Spring Boot Features Every Java Programmer Must Know

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 Updated: 
September 15, 2019
 / 5 minutes

The brainchild of the Pivotal team, Spring Boot is an open-source framework used to create microservices and ready-to-use Spring applications. In fact, you can create a web application in just 140 characters!  It is 100% Java-based, and it is the top technology right now. So if you call yourself a Java developer, chances are that you’re already well-versed with other open-source java tools and Spring Boot. With Netflix adopting the Spring Boot framework officially, the demand for people adept at it is rising by the day.

So here’s a compilation of the top Spring Boot features every Java Programmer must know:

Spring Boot Initializer

In Pivotal’s words, “It provides a simple web UI to configure the project to generate and endpoints that you can use via plain HTTP”.

Initializer is a web application that allows you to create Maven or Gradle projects with Java. One can also use Kotlin or Groovy, if they wish, with Spring Boot.

You need only provide project metadata in GUI, choose a starter dependency, and you can continue with your favorite part. Once you’re done with the project, you can download it as a zip file. Log on to gets started.

You can now simply code and Boot will take care of your backend framework. This is a boon for those not proficient with Maven or their IDE. You can run your own instances, build from source, enter custom inputs and import the project. Also, if you are a beginner with Spring framework, you can simply create Spring Boot applications using the Initializer.

Spring Boot CLI

This is a command-line tool where you can run your Groovy scripts – scripts similar to Java without boilerplate code. If you were wondering about the fastest way to create a Spring application, this is it!

CLI is what helps make the codes so small so as to fit it within 140 characters. You can picture Groovy and Spring Boot to be the perfect couple where Groovy aims to reduce Java programming complexity and Spring boot aims to simplify the creation of Spring applications.

To use it, you have to install Spring Boot CLI. It uses autoconfiguration as well to let you focus on your code. This means you can use @RestController and @RequestMapping annotations without any hesitation as CLI knows what dependencies are to use right from the start. And this, my friends, is the underpinning behind the ‘magic’ of Spring Boot.

Actuator

How do you figure out what’s going on inside your Spring Boot application? What if something messes up during the run time? To track this, we have a Spring Boot Actuator. Actuator provides you with tons of metrics and information about a running application. Command-line arguments being used, environment variables, exact beans being configured, etcetera can all be viewed, thanks to Actuator. You can also track the memory usage, CPU usage, garbage collection details, web requests, and data source usage along with the traces of all the HTTP requests served by the application. Cool, right?

You can either use RESTful APIs or commands to get all the aforementioned information safely and in a storable manner. In fact, you can use a JMX client like JConsole to control your application via Actuator. And now, if you’re a true developer, the question of security must have popped up in your mind. You MUST secure access endpoints when using an Actuator lest someone access it and shut it down during runtime.

Starter POMs

To add dependencies, especially the common ones, is a real pain. To cut that down is what Starter POMs do. Let’s start with an example to prove the extent of its usefulness. If one has to make a Spring MVC based REST application that also supports Jackson, you would need to add the following dependencies:

spring-core.jar

spring-web.jar

spring-webmvc.jar

jackson-databind.jar

tomcat-embed-core.jar

tomcat-embed-el.jar

tomcat-embed-logging-juil.jar

Now, by adding spring-boot-starter-web dependency in your pom.xml you can get all these and more!

So goodbye to wasting time spent on searching for relevant dependencies. While we added a web dependency here, you can add ‘jpa’ for JPA applications, and so on and so forth.

While this seems like another magic wand has been waved, the real forces here are Maven and Gradle who pull the right libraries for Starter POMs to declare.

AutoConfiguration

Coming to the showstopper, AutoConfiguration detects the presence of certain classes in Classpath and automatically configures it for you.

Have a look at this

@Bean public JdbcTemplatejdbcTempalte(DateSource ds){ return new JdbcTempalte(ds); } @Bean public DataSourcedataSource(){ return new EmbeddedDatabaseBuilder() .setType(EmbeddedDatabaseType.H2) .addScripts(‘ddl.sql’, ‘data.sql’) .build(); }

Familiar? Yes, if you are a Spring application developer. However, if you’re just a beginner, this may take you hours or days to understand and you should go for Spring Boot resources, to boost your skills for a good Spring Application developer. With AutoConfiguration, you need not write this, rather you only need to include JdbcTempalte and H2.jar to your Classpath. If you’re a smart developer you will not ignore AutoConfiguration as it takes off a lot of work from your shoulders. While it is disabled by default, use @EnableAutoConfiguration or @SpringBootApplication to enable it.

If you are a Java developer, it’s time you add Spring to your resume, However, if you’re already well-versed with Spring Boot, make sure you brush up your ability to use the aforementioned tools. They not only reduce your workload but make your code smarter and more readable. 

And meanwhile, if you’re left in awe of the fact that there are things that make something as magical as Spring Boot as a hat-trick, let us tell you that the world of technology is evolving constantly and right at this moment there are thousands of computer science engineers working on developing something faster and way more powerful than Spring boot, Java or Python.

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