Custom querystring parameters in Play

Usually, actions in Play does not receive complex parameters. If you take a look in your project, probably you will see just simple parameters. Integers, Longs etc. Yesterday, trying to find questions to answer in the Play forum, I found one about receiving a java.util.Date parameter in the controller’s action.

    public static Result findByDate(Date date){
    	return ok();

When you configure this action in your routes file, an error will be printed in your console.

    No QueryString binder found for type java.util.Date. Try to implement an implicit     QueryStringBindable for this type

By default, Play does not know how to transform a querystring parameter into a Date object. That’s why we have the QueryStringBindable interface. This is like a formatter, but to querystring parameters. The first thing we need to do is to implement our converter.

	public class DateParameter implements QueryStringBindable<DateParameter>{

		private SimpleDateFormat formatter = new SimpleDateFormat("dd/MM/yyyy");
		private Date value;

		public Option<DateParameter> bind(String key,
				Map<String, String[]> parameters) {
				String date = parameters.get(key)[0];
				try {
					this.value = formatter.parse(date);
				} catch (ParseException e) {
					throw new IllegalArgumentException(e);
				return Option.<DateParameter>Some(this);
			return Option.<DateParameter>None();

		public Date getValue() {
			return value;

		public String javascriptUnbind() {			
			return null;

		public String unbind(String key) {
			return "key="+formatter.format(value);


Now you need to receive this object as a parameter in your action and change your routes file as well.

    public static Result findByDate(DateParameter date){
    	return ok();

 GET /findByDate	controllers.NewsController.findByDate(date:binders.DateParameter)

A last thing here. In our action, we invoke the getValue method to recover the parsed date. This is why you should keep state in your QueryStringBindable object. Every time a request is made to a method receiving a DateParameter, Play will instantiate this object.

If you have or had this necessity, you can use this interface or the PathBindable, for the cases when the parameter is mixed in the url.

Changing the registration process in SecureSocial

This is a quick post about a customization that I had to write for a use case with Secure Social. Secure Social, at least in its 2.1.x version, has a very fixed flow in order to register a new user. First you need to register a new email, after that, an email is sent to the user with a generated token embedded in a link. The user has to follow this link in order to finish the registration process, filling the form with a few fields.

At one of my current projects, I don’t have the necessity to send the email with the generated token, the only need is to redirect the user to the registration form. To accomplish this task, we have to create a controller with a custom handleStartSignup. Basically, we need to copy the method from the Registration controller of Secure Social and delete the line which sends the email.

    import play.api.mvc.{RequestHeader, Result, Action, Controller}
    import play.api.Play
    import securesocial.core.providers.UsernamePasswordProvider
    import securesocial.core._
    import com.typesafe.plugin._
    import Play.current
    import securesocial.core.providers.utils._
    import org.joda.time.DateTime
    import play.api.i18n.Messages
    import securesocial.core.providers.Token
    import scala.Some
    import securesocial.core.IdentityId
    import scala.language.reflectiveCalls
    import securesocial.controllers.Registration

    object CustomRegistration extends Controller {

      def handleStartSignUp = Action { implicit request =>
        if (Registration.registrationEnabled) {
            implicit errors => {
            email => {
              // check if there is already an account for this email address
              UserService.findByEmailAndProvider(email, UsernamePasswordProvider.UsernamePassword) match {
                case Some(user) => {
                  // user signed up already, send an email offering to login/recover password
                  Redirect(Registration.onHandleStartSignUpGoTo).flashing(Registration.Success -> Messages(Registration.ThankYouCheckEmail), Registration.Email -> email)
                case None => {
                  val token = createToken(email, isSignUp = true)
                  //original line
                  //Mailer.sendSignUpEmail(email, token._1)
        } else NotFound(views.html.defaultpages.notFound.render(request, None))

      private def createToken(email: String, isSignUp: Boolean): (String, Token) = {
        val uuid = UUID.randomUUID().toString
        val now =

        val token = Token(
          uuid, email,
          isSignUp = isSignUp)
        (uuid, token)


The better approach would be to write a custom plugin which could handle these steps of the registration process, but Secure Social does not provide this customization. Now, you need to change your file of routes to use the new method.

   //rest of your file
   POST  /signup

If you try this code, you will notice that was generated a new problem in your project. The default startSignupView page of SecureSocial uses the old method Registration.handleStartSignUp, we need to customize this view as well. It is not hard, just follow the steps described in the original site. You have to implement all methods from the TemplatesPlugin trait, but we only need to customize the startSignUp,  so let’s keep the others. In order to make this job easier, use as an example the DefaultTemplatesPlugin class.  To do not create the view from scratch, just copy the code from the original, again.

