Airframe DI

Airframe DI is a new dependency injection library designed for Scala. Dependency injection (Wikipedia) is a design pattern for simplifying object instantiation; Instead of manually passing all necessary objects (dependencies) into the constructor argument, DI framework builds the object on your behalf.

Airframe DI has three major features:

  • Bind: Inject necessary objects to your service without hand wiring.
  • Design: Allow switching the application implementation at runtime.
  • Session: Initialize and terminate injected services with lifecycle management hooks (e.g., onStart, onShutdown).

Airframe DI enables isolating the the application logic and service design. This abstraction addresses the common patterns in writing applications, such as:

  • Switching the implementation between production and test/debug code.
  • Minimizing the service implementation for the ease of testing.
  • Configuring applications using config objects.
  • Managing resources like database/network connections, threads, etc. .
  • Managing differently configured singletons.
  • etc., …

Airframe is available for Scala 2.12, 2.13, and Scala.js. Airframe also supports JDK11.

In Scala we have various approaches for dependency injection, such as cake pattern, Google Guice, Macwire, reader monad, etc. For more detailed comparison, see the following article:

Quick Start

scala-index maven central

To use Airframe DI, add the following dependency to your build.sbt:

libraryDependencies += "org.wvlet.airframe" %% "airframe" % "(version)"

And import wvlet.airframe._ in your Scala code:

import wvlet.airframe._


If you are using scalafmt for code formatting, add the following option to your .scalafmt.conf:

optIn.breaksInsideChains = true

This option enables writing each binding in a single line:

val d = newDesign

Basic Usage

First, bind objects to your code with bind[X]:

import wvlet.airframe._

trait App {
  val x = bind[X]
  val y = bind[Y]
  val z = bind[Z]
  // Do something with x, y, and z

Next, design the object bindings:

val design: Design =
    .bind[X].toInstance(new X)  // Bind type X to a concrete instance
    .bind[Y].toSingleton        // Bind type Y to a singleton object
    .bind[Z].to[ZImpl]          // Bind type Z to a singleton of ZImpl instance

Then build an instance and use it:[App]{ app =>
  // Do something with App

Airframe builds an instance of App based on the binding rules specified in the design object. That means when writing applications, you only need to care about how to use objects (bind), rather than how to build them, because design objects already knows how to provide necessary objects to build your classes.

This separation of object bindings and their design (assembly) is also useful for reducing code duplications between production and test codes. For example, compare writing new App(new X, new Y(...), new Z(...), ...) in both of your main and test codes, and just calling[App].

Airframe can integrate the flexibility of Scala traits and dependency injection (DI). Mixing traits is far easier than calling object constructors. This is because traits can be combined in an arbitrary order. So you no longer need to remember the order of the constructor arguments.


In Airframe, you can use two types of dependency injections: constructor injection or in-trait injection:


Constructor Injection

Constructor injection is the most natural form of injection. When[A] is called, Airframe will find the primary constructor of A and its arguments, then creates a new instance of A by finding dependencies from a Design.

import wvlet.airframe._

case class AppConfig(appName:String)
class MyApp(val config:AppConfig)

// Define a design
val d = newDesign
  .bind[AppConfig].toInstance(AppConfig("Hello Airframe!"))

// Create MyApp. AppConfig instance defined in the design will be used.
//[MyApp] will call new MyApp(AppConfig("Hello Airframe!")) to build a MyApp instance[MyApp]{ app: MyApp =>
  // Do something with app
// Session will be closed here

In-Trait Injection

If you need to bind dependencies within Scala traits, use in-trait injection with bind[X] syntax:

import wvlet.airframe._

case class AppConfig(appName:String)

// In-trait injection
trait MyApp {
  val config = bind[AppConfig]

val d = newDesign
  .bind[AppConfig].toInstance(AppConfig("Hello Airframe!"))

