Slick 3.3.3Loading… manual

Getting Started

The easiest way to get started is with a working sample application. The following samples are part of the official Slick distribution. You can either clone Slick from github or download pre-packaged zip files with an indiviual sample plus an sbt launcher.

  • To learn the basics of Slick, start with the Hello Slick sample (github, zip). This is the one we are using in this chapter.

  • The Plain SQL Queries sample (github, zip) shows you how to do SQL queries with Slick. See Plain SQL Queries for details.

  • The Multi-DB Patterns sample (github, zip) shows you how to write Slick applications that can use different database systems and how to use custom database functions in Slick queries.

  • The TestKit sample (github, zip) shows you how to use Slick TestKit to test your own database profiles.

Hello Slick

The Hello Slick sample contains simple Scala application, HelloSlick.scala, that does basic FRM operations with Slick. You can run it out of the box with sbt run. To make things simple this project uses an embedded in-memory H2 database, so no database installation or configuration is required.

The file TableSuite.scala contains ScalaTest tests which perform some basic integration tests. You can run these tests with sbt test.

Note: The example code in this app has intentionally verbose type information. In normal applications type inference is used more extensively but to assist with learning the type information was included.

Adding Slick to Your Project

To include Slick in an existing project use the library published on Maven Central. Add the following to your build definition (build.sbt for sbt or pom.xml for Maven):

libraryDependencies ++= Seq(
  "com.typesafe.slick" %% "slick" % "3.3.3",
  "org.slf4j" % "slf4j-nop" % "1.6.4",
  "com.typesafe.slick" %% "slick-hikaricp" % "3.3.3"
<!-- Make sure to use the correct Scala version suffix "_2.11" or "_2.12"
     to match your project's Scala version. -->

Slick uses SLF4J for its own debug logging so you also need to add an SLF4J implementation. Hello Slick uses slf4j-nop to disable logging. You have to replace this with a real logging framework like Logback if you want to see log output.

The Reactive Streams API is pulled in automatically as a transitive dependency.

If you want to use Slick’s connection pool support for HikariCP, you need to add the slick-hikaricp module as a dependency as shown above. It will automatically provide a compatible version of HikariCP as a transitive dependency. Otherwise, you might need to disable connection pooling or specify a third-party connection pool.

Quick Introduction

To use Slick you first need to import the API for the database you will be using, like:

// Use H2Profile to connect to an H2 database
import slick.jdbc.H2Profile.api._


Since we are using H2 as our database system, we need to import features from Slick‘s H2Profile. A profile’s api object contains all commonly needed imports from the profile and other parts of Slick such as database handling.

Slick’s API is fully asynchronous and runs database calls in a separate thread pool. For running user code in composition of DBIOAction and Future values, we import the global ExecutionContext. When using Slick as part of a larger application (e.g. with Play or Akka) the framework may provide a better alternative to this default ExecutionContext.

Database Configuration

In the body of the application we create a Database object which specifies how to connect to a database. In most cases you will want to configure database connections with Typesafe Config in your application.conf, which is also used by Play and Akka for their configuration:

h2mem1 = {
  url = "jdbc:h2:mem:test1"
  driver = org.h2.Driver
  connectionPool = disabled
  keepAliveConnection = true

For the purpose of this example we disable the connection pool (there is no point in using one for an embedded in-memory database). When you use a real, external database server, the connection pool provides improved performance and resilience.

The keepAliveConnection option (which is only available without a connection pool) keeps an extra connection open for the lifetime of the Database object in the application. This ensures that the database does not get dropped while we are using it.