As you can see, it was little bit hard to customize this behavior. Remember that you always can use the source code of the lib as a path to discover something. Of course, it’s easier to start for the documentation and forums but, if you don’t find, don’t stop and try to take a look in the source code. Secure Social has a code that is not hard to understand. See you!.

Login/Password authentication in Secure Social

In another post I wrote about how to configure secure social to log in using a
social network. In this one, I am gonna walk through another common scenario,
setup a login/password based authentication. You need to understand a few things to put
everything in order. Let’s go!

If you don’t know anything about secure social, click in the link above and
spend a few minutes to read the other post about how to setup secure social :).
The first thing you have to change is the provider used in the configuration file,
usually called securesocial.conf. You need to use the userpass
entry in order to configure some aspects of your authentication.

    userpass {

The most strange key, at least for me, is the first one. The withUserNameSupport tells to Secure Social to use the user name instead of the email as the login for the
application. Maybe the keys about tokens are not clear right now, but wait a little and everything will be solved.

Another part that must be changed is the plugin’s file. We need to change the provider
to use the UserPass provider instead of some social provider.


We used the UsernamePasswordProvider class to handle the authentication
part for us and we had to configure other plugins which do other things. For example,
we need to hash the password(BCryptPasswordHasher), maybe send a email(CommonsMailerPlugin) and validate the password sent by the user(DefaultPasswordValidator). These plugins are not necessary when you are dealing with social authentication.

Maybe you have noticed that there is a plugin which is not from SecureSocial. It is
the CelerateUserService. You need to create a class to handle the process
of create a new user in the system, verify the existence of a user in your system, etc.
We created this same class in the other post, but now it will be a little bit different.

    public class CelerateUserService extends BaseUserService {

    	public CelerateUserService(Application application) {
    		// TODO Auto-generated constructor stub

    	public Identity doSave(Identity user) {
    		final SystemUser systemUser = new SystemUser();
    		newSystemUser(user, systemUser);
    		Identity foundUser = doFind(user.identityId());
    		if (foundUser == null) {
    			return Function0<WrapIdentity>() {

    				public WrapIdentity apply() throws Throwable {
    					return new WrapIdentity(systemUser);
    		return foundUser;

    	private void newSystemUser(Identity user, final SystemUser systemUser) {
    		PasswordInfo passwordInfo = user.passwordInfo().get();
    		String salt = passwordInfo.salt().isDefined() ? passwordInfo
    				.salt().get() : null;
    		systemUser.setPasswordInfo(new SystemPasswordInfo(passwordInfo
    				.hasher(), salt));

    	public void doSave(Token token) {
    		final SignupToken newToken = SignupToken.from(token); Runnable() {

    			public void run() {

    	public Identity doFind(final IdentityId identityId) {
    		return Function0<WrapIdentity>() {

    			public WrapIdentity apply() throws Throwable {
    				Option<SystemUser> user = SystemUsers
    				return user.isDefined() ? new WrapIdentity(user.get())
    						: null;

    	public Token doFindToken(final String tokenId) {
    		return Function0<Token>() {

    			public Token apply() throws Throwable {
    				return JPA.em().find(SignupToken.class, tokenId)

    	public Identity doFindByEmailAndProvider(String email,
    			String providerId) {
    		return doFind(new IdentityId(email, providerId));

    	public void doDeleteToken(String uuid) {
    		// TODO Auto-generated method stub


    	public void doDeleteExpiredTokens() {
    		// TODO Auto-generated method stub



There is a lot going on in this class. Let’s start with all methods that have
token as part of the name or receive a Token as a parameter. When you
want to save a new user, Secure Social uses a two step registration process.
First the new user need to register a email. After that Secure Social will send
an email with the generated token, that is why you need to use the Typesafe
mailer plugin. Here is an example of url:(exemplo aqui) When a user tries to
follow this url, Secure Social will try to validate this token and that is why
you need to override the methods doFindToken and doSave(Token token).
You have to find a way to store this information and query it later. I opted for
save the token in my database.

