|Stable release||3.2.2 / March 14, 2013|
|Platform||Java Virtual Machine|
|License||Apache License 2.0|
The first version was written by Rod Johnson, who released the framework with the publication of his book Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development in October 2002. The framework was first released under the Apache 2.0 license in June 2003. The first milestone release, 1.0, was released in March 2004, with further milestone releases in September 2004 and March 2005. The Spring 1.2.6 framework won a Jolt productivity award and a JAX Innovation Award in 2006. Spring 2.0 was released in October 2006, Spring 2.5 in November 2007, Spring 3.0 in December 2009, and Spring 3.1 in December 2011. The current version is 3.2.2, which was released in March 2013. Spring Framework 4.0 is expected by the end of 2013, with plans to support Java SE 8, Groovy 2, some aspects of Java EE7, and WebSockets.
The core features of the Spring Framework can be used by any Java application, but there are extensions for building web applications on top of the Java EE platform. Although the Spring Framework does not impose any specific programming model, it has become popular in the Java community as an alternative to, replacement for, or even addition to the Enterprise JavaBean (EJB) model.
The Spring Framework comprises several modules that provide a range of services:
- Inversion of control container: configuration of application components and lifecycle management of Java objects, done mainly via dependency injection
- Aspect-oriented programming: enables implementing cross-cutting concerns.
- Data access: working with relational database management systems on the Java platform using JDBC and object-relational mapping tools and with NoSQL databases
- Transaction management: unifies several transaction management APIs and coordinates transactions for Java objects
- Model–view–controller: an HTTP- and servlet-based framework providing hooks for extension and customization for web applications and RESTful web services.
- Remote access framework: configurative RPC-style marshalling of Java objects over networks supporting RMI, CORBA and HTTP-based protocols including web services (SOAP)
- Convention over configuration: a rapid application development solution for Spring-based enterprise applications is offered in the Spring Roo module
- Authentication and authorization: configurable security processes that support a range of standards, protocols, tools and practices via the Spring Security sub-project (formerly Acegi Security System for Spring).
- Remote management: configurative exposure and management of Java objects for local or remote configuration via JMX
- Messaging: configurative registration of message listener objects for transparent message-consumption from message queues via JMS, improvement of message sending over standard JMS APIs
- Testing: support classes for writing unit tests and integration tests
Inversion of control container (dependency injection)
Central to the Spring Framework is its inversion of control container, which provides a consistent means of configuring and managing Java objects using reflection. The container is responsible for managing object lifecycles of specific objects: creating these objects, calling their initialization methods, and configuring these objects by wiring them together.
Objects created by the container are also called managed objects or beans. The container can be configured by loading XML files or detecting specific Java annotations on configuration classes. These data sources contain the bean definitions which provide the information required to create the beans.
Objects can be obtained by means of either dependency lookup or dependency injection. Dependency lookup is a pattern where a caller asks the container object for an object with a specific name or of a specific type. Dependency injection is a pattern where the container passes objects by name to other objects, via either constructors, properties, or factory methods.
In many cases one need not use the container when using other parts of the Spring Framework, although using it will likely make an application easier to configure and customize. The Spring container provides a consistent mechanism to configure applications and integrates with almost all Java environments, from small-scale applications to large enterprise applications.
The container can be turned into a partially compliant EJB3 container by means of the Pitchfork project. Some[who?] criticize the Spring Framework for not complying with standards. However, SpringSource doesn't see EJB3 compliance as a major goal, and claims that the Spring Framework and the container allow for more powerful programming models. You do not create an object, but describe how they should be created, by defining in Spring Config file. You do not call a services and components, but tell which services and components must be called, by defining in spring configuration files. This makes the code easy to maintain, and easier to test through IOC.
Aspect-oriented programming framework
The Spring Framework has its own AOP framework which modularizes cross-cutting concerns in aspects. The motivation for creating a separate AOP framework comes from the belief that it would be possible to provide basic AOP features without too much complexity in either design, implementation, or configuration. The Spring AOP framework also takes full advantage of the Spring container.
