§Using Play Slick

The Play Slick module makes Slick a first-class citizen of Play.

The Play Slick module consists of two features:

Play Slick currently supports Slick 3.1 with Play 2.5, for Scala 2.11.

Note: This guide assumes you already know both Play 2.5 and Slick 3.1.

§Getting Help

If you are having trouble using Play Slick, check if the FAQ contains the answer. Otherwise, feel free to reach out to play-framework user group. Also, note that if you are seeking help on Slick, the slick user group may be a better place.

Finally, if you prefer to get an answer for your Play and Slick questions in a timely manner, and with a well-defined SLA, you may prefer to get in touch with Lightbend, as it offers commercial support for these technologies.

§About this release

If you have been using a previous version of Play Slick, you will notice that there have been quite a few major changes. It’s recommended to read the migration guide for a smooth upgrade.

While, if this is the first time you are using Play Slick, you will appreciate that the integration of Slick in Play is quite austere. Meaning that if you know both Play and Slick, using the Play Slick module should be straightforward.


Add a library dependency on play-slick:

libraryDependencies += "" %% "play-slick" % "2.0.0"

The above dependency will also bring along the Slick library as a transitive dependency. This implies you don’t need to add an explicit dependency on Slick, but you might still do so if want. A likely reason for wanting to explicitly define a dependency to Slick is if you want to use a newer version than the one bundled with play-slick. Because Slick trailing dot releases are binary compatible, you won’t incur any risk in using a different Slick trailing point release than the one that was used to build play-slick.

§Support for Play database evolutions

Play Slick supports Play database evolutions.

To enable evolutions, you will need the following dependencies:

libraryDependencies ++= Seq(
  "" %% "play-slick" % "2.0.0"
  "" %% "play-slick-evolutions" % "2.0.0"

Note there is no need to add the Play evolutions component to your dependencies, as it is a transitive dependency of the play-slick-evolutions module.

§JDBC driver dependency

The Play Slick module does not bundle any JDBC driver. Hence, you will need to explicitly add the JDBC driver(s) you want to use in your application. For instance, if you would like to use an in-memory database such as H2, you will have to add a dependency to it:

"com.h2database" % "h2" % "${H2_VERSION}" // replace `${H2_VERSION}` with an actual version number

§Database Configuration

To have the Play Slick module handling the lifecycle of Slick databases, it is important that you never create database’s instances explicitly in your code. Rather, you should provide a valid Slick driver and database configuration in your application.conf (by convention the default Slick database must be called default):

# Default database configuration

First, note that the above is a valid Slick configuration (for the complete list of configuration parameters that you can use to configure a database see the Slick ScalaDoc for Database.forConfig - make sure to expand the forConfig row in the doc).

Second, the slick.dbs prefix before the database’s name is configurable. In fact, you may change it by overriding the value of the configuration key play.slick.db.config.

Third, in the above configuration slick.dbs.default.driver is used to configure the Slick driver, while slick.dbs.default.db.driver is the underlying JDBC driver used by Slick’s backend. In the above configuration we are configuring Slick to use H2 database, but Slick supports several other databases. Check the Slick documentation for a complete list of supported databases, and to find a matching Slick driver.

Slick does not support the DATABASE_URL environment variable in the same way as the default Play JBDC connection pool. But starting in version 3.0.3, Slick provides a DatabaseUrlDataSource specifically for parsing the environment variable.

slick.dbs.default.db.dataSourceClass = "slick.jdbc.DatabaseUrlDataSource" = "org.postgresql.Driver"

On some platforms, such as Heroku, you may substitute the JDBC_DATABASE_URL, which is in the format jdbc:vendor://host:port/db?args, if it is available. For example:


Note: Failing to provide a valid value for both slick.dbs.default.driver and slick.dbs.default.db.driver will lead to an exception when trying to run your Play application.

To configure several databases:

# Orders database

# Customers database

If something isn’t properly configured, you will be notified in your browser:

Note: Your application will be started only if you provide a valid Slick configuration.


After having properly configured a Slick database, you can obtain a DatabaseConfig (which is a Slick type bundling a database and driver) in two different ways. Either by using dependency injection, or through a global lookup via the DatabaseConfigProvider singleton.

Note: A Slick database instance manages a thread pool and a connection pool. In general, you should not need to shut down a database explicitly in your code (by calling its close method), as the Play Slick module takes care of this already.

§DatabaseConfig via Dependency Injection

Here is an example of how to inject a DatabaseConfig instance for the default database (i.e., the database named default in your configuration):

class Application @Inject()(dbConfigProvider: DatabaseConfigProvider) extends Controller {
  val dbConfig = dbConfigProvider.get[JdbcProfile]

Injecting a DatabaseConfig instance for a different database is also easy. Simply prepend the annotation @NamedDatabase("<db-name>") to the dbConfigProvider constructor parameter:

class Application2 @Inject()(@NamedDatabase("<db-name>") dbConfigProvider: DatabaseConfigProvider) extends Controller {

Of course, you should replace the string "<db-name>" with the name of the database’s configuration you want to use.

For a full example, have a look at this sample project.

§DatabaseConfig via Global Lookup

Here is an example of how to lookup a DatabaseConfig instance for the default database (i.e., the database named default in your configuration):

val dbConfig = DatabaseConfigProvider.get[JdbcProfile](Play.current)

Looking up a DatabaseConfig instance for a different database is also easy. Simply pass the database name:

val dbConfig = DatabaseConfigProvider.get[JdbcProfile]("<db-name>")(Play.current)

Of course, you should replace the string "<db-name>" with the name of the database’s configuration you want to use.

For a full example, have a look at this sample project.

§Running a database query in a Controller

To run a database query in your controller, you will need both a Slick database and driver. Fortunately, from the above we now know how to obtain a Slick DatabaseConfig, hence we have what we need to run a database query.

You will need to import some types and implicits from the driver:

import dbConfig.driver.api._

And then you can define a controller’s method that will run a database query:

def index(name: String) = Action.async { implicit request =>
  val resultingUsers: Future[Seq[User]] = === name).result) => Ok(views.html.index(users)))

That’s just like using stock Play and Slick!

§Configuring the connection pool

Read here to find out how to configure the connection pool.

Next: Play Slick migration guide

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