Hello Slick is a standalone command-line application, not running inside of a container which takes care of resource management, so we have to do it ourselves. Since all database calls in Slick are asynchronous, we are going to compose Futures throughout the app, but eventually we have to wait for the result. This gives us the following scaffolding:

val db = Database.forConfig("h2mem1")
try {
  // val resultFuture: Future[_] = { ... }
  Await.result(resultFuture, Duration.Inf)
  lines.foreach(Predef.println _)
} finally db.close

Note: A Database object usually manages a thread pool and a connection pool. You should always shut it down properly when it is no longer needed (unless the JVM process terminates anyway). Do not create a new Database for every database operation. A single instance is meant to be kept alive for the entire lifetime your your application.

If you are not familiar with asynchronous, Future-based programming Scala, you can learn more about Futures and Promises in the Scala documentation.


Before we can write Slick queries, we need to describe a database schema with Table row classes and TableQuery values for our tables. You can either use the code generator to automatically create them for your database schema or you can write them by hand:

// Definition of the SUPPLIERS table
class Suppliers(tag: Tag) extends Table[(Int, String, String, String, String, String)](tag, "SUPPLIERS") {
  def id = column[Int]("SUP_ID", O.PrimaryKey) // This is the primary key column
  def name = column[String]("SUP_NAME")
  def street = column[String]("STREET")
  def city = column[String]("CITY")
  def state = column[String]("STATE")
  def zip = column[String]("ZIP")
  // Every table needs a * projection with the same type as the table's type parameter
  def * = (id, name, street, city, state, zip)
val suppliers = TableQuery[Suppliers]

// Definition of the COFFEES table
class Coffees(tag: Tag) extends Table[(String, Int, Double, Int, Int)](tag, "COFFEES") {
  def name = column[String]("COF_NAME", O.PrimaryKey)
  def supID = column[Int]("SUP_ID")
  def price = column[Double]("PRICE")
  def sales = column[Int]("SALES")
  def total = column[Int]("TOTAL")
  def * = (name, supID, price, sales, total)
  // A reified foreign key relation that can be navigated to create a join
  def supplier = foreignKey("SUP_FK", supID, suppliers)(
val coffees = TableQuery[Coffees]

All columns get a name (usually in camel case for Scala and upper case with underscores for SQL) and a Scala type (from which the SQL type can be derived automatically). The table object also needs a Scala name, SQL name and type. The type argument of the table must match the type of the special * projection. In simple cases this is a tuple of all columns but more complex mappings are possible.

The foreignKey definition in the coffees table ensures that the supID field can only contain values for which a corresponding id exists in the suppliers table, thus creating an n to one relationship: A Coffees row points to exactly one Suppliers row but any number of coffees can point to the same supplier. This constraint is enforced at the database level.

Populating the Database

The connection to the embedded H2 database engine provides us with an empty database. Before we can execute queries, we need to create the database schema (consisting of the coffees and suppliers tables) and insert some test data:

val setup = DBIO.seq(
  // Create the tables, including primary and foreign keys
  (suppliers.schema ++ coffees.schema).create,

  // Insert some suppliers
  suppliers += (101, "Acme, Inc.",      "99 Market Street", "Groundsville", "CA", "95199"),
  suppliers += ( 49, "Superior Coffee", "1 Party Place",    "Mendocino",    "CA", "95460"),
  suppliers += (150, "The High Ground", "100 Coffee Lane",  "Meadows",      "CA", "93966"),
  // Equivalent SQL code:
  // insert into SUPPLIERS(SUP_ID, SUP_NAME, STREET, CITY, STATE, ZIP) values (?,?,?,?,?,?)

  // Insert some coffees (using JDBC's batch insert feature, if supported by the DB)
  coffees ++= Seq(
    ("Colombian",         101, 7.99, 0, 0),
    ("French_Roast",       49, 8.99, 0, 0),
    ("Espresso",          150, 9.99, 0, 0),
    ("Colombian_Decaf",   101, 8.99, 0, 0),
    ("French_Roast_Decaf", 49, 9.99, 0, 0)
  // Equivalent SQL code:
  // insert into COFFEES(COF_NAME, SUP_ID, PRICE, SALES, TOTAL) values (?,?,?,?,?)

val setupFuture =

The TableQuery’s schema method creates DDL (data definition language) objects with the database-specific code for creating and dropping tables and other database entities. Multiple DDL values can be combined with ++ to allow all entities to be created and dropped in the correct order, even when they have circular dependencies on each other.

