Rogach meets SBT, or "How to add a remote JavaScript console to your Scala server"

I recently installed sbt, and it was a big breakthrough for my development - before you try things like sbt, you think like "who needs that automatic dependency management", "I can do full recompile on every run - computer is fast enough", "I surely can live without console", etc.

But when you install sbt, everything suddenly changes - you find that you can add a full jetty server to my project just by typing in a name and it's version, and do not need to search & download & place in appropriate dir & add to classpath & ... You just type that dependecy line, and forget about it. And you get many-many other goodies as well.

(by the way, I had the same thoughts before migrating to Scala from Java - "really, who cares about that boilderplate? I think slower than I type, don't I?" - and the same relevations when I made the move)

Now, I feel that sbt increased my speed at least twofold - clever recompilation and sbt-revolver plugin make development roll incredibly fast.

In process of testing this new tool, I wrote a small project, which I present to you today. It is not a project actually, a proof-of-concept - simple way to add remote management console to server application. I used JS as a language for console - mostly because it is already bundled with JRE in javax.script. Of course, it would be better to use Scala - but I do not have a decent understanding of Scala Presentation Compiler yet, and it would involve some hand-coding with reflection to access JVM objects.

For transport between user and client I chose Apache MINA, again, a bit of overkill - but I do not know about good alternatives, and MINA has a good API and is quick to set up.

So, long story short - our server listens on a port (12345), and clients connect by using simple telnet and use plain ol' JS to issue commands.

As they say - "twenty lines of code are worth a thousand words", so let's get to buisness.
object Mina {

  def main(args:Array[String]) {
    // configuring and starting the server
    val acceptor = new NioSocketAcceptor
    // adding default simple codec - it just passes strings between server and client
        new ProtocolCodecFilter(
          new TextLineCodecFactory(Charset.defaultCharset(), 
    acceptor.setHandler(new Handler())
    acceptor.bind(new InetSocketAddress(12345))

  // some methods which will be made available to remote console
  def name = "afferono"
  def push(s:String) = println("Got: " + s)
  def shutdown = System.exit(0)
  import scala.reflect.BeanProperty
  @BeanProperty var ivar = 1
  val arr = Array(1,2,3)
  def getArr = "Array" + arr.toList.toString.drop(4)

class Handler extends IoHandlerAdapter {
  import javax.script._
  val engine = (new ScriptEngineManager).getEngineByName("JavaScript")

  override def sessionOpened(sess:IoSession) {

  override def messageReceived(sess:IoSession, message:java.lang.Object) {
    message.asInstanceOf[String].trim match {
      case ":help" => 
        sess.write("Write JS, `enter` to submit. \":quit\" to end session. You have access to \"mina\" object.")
      case ":quit" => 
        sess.write("Goodbye :)")
      case c => 
        try {
          val r = engine.eval(c)
          if (r != null) sess.write(r)
        } catch {
          case e => 
            sess.write("Got error! " + e.getClass.getName)

And for conclusion - a small primer on Scala-JavaScript integration:

// prints hello to sbt's console
 mina.ivar_$eq(2) // :(
 mina.setIvar(3) // you can use JavaBean-style getters-setters, if you annotate var properly
 mina.arr()[0] = 10
 mina.push("tree") // normal method call
Connection closed by foreign host.


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