What is Bloop
Bloop is a build server and CLI tool for the Scala programming language developed by the Scala Center. Bloop has two main goals:
- Compiles, tests and runs Scala code as fast as possible
- Integrates easily with build tools, command-line applications, editors and custom tooling
- Compiles a vast array of Java and Scala (2.10.x, 2.11.x, 2.12.x and 3.x) versions
- Runs and tests on the Java, Scala.js and Scala Native runtimes
- Integrates with common build tools in the Scala ecosystem (sbt, Gradle, mill, Maven, etc)
- Implements server-like capabilities such as concurrent build execution, caching compilations across clients and build client isolation to avoid conflicts in a shared, stateful file system
- There can only be one bloop server instance running per machine
- There is currently no support for remote compilation, see this ticket
Just as the web server powering this website responds to your request to load it—which in turn delivers static resources, generates html pages, caches them and handles requests in parallel—, bloop runs in the background of your machine for long periods of time to respond to any compile, test or run client request.
Terminology: clients and users
Any script, tool or application becomes a client when it makes requests to build your code. The developers manning these clients, either directly (e.g. CLI) or indirectly (e.g. Metals), are the users.
Clients can concurrently ask for build requests in two ways:
- via the Nailgun server protocol, used by the built-in bloop command-line application
- via the Build Server Protocol (BSP) (recommended), used by clients such as Metals or IntelliJ
When these clients run build actions, they have an effect on you, the end user building software. They receive a request, do some work and then mutate the file system to produce a result back to you. Clients might even be running these actions concurrently, unknowingly sharing caches and global state and falling prey to race conditions.
These build-related side-effects are part of any developer workflow and their management requires a robust framework that relieves developers from thinking about all their complex interactions.
The goal of a build server
A build server such as Bloop is the hub serving build requests for a specific workspace and, as such, is in a privileged position to give strong semantics and guarantees to every client connection.
Bloop guarantees clients that their actions will have the smallest usage footprint possible and will not conflict with those of other concurrent clients being served by the same server in the same build.
For example, if Metals is compiling
your project via Bloop and you spawn a bloop CLI command such as
bloop test foo --watch at the same time, Bloop guarantees that:
- The server heavily caches compilations for the same inputs (aka compile deduplication)
If inputs haven't changed between the requests, only the first client request will trigger a compilation. The compilation of the second client will be deduplicated based on the compilation side effects recorded by the build server, so only one compilation will happen.
- Different compilation requests in the same build can run concurrently (aka
If inputs have changed between requests, Bloop will compile the changed projects concurrently, avoiding shared state and conflicts with ongoing compilations.
- The outputs produced by both requests are independent in the file system.
The compilation products will be stored in independent target directories only owned by the client. This independence is essential to allow clients to independently run any build action without altering task executions.
These properties are key to understand Bloop's goal as a build server. Bloop is trying to model these actions as pure functions, just like your web server does, managing any internal state as best as possible to provide the best developer experience to end users.
Use or integrate with bloop
That's it, this is all you need to know to get started using Bloop!
- To use bloop with your current build tool, follow the Installation guide. It will explain step by step what you need to do to integrate your project build with Bloop.
- To integrate with bloop and use it as a framework, follow the Integration Guide.
Keep on reading to get familiar with Bloop's design principles.
Principles for a better tooling paradigm
Bloop improves the way we build tools in the Scala community with three well-defined design principles.
These principles propose an alternative to the status quo where clients largely reimplement bloop to support Scala. This system is the natural way our tooling community has grown but has irremediably hindered progress in the tooling community, complicated maintenance and worsened the overall Scala user experience with, for example, slower compiles or half-baked Scala integrations.
Implement once, Optimize once, Use everywhere
Every developer tool supporting Scala needs to compile, test and run Scala code. These are basic features that both old and new tools alike require, from build tools to IDEs/editors, in-house tooling and scripts.
Implementing custom client integrations is a tedious task for the close-knit community of Scala tooling contributors. In practice, contributors repeat the same learning process, duplicate the integration logic and its optimizations, have trouble benchmarking compilation performance consistently across all clients and lack ways to assess the quality of the Scala user experience they provide.
A build server such as bloop centralizes the implementation of these basic Scala features, provides the best developer experience to Scala users, simplifies future Scala integrations and lets maintainers focus on one single implementation to track performance, reliability and success metrics.
On the plus side, tooling developers that would otherwise try to reimplement bits of Bloop to support Scala or scratch a tooling itch can focus on creating tools and innovating.
Outlive build clients, Ease integrations
There are all kinds of build clients: short-lived and long-lived, JVM-based and native, local and remote. Yet, regardless of the nature of the clients, the Scala toolchain runs on the JVM and needs to favor single long-lived sessions to minimize cpu/memory consumption and run at peak performance —otherwise, end users pay a price; compilation performance in a long-lived process can be up to 20x faster than a short-lived compiler).
A client-server architecture enables different clients to share optimized compilers and build instances, minimizing developer latency and deduplicating the work to warm up hot compilers in every client session.
Optimize for the most common scenarios
Edit, compile and test workflows are the bread and butter of software development. When our build or editor are slow to respond, our productivity drops.
Bloop lays stress on optimizing local development workflows to make the Scala developer feedback cycle as short as possible. It achieves this by optimizing compilations based on the user actions and minimizing the amount of work run in every operation.