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This is the main SubScript repository. SubScript is an extension to Scala that enables the syntax of the Algebra of Communicating Processes. This is a place to get started using SubScript, for more theoretical foundation see project website.


In order to get started using SubScript, one should have an SBT build tool installed (use the official installation guide) and know the basics of working with the command line.

You should also have Java 8.

Note for Mac OS users: if you try to install SBT with homebrew, you may encounter the following error:

Cowardly refusing to `sudo brew install'

This is due to this issue, you can solve this by running the following command:

sudo chown root /usr/bin/brew

Getting Started

This section will describe how to create a simple "Hello World" application in SubScript from scratch.

  1. Create a new SBT project, run the following commands:
mkdir subscript-hello-world
cd subscript-hello-world
mkdir -pv src/main/scala
touch build.sbt
mkdir project
touch project/build.sbt
touch src/main/scala/Main.scala

Here is a detailed description of what each of them do:

  1. Create a new directory which will be the root of the project. Hereafter, we'll assume it's name is subscript-hello-world: mkdir subscript-hello-world
  2. Cd to this directory: cd subscript-hello-world
  3. Create the directory for the sources: mkdir -pv src/main/scala
  4. Create the build file: touch build.sbt
  5. Create the project configuration directory: mkdir project
  6. Create the project configuration build file: touch project/build.sbt
  7. Create the main source file for your project: touch src/main/scala/Main.scala
  8. In project/build.sbt, write the following code:
addSbtPlugin("org.subscript-lang" %% "subscript-sbt-plugin" % "3.0.3")

It adds the SubScript plugin to the SBT build tool, so that it can understand SubScript sources. 3. In build.sbt, write the following code:

scalaVersion := "2.11.7"
libraryDependencies += "org.subscript-lang" %% "subscript-swing" % "3.0.3"

First line sets the Scala version to be used, second sets a dependency on subscript-swing and third applies the SubScript SBT plugin. Note: you can declare a dependency on "org.subscript-lang" %% "subscript-core" % "3.0.3" instead of subscript-swing, but you need subscript-swing to be able to use the debugger. 4. In src/main/scala/Main.scala, write the following code:

import subscript.language
import subscript.Predef._

object Main {
  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = runScript(live)

  script live = {!println("Hello")!} {!println("World")!}

Here, import subscript.language enables SubScript syntax in this file. Each file that needs to use SubScript syntax must have this top-level import. import subscript.Predef._ imports predefined functions to simplify work with scripts, such as runScript. runScript(live) calls a core SubScript method that executes the script provided as an argument. Finally, script live = {!println("Hello")!} {!println("World")!} is a simple script that prints "Hello World" from two Scala code blocks. 5. Execute the project by running sbt run 6. Debug the project with SubScript Graphical Debugger by running sbt ssDebug

Further learning

  • Koans is an easy way to learn the fundamentals of SubScript by doing.
  • To check out the official examples, go to the examples repository and follow its "Getting Started" guide.
  • A larger example is our eye test application.
  • Cheat sheet will help you to remember the language.

Getting Started for Contributors


This repository consists of two SBT projects under correspondent directories:

  • plugins with following subprojects
    • parser - a parser capable of parsing SubScript-containing Scala code
    • enhanced-macros - a compiler plugin to tweak macros to enable certain SubScript-specific functionality. It affects only specific SubScript methods, so it won't break your macro-containing code!
    • plugin-parser - an SBT plugin that uses the parser to generate synthetic pure-Scala sources from SubScript-containing ones. Also, it applies enhanced-macros compiler plugin.
  • framework with following subprojects
    • core - core SubScript library, contains all the essential functionality
    • swing - enhancements to the Scala Swing library. Contains SubScript Graphical Debugger
    • akka - integration layer with Akka

IMPORTANT: framework projects depend on plugins projects. Before building framework, make sure you've pushed framework to your local Ivy2 repository (see below).

Compilation procedure

In a correctly configured SubScript project (see Getting Started guide to see what it is), the following happens when you run sbt compile:

  1. SubScript parser plugin (resides under plugins/plugin-parser) uses the parser (plugins/parser) to process all the files that have import subscript.language top-level import.
  2. Pure-Scala synthetic sources are generated as a result of step (1). They go under target/scala-2.11/src_managed. The original sources processed during (1) are ignored by the compiler hereafter.
  3. The Scala compiler compiles all the sources under src/, except those with import subscript.language, and all the synthetic sources under target/scala-2.11/src_managed.

Synthetic sources

Scala parser generates synthetic sources from SubScript-containing ones. The idea is that SubScript syntax is mapped to the methods from subscript.DSL (see core project). For example, the following SubScript code:

  script live = {!println("Hello")!} {!println("World")!}

will be transformed into:

def live = subscript.DSL._script[Any](None, Symbol("live")){(_node: subscript.vm.Script[Any]) =>
  implicit val script = _node
subscript.DSL._seq(subscript.DSL._normal[Any] (_node => {
  implicit val here = _node
}, true), subscript.DSL._normal[Any] (_node => {
  implicit val here = _node
}, true))}

Development procedure

  1. Fork this repository and clone your fork to your computer
  2. cd to the root of your fork
  3. Do the necessary changes to the proper projects
  4. Clear your local Ivy2 repository with the following command:
find ~/.ivy2/ -type d -name "*subscript*" -print0 | xargs -0 rm -rf

It will search for directories containing "subscript" in their name and located under ~/.ivy2, then it will feed all them to the rm command.

  1. Publish the plugins and the framework to the local repository with the following two commands:
(cd plugins/; sbt publish-local)
(cd framework/; sbt publish-local)
  1. Test your changes using any SubScript project on your machine
  2. Commit your changes to your fork
  3. Send us the pull request with your changes


The SubScript plugins (the preprocessor and Scalac macros) and the framework (VM, debugger, the bridges to Swing and Akka) are versioned using the semantic versioning model. Public release versions are composed of three digits (1.2.3). The build.sbt files mention these versions.

When you are making local changes to the plugins or framework, you should use version names ending in -SNAPSHOT, e.g., 1.2.3-SNAPSHOT. Then you can test these changes against the other projects such as Examples. Those projects should refer to the correct version of the SubScript plugins and framework, as a dependency in their build.sbt and project/build.sbt files.

In order to change the SubScript version, run the command line script ./ new_version from the root of the project. For example: ./ 3.0.0-SNAPSHOT.