Getting Started with Spring Boot

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Introducing Spring Boot

Spring Boot is the most popular framework for building applications in the Java world. Spring Boot is an Opinionated and Convention Over Configuration based approach to building Spring framework based applications.

Using Spring Boot, you can build different kinds of applications such as monolithic applications, microservices, serverless applications, Batch applications, etc.

Let us take a quick look at what are the key features of Spring Boot that make it so popular.

Spring Boot Key Features


Spring Boot takes an opinionated view of the application and auto-configures the components(a.k.a beans) based on the default conventions without requiring you to configure everything explicitly. However, you can customize or override the bean configurations in various ways if required.

For example, if you add spring-boot-starter-data-jpa dependency it will add Hibernate as the JPA implementation as it is the most commonly used JPA provider. Also, Spring Boot tries to auto-configure the components required for using Spring Data Jpa such as DataSource, EntityManagerFactory, PlatformTransactionManager etc. If there is an in-memory JDBC driver in the classpath like H2 or HSQL then Spring Boot will auto-configure the DataSource with in-memory settings.

If you want to use any non in-memory databases like MySQL, Postgresql etc then you can add the respective JDBC driver jar and configure the JDBC connection parameters in file. Then Spring Boot will use those properties to configure DataSource bean as opposed to using default in-memory database. You can even configure a DataSource bean by yourself using @Bean annotation then Spring Boot will backoff and use the DataSource bean configured by you instead of auto-configuring it.

With Spring Boot’s auto-configuration, the need for Spring application configuration is greatly reduced.

Convention Over Configuration

Spring Boot relies upon various default conventions so that it can auto-configure the application.

For example, in most of the Spring based (not Spring Boot based) applications we use configuration properties and register the PropertySourcesPlaceholderConfigurer bean. In Spring Boot you can put your configuration properties in src/main/resources/ file and Spring Boot will automatically register PropertySourcesPlaceholderConfigurer bean loading the properties from that file. You don’t have to explicitly specify the properties file name.

Similarly, you might want to configure different values for properties based on environment (dev, qa, staging, prod). You can configure your configuration properties in application-{profile}.properties where profile can be dev, qa, staging and prod. Then you just need to enable the desired profile for Spring Boot to read values from that specific profile properties file.

Spring Boot is very flexible to customize those conventions based on your project or team preferences.

Dependencies Version Management

Typically, Spring Boot applications inherit from spring-boot-starter-parent which is configured with all the compatible library versions so that you don’t have to hunt for checking which library version is compatible with which version of Spring. You can check pom.xml of org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-dependencies module to see what are all the libraries pre-configured.

Production Ready Monitoring Capabilities

Monitoring is an important aspect of any application running in production. Spring Boot provides production ready monitoring capabilities via Actuator. You can get the application runtime information like Memory usage, Disk Space, HealthCheck of various components etc via Actuator REST endpoints. Actuator uses Micrometer under-the-hood which you can use to export all those application metrics to various monitoring services like Prometheus, Datadog, Influx etc.

Embedded Servers Support

Traditionally, Java based web applications are built as war files and then deployed on a servlet containers or application servers like Tomcat, Wildfly, WebSphere etc. The modern approach is to embed the server runtime within the application itself so that you can take the artifact and run it without having to install and configure server externally.

Spring Boot provides support for embedding servlet containers like Tomcat, Jetty, Undertow and you can customize various server properties in server-independent way. Spring Boot also provides various server-specific customization properties as well.

Spring Ecosystem

Spring Boot has a huge ecosystem of projects to support wide verity of application types.

  • SpringMVC & Spring WebFlux: You can build traditional web applications and REST APIs using SpringMVC or Spring WebFlux.
  • Spring Data: Spring Data provides high-level abstraction over ORM and NoSQL data access libraries so that you don’t need to implement boilerplate CRUD operations again and again.
  • Spring Security: You can implement Authentication and Authorization using Spring Security. It also supports implementing OAuth 2.0 based security.
  • Spring Batch: You can build robust batch applications using SpringBatch.
  • Spring Integration: Spring Integration implements many of the Enterprise Integration Patterns which you can use for integration with 3rd party services.
  • Spring Cloud: Spring Cloud provides support for building Cloud Native applications following 12 Factor Application principles
  • Spring Cloud Streams: You can build Data Pipelines for processing Stream based Data Sources like Kafka.

And, there are many more interesting projects. See for more Spring ecosystem projects.

Let’s build a simple REST API application using Spring Boot and explore some of its features.

Creating a Spring Boot Application

Spring Boot applications can be created either using Spring Initializr or Spring Tool Suite or IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate or NetBeans IDE with Spring Boot Plugin.

We are going to use Spring Initializr and provide the following project metadata.