Other very important method is the doFindByEmailAndProvider(String email,String providerId) method. Every time a user tries to log in your application, this method will be invoked. Now you are probably asking to yourself: where is the password? You
don’t need to worry about. Instead of leave the responsibility of checking the
hashed password in your hands, Secure Social just asks for you to load a user
based on his email. With this user loaded(Identity interface), Secure Social will
use the method passwordInfo to compare the password passed as argument
with the password loaded from the database.

It is a little bit boring, I know, but we need to configure an extra file, the router.
There we need to put all actions that are needed to handle the login/password
based authentication.

    #secure social
    GET     /login                      securesocial.controllers.LoginPage.login
    GET     /logout                     securesocial.controllers.LoginPage.logout

    # User Registration and password handling
    GET     /signup                     securesocial.controllers.Registration.startSignUp
    POST    /signup                    securesocial.controllers.Registration.handleStartSignUp
    GET     /signup/:token              securesocial.controllers.Registration.signUp(token)
    POST    /signup/:token              securesocial.controllers.Registration.handleSignUp(token)

    GET     /authenticate/:provider     securesocial.controllers.ProviderController.authenticate(provider)
    POST    /authenticate/:provider     securesocial.controllers.ProviderController.authenticateByPost(provider)
    GET     /not-authorized             securesocial.controllers.ProviderController.notAuthorized

Notice that all routes are provided by Secure Social. For example, all signup process can be handle out of the box by the framework. Secure social comes with a few predefined templates that you  can start using as your login and signup views. Even if you do not want to use these templates,  you will still want to use all controllers to handle the process.

That is it! Now you can use this Secure Social to handle both social or login/password
authentication process. In another post, I will back showing how to customize the templates and how to override the defaut behavior of the controller. Thanks for reading!


Play, Server Sent Events and AngularJS

I am currently involved in a project that uses a lot of server push notification. I could use Web Sockets but, as I only need of one-way of communication is being used SSE to implement all features that need push notifications. In its Scala version, Play has a nice support to SSE, let’s see an example:

	object UpdateCurrentAllocationController extends Controller {

	  val (chatOut, chatChannel) = Concurrent.broadcast[JsValue]

	  def attempts = Action {
	    implicit req =>
	        Ok.feed(chatOut &>  EventSource()).as("text/event-stream")

In the view layer, it is easy to use the SSE support offered by all browsers. Let’s see one more example of code:

	var feed = new EventSource('');
	var handler = function(event){
		//code to update the view
	feed.addEventListener('message', handler, false);

After each notification, we need to update our view with the new data. A common way to accomplish this task is, for example, use JQuery to manipulate the DOM elements from your template. In a Javascript centric application, update all parts of the page becomes really annoying. Take a look in this example:

	var feed = new EventSource('@controllers.routes.UpdateCurrentAllocationController.attempts');
	var handler = function(event){
		var tbody = $("#solution").empty();;
		var solution = JSON.parse(;

		var classes =;
			var tr = $("<tr>").append(


	feed.addEventListener('message', handler, false);

You end with a javascript code highly coupled with the page elements! Every change you make in a page element, you have to update your javascript code.  This is the scenario where AngularJS better fits. You leave the code necessary to update the elements in your page directly in the html and the code necessary to retrieve the data in other part. Let’s see how it works.  Let’s pick the same table that was updated using JQuery and change to use the AngularJS syntax.

	<tbody id="solution" ng-app="celerateApp" ng-controller="InstructorsController">
		<tr ng-repeat="room in rooms">

The ng directives is the way you bind your elements with AngularJS. For example, room in rooms is a Angular syntax to repeat a element in your page. And the {{variable}} is the syntax to use some variables that were defined elsewhere. Now you should be asking yourself, where these variables were created? That is why we are using the ng-controller. The controller class is responsible for updating all variables bound with the elements and this is the biggest difference with the older approach, your js code is bound with variables and not with html elements. Let’s see the controller code:

	var celerateApp = angular.module('celerateApp', []);

	celerateApp.controller('InstructorsController', function($scope) {

	  var feed = new EventSource('/newSolutionListener');
	  var handler = function(event){
			var solution = JSON.parse(;
			$scope.$apply(function () {
				$scope.rooms =;

	  feed.addEventListener('message', handler, false);

Here we have a lot of things happening. The first thing you have to do is to declare a module. The number of modules will depend on the size of your app. After that, we can configure ours controllers. You need to provide a name and a function that will be executed when the element bound with this controller is found. Now, every time that a new notification is sent from the server, we update the room variable inside the controller scope. We had to use the $apply function to notify Angular listeners which are responsible to update all variables bound with page elements. This method is needed, only if you are trying to update a scope outside from AngularJS callback, which is our case here.

