Play Swagger

In order to document our document stamping API endpoints, we decided to use Swagger in our Play application. However, we found it hard to find a guide about using this technology from scratch. My goal in this post is to make it easier for newcomers to get up and running with Play-Swagger.


Swagger is a framework generating specifications which act as the RESTful contract for your API. In fact, it enables to detail all of its resources and operations in a human and machine readable format for easy development, discovery, and integration. Play-swagger is a library written by iHeartRadio that generates swagger specs from route files and case class reflection (no code annotation needed).


To get you started, we will take the example of generating a specification for creating a stamp on a document. First, you should:

Add to plugin.sbt:

addSbtPlugin("com.iheart" % "sbt-play-swagger" % "0.5.4-PLAY2.4")

Enable the plugin in build.sbt in the folder containing your *.routes files:

lazy val server = project.settings(name := "service-name-server").enablePlugins(PlayScala, SwaggerPlugin)

Here are some additional configurations you need:

  • To generate specification for a specific case class, without having to detail it manually, you can define a schema pointing to this case class the following way:

$ref: '#/definitions/com.orgName.documents.signing.StampRequest'.

  • To auto generate those swagger definitions, you will also need to add domain package names to play-swagger in build.sbt:

swaggerDomainNameSpaces := Seq("com.orgName.documents")

This will make classes and objects in documents visible and will enable you to reference them in your schema definitions.

Getting started

To start documenting your endpoints, create 2 files in your conf directory:

  • swagger.yml: contains your basic configurations and definitions. You should add Bearer <token> to add authentication support to the swagger UI. That way you can test endpoints right from swagger.
  • swagger-custom-mappings.yml: swagger may encounter some difficulties converting some case classes to json objects. In this file you define a set of mapping to help with the conversion. For example, swagger won’t be able to recognize our custom case classes defined in our custom orgLibrary, e.g. Id., the solution is to define a regex and map it to the expected type, e.g. we map com.orgName.orgLibrary.models.Id.* to string. Also you should manually define enum type fields.
  • routes: add the documentation before a specific route definition:
### # summary: some description # parameters: # MORE DETAILS IN our services # responses: # MORE DETAILS IN our services ###

And add the following route definition:

### NoDocs ### GET /docs/swagger.json ="/public", file = "swagger.json")

Swagger UI

To test your definitions about custom input you can use the swagger UI by having your Play application running it:

  • Add the following dependency:

libraryDependencies += "org.webjars" % "swagger-ui" % "2.2.0"

### NoDocs ### GET /docs/swagger-ui/*file"/public/lib/swagger-ui", file:String) ### NoDocs ### GET /assets/*file controllers.Assets.versioned(path="/public", file: Asset)

Here’s an example of what can be seen in the swagger-ui, w.r.t. the stamp specification:

Debugging with Swagger Editor

  1. Run sbt server/swagger => this will generate a swagger.json file under target/swagger
  2. Copy the output after using a json formatter, in IntelliJ (Cmd + Alt + Shift + L)
  3. Paste it in the swagger online editor
  • To hide an endpoint documentation, include ### NoDocs ### before the route definition.
  • Swagger won’t recognize the Iterable type, hence, you might want to convert it to Seq

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