doolse / sbt-osgi-felix   1.0.4

Apache License 2.0 GitHub

Library and sbt tasks for dealing with OSGi bundles

Scala versions: 2.10
sbt plugins: 0.13


So you like OSGi bundles for their ability to help you enforce modularisation and/or create an easily extensible system.

You also like Scala and think SBT is the best build tool for your needs.


Getting hold of bundles of the latest versions of libraries isn't exactly easy. Many projects export their jars as bundles already but the majority don't and some of the bundles that do might just have a slightly broken manifest.

There have been efforts in the past to get create bundle repositories with correct OSGi manifests but unfortunately they just don't get updated enough or are already dead. See: and

So this is where sbt-osgi-felix comes in.


  • Use normal SBT libraryDependencies to create bundles
  • Rewrite/Create Manifests from your dependencies (using BND)
  • Put the dependencies into an OSGi Bundle Repository using Apache Felix
  • Validate the resolution of the bundles in the repository
  • Lookup compilation/run/deployment dependencies using the Felix Bundle Repository resolver
  • Run and deploy your code using the Felix launcher


Add the plugin in project/plugins.sbt

addSbtPlugin("org.doolse" % "sbt-osgi-felix" % "1.0.4")


Include the settings for creating an OBR repository and resolving against it.


Add your library dependencies to your build:

libraryDependencies ++= Seq(
  "org.elasticsearch" % "elasticsearch" % "1.2.1",
  "com.sonian" % "elasticsearch-zookeeper" % "1.2.0",
  "org.slf4j" % "slf4j-simple" % "1.7.12",
  "org.slf4j" % "slf4j-api" % "1.7.12",
  "org.slf4j" % "jcl-over-slf4j" % "1.7.12",
  "org.slf4j" % "log4j-over-slf4j" % "1.7.12",
  "org.apache.zookeeper" % "zookeeper" % "3.4.6")

Add your rewrite rules:

osgiRepositoryRules := Seq(
  rewrite("zookeeper", imports = "org.ieft.jgss.*,org.apache.log4j.jmx.*;resolution:=optional,*"),
  create("elasticsearch" | "lucene*", symbolicName = "elasticsearch", version = "1.2.1",
    imports = "com.vividsolutions.jts.*;resolution:=optional,org.hyperic.sigar;resolution:=optional,org.apache.regexp;resolution:=optional,*",
    exports = "org.apache.lucene.*,org.elasticsearch.*,org.tartarus.snowball.*"),
  ignoreAll("log4j", "slf4j-log4j12")

Finally, use the felix resolver to select jars for your compile path:

osgiDependencies in Compile:= packageReqs("org.elasticsearch.client")

Repository definition

Rather than directly depending on the maven artifacts you define using libraryDependencies, jars will be indexed inside an OSGi Bundle Repository created by felix.

lazy val osgiRepositories = taskKey[Seq[Repository]]("Repository for resolving OSGi dependencies")

The default behaviour of this task is to take the ordered list of instructions from:

lazy val osgiRepositoryInstructions = taskKey[Seq[BundleInstructions]]("Instructions for building the bundles in the OBR repository")

Which is a list of instructions to either use an pre-existing bundle or rewrite/create a new bundle. This list is built from all jars in the Compile configuration and uses rules defined in the osgiRepositoryRules task key to determine what to do with each jar.

lazy val osgiRepositoryRules = settingKey[Seq[InstructionFilter]]("Filters for generating BND instructions")

An InstructionFilter has a DependencyFilter for matching the artifacts and can designate one of three operations:

  • Rewrite will rewrite the manifest of a single jar leaving the rest of the jar untouched
  • Create can combine one or more jars together and writes a manifest
  • Ignore simply throws the jar away

By default, if a jar is not matched either:

  • The jar is just used as is if it is already a bundle
  • The jar is re-written with imports and exports of "*", and the symbolic name is generated from the osgiNamePrefix setting + module name, the maven version number is also used (if it's a number).

