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Play Framework Integration

The kamon-play module ships with bytecode instrumentation that brings automatic traces and segments management and automatic trace token propagation to your Play! applications. The details on what those features are about can be found in the base functionality section. Here we will dig into the specific aspects of bringing support for them when using Play!.

The kamon-play module requires you to start your application using the AspectJ Weaver Agent. Kamon will warn you at startup if you failed to do so.

Since Kamon 0.5.0 we support both Play Framework 2.3 and 2.4, but bringing support for Play! 2.4 required us to ship different modules for each Play! version. Please make sure you add either kamon-play-23 or kamon-play-24 to your project's classpath.

Server Side Tools

As you might expect, our bytecode instrumentation will automatically start a trace when a request is received by your application and finish it when the response is sent back. Additionally, the kamon-play module will try to generate a readable trace name based on your routing information, by concatenating the full path pattern of your request with the HTTP verb being used in the request. Let’s see a quick example:

  def automaticallyNamedTrace = Action {
    Ok("Automatically generated name.")

  def namedTrace = TraceName("my-trace-name") {
    Action {
      Ok("This trace is named my-trace-name.")
GET     /automatically-named-trace       controllers.KamonPlayExample.automaticallyNamedTrace
GET     /named-trace                     controllers.KamonPlayExample.namedTrace

With the routes provided above, all request sent to /automatically-named-trace will receive a name based on the path and the HTTP verb. If you send a GET request to that path, then you will get a trace named automatically-named-trace.get.

The second option we have is to use the TraceName action as demonstrated in the namedTrace case above, where we are using the TraceName action to change the automatically generated name to my-trace-name. When you use this action to rename a trace, the path or the HTTP verb are no longer important, as the trace will be renamed to whatever string you gave to the TraceName action.

Finally, you can use the configuration key to decide whether to include the current trace’s token in the HTTP response messages.

By default the kamon-play module utilizes the tags of the request in order to create the trace name, but in the case that the requests doesn't contains tags, we need name the trace as UntaggedTrace in order to avoid the creation of undesired traces

Client Side

For the client side, the kamon-play module brings instrumentation that will automatically start a segment when you issue a HTTP request using the WS facilities and finish it once the response is back. By default, the name of the generated segment will have a http-client category, WS-client as the library name and the segment name will be generated after the request url. This approach can be problematic though, as sending request to many different urls can yield an undesirable number of generated segments. To avoid that issue, you can provide your own implementation of and use whatever criteria you useful from the HTTP request to generate a suitable segment name.

Using the AspectJ Weaver

Adding the AspectJ Weaver agent to your Play! application can be a little tricky, as it depends on whether you are launching Play! in development mode or in production mode. The requirement stays simple, add the -javaagent:/path/to/aspectj-weaver.jar to your JVM startup options, but here are the specifics for each case:

Running in Development Mode

When running on development mode, Play! will not allow forking the JVM where your application runs, thus rendering useless the most common approaches such as using the sbt-aspectj plugin to include the -javaagent:... option. In this case what you really need to do is use our sbt-aspectj-runner plugin or launch the activator command with an additional -J option specifying the agent location. These options shown below::

//Add the aspectj-play-runner plugin to project/plugins.sbt
addSbtPlugin("io.kamon" % "aspectj-play-runner" % "0.1.3")

// Run!
activator -J-javaagent:aspectjweaver-1.8.5.jar

Running in Production Mode

Running in production mode is a bit different, assuming that you already packaged your application then you will need to add the weaver option as described bellow:

//play 2.3.x
java -cp ".:lib/*" -javaagent:lib/aspectjweaver-1.8.7.jar play.core.server.NettyServer

//play 2.4.x
java -cp ".:lib/*" -javaagent:lib/aspectjweaver-1.8.7.jar play.core.server.ProdServerStart