Saving Time with Automatic Reloading

During development it is important to have fast feedback loop cycle. Often, restarting server would take quite some time, so Ktor provides basic auto-reload facility that reloads just an Application. To enable this feature, add watch keys to ktor.deployment configuration.

watch - Array of class path entries that should be watched and automatically reloaded.

ktor {
    deployment {
        port = 8080
        watch = [ module1, module2 ]

For now watch keys are just strings that are matched with contains against classpath entries of the loaded application, such as a jar name or a project directory name. These classes are then loaded with special ClassLoader that is recycled when change is detected.

Note: ktor-server-core classes are specifically excluded from auto-reloading, so if you are working on something in ktor itself, don’t expect it to be reload automatically. It can’t work because core classes are loaded before auto-reload machinery kicks in. The exclusion can potentially be smaller, but it’s hard to analyse all the transitive closure of types loaded during startup.