The Spring AOP framework is proxy pattern-based, and is configured at run time. This removes the need for a compilation step or load-time weaving. On the other hand, interception only allows for public method-execution on existing objects at a join point.
Compared to the AspectJ framework, Spring AOP is less powerful but also less complicated. Spring 1.2 includes support to configure AspectJ aspects in the container. Spring 2.0 added more integration with AspectJ; for example, the pointcut language is reused and can be mixed with Spring AOP-based aspects. Further, Spring 2.0 added a Spring Aspects library which uses AspectJ to offer common Spring features such as declarative transaction management and dependency injection via AspectJ compile-time or load-time weaving. SpringSource also uses AspectJ for AOP in other Spring projects such as Spring Roo and Spring Insight, with Spring Security also offering an AspectJ-based aspect library.
Spring AOP has been designed to make it able to work with cross-cutting concerns inside the Spring Framework. Any object which is created and configured by the container can be enriched using Spring AOP.
The Spring Framework uses Spring AOP internally for transaction management, security, remote access, and JMX.
Since version 2.0 of the framework, Spring provides two approaches to the AOP configuration:
- schema-based approach and
- @AspectJ-based annotation style.
The Spring team decided not to introduce new AOP-related terminology; therefore, in the Spring reference documentation and API, terms such as aspect, join point, advice, pointcut, introduction, target object (advised object), AOP proxy, and weaving all have the same meanings as in most other AOP frameworks (particularly AspectJ).
Data access framework
Spring's data access framework addresses common difficulties developers face when working with databases in applications. Support is provided for all popular data access frameworks in Java: JDBC, iBatis/MyBatis, Hibernate, JDO, JPA, Oracle TopLink, Apache OJB, and Apache Cayenne, among others.
For all of these supported frameworks, Spring provides these features
- Resource management - automatically acquiring and releasing database resources
- Exception handling - translating data access related exception to a Spring data access hierarchy
- Transaction participation - transparent participation in ongoing transactions
- Resource unwrapping - retrieving database objects from connection pool wrappers
- Abstraction for BLOB and CLOB handling
All these features become available when using template classes provided by Spring for each supported framework. Critics have said these template classes are intrusive and offer no advantage over using (for example) the Hibernate API directly.[not in citation given] In response, the Spring developers have made it possible to use the Hibernate and JPA APIs directly. This however requires transparent transaction management, as application code no longer assumes the responsibility to obtain and close database resources, and does not support exception translation.
Together with Spring's transaction management, its data access framework offers a flexible abstraction for working with data access frameworks. The Spring Framework doesn't offer a common data access API; instead, the full power of the supported APIs is kept intact. The Spring Framework is the only framework available in Java which offers managed data access environments outside of an application server or container.
While using Spring for transaction management with Hibernate, the following beans may have to be configured:
- A Datasource like
- A SessionFactory like
org.springframework.orm.hibernate3.LocalSessionFactoryBeanwith a DataSource attribute
- A HibernateProperties like
- A TransactionManager like
org.springframework.orm.hibernate3.HibernateTransactionManagerwith a SessionFactory attribute
Other points of configuration include:
- An AOP configuration of cutting points.
- clarify]. [
Transaction management framework
Spring's transaction management framework brings an abstraction mechanism to the Java platform. Its abstraction is capable of:
- working with local and global transactions (local transaction does not require an application server)
- working with nested transactions
- working with savepoints
- working in almost all environments of the Java platform
The Spring Framework ships a PlatformTransactionManager for a number of transaction management strategies:
- Transactions managed on a JDBC Connection
- Transactions managed on Object-relational mapping Units of Work
- Transactions managed via the JTA TransactionManager and UserTransaction
- Transactions managed on other resources, like object databases
Next to this abstraction mechanism the framework also provides two ways of adding transaction management to applications:
- Programmatically, by using Spring's TransactionTemplate
- Configuratively, by using metadata like XML or Java annotations (@Transactional, etc)
Together with Spring's data access framework — which integrates the transaction management framework — it is possible to set up a transactional system through configuration without having to rely on JTA or EJB. The transactional framework also integrates with messaging and caching engines.
