Before getting to know the value of Spring Framework, let’s discuss why we use it in java programming. Java is a universal programming language used in a wide variety of applications. Over time developers have found multiple ways of improving its application. The Spring Framework makes it easier to accomplish tasks while working with java in the following ways:
- It allows developers to focus on the core task by providing a typical structure.
- Developers can re-use this framework without worrying about redoing it from scratch.
- It reduces the development time.
Spring Framework is a comprehensive solution to the traditional framework because of its flexible dependency injection pattern. It has been popular among developers for a long time and has been used as a beginner-level web development application. It allows developers to easily create Java SE (Standard Edition) programming models with complete or partial JAVA EE (Enterprise Edition). This article will take you through the main value propositions of Spring as one of the most well-known Java frameworks.
What is the Spring Framework?
The Spring Framework is an open-source application framework that provides infrastructure and support for enterprise Java (JEE). It incorporates technologies such as Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP), Plain Old Java Object (POJO), and Dependency Injection (DI) to reduce the complexities of developing enterprise applications.
Although Spring’s primary focus is to make J2EE development, it also provides extensions for developing web applications. Spring is a lightweight and low-cost framework that improves coding efficiency and reduces overall application development time. It has made the development of web applications much more effortless than compared to other classic Java frameworks.
What are the significant features of the Spring Framework?
Following are the significant features of the spring framework which makes it a convenient pack for Java programming applications:
Inversion of Control or Dependency Injection (IoC/ DI)
Being the core of Spring Framework, Dependency Injection allows developers to create dependent objects and provide them to classes in different ways. While developing Java applications, developers build independent classes to reuse them and to test them independently. IoC helps to keep these independent classes together, and at the same time independently.
Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP)
Aspect-Oriented Programming of Spring Framework allows the separation of cross-cutting concerns from the application’s business logic. It is due to the in-built object-oriented programming capabilities of AOP to define the program’s structure. The use of AOP helps to meet custom aspects and declarative enterprise services for various real-time challenges like:
- Transaction management
Data Access Framework
While database communication problems are common challenges during applications development, the Spring Framework offers various solutions by simplifying the following process:
- Interaction with database connection
- Exception dealing
- Implementation of transaction management, and more.
Spring Framework also facilitates the database communication strategy by delivering immediate support for widespread data access frameworks in Java. Hibernate, JDBC, and Java Persistence API (JPA) are common examples.
Other key features include:
- Resource management
- Exception handling
- Resource wrapping for all the supported data access frameworks
Transaction Management Framework
Spring Transaction Management Framework doesn’t limit nested and global types of transactions. Instead, it presents an abstraction mechanism that proves highly beneficial for Java users as it has free access to savepoints. It allows developers to work with local, international, and nested transactions-wise logic.
The Spring Data Access Framework also instantly combines with the Transaction Management Framework to build feature-rich transactional systems. Application developers can now span the applications using the spring framework instead of relying on EJB or JTA.
Spring MVC Framework
Developers can utilize the popular MVC pattern with the Spring MVC. Spring MVC framework is a request-based framework that enables developers to develop custom MVC implementations.
Spring MVC uses the DispatcherServlet class as a core component to manage user requests and then delivers them to the suitable controller. It helps to simplify the task through three easy steps:
- To process the request.
- Create the model
- Helps to deliver the data to the end-user through a restricted view
Spring Web Service
Developers can build and handle web service endpoints in a streamlined manner. Spring web service delivers a layered approach using XML (eXtensible markup language). It can also deliver mapping for web requests to a specific object.
Moreover, the spring framework also features:
- SpEL (spring-expression) allows users to use the same language to query and control the object graph during the execution time.
- Modules like JDBC (spring-JDBC), ORM (spring-orm), OXM (spring-oxm), JMS (spring-jms), Transaction (spring-tx) to manage data access and transaction processing in an application.
What are the Spring Modules?
The spring framework comprises about 20 modules and here are some of the significant modules:
- The core container includes the most important modules of the Spring framework: Core, Beans, Context, and Expression Language.
