Application Configuration

After creating a package, the very next thing needed, usually, is the ability for users/ops to customize the application once it’s deployed. Let’s add some configuration to the newly deployed application.

There are generally two types of configurations:

  • Configuring the JVM and the process
  • Configuring the Application itself.

The server archetype provides you with a special feature to configure your application with a single file outside of customizing the bash or bat script for applications. As this file is OS dependent, each OS gets section.

Linux Configuration

There are different ways described in Customizing the Application and can be used the same way.

The server archetype adds an additional way with an etc-default file placed in src/templates, which currently only works for SystemV and systemd. The file gets sourced before the actual startscript is executed. The file will be installed to /etc/default/<normalizedName>

Example /etc/default/<normalizedName> for SystemV:

# Available replacements
# ------------------------------------------------
# ${{author}}           package author
# ${{descr}}            package description
# ${{exec}}             startup script name
# ${{chdir}}            app directory
# ${{retries}}          retries for startup
# ${{retryTimeout}}     retry timeout
# ${{app_name}}         normalized app name
# ${{daemon_user}}      daemon user
# -------------------------------------------------

# Setting JAVA_OPTS
# -----------------
JAVA_OPTS="-Dpidfile.path=/var/run/${{app_name}}/ $JAVA_OPTS"

# For rpm/systemv you need to set the PIDFILE env variable as well

# export env vars for 3rd party libs
# ----------------------------------

Environment variables

The usual JAVA_OPTS can be used to override settings. This is a nice way to test different jvm settings with just restarting the jvm.

Windows Configuration

Support planned.

Service Manager Configuration

It is possible to change the default Service Manager for a given platform by specifying a ServerLoader. To use Upstart for an Rpm package simply:

import com.typesafe.sbt.packager.archetypes.ServerLoader

serverLoading in Rpm := ServerLoader.Upstart

As a side note Fedora/RHEL/Centos family of linux specifies Default requiretty in its /etc/sudoers file. This prevents the default Upstart script from working correctly as it uses sudo to run the application as the daemonUser . Simply disable requiretty to use Upstart or modify the Upstart template.

Customize Start Script

Sbt Native Packager leverages templating to customize various start/stop scripts and pre/post install tasks. As an example, to alter the loader-functions which manage the specific start and stop process commands for SystemLoaders you can to the linuxScriptReplacements map:

import com.typesafe.sbt.packager.archetypes.TemplateWriter

linuxScriptReplacements += {
  val functions = sourceDirectory.value / "templates" / "custom-loader-functions"
  // Nil == replacements. If you want to replace stuff in your script put them in this Seq[(String,String)]
  "loader-functions" -> TemplateWriter.generateScript(functions.toURL, Nil)

which will add the following resource file to use start/stop instead of initctl in the post install script:

startService() {
    start $app_name

stopService() {
    stop $app_name

The debian and redhat pages have further information on overriding distribution specific actions.

Override Start Script

It’s also possible to override the entire script/configuration for your service manager. Create a file src/templates/$format/$loader and it will be used instead.

Possible values:

  • $format - debian or rpm
  • $loader - upstart, systemv or systemd


You can use ${{variable_name}} to reference variables when writing your script. The default set of variables is:

  • descr - The description of the server.
  • author - The configured author name.
  • exec - The script/binary to execute when starting the server
  • chdir - The working directory for the server.
  • retries - The number of times to retry starting the server.
  • retryTimeout - The amount of time to wait before trying to run the server.
  • app_name - The name of the application (linux friendly)
  • app_main_class - The main class / entry point of the application.
  • app_classpath - The (ordered) classpath of the application.
  • daemon_user - The user that the server should run as.

SystemD Support

There is also experimental SystemD support for Fedora release 20 (Heisenbug). You can use the `Systemd` server loader:

import com.typesafe.sbt.packager.archetypes.ServerLoader

serverLoading in Rpm := ServerLoader.Systemd

There is only partial systemd support in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS which prevents sbt-native-packager systemd from working correctly on Ubuntu. Ubuntu 15.04 is the first version that switched to Systemd and the default Upstart won’t work. Switch to Systemd with

import com.typesafe.sbt.packager.archetypes.ServerLoader

serverLoading in Debian := ServerLoader.Systemd

Package Lifecycle Configuration

Some scripts are covered in the standard application type. Read more on Java Application Customization. For the java_server package lifecycle scripts are customized to provide the following additional features

  • Chowning directories and files correctly (if necessary)
  • Create/Delete users and groups according to your mapping
  • Register application at your init system

For this purpose sbt-native-packager ships with some predefined templates. These can be overridden with different techniques, depending on the packaging system.

Partially Replace Template Functionality

Most sbt-native-packager scripts are broken up into partial templates in the resources directory. You can override these default template snippets by adding to the linuxScriptReplacements map. As an example you can change the loader-functions which starts/stop services based on a certain `ServerLoader`:

linuxScriptReplacements += "loader-functions" -> TemplateWriter.generateScript(getClass.getResource("/custom-loader-functions"), Nil)

The custom-loader-functions file must declare the startService() and stopService() functions used in various service management scripts.

RPM Scriptlets

RPM puts all scripts into one file. To override or append settings to your scriptlets use these settings:

%pre scriptlet
%post scriptlet
%posttrans scriptlet
“%preun scriptlet”
%postun scriptlet
%verifyscript scriptlet

If you want to have your files separated from the build definition use the default location for rpm scriptlets. To override default templates in a RPM build put the new scriptlets in the rpmScriptsDirectory (by default src/rpm/scriptlets).

By default to src/rpm/scriptlets. Place your templates here.

Available templates are

post-rpm pre-rpm postun-rpm preun-rpm

Override Postinst scriptlet

By default the post-rpm template only starts the service, but doesn’t register it.

service ${{app_name}} start

For CentOS we can do

chkconfig ${{app_name}} defaults
service ${{app_name}} start || echo "${{app_name}} could not be started. Try manually with service ${{app_name}} start"


update-rc.d ${{app_name}} defaults
service ${{app_name}} start || echo "${{app_name}} could not be started. Try manually with service ${{app_name}} start"

Debian Control Scripts

To override default templates in a Debian build put the new control files in the debianControlScriptsDirectory (by default src/debian/DEBIAN).

By default to src/debian/DEBIAN. Place your templates here.
creates or discovers the preinst script used by this project.
creates or discovers the prerm script used by this project.
creates or discovers the postinst script used by this project.
creates or discovers the postrm script used by this project.

Available templates are

postinst preinst postun preun

Linux Replacements

This is a list of values you can access in your templates


Example Configurations

A list of very small configuration settings can be found at sbt-native-packager-examples