So, if you are planning to build a app that has a lot of ajax or push notifications, I advise you to take a look in Angular.  You can combine the power of this framework with features like REST and push notifications provided by Play.  Enjoy it!

Take advantage of assets conventions in Play

It is usual when you are working with Play use this kind of code to refer public assets.

   <link rel="stylesheet" media="screen" href=""stylesheets/style.css")"/>
   <script src=""javascripts/jquery-1.4.4.min.js")" type="text/javascript">
   <img src=""images/someimage.png"/>

But, Why do you have to write the name of css, javascript and images folder all the time if they are the convention? When you are using a framework is important to take advantage of all things, in order to avoid silly mistakes, like write the wrong name of the folder. For example, at least to me, it would be better if we could write something like this:

   <link rel="stylesheet" href="@Css("bootstrap.min.css")">
   <script type="text/javascript" src="@Js("main.js")"></script>
   <img src="@Image("someimage.png"/>

To achieve this we just have to use the built in controller named Assets. Let’s see the implementation:

  package helpers

  import controllers.routes

  object AssetsHelper {

    object Css {
	  def apply(file:String) ="stylesheets/"+file)

    object Js {
	  def apply(file:String) ="javascripts/"+file)

    object Image {
	  def apply(file:String) ="images/"+file)


Now, you just have to import this class to all templates. Change your build.sbt and add this line.

   templatesImport ++= Seq("helpers.AssetsHelper._")

If you want to keep update with a lot of Play tips, follow me here and in my twitter :). Also I have my book available in Leanpub, still only in Portuguese and ASAP in English.

Evitando Null Pointer Exception em Scala

No meu post anterior foi discutido uma maneira de tentar evitar os famigerados NPE nas aplicações escritas em Java. Atualmente, uma linguagem que tenho gostado bastante é Scala. Uma das idéias da linguagem é a de fornecer soluções prontas para problemas comuns que encontramos quando fazemos código em Java. Um exemplo muito bom disso é a idéia para evitar os NPEs.

Para exemplificar, será usada a mesma agenda que foi escrita no post anterior. Abaixo segue o código da agenda escrito em Scala:

 import scala.collection.mutable.Map
 class Agenda {
   private val contatos = Map[String,Contato]()
  //aqui adicionamos um contato no mapa usando o email como chave
   def adiciona (contato:Contato) {
        contatos += -> contato
   def  buscaPor(email:String) = {

Aqui está sendo retornado o mesmo null que era retornado no post anterior. Vale salientar que dei uma forçada no código para deixar ele parecido com o escrito em Java. E o cliente segue abaixo:

 object TesteAgenda {
      def main(args : Array[String]) : Unit = {
             val agenda = new Agenda
  	     agenda.adiciona Contato("alberto","")
 	     val contato = agenda buscaPor ""
                  println("Nao foi achado")

Para tentar evitar esse tipo de retorno, a linguagem já vem com uma implementação mais esperta do que a sugerida pelo Null Value Object e muito mais elegante do que a exibida no post anterior. A implementação está abaixo:

 def buscaPor(email:String):Option[Contato] = {

Option é uma trait, que pode ser encarada como uma interface do Java, porém com mais poderes. Ela vem com duas implementações: Some(…), quando você quer indicar que algum objeto vai ser retornado e None para indicar que nada vai ser retornado. Agora no código cliente podemos usá-la da seguinte maneira:

  println(contato.getOrElse(Contato("nao encontrado", "")).nome)

Dessa maneira é evitado o NPE a um custo bem pequeno. Sem a necessidade de herança ou implementações mais complexas, já está pronto :). E o método getOrElse faz o papel do if else que era feito antes.  O post de Tony Morris cita vários exemplos de uso dos métodos das Options, mostrando o que cada um faz por baixo do pano. O mais interessante é que a própria linguagem faz bastante uso de Options para resolver problemas.

O exemplo de buscar um valor no mapa é um caso típico de retornar uma Option, e o método get já foi implementado dessa forma.  Segue o código:

  def buscaPor(email:String) = contatos.get(email)

Pretendo continuar explorando a linguagem nos próximos posts do blog. Acredito que as possibilidades que ela nos traz durante o desenvolvimento do código valem bastante a pena.  Outros blogs a serem acompanhados, que vem escrevendo sobre Scala são os da Caelum e de Urubatan.