springApplicationContext Configuration

Remarks

Spring has made it so that configuring an ApplicationContext is extremely flexible. There are numerous ways to apply each type of configuration, and they can all be mixed and matched together nicely.

Java configuration is a form of explicit configuration. A @Configuration annotated class is used to specify the beans that will be a part of the ApplicationContext, as well as define and wire the dependencies of each bean.

Xml configuration is a form of explicit configuration. A specific xml schema is used to define the beans that will be a part of the ApplicationContext. This same schema is used to define and wire the dependencies of each bean.

Autowiring is a form of automatic configuration. Certain annotations are used in class definitions to establish what beans will be a part of the ApplicationContext, and other annotations are used to wire the dependencies of these beans.

Java Configuration

Java configuration is typically done by applying the @Configuration annotation to a class to suggest that a class contains bean definitions. The bean definitions are specified by applying the @Bean annotation to a method that returns an object.

@Configuration // This annotation tells the ApplicationContext that this class
               // contains bean definitions.
class AppConfig {
    /**
     * An Author created with the default constructor
     * setting no properties
     */
    @Bean // This annotation marks a method that defines a bean 
    Author author1() {
        return new Author();
    }

    /**
     * An Author created with the constructor that initializes the 
     * name fields
     */
    @Bean
    Author author2() {
        return new Author("Steven", "King");
    }

    /**
     * An Author created with the default constructor, but  
     * then uses the property setters to specify name fields
     */
    @Bean
    Author author3() {
        Author author = new Author();
        author.setFirstName("George");
        author.setLastName("Martin");
        return author;
    }

    /**
     * A Book created referring to author2 (created above) via
     * a constructor argument.  The dependency is fulfilled by
     * invoking the method as plain Java.
     */
    @Bean
    Book book1() {
        return new Book(author2(), "It");
    }

    /**
     * A Book created referring to author3 (created above) via
     * a property setter.  The dependency is fulfilled by
     * invoking the method as plain Java.
     */
    @Bean
    Book book2() {
        Book book = new Book();
        book.setAuthor(author3());
        book.setTitle("A Game of Thrones");
        return book;
    }
}

// The classes that are being initialized and wired above...
class Book { // assume package org.springframework.example
    Author author;
    String title;
    
    Book() {} // default constructor
    Book(Author author, String title) {
        this.author = author;
        this.title= title;
    }

    Author getAuthor() { return author; }
    String getTitle() { return title; }

    void setAuthor(Author author) {
        this.author = author;
    }

    void setTitle(String title) {
        this.title= title;
    }
}

class Author { // assume package org.springframework.example
    String firstName;
    String lastName;

    Author() {} // default constructor
    Author(String firstName, String lastName) {
        this.firstName = firstName;
        this.lastName = lastName;
    }

    String getFirstName() { return firstName; }
    String getLastName() { return lastName; }

    void setFirstName(String firstName) {
        this.firstName = firstName;
    }

    void setLastName(String lastName) {
        this.lastName = lastName;
    }
}

Xml Configuration

Xml configuration is typically done by defining beans within an xml file, using Spring's specific beans schema. Under the root beans element, typical bean definition would be done using the bean subelement.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
    xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans
                        http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans.xsd">
    <!-- An Author created with the default constructor
         setting no properties -->
    <bean id="author1" class="org.springframework.example.Author" />
    
    <!-- An Author created with the constructor that initializes the 
         name fields -->
    <bean id="author2" class="org.springframework.example.Author">
        <constructor-arg index="0" value="Steven" />
        <constructor-arg index="1" value="King" />
    </bean>

    <!-- An Author created with the default constructor, but  
         then uses the property setters to specify name fields -->
    <bean id="author3" class="org.springframework.example.Author">
        <property name="firstName" value="George" />
        <property name="lastName" value="Martin" />
    </bean>

    <!-- A Book created referring to author2 (created above) via
         a constructor argument -->
    <bean id="book1" class="org.springframework.example.Book">
        <constructor-arg index="0" ref="author2" />
        <constructor-arg index="1" value="It" />
    </bean>

    <!-- A Book created referring to author3 (created above) via
         a property setter -->
    <bean id="book1" class="org.springframework.example.Book">
        <property name="author" ref="author3" />
        <property name="title" value="A Game of Thrones" />
    </bean>
</beans>

// The classes that are being initialized and wired above...
class Book { // assume package org.springframework.example
    Author author;
    String title;
    
    Book() {} // default constructor
    Book(Author author, String title) {
        this.author = author;
        this.title= title;
    }

    Author getAuthor() { return author; }
    String getTitle() { return title; }

    void setAuthor(Author author) {
        this.author = author;
    }

    void setTitle(String title) {
        this.title= title;
    }
}

class Author { // assume package org.springframework.example
    String firstName;
    String lastName;

    Author() {} // default constructor
    Author(String firstName, String lastName) {
        this.firstName = firstName;
        this.lastName = lastName;
    }

    String getFirstName() { return firstName; }
    String getLastName() { return lastName; }

    void setFirstName(String firstName) {
        this.firstName = firstName;
    }

    void setLastName(String lastName) {
        this.lastName = lastName;
    }
}

Autowiring

Autowiring is done using a sterotype annotation to specify what classes are going to be beans in the ApplicationContext, and using the Autowired and Value annotations to specify bean dependencies. The unique part of autowiring is that there is no external ApplicationContext definition, as it is all done within the classes that are the beans themselves.

@Component // The annotation that specifies to include this as a bean
           // in the ApplicationContext
class Book {
    
    @Autowired // The annotation that wires the below defined Author
               // instance into this bean
    Author author;

    String title = "It";

    Author getAuthor() { return author; }
    String getTitle() { return title; }
}

@Component // The annotation that specifies to include
           // this as a bean in the ApplicationContext
class Author {
    String firstName = "Steven";
    String lastName = "King";

    String getFirstName() { return firstName; }
    String getLastName() { return lastName; }
}

Bootstrapping the ApplicationContext

Java Config

The configuration class needs only to be a class that is on the classpath of your application and visible to your applications main class.

class MyApp {
    public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
        AnnotationConfigApplicationContext appContext =
            new AnnotationConfigApplicationContext(MyConfig.class);
        
        // ready to retrieve beans from appContext, such as myObject.
    }
}

@Configuration
class MyConfig {
    @Bean
    MyObject myObject() {
        // ...configure myObject...
    }

    // ...define more beans...
}

Xml Config

The configuration xml file needs only be on the classpath of your application.

class MyApp {
    public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
        ClassPathXmlApplicationContext appContext =
            new ClassPathXmlApplicationContext("applicationContext.xml");
        
        // ready to retrieve beans from appContext, such as myObject.
    }
}

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!-- applicationContext.xml -->
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
    xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans
                        http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans.xsd">
    <bean id="myObject" class="com.example.MyObject">
        <!-- ...configure myObject... -->
    </bean>

    <!-- ...define more beans... -->
</beans>

Autowiring

Autowiring needs to know which base packages to scan for annotated beans (@Component). This is specified via the #scan(String...) method.

class MyApp {
    public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
        AnnotationConfigApplicationContext appContext =
            new AnnotationConfigApplicationContext();
        appContext.scan("com.example");
        appContext.refresh();
        
        // ready to retrieve beans from appContext, such as myObject.
    }
}

// assume this class is in the com.example package.
@Component
class MyObject {
    // ...myObject definition...
}