// Creates a new MyApp[MyApp] { app: MyApp =>
   // Do something with app
// Session will be closed here

Note that bind[X] works only inside Scala traits:

// [DON'T DO THIS] You can't use bind[X] inside classes:
class A {
  val a = bind[B] // [Error] class A can't find the current session

Binding Types

The following examples show the basic binding types available in Airframe:

val a = bind[A]          // Inject A as a singleton

import BindingExample._

// Constructor binding
val pc: P = bind[P] // Inject a singleton of P
                    // (Inject D1, D2 and D3)

// Provider bindings
val p0: P = bind { P() } // Inject P using the provider function (closure)
val p1: P = bind { d1:D1 => P(d1) } // Inject D1 to create P
val p2: P = bind { (d1:D1, d2:D2) => P(d1, d2) } // Inject D1 and D2 to create P
val p3: P = bind { (d1:D1, d2:D2, d3:D3) => P(d1, d2, d3) } // Inject D1, D2 and D3
val pd: P = bind { provider _ } // Inject D1, D2 and D3 to call a provider function

// Factory bindings can be used to override a part of the dependencies
val f1: D1 => P = bindFactory[D1 => P] // A factory to use a given D1 to generate P
val f2: (D1, D2) => P = bindFactory2[(D1, D2) => P] // A factory to use given D1 and D2

object BindingExample {
  case class P(d1:D1 = D1(), d2:D2 = D2(), d3:D3 = D3())
  def provider(d1:D1, d2:D2, d3:D3) : P = P(d1, d2, d3)

By default all injections generates singleton objects that are alive until closing the current session. These singleton objects are managed inside the current session object.

If you need to create a new instance for each binding, use bindFactory[I => X].


To configure actual bindings, define object bindings using design:

import wvlet.airframe._

// If you define multiple bindings to the same type, the last one will be used.
val design: Design =
  newDesign                      // Create an empty design
  .bind[A].to[AImpl]             // Bind a class AImpl to A (Singleton)
  .bind[A].toInstanceOf[AImpl]   // Bind a class AImpl to A (Create a new instance each time)
  .bind[B].toInstance(new B(1))  // Bind a concrete instance to B (This instance will be a singleton)
  .bind[S].toSingleton           // S will be a singleton within the session
  .bind[ES].toEagerSingleton     // ES will be initialized as a singleton at session start time
  .bind[D1].toInstance(D1(1))    // Bind D1 to a concrete instance D1(1)
  .bind[D2].toInstance(D2(2))    // Bind D2 to a concrete instance D2(2)
  .bind[D3].toInstance(D3(3))    // Bind D3 to a concrete instance D3(3)
  .bind[P].toProvider{ d1:D1 => P(d1) } // Create a singleton P by resolving D1 from the design
  .bind[P].toProvider{ (d1:D1, d2:D2) => P(d1, d2) }  // Resolve D1 and D2
  .bind[P].toProvider{ provider _ }                   // Use the given function as a provider
  .bind[P].toInstanceProvider{ d1:D1 => P(d1) }       // Create a new instance using the provider function
  .bind[P].toEagerSingletonProvider{ d1:D1 => P(d1) } // Create an eager singleton using the provider function

If you define multiple bindings to the same type (e.g., P), the last binding will be used.

Singleton Bindings

If you only need singletons (e.g.,X) and how to construct X is clear from its definition, no need exists to specify bind[X].toSingleton in your design:

import wvlet.airframe._

trait X {
  val y = bind[Y]
trait Y {
  val z = bind[Z]
case class Z(port:Int)

val design: Design =
    // Binding X and Y toSingleton is unnecessary as singleton binding is the default behavior.
    .bind[Z].toInstance(port = 8080)  // Z has no default instance, so we should bind it manually.

Design is Immutable

Design objects are immutable, so you can safely override bindings without modifying the original design:

import wvlet.airframe._

val design: Design =
  newDesign.bind[A].to[B] // bind A to B

val newDesign: Design =
  design.bind[A].to[C] // Override binding for A[A] { x => ... } // -> x will be B[A] { x => ... } // -> x will be C

Design supports + (add) operator to combine multiple designs at ease:

val newDesign = d1 + d2 // d2 will override the bindings in d1 

+ operator is not commutative because of this override, so d1 + d2 and d2 + d1 will be different designs if there are some overlaps.


To create instances, you need to create a Session from you Design:

val session = design.newSession
val a =[A]
// do something with a

Session manages the life cycle of your objects and holds instances of singletons. These instances can be discarded after session.shutdown is called:

// Start a session
val session = design.newSession
try {
  val p =[P]
  // do something with P
finally {

To simplify this session management, you can use[A] to start and shutdown a session automatically:[P]{ p:P => // session.start will be called, and a new instance of P will be created
  // do something with P
// session.shutdown will be called here

This pattern is useful since you usually need a single entry point for starting an application.