Create and Rewrite use a ManifestInstructions which are a simple representation of rules to pass to BND for generating the OSGi manifest: (additional properties can be added to extraProperties)

case class ManifestInstructions(imports: String = "*", exports: String = "*;version=VERSION",
                                privates: String = "", fragment: Option[String] = None,  extraProperties: Map[String, String] = Map.empty)

There are several helper functions for creating InstructionFilters for the most common rules.


rewrite("zookeeper", imports = "org.ieft.jgss.*,org.apache.log4j.jmx.*;resolution:=optional,*")

Creates an InstructionFilter which will match any jar with zookeeper as it's maven module name and sets up the imports of the ManifestInstructions.

create("elasticsearch" | "lucene*", symbolicName = "elasticsearch", version = "1.2.1",
    imports = "com.vividsolutions.jts.*;resolution:=optional,org.hyperic.sigar;resolution:=optional,org.apache.regexp;resolution:=optional,*",
    exports = "org.apache.lucene.*,org.elasticsearch.*,org.tartarus.snowball.*")

This builds a new jar out of the jar with elasticsearch as it's name and any jars who's module name starts with lucene. When creating a jar you must specify the symbolicName and version to generate.

After generating all the jars and adding them to the OBR repository, a validation is done on the repository to make sure that all the bundles resolve correctly and will die with the reasons given if they don't.

Depending on OSGi bundles

In order to depend on the bundles in the repository you must supply the felix resolver with some OsgiRequirements

lazy val osgiDependencies = settingKey[Seq[OsgiRequirement]]("OSGi dependencies")

These need to be defined in the usual Compile and Test configurations and the jars will end up going on the unmanagedClasspath. Note: they should probably go on the managedClasspath but due to the IntelliJ Idea SBT support not recognising them properly without the original maven metadata, they are on the unmanaged.

Again there are a bunch of helper functions for the common resolving cases:

def packageReqs(name: String*)
def bundleReqs(name: String*)
def bundleReq(name: String, version: Option[String])
def packageReq(name: String, version: Option[String])
def fragmentsFor(name: String)


osgiDependencies in Compile:= packageReqs("org.elasticsearch.client", "org.slf4j")

Will find the bundles which export the listed packages and add them to your classpath, no particular version is selected so the latest will be selected.

osgiDependencies in Compile:= bundleReqs("org.eclipse.equinox.registry")

Chooses the bundle jar based only on it's symbolicName. It's definitely better to just depend on a package from the plugin instead however.

osgiDependencies in Compile:= Seq(packageReq("scalaz", Some("[7.1,7.2)"))

Here we depend on the package scalaz but also specify a version range which must be satisfied. The range is in OSGi version range format.

Running your bundles

At some point you'll probably need to run the code you've developed, which means starting up an OSGi Framework. OSGi doesn't really have the concept of a static void main(String[] args) method, instead you have BundleActivator and Bundle Start Levels.

This will override the default run task to start up an embedded Felix framework to run your bundles. The default configuration will start a framework by first creating "dev" OSGi manifests (using the standard sbt-osgi keys) in all your bundle projects classes folders and starting those bundles along with any of their required bundles.

OSGi doesn't specify a simple way of passing "command line" type parameters to your application, so in the absence of that you can supply system properties by setting values in the envVars setting for the run task. Note: OSGi does however offer a service oriented configuration management service.