  • Project: Maven Project
  • Language: Java
  • Spring Boot: 3.1.2
  • Project Metadata:
    • Group: com.sivalabs
    • Artifact: spring-boot-helloworld
    • Name: spring-boot-helloworld
    • Description: Spring Boot HelloWorld
    • Package name: com.sivalabs.helloworld
    • Packaging: jar
    • Java: 17
  • Click on ADD DEPENDENCIES and add Spring Web, Lombok starters.
  • Click on GENERATE

The generated Spring Boot application will be downloaded. You can extract the zip file and import the project into your IDE. I will be using IntelliJ IDEA, but you can use any of your favorite IDE.

Spring Boot Tutorial Series GitHub Code Repository:

Simple REST API using Spring Boot

What we are going to build is a simple REST API with one endpoint GET /api/hello?name={name} which returns the JSON response { “greeting” : “Hello {name}”}. We don’t want to hard-code the greeting prefix “Hello”, we want it to be configurable.

Let us start with creating response model class GreetingResponse as follows:


record GreetingResponse(String greeting){}

Next, create ApplicationProperties class to bind the application configuration parameters.


import lombok.Getter;
import lombok.Setter;

@ConfigurationProperties(prefix = "app") // (1)
public class ApplicationProperties {
    private String greeting = "Hello";
    private String defaultName = "World";
  • (1) We are binding the properties in file with common prefix “app.” into ApplicationProperties class fields.

Create GreetingService and implement sayHello(String name) method as follows:


import lombok.RequiredArgsConstructor;
import org.springframework.stereotype.Service;

@Service // (1)
@RequiredArgsConstructor // (2)
public class GreetingService {
    private final ApplicationProperties properties;  // (3)

    public String sayHello(String name) {
        String s = name == null ? properties.getDefaultName(): name;
        return String.format("%s %s", properties.getGreeting(), s);
  • (1) Declare GreetingService as Spring bean using @Service annotation.
  • (2) Lombok’s @RequiredArgsConstructor annotation will generate a constructor with all the final properties. In this case, it will generate a constructor with ApplicationProperties argument.
  • (3) Injecting the ApplicationProperties instance as a dependency of GreetingService bean.

Create HelloWorldController and implement the GET /api/hello API endpoint as follows:


import lombok.RequiredArgsConstructor;
import lombok.extern.slf4j.Slf4j;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.GetMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestParam;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RestController;

@RestController // (1)
@Slf4j // (2)
public class HelloWorldController {
    private final GreetingService greetingService;

    @GetMapping("/api/hello") // (3)
    public GreetingResponse sayHello(
            @RequestParam(name = "name", required = false) String name) {"Say Hello to Name: {}", name);
        String greeting = greetingService.sayHello(name);
        return new GreetingResponse(greeting);
  • (1) Declares the class as Spring Controller with request handler methods.
  • (2) Using Lomkok’s @Slf4j annotation to automatically create a SLF4J Logger instance instead of manually creating as private static final Logger log = LoggerFactory.getLogger(HelloWorldController.class);
  • (3) The sayHello() method is annotated with @GetMapping("/api/hello") indicating it as a request handler method for HTTP GET /api/hello URL.

Let’s configure the properties in src/main/resources/ as follows:


Finally, we need to enable the configuration properties binding using @EnableConfigurationProperties as follows:


import org.springframework.boot.SpringApplication;
import org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.SpringBootApplication;

@EnableConfigurationProperties({ApplicationProperties.class}) // (1)
//@ConfigurationPropertiesScan // (2)
public class SpringBootHelloWorldApplication {

    public static void main(String[] args) {, args);
  • (1) Explicitly enabling the configuration properties binding for ApplicationProperties class. If we have more such configuration-binding classes, we can list them all.
  • (2) Instead of explicitly specifying all the configuration-binding classes, we can use @ConfigurationPropertiesScan annotation to scan for all the classes that are annotated with @ConfigurationProperties.

We can run the application from IDE by simply running the main() method in SpringBootHelloWorldApplication.

Run application using Maven and Gradle

Spring Boot Maven and Gradle plugins provide the ability to run the application without requiring to build the artifact(jar or war).


./mvnw spring-boot:run


./gradlew bootRun

Run application as a FatJar

We can build the Spring Boot application as a fat-jar and run it using java -jar command.


$ ./mvnw clean package
$ java -jar target/spring-boot-helloworld-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar


$ ./gradlew clean build
$ java -jar build/libs/spring-boot-helloworld-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar

We can verify the API endpoint using cURL as follows:

$ curl http://localhost:8080/api/hello
{"greeting":"Hello World"}

$ curl http://localhost:8080/api/hello?name=Siva
{"greeting":"Hello Siva"}

Spring Boot Tutorials

You can find more Spring Boot tutorials on Spring Boot Tutorials page.


We have learned about Spring Boot, its ecosystem and some of its core features. We have created a simple REST API using Spring Boot and tested using cURL.

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