Life Cycle

Server side application often requires resource management (e.g., network connection, threads, etc.). Airframe has a built-in object life cycle manager to implement these hooks:

trait MyServerService {
  val service = bind[Server]
    .onInit( _.init )   // Called when the object is initialized
    .onInject(_.inject) // Called when the object is injected 
    .onStart(_.start)   // Called when session.start is called
    .beforeShutdown( _.notify) // Called right before all shutdown hook is called
                               // Useful for adding pre-shutdown step 
    .onShutdown( _.stop ) // Called when session.shutdown is called

trait Server {
  def init = ...
  def inject = ... 
  def start = ...
  def notify = ...
  def stop = ...

These life cycle hooks except onInject will be called only once when the binding type is singleton.

Eager Initialization of Singletons for Production

In production, initializing singletons (by calling onStart) is preferred. To use production mode, use Design.withProductionMode:

// All singletons defined in the design will be initialized (i.e., onInit/onInject/onStart hooks will be called) 
  .build[X]{ x =>
    // Do something with X

To initialize X eagerly, X must be found in the design or used in the other dependencies defined in the design.

Suppress Life Cycle Logging

If you don’t need to show Session start/terminate logs, use Design.noLifeCycleLogging:

  .build[X]{ x => ... }

This will show lifecycle event logs only in debug level logs.

Annotation-based life cycle hooks

Airframe also supports JSR-250 style shutdown hooks via @PostConstruct and @PreDestroy annotations:

import javax.annotation.{PostConstruct, PreDestroy}

trait MyService {
  def init {
    // Called when the object is initialized. The same behavior with onInit
  def stop {
    // Called when session.shutdown is called. The same with onShutdown. 

These annotation are not supported in Scala.js, because it has no run-time reflection to read annotations in a class.

Finding The Current Session

You may need to find the current session to manage lifecycles of manually created instances. In this case, you can bind Airframe’s Session with bind[Session] and register newly created instances to the session:

import wvlet.airframe._

class MyDB(name:String) {
  private val conn = newConnection(name)
    .onShutdown{ x => x.close() }

trait MyApp {
  private val session = bind[Session]

  def openDB(name:String): MyDB = {
    val db = new MyDB(name)
     // Adding MyDB instance to the current session so that
     // MyDB connection can be closed when the session terminates.

Child Sessions

If you need to override a part of the design in a short term, you can use child sessions. Child sessions are useful for managing request-scoped sessions (e.g., HTTP requests, database query contexts, etc.).

Usage Example

import wvlet.airframe._

trait MyServer {
  private val session = bind[Session]   // Bind the current session

  def handleInChildSession = {
    // Define a child session specific design
    val childDesign =

    // Creates a new child session
    session.withChildSession(childDesign) { childSession =>[X] { x =>

// Creates a parent session[MyServer] { server =>
   // Creates a short-lifecycle child session

When building an object X in a child session, it will follow these rules:

  • If X is defined in the child design, the child session will be used for X.
  • If X is not defined in the child design, Airframe tries to find a design for X in the parent (or an ancestor) session (owner session).
  • If X involves internal objects that are defined in a parent (e.g., P1) or an ancestor (e.g., A1), their owner sessions will be used for instantiating P1 and A1.
  • Lifecycle hooks for X will be registered to the owner sessions of the target objects. For example, if X is already started (onStart is called) in the parent session (= owner session), this hook will not be called again in the child session.

Designing Applications with Airframe

When writing an application, these concerns below are often unrelated to the core applcation logic:

  • How to build service objects.
  • How to configure services.
  • How to manage life cycle of service objects.

Airframe allows separating these concerns into Design. For example, when writing service A and B in the following figure, you should be able to focus only direct dependencies. In this example DBClient and FluentdLogger are the direct dependencies of A and B.


When building objects A and B, we usually need to think about the other indirect dependencies like ConnectionPool, HttpClient, DB, etc. By injecting dependencies using bind[X] syntax (left), we can effectively forget about there indirect dependencies (right):


What’s Next