Inserting the tuples of data is done with the += and ++= methods, similar to how you add data to mutable Scala collections.

The create, += and ++= methods return database I/O actions (DBIOAction) which can be executed on a database at a later time to produce a result. If you do not care about more advanced features like streaming, effect tracking or extension methods for certain actions, you can denote their type as DBIO[T] (for an operation which will eventually produce a value of type T).

There are several different combinators for combining multiple DBIOActions into sequences, yielding another action. Here we use the simplest one, DBIO.seq, which can concatenate any number of actions, discarding the return values (i.e. the resulting DBIOAction produces a result of type Unit). We then execute the setup action asynchronously with, yielding a Future[Unit].

Note: Database connections and transactions are managed automatically by Slick. By default connections are acquired and released on demand and used in auto-commit mode. In this mode we have to populate the suppliers table first because the coffees data can only refer to valid supplier IDs. We could also use an explicit transaction bracket encompassing all these statements ( Then the order would not matter because the constraints are only enforced at the end when the transaction is committed.

When inserting data, the database usually returns the number of affected rows, therefore the return type is Option[Int] as can be seen in this definition of insertAction:

// Insert some coffees (using JDBC's batch insert feature)
val insertAction: DBIO[Option[Int]] = coffees ++= Seq (
  ("Colombian",         101, 7.99, 0, 0),
  ("French_Roast",       49, 8.99, 0, 0),
  ("Espresso",          150, 9.99, 0, 0),
  ("Colombian_Decaf",   101, 8.99, 0, 0),
  ("French_Roast_Decaf", 49, 9.99, 0, 0)

val insertAndPrintAction: DBIO[Unit] = { coffeesInsertResult =>
  // Print the number of rows inserted
  coffeesInsertResult foreach { numRows =>
    println(s"Inserted $numRows rows into the Coffees table")

We can use the map combinator to run some code and compute a new value from the value returned by the action (or in this case run it only for its side effects and return Unit).

Note that map and all other combinators which run user code (e.g. flatMap, cleanup, filter) take an implicit ExecutionContext on which to run this code. Slick uses its own ExecutionContext internally for running blocking database I/O but it always maintains a clean separation and prevents you from running non-I/O code on it.


The simplest kind of query iterates over all the data in a table by calling .result on the TableQuery to get a DBIOAction:

// Read all coffees and print them to the console
println("Coffees:") {
  case (name, supID, price, sales, total) =>
    println("  " + name + "\t" + supID + "\t" + price + "\t" + sales + "\t" + total)
// Equivalent SQL code:

This corresponds to a SELECT * FROM COFFEES in SQL (except that the * is the table’s * projection we defined earlier and not whatever the database sees as *). The type of the values we get in the loop is, unsurprisingly, the type parameter of Coffees.

Let’s add a projection to this basic query. This is written in Scala with the map method or a for comprehension:

// Why not let the database do the string conversion and concatenation?
val q1 = for(c <- coffees)
  yield LiteralColumn("  ") ++ ++ "\t" ++ c.supID.asColumnOf[String] ++
    "\t" ++ c.price.asColumnOf[String] ++ "\t" ++ c.sales.asColumnOf[String] ++
    "\t" ++[String]
// The first string constant needs to be lifted manually to a LiteralColumn
// so that the proper ++ operator is found

// Equivalent SQL code:
// select '  ' || COF_NAME || '\t' || SUP_ID || '\t' || PRICE || '\t' SALES || '\t' TOTAL from COFFEES

The output will be the same: for each row of the table, all columns get converted to strings and concatenated into one tab-separated string. The difference is that all of this now happens inside the database engine, and only the resulting concatenated string is shipped to the client. Note that we avoid Scala’s + operator (which is already heavily overloaded) in favor of ++ (commonly used for sequence concatenation). Also, there is no automatic conversion of other argument types to strings. This has to be done explicitly with the type conversion method asColumnOf.

