencies ++= Seq(
    "ie.boboco" %% "play-json-service-lib-2-4" % "1.2.0"
  TwirlKeys.templateFormats += ("json" -> "JsonFormat")

The library has a "provided" dependency on com.typesafe.play:play:2.4.4, com.typesafe.play:play-json:2.4.4, and com.typesafe.play:twirl-api:1.1.1, so you'll need to be sure your Play application depends on these libraries.


To use these features, extend your Play controllers from JsonController, like this:

object Teams extends JsonController {

You need to implement two abstract methods in JsonController, errorView and https. The first should be a twirl template that will be used to serve a JSON error document, and accepts a single argument of type String*. You override https to tell the URL synthesis whether to generate URLs with scheme http or https. (Note that we have a preference toward absolute URLs, and this library is implemented to return them in both Location and Link response headers.)

override def errorView = views.json.error
override def https = false

JsonController introduces overridden versions of Ok, Created, NotFound and BadRequest. Ok and Created take an object to be serialised as JSON, so you need to make sure there is an implicit Writes instance in scope for Play's JSON serialization to work. These objects also need an implicit Request[_] instance in scope.

For example, a simple example might be:

def getByKey(key: String) = Action { implicit request =>

NotFound and BadRequest can be used to return a standard error JSON document that you create. For example, you might create a Play view like:

@(messages: String*){
"messages": [
@for(message <- messages) {    "@message"
}  ]

In this case you can pass a String (or multiple Strings) to NotFound or BadRequest, like:

def getByKey(key: String) = Action { implicit request =>
  models.Teams.getByEmail(key).map(Ok(_)).getOrElse(NotFound(s"No team with key=[$key]"))

This common pattern where an Option is returned and generates either an Ok or NotFound can also use the OkOption method:

def getByKey(key: String) = Action { implicit request =>
  OkOption(models.Teams.getByEmail(key), s"No team with key=[$key]")

For use in Action.async controller methods, OkFuture and OkFutureOption lift these methods into the Future monad:

def getByKey(key: String) = Action.async { implicit request =>
  OkFutureOption(models.Teams.getByEmail(key), s"No team with key=[$key]")

Location headers

The Created response makes it easy to generate a Location: header in a 201 CREATED HTTP response, if you include an implicit Call instance in scope:

def putByKey(key: String) = Action(parse.json) { implicit request =>
  Json.fromJson[models.Team](request.body) match {
    case JsSuccess(team, _) =>
      implicit val location = routes.Teams.getByKey(key)
      models.Teams.upsert(team).fold(Created(team))(team => Ok(team))
    case JsError(e) => BadRequest(s"Could not parse team from body: ${request.body}: $e")


Requests that return large responses often need to support pagination; to do this, we assume HTTP requests that include some kind of limit and offset parameters. You can implement pagination using Ok by providing an implicit Pagination instance in scope

def list(limit: Int = 50, offset: Int = 0) = Action { implicit request =>
  val result = models.Teams.list().drop(offset).take(limit)
  implicit val pagination = paginate(result, limit, offset)(routes.Teams.list)

If you are using async actions, OkFuture expects an implicit Future[Pagination]


You can see a complete worked example for Play 2.4 here.


To build this across multiple scala versions, do something like sbt publishLocal which will publish it to your local ivy repo, built against both scala 2.10 and scala 2.11.