What is Spring? Component-based development for Java

Tutorial introduction to inversion of control and dependency injection, with Spring Web examples

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You can add the H2 DB to your app by including it in your pom.xml, as shown in Listing 9. We'll also add a dependency to spring-boot-starter-jdbc. This brings in what we need to control JDBC with Spring.

Listing 9. Adding a Maven dependency to the H2 DB


Next, you'll want to configure the database. This is done with a spring.database.properties file, which is located in the /resources directory. Listing 10 shows how we can use H2 with the in-memory mode activated.

Listing 10. H2 in-memory config


Service component classes

Now, we can start using the database. It's that easy. However, basic software design tells us never to access the data layer via the view layer. In this case, we don't want to access the JDBC support via the view controller. We need a service component. In Spring Web, we use the@Service annotation to create a service class. Like the @Controller annotation, using the @Service annotation designates a class as a kind of @Component. That means Spring will add it to the DI context, and you can autowire it into your controller.

Listing 11 shows a simple Service component.

Listing 11. Service component

package hello.service;

import org.springframework.stereotype.Service;

public class MyService {
  public String getGreeting(){
    return "Hey There";
	public boolean addSong(String name) {
		if (name.length() > 15){
		  return false;
		return true;
	public List<String> getSongs() {
		return new ArrayList();

Now we can access the service class from the controller. In Listing 12, we'll inject it.

Listing 12. Injecting MyService into the controller

public class GreetingController {
  private MyService myService;
    @RequestMapping(value = "/hi", method = RequestMethod.GET)
    public String hi(@RequestParam(name="name", required=false, defaultValue="JavaWorld") String name, Model model) {
        return myService.getGreeting() + name;


Now the Controller is making use of the Service class. Notice how Spring is allowing us to define a layered architecture using the same DI system. We can do the same in defining a data layer that the service class can use, and leverage Spring's support for a variety of datastores and datastore access approaches at the same time.

We can annotate our data layer class with @Repository, as seen in Listing 13, and then inject it into the service class. In the same way @Service allowed us to define the service layer, we are now defining the data layer in a decoupled way.

The JdbcTemplate class

The data layer will require more than the service layer, because it will be talking to the database. Spring eases this primarily by providing the JdbcTemplate class.

Listing 13. Repository data class

import org.springframework.jdbc.core.JdbcTemplate;

public class MyDataObject {
  public void addName(String name){
    jdbcTemplate.execute("DROP TABLE names IF EXISTS");
    jdbcTemplate.execute("CREATE TABLE names("id SERIAL, name VARCHAR(255))");
    jdbcTemplate.update("INSERT INTO names (name) VALUES (?)", name);

Spring will automatically use the in-memory H2 DB we've configured. Notice how jdbcTemplate has eliminated all the boilerplate and error-handling code from this class. While this is a simplified example of accessing the database, it gives you an idea of how Spring works both to connect your application layers, and facilitates the use of other required services.


Spring is one of the most advanced and complete application development frameworks for Java, bar none. It makes setting up an application easier, allows you to easily bring in the dependencies you need as the application grows, and is fully capable of ramping up to high-volume, production-grade use.

It's tough to argue against using Spring in a new Java application. The Spring platform is maintained and advanced with vigor, and virtually any task you might need to undertake is doable with Spring. Using this platform will spare you considerable heavy lifting, and will help ensure your application design is robust and flexible. If you can use Spring to ease your development path, then do it.

Learn more about Spring with these in-depth tutorials:

This story, "What is Spring? Component-based development for Java" was originally published by JavaWorld.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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