Introduction to Spring Framework
Spring Framework is a method for product development, when the requirement comes with criteria like the need for dependency Injection (DI), lightweight structure for the product, with POJO or plain old java object, AOP or aspect oriented programming, an option for unit testing, modular development options, etc. There are many features in Spring Framework that makes it stand out from other product development framework, such as Spring web services, Spring test content framework, JDBC abstraction layer, Spring MVC framework, a configuration management bundle called IoC container, transaction management, etc.
What is Spring Framework?
Before the introduction of Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) developers had to use JavaBeans for the creation of web applications. While doing that the developers were not able to provide transaction management and security kind of services through JavaBeans. When EJB was introduced, the problem of developing robust and secure applications was solved but gave rise to another problem of creating home and remote interfaces while developing enterprise applications. Thus, the Spring framework was introduced to ease out the complications related to application development.
This framework introduced new concepts like Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP), Plain Old Java Object (POJO), and dependency injection (DI) and made sure that the framework being developed is lightweight.
Features of Spring Framework
Now let us look at some features of the Spring Framework that makes it unique and keeps the possibility to ease out the developer’s task.
1. IoC Container
During runtime, an object needs to be referenced implicitly and the task is taken up by IoC container. This container consists of assembler code that takes care of configuration management. For reference, the packages used are org.springframework.beans and org.springframework.context.
2. Data Access Framework
This feature enables the developer to use persistence APIs. For storing persistence data in the database using JDBC or Hibernate. Persistence data is that type of data that has its previous version stored even if modified. Way of connection to the database, making sure that the connection is closed, dealing with exceptions, implementation of a transaction management system are some of the other tasks which are under this feature’s umbrella.
3. Spring MVC Framework
This framework feature helps developers in building web applications on the basis of MVC architecture.
4. Transaction Management
As the name suggests this framework helps in building a transaction management system without intervening with the code. The Java Transaction API is provided in this framework to the global transaction.
5. Spring Web Service
The endpoints of the web services and the definition based on the Java classes are generated and managed using this feature. Managing the endpoints and definition is a complex task and hence the Spring Web service provides a layer-based approach to handle this task.
6. JDBC Abstraction Layer
This feature helps the developer in handling errors in an easy and efficient manner. The abstraction layer here helps in reducing the JDBC programming code.
7. Spring TestContext Framework
Last but not least, this feature provides the developer with the unit and integration testing frameworks for Spring applications. Particular and specific integration testing functionalities are also provided as a part of this feature.
The features discussed above in the section provide a list of benefits that are extracted out of the Spring framework and in addition reduces the friction and pain of a developer in repetitive coding and version controls.
Why do we use the Spring Framework?
Spring framework brings in a lot of benefits in addition to the magical power it possesses.
Some of them are:
- While a developer uses POJOs in developing an enterprise-level application, an extra EJB container is not required and uses only robust sever like Tomcat and other robust servlets.
- Spring is a modularized framework and though the packages numbers are high, one needs to focus only on the ones they need.
- There is no reinvention of the wheel, whereas existing technologies are re-used.
- The provision of unit testing frameworks helps developers to fully test the application without fear of losing out any case.
- Technology-specific exceptions are thrown as unchecked exceptions using Spring.
- The transaction interface of Spring helps in scaling the application down to even a local transaction level and up to a global transaction level.
Architecture of Spring Framework
In the above diagram, the architecture is described as a single structure and in the next few lines, we would go into details of the 7 modules mentioned in the architecture diagram.
- Spring Core Module: The Spring Core module is the core component of the Spring Framework providing the IoC container. In this module, the objects are expressed for the composition of the application and the interdependencies between application objects are removed.
- Spring AOP Module: The Spring AOP module is analogous to Object-Oriented Programming. OOPs, concepts break down the application into a hierarchy of objects and AOP breaks down the program into aspects or concerns. Aspects are nothing but a technique to modularize concerns and concerns are like transactions/logging/security that cuts across a lot of objects.
- ORM Module: The ORM module helps in accessing data from the databases.
- Spring Web MVC Module: It helps Spring in implementing MVC architecture for the creation of web applications as it separates the model and views components of the code.
- Spring Web Flow: The Spring Web Flow is just an extension of the Spring Web MVC module where it helps in defining the XML file or the Java class that manages the workflow between different UI pages.
- Spring DAO: The Spring DAO package provides data access technologies like JDBC, Hibernate, etc.
- Spring Context Module: The Spring Context module is the interface of the BeanFactory and supports functionalities like internationalization, validation, event propagation, and resource loading
In this article, we came across different aspects of the Spring Framework. A developer developing applications in this framework is free to use any of the modules as per the requirement of the application logic. The modular architecture helps in integration with other frameworks without much hassle. Spring Framework tool is a useful tool for standardizing the collection of tools and makes your programming life simple and painless!
This is a guide to What is Spring Framework? Here we discuss the introduction and features of spring framework along with the uses and architecture of the spring framework. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –