Expression and EL

Work with the session with the Expression Language

Expression Language

Most Gatling DSL methods can be passed Expression Language Strings.

This is a very convenient feature to write dynamic values.

Gatling parses Strings parameter values and turn them into functions that will compute a result based on the data stored into the Session when they will be evaluated.

The Gatling EL is not a dynamic language, but just placeholders with a few additional helpers.

If you need a full blown templating engine, you can use our Pebble support.

Gatling EL uses a ${attributeName} syntax, where attributeName is the name of an attribute in the Session.

For example:


Moreover, Gatling EL provide the following built-in functions:

"${foo.size()}"          // returns the size of `foo` if `foo` points to a Scala or Java collection attribute
"${foo.random()}"        // returns a random element of `foo` if `foo` points to an indexed collection
"${foo.exists()}"        // returns true if the session contains a `foo` attribute, false otherwise
"${foo.isUndefined()}"   // returns true if the session doesn't contains a `foo` attribute, false otherwise
"${foo(5)}"              // returns the 5th element of `foo` if `foo` points to an indexed collection
"${foo(n)}"              // returns the n-th element of `foo` if `n` points to an Int and `foo` to an indexed collection or a Tuple
"${}"             // returns the value associated with key `bar` if `foo` points to a map
"${foo._2}"              // returns the second element if `foo` points to a Tuple object (identical to idiomatic Scala Tuple syntax, 1 based index)
"${foo.jsonStringify()}" // properly formats into a JSON value (wrap Strings with double quotes, deal with null)

You can also combine different Gatling EL builtin functions. For example if foo is a List of Lists ${foo(0)(0)} will return first element of the first list in foo. ${foo.list.random()} will return random element from an indexed collection associated with key list in a map foo.

Gatling EL supports the following indexed collections: java.util.List, Seq and Array. It also supports both Scala and Java maps. Function .size supports any Scala or Java collection.

Escaping ${

To prevent "${" from being interpreted by the EL compiler, add a $ before it. "$${foo}" will be turned into "${foo}".

If you want a $ before the placeholder, add another $. Assuming the session attribute foo holds "FOO", "$$${foo}" will be turned into "$FOO".

This can go on and on. In general, if there are 2n-1 $ characters before ${ – an even number of $ characters totally – there will be n $ before { in the final string; if there are 2n $ before ${ – an odd number totally – there will be n $ before the placeholder.


Most Gatling DSL methods actually takes Expression[T] parameters, which is a type alias for Session => Validation[T].

How is it that one can also pass Strings and other values then?

The reason is that there are implicit conversions:

  • when passing a String, it gets automagically parsed turn them into Expressions thanks to Gatling EL compiler.
  • when passing a value of another type, it gets automagically wrapped into an Expression that will always return this static value.

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