Deploying a full stack Scala application on Heroku

Heroku and Scala logos

Project structure

- project
- backend
-- src
- frontend
-- src
-- webpack
- shared
-- src

Compiling the frontend

Create the app

heroku apps:create APP_NAME --region eu
heroku addons:create heroku-postgresql:hobby-dev

The sbt-Heroku plugin

addSbtPlugin("com.heroku" % "sbt-heroku" % "2.1.3")
lazy val `backend` = (project in file("./backend"))
.enablePlugins(PlayScala) // for example
herokuAppName in Compile := "APP_NAME",
herokuProcessTypes in Compile := Map(
"web" -> "target/universal/stage/bin/backend -Dhttp.port=$PORT" // command for Heroku to launch the server
//"worker" -> "java -jar target/universal/stage/lib/my-worker.jar"
herokuIncludePaths in Compile := Seq(
// [...]
  • the frontend does not build into the backend public directories, and
  • you will see that the task backend/deployHeroku finishes with “success” but nothing actually happened.
stage := {
val webpackValue = (frontend / Compile / fullOptJS / webpack).value
println(s"Webpack value is $webpackValue")
(stage in backend).value

Accessing the database


Specific to Play

  • in production, you need to define an application secret. You can easily do that by setting an environment variable on your Heroku app, for example via heroku config:set APPLICATION_SECRET=mycoolsecret and then in the configuration file, use play.http.secret.key = ${?APPLICATION_SECRET}
  • your application in Heroku lives in a container, so the origin actually accessing your app is probably unknown. Play will reject incoming connections unless you set = ["."] .
  • another consequence on having the application living in a container is that you need to know the port on which you traffic will pass. On Heroku, you receive an environment variable PORT which contains that piece of information
  • you most likely want to enable auto evolutions of the database. This is done via play.evolutions.autoApply = true
  • in dev mode, you can create a configuration file with dev values for all the afore-mentioned variables, such as the db url

Wrap up




Mathematician, Scala enthusiast, father of two.

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Antoine Doeraene

Antoine Doeraene

Mathematician, Scala enthusiast, father of two.

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