Advanced run configuration

The default settings may not suit your needs so you may need to customise the start up configuration by overriding some of the following keys:

lazy val osgiRequiredBundles = taskKey[Seq[BundleLocation]]("OSGi bundles required for running")
lazy val osgiRunLevels = settingKey[Map[Int, Seq[BundleRequirement]]]("OSGi run level configuration")
lazy val osgiRunFrameworkLevel = settingKey[Int]("OSGi framework run level")
lazy val osgiRunDefaultLevel = settingKey[Int]("OSGi default run level")
lazy val osgiDependencies = settingKey[Seq[OsgiRequirement]]("OSGi dependencies")

case class BundleStartConfig(start: Map[Int, Seq[ResolvedBundleLocation]],
                             install: Map[Int, Seq[ResolvedBundleLocation]],
                             extraSystemPackages: Iterable[String], frameworkStartLevel: Int = 1)
lazy val osgiStartConfig = taskKey[BundleStartConfig]("OSGi framework start configuration")

The run task itself uses osgiStartConfig scope to the run task itself, however by default this is built by the following algorithm, Note: wherever scoped is mentioned we're talking about the run task's scope:

  • Create a resolver from the osgiRepositories and bundles specified in the scoped osgiBundles task.
  • Resolve all required bundles by resolving scoped osgiRequiredBundles and osgiDependencies.
  • Use the default run level from osgiDefaultLevel for bundles unless overridden in osgiRunLevels.
  • Set the framework start run level using osgiRunFrameworkLevel.

Advanced config example

osgiDependencies in run := Seq(fragmentsFor("slf4j.api"))
osgiRunFrameworkLevel := 6
osgiRunDefaultLevel := 3
envVars in run := Map("zookeeper.location" -> "localhost:2181",
  "cmd.args" -> "topics system,tomcat,syswait indexing,task,thumbnails")
osgiRunLevels := Map(
  1 -> bundleReqs("org.eclipse.equinox.common"),
  4 -> bundleReqs("org.eclipse.equinox.registry"),
  5 -> bundleReqs("")

Deploying a launchable OSGi framework

Unfortunately because the OSGi spec doesn't mandate a particular file format/layout for deploying a set of bundles as an application, each of the OSGi framework vendors have had to create their own standard for deplying and launching an OSGi application. Some of the choices available are:

I've chosen the Felix launcher for this plugin but that is mainly because the bundle repository and resolver are already being used and it's a simple enough process to write the directory layout required. The following task will create a launchable directory and return you a ForkOptions object and Seq of command line parameters required for launching it.

lazy val osgiDeploy = taskKey[(File, ForkOptions, Seq[String])]("Deploy an OSGi launcher to directory")


In order to prevent clashes with the existing packaging tasks, an extra configuration has been included for packaging up the launch directory as a .zip file.

lazy val DeployLauncher = config("deployLauncher")

So you can create a .zip file by executing deployLauncher:package

Note: In order to use the generated zip, your launching scripts will need to be aware of the java command needed to launch it, which in the case of Apache Felix is:

  • unzip <zipfile> -d launcher
  • cd launcher
  • java <extra props and jvm args> -jar lib/org.apache.felix.main-5.0.0.jar

Multi project configuration

So far all the examples have assumed using the default settings provided by defaultSingleProjectSettings but in the real world your application will be built of multiple bundles (it defeats the purpose of OSGi if you just use a single set of sources!). So generally what you will want is a project layout like this:

  • A single root project which:
    • Defines the third party dependencies needed by your application
    • Contains the run/deployment configuration
  • Multiple projects which point back to the root project's OBR Repository for resolving dependencies and define their own bundles using sbt-osgi settings.

Sample advanced config


lazy val root = project in file(".")

lazy val core ="core")).settings(bundleSettings(root): _*)

lazy val frontend ="frontend")).dependsOn(core).settings(bundleSettings(root): _*)

repositoryAndRunnerSettings(core, frontend)

libraryDependencies ++= Seq(
  "org.slf4j" % "slf4j-simple" % "1.7.12",
  "org.slf4j" % "slf4j-api" % "1.7.12")


import com.typesafe.sbt.osgi.OsgiKeys._

osgiDependencies in Compile := packageReqs("org.slf4j")

exportPackage += "com.doolse.core"


import com.typesafe.sbt.osgi.OsgiKeys._

osgiDependencies in Compile := packageReqs("org.osgi.framework")

bundleActivator := Some("com.doolse.frontend.Activator")

exportPackage += "com.doolse.frontend"