The Spring Framework features its own MVC web application framework, which wasn't originally planned. The Spring developers decided to write their own web framework as a reaction to what they perceived as the poor design of the (then) popular Jakarta Struts web framework, as well as deficiencies in other available frameworks. In particular, they felt there was insufficient separation between the presentation and request handling layers, and between the request handling layer and the model.
Like Struts, Spring MVC is a request-based framework. The framework defines strategy interfaces for all of the responsibilities which must be handled by a modern request-based framework. The goal of each interface is to be simple and clear so that it's easy for Spring MVC users to write their own implementations if they so choose. MVC paves the way for cleaner front end code. All interfaces are tightly coupled to the Servlet API. This tight coupling to the Servlet API is seen by some as a failure on the part of the Spring developers to offer a high-level abstraction for web-based applications. However, this coupling makes sure that the features of the Servlet API remain available to developers while offering a high abstraction framework to ease working with said API.
The most important interfaces defined by Spring MVC, and their responsibilities, are listed below:
- HandlerMapping: selecting objects that handle incoming requests (handlers) based on any attribute or condition internal or external to those requests
- HandlerAdapter: execution of objects that handle incoming requests
- Controller: comes between Model and View to manage incoming requests and redirect to proper response. It acts as a gate that directs the incoming information. It switches between going into model or view.
- View: responsible for returning a response to the client. Some requests may go straight to view without going to the model part; others may go through all three.
- ViewResolver: selecting a View based on a logical name for the view (use is not strictly required)
- HandlerInterceptor: interception of incoming requests comparable but not equal to Servlet filters (use is optional and not controlled by DispatcherServlet).
- LocaleResolver: resolving and optionally saving of the locale of an individual user
- MultipartResolver: facilitate working with file uploads by wrapping incoming requests
Each strategy interface above has an important responsibility in the overall framework. The abstractions offered by these interfaces are powerful, so to allow for a set of variations in their implementations, Spring MVC ships with implementations of all these interfaces and together offers a feature set on top of the Servlet API. However, developers and vendors are free to write other implementations. Spring MVC uses the Java
java.util.Map interface as a data-oriented abstraction for the Model where keys are expected to be string values.
The ease of testing the implementations of these interfaces seems one important advantage of the high level of abstraction offered by Spring MVC. DispatcherServlet is tightly coupled to the Spring inversion of control container for configuring the web layers of applications. However, web applications can use other parts of the Spring Framework—including the container—and choose not to use Spring MVC.
Remote access framework
Spring's Remote Access framework is an abstraction for working with various RPC-based technologies available on the Java platform both for client connectivity and marshalling objects on servers. The most important feature offered by this framework is to ease configuration and usage of these technologies as much as possible by combining inversion of control and AOP.
The framework also provides fault-recovery (automatic reconnection after connection failure) and some optimizations for client-side use of clarify].[
Spring provides support for these protocols and products out of the box:
- HTTP-based protocols
- Hessian: binary serialization protocol, open-sourced and maintained by CORBA-based protocols
- RMI (1): method invocations using RMI infrastructure yet specific to Spring
- RMI (2): method invocations using RMI interfaces complying with regular RMI usage
- RMI-IIOP (CORBA): method invocations using RMI-IIOP/CORBA
- Enterprise JavaBean client integration
- Local EJB stateless session bean connectivity: connecting to local stateless session beans
- Remote EJB stateless session bean connectivity: connecting to remote stateless session beans
- Integration with the Apache Axis web services framework
Apache CXF provides integration with the Spring Framework for RPC-style exporting of object on the server side.