- The fundamental part of the framework is the Core and Beans modules which control IoC and dependency Injection features. BeanFactory acts as a container of beans, and it can manage and configure several objects or beans. The use of factory patterns helped the developers to replace singletons and facilitated the decoupling of the configuration and specification of dependency from the actual program logic.
- The Context module is built on the solid platform provided by the Core and Bean modules. It acts as a medium to access objects in a framework and it has almost all the features of the Bean module. It supports internationalization, resource-loading, event propagation, and the transparent creation of contexts. Context mainly focuses on the applicationContext interface.
- The Expression Language (EL) module is an extension of the unified EL. Developers can be possible to query and manipulate object graphs at runtime by using this powerful EL. It helps to set and receive property values and assignments, method invocation, context array assessment, logical and arithmetical operations, names variable, etc. It also helps in the projection, selection, and aggregation of common lists.
DATA Access / Integration Container:
- The Integration or Data Access container consists of the JDBC, ORM, JMS, and Transaction modules.
- JDBC module provides a layer that reduces the load of effort required in tedious JDBC coding.
- The ORM module provides an integrated layer, including object-relational mapping APIs, JPAO, JDO, and hibernate.
- The OXM module supports Object/XML mapping implementation for JAXB, castor, XML beans, JiBX, and XStream.
- The Java Messaging Service or JMS facilitates producing and receiving messages.
- The Transaction module supports programmatic and declarative transaction management for classes with unique interfaces and Plain Old Java Objects.
- This container consists of Web, Web-Scarlet, and Web-Portlet modules.
- The web module of the spring framework provides basic integration features based on the web such as initialization of IoC, multi-part file uploading, and more.
- The Web-Servlet module integrates with all SpringFramework features and helps developers to implement Spring MVC for web applications.
- The Web-Portlet module allows developers to develop Java Portlets easier. It also mirrors all the functionalities of the Web-Servlet module.
AOP And Instrumental Container:
- The APO module enables developers to use aspect-oriented programming and helps to remove classes’ direct dependency on crosscutting tasks that you cannot achieve through normal object-oriented programming.
- AOP also enables crosscutting concerns including transaction management, logging, and more.
- The integration with AspectJ provides seamless extensions suitable for the Java programming language.
The test module mainly supports the unit testing and integration testing of Spring applications. This module lets you test your code in isolation with mock objects.
What are the important annotations used in Spring?
Spring annotation helps in configuring the behavior of Spring Framework and implementing dependency injection in Java programming. Following are the Spring Framework annotations:
- Spring Core framework annotation:
- Spring MVC annotations
- Spring Framework Testing annotations
- Spring Transaction Management annotations
- Spring Cloud annotations
- Spring Boot annotations
What is the major difference between the Spring and Spring Boot?
Spring Boot is an extension of Spring Framework that eliminates the need of building configurations manually as it offers default configurations to develop Spring applications.
Spring takes more time for application creation and execution as many boilerplate codes need to be written, and every dependency needs to be specified separately. Spring boot is much quicker for lesser boilerplate code and a single unit in Spring-boot-starter-web dependency.
What are the advantages of using the Spring Framework?
Spring framework helps the developer to build complex enterprise applications. The spring framework is easy to work with and offers multiple configuration options.
Here is a list of advantages that a java programmer can enjoy:
With predefined templates, developers need not define any complex code for the application.
Like JdbcTemplate, it contains ready-to-use logic for creating a statement, committing the transaction, creating a connection, and exception handling. It makes the job easy and saves a lot of time. There are also various templates for Hibernate, JDBC, and JPA technologies.
Loose Coupling And Easy To Test
Spring applications are loosely coupled due to their dependency injection. Therefore, it is also easy to test the entire application separately.
Fast Development With Strong Abstraction Support
The framework supports JavaEE-based applications’ development and the strong abstraction capability for the same, such as JMS, JDBC, JPA, and JTA.
Compared to other frameworks, the Spring Framework creates and deploys applications on computers with limited memory and CPU resources. Spring provides an interface that scales down to a local transaction. For example, users can use a single database and scale up to global transactions (for example, JTA).