paulschwarz / seeder

A helper for creating and seeding – ideal for testing


Seeder Download Build Status

Seeding helps you set up test scenarios quickly. Two use cases immediately spring to mind.

  1. I want to write tests that rely on the database being in a given state.
  2. I want to demo my app with the database initialised to a known state.


A Factory provides a create method which you must implement to return an instance of the model you’re generating. Use the create method to set properties on your model before returning it. Factories have access to faker which is an instance of the library. You can use faker to give your model reasonable looking random example values for those properties.

protected User create() {
    return new User(,;

You may also declare modifiers in factories allowing you finer grained control of the models you generate. Examples of typical modifiers:

Modify a user to be an administrator:

public static void administrator(User model) {

Modify a user to have an incomplete profile:

public static void incompleteProfile(User model) {

And now, how to use your factory. Use the make methods to get an instance of a model or a collection of models. The save methods behave exactly the same, but will also save the models to the persistence of your choice by invoking the callback provided in the constructor.

The following code is typically prevalent in test cases where you want to test scenarios that depend on models being in a given state.

Making Model

Make a single user:

    User user = userFactory.make();

Make multiple users:

    List<User> users = userFactory.make(5);

Saving Model

Save a single user:

    User user =;

Save multiple users:

    List<User> users =;

Overriding fields with a lambda modifier:

        .modify(user -> user.setFirstName("Kermit"))

Overriding fields with a declared modifier:


Overriding fields with multiple modifiers:

        .modify(user -> user.setFirstName("Kermit"))

Overriding multiple fields with a lambda's body:

        .modify(user -> {


Until this point, you have everything you need to run automated tests against an in-memory database, but what if you want to demo your app with your database initialised to a known state? That’s what seeders are for.

A Seeder makes use a factories to generate seed data. Typically, you will have multiple seeders and a single implementation of the SeedRunner. All seeders must be registered in the seed runner in order for them to be run. Seeders are run in the order in which they are registered.

Since seeding is typically only done in a local environment, you might consider the following two points.

  1. Where should I put my seeders?
  2. How do I ensure seeding only runs locally and not in production?

Where put seeders

Seeders belong in neither app nor test. You might create a new top-level directory called dev.

For Intellij to recognise the dev folder as Java sources, right click on dev > Mark Directory as > Sources Root.

Run only locally

It’s a good idea to call run() on the seed runner based on the environment being “local” (or “develop”), but not “testing” and certainly not “production”!

Integrating with Play Framework

In development mode only, seeders are run automatically when the application starts. That is, when the first HTTP request is received. Seeders and factories can be declared in dev/database/seeders and dev/database/factories. Seeders would then be registered in dev/database/DatabaseSeeder.

You may also set up a Play module specifically to handle this in dev/DevModule.

import database.DatabaseSeeder;
import play.Environment;

public class DevModule extends AbstractModule {

  public void configure() {
  static class Dev {
    Dev(Environment environment, DatabaseSeeder databaseSeeder) {
      if (environment.isDev());

Then, you would want to enable this module into your application’s config. To prevent this module from being available at all in production, it’s a good idea to use a separate configuration that you use locally to launch the app. You might call this local.conf, like this

include "application.conf"

play.modules.enabled += "DevModule"

In run configuration "Edit Configuration > SBT Task > VM parameters" add: