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We're using Maven to build Scala projects at work because it integrates well with our CI server. We could just run a shell script to kick off a build, of course, but we've got a bunch of other information coming out of Maven that we want to go into CI. That's about the only reason I can think of to use Maven for a Scala project.

Otherwise, just use SBT. You get access to the same dependencies (really the best part about maven, IMHO). You also get the incremental compilation, which is huge. The ability to start up a shell inside of your project, which is also great.

ScalaMock only works with SBT, and you're probably going to want to use that rather than a Java mocking library. On top of that, it's much easier to extend SBT since you can write full scala code in the build file, so you don't have to go through all the rigamarole of writing a Mojo.

In short, just use SBT unless you really need tight integration into your CI server.


The question is in danger of just generating lots of opinions; it would be better to have a clear list of requirements or a description of your environment, previous knowledge, etc.

FWIW, there are more opinions in this scala mailing list thread.

My 2c are: Go with sbt if you don't have specific requirements

  • for simple projects, it's totally effortless (you don't even need a build file until you have dependencies)
  • it is commonly used across Scala open source projects. You can easily learn about configuration by peeking into other people's projects. Plus many projects assume you use sbt and provide you with ready-made copy+paste instruction for adding them as a dependency to your project.
  • if you use IntelliJ IDEA, it can be totally integrated. You can have IDEA use sbt to continuously compile your project, and vice versa you can use sbt to quickly generate IDEA projects. The last is extremely useful if you are in a 'snapshot' cycle with depending on other of your own libraries which are bumped from minor version to minor version -- just close the project, update the version in the build file, re-run the gen-idea task, and re-open the project: updates done.
  • comes ready with most tasks you will need (compile, test, run, doc, publish-local, console) -- the console is one of the best features.
  • some people highlight the feature that dependencies can be source repositories directly grabbed from GitHub. I haven't used this so can't comment here.

Some people hate sbt because it uses Ivy for dependency management (I can't comment on its pros and cons, but most of the time it is a non-issue), some people hate sbt because you specify the build file in terms of a Scala DSL instead of XML. Some people were disappointed that sbt's format changed from v0.7 to v0.10, but obviously, migration won't affect you if you start from scratch.

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