Both client and server setup for all RPC-style protocols and products supported by the Spring Remote access framework (except for the Apache Axis support) is configured in the Spring Core container.
There is alternative open-source implementation (Cluster4Spring) of a remoting subsystem included into Spring Framework which is intended to support various schemes of remoting (1-1, 1-many, dynamic services discovering).
Convention-over-configuration rapid application development
Spring Roo is Spring's convention-over-configuration solution for rapidly building applications in Java. It currently supports Spring Framework, Spring Security and Spring Web Flow, with remaining Spring projects scheduled to be added in due course. Roo differs from other rapid application development frameworks by focusing on:
- Java platform productivity (as opposed to other languages)
- Usability (particularly via the shell features and usage patterns)
- Runtime avoidance (with associated deployment advantages)
- Lock-in avoidance (Roo can be removed within a few minutes from any application)
- Extensibility (via add-ons)
- transaction management
- job processing statistics
- job restart
- resource management
It also provides more advanced technical services and features that will enable extremely high-volume and high performance batch jobs through optimizations and partitioning techniques.
- adapters to integrate with other technologies and systems (HTTP, AMQP, JMS, XMPP, SMTP, IMAP, FTP (as well as FTPS/SFTP), file systems, etc.)
- service activators
- management and auditing
Spring Integration supports pipe-and-filter based architectures.
Spring framework lacks certain features which more modern frameworks take for granted. One point of criticism is the syntax needed for Generics, although that is expected to improve with Spring Framework 4.0, which will include full support for the Groovy programming language.
- 3.2.x ChangeLog
- SpringSource Feature Tour
- Jolt winners 2006
- JAX Innovation Award Gewinner 2006
- | SpringSource.org
- | SpringSource.org
- http://www.andygibson.net/blog/index.php/2008/08/28/is-spring-between-the-devil-and-the-ejb Spring VS EJB3
- "Pitchfork FAQ". Retrieved 2006-06-06.
- http://houseofhaug.wordpress.com/2005/08/12/hibernate-hates-spring Hibernate VS Spring
- Introduction to the Spring Framework
- Johnson, Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development, Ch. 12. et al.
- Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture: Front Controller
- Mak, Gary (September 1, 2010). Spring Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach (Second ed.). Apress. p. 1104. ISBN 1-4302-2499-1.
- Walls, Craig (November 28, 2010). Spring in Action (Third ed.). Manning. p. 700. ISBN 1-935182-35-8.
- Walls, Craig; Breidenbach, Ryan (August 16, 2007). Spring in Action (Second ed.). Manning. p. 650. ISBN 1-933988-13-4.
- Johnson, Rod; Höller, Jürgen; Arendsen, Alef; Risberg, Thomas; Sampaleanu, Colin (July 8, 2005). Professional Java Development with the Spring Framework (First ed.). Wrox Press. p. 672. ISBN 0-7645-7483-3.
- Harrop, Rob; Machacek, Jan (January 31, 2005). Pro Spring (First ed.). Apress. p. 832. ISBN 1-59059-461-4.
- Johnson, Rod; Jürgen, Höller (October 23, 2002). J2EE Development without EJB (First ed.). Wrox Press. p. 768. ISBN 0-7645-5831-5.
- Johnson, Rod (October 2002). Expert One-on-one J2EE Design and Development (First ed.). Wrox Press. p. 750. ISBN 0-7645-4385-7.
- Sarin, Ashish (December 10, 2012). Getting started with Spring Framework (First ed.). Self-published. p. 324. ISBN 978-1480013971.
- Spring Framework
- Spring ActionScript
- Spring Batch
- The Spring Framework - Reference Documentation
- Spring: The art of using GRASP Patterns
- Blossom: Spring Framework integration module for Magnolia CMS
- Spring Tutorials concept with Spring Examples
- Spring framework tutorials
- Spring Tutorial
- Spring Jdbc Template