This time we also use Reactive Streams to get a streaming result from the database and print the elements as they come in instead of materializing the whole result set upfront.

Joining and filtering tables is done the same way as when working with Scala collections:

// Perform a join to retrieve coffee names and supplier names for
// all coffees costing less than $9.00
val q2 = for {
  c <- coffees if c.price < 9.0
  s <- suppliers if === c.supID
} yield (,
// Equivalent SQL code:
// select c.COF_NAME, s.SUP_NAME from COFFEES c, SUPPLIERS s where c.PRICE < 9.0 and s.SUP_ID = c.SUP_ID

Note the use of === instead of == for comparing two values for equality and =!= instead of != for inequality. This is necessary because these operators are already defined (with unsuitable types and semantics) on the base type Any, so they cannot be replaced by extension methods. The other comparison operators are the same as in standard Scala code: <, <=, >=, >.

The generator expression suppliers if === c.supID follows the relationship established by the foreign key Coffees.supplier. Instead of repeating the join condition here we can use the foreign key directly:

val q3 = for {
  c <- coffees if c.price < 9.0
  s <- c.supplier
} yield (,
// Equivalent SQL code:
// select c.COF_NAME, s.SUP_NAME from COFFEES c, SUPPLIERS s where c.PRICE < 9.0 and s.SUP_ID = c.SUP_ID


Aggregates values like minimum, maximum, summation, and average can be computed by the database using the query functions min, max, sum and avg like:

// Create a new scalar value that calculates the maximum price
val maxPrice: Rep[Option[Double]] =

This creates a new scalar query (Rep) that can be run like a collection-valued Query by calling .result.

Plain SQL / String Interpolation

Sometimes writing SQL code manually is the easiest and best way to go but we don’t want to lose SQL injection protection that Slick includes. SQL String Interpolation provides a nice API for doing this. In Hello Slick we use the sql interpolator:

/* Manual SQL / String Interpolation */

// A value to insert into the statement
val state = "CA"

// Construct a SQL statement manually with an interpolated value
val plainQuery = sql"select SUP_NAME from SUPPLIERS where STATE = $state".as[String]

This produces a database I/O action that can be run or streamed in the usual way.

Case Class Mapping

The CaseClassMapping.scala app provides an example which uses a case class instead of tupled values. To use case classes instead of tuples setup a def * projection which transforms the tuple values to and from the case class. For example:

def * = (name, id.?).mapTo[User]

This uses the mapTo macro to convert between (Option[Int], String) and User bidirectionally. Now all of the queries can work with a User object instead of the tuples.

See Mapped Tables for details.

Auto-Generated Primary Keys

The Users table mapping in CaseClassMapping.scala defines an id column which uses an auto-incrementing primary key:

def id = column[Int]("ID", O.PrimaryKey, O.AutoInc)

See Table Rows for more column options.

Running Queries

So far you have seen how to get a Seq from a collection-valued query and how to stream individual elements. There are several other useful methods which are shown in QueryActions.scala. They are equally applicable to Scala queries and Plain SQL queries.

Note the use of Compiled in this app. It is used to define a pre-compiled query that can be executed with different parameters without having to recompile the SQL statement each time. This is the preferred way of defining queries in real-world applications. It prevents the (possibly expensive) compilation each time and leads to the same SQL statement (or a small, fixed set of SQL statements) so that the database system can also reuse a previously computed execution plan. As a side-effect, all parameters are automatically turned into bind variables:

// Define a pre-compiled parameterized query for reading all key/value
// pairs up to a given key.
val upTo = Compiled { k: Rep[Int] =>
  dict.filter(_.key <= k).sortBy(_.key)

See Compiled Queries for details.