Top Spring Boot Features for Java Developers [2020]

Introduction

Spring Boot is a Java-based framework that is built on the Spring framework. Spring Boot takes an opinionated view of the Spring platform and helps build Java applications quickly, without you having to write multiple lines of boilerplate code. Most Spring Boot applications need minimal Spring configuration.

The auto-configuration feature attempts to automatically configure your Spring application based on the jar dependencies that you have added, making it very convenient for Java developers to develop applications.
Here are some
Spring Boot features that Java developers should be familiar with:

Checkout: Spring Project Ideas

Spring Boot Features

1. Spring Initializr

Spring Initializr is a tool that bootstraps your Spring Boot projects. This Spring Boot feature powers project creation through cURL, multiple IDEs, and its very own Spring CLI. It doesn’t generate any application code but provides a basic project structure. All you need to do is write the application code. 

Spring Initializr allows you to select a project, the programming language of your choice, and add dependencies such as dev tools, actuator, web, etc. Generating a project is as quick as clicking the Generate button after selecting the options provided on the Spring Initializr screen.

For example, the generated project includes the Gradle build specification or pom.xml on selecting the Gradle or Maven project, respectively. Also, it consists of a class with a main () method to bootstrap the application. There is an application context that uses the Spring Boot auto-configuration and empty properties file so you can add configuration properties.

2. Spring CLI

The Spring Boot CLI is a command-line tool that you can use to develop a Spring application quickly. By using Spring CLI, you can execute Groovy scripts, so you can code by using your knowledge of Java, that too, without the need to write reusable code repeatedly. You can start a new project by using the starter component that resolves dependencies.

This Spring Boot feature has a few commands that can help you use the Initializr to kick-start development on a more traditional Java project. For example, the init command provides an interface to the Initializr to create a baseline project. The resulting zip file has the project structure where you can add your own configuration. If not, you can customize code too.

Must Read: Spring Boot Project Ideas

3. Autoconfiguration

Imagine you want to create a new library that you want to use at various places in your application. You may be able to develop and integrate the code; however, you may still be required to manually do a lot of configuration. It is here that the autoconfiguration feature provided by Spring Boot comes into the picture.

While creating a new project, Spring Boot allows you to choose dependencies for your project. It is these dependencies, based on which the autoconfiguration feature loads specific default configurations. The AutoConfiguration class is fortified with @Conditional annotations that activate beans in particular circumstances. Spring Boot evaluates these conditionals during the startup of an application.

Refer to reference documentation to learn conditional annotations provided by Spring. If these conditions are not enough for our use case, you can create your own custom conditions.

To use autoconfiguration, you will need to use @EnableAutoConfiguration or @SpringBootApplication annotations.

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A file called spring. Factories automatically load during boot-up. It contains the reference to many configuration classes. The file is located in META-INF/spring.factories of the dependency org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-autoconfigure.

While a plethora of classes are available for use, you can remove them by using the exclude feature of @EnableAutoConfiguration.

4. Externalized Configuration

In Spring Boot applications, all configuration parameters are read from either application.properties or application.yaml resource file. However, there may be cases when you may want to move your configuration from one environment to another. This is when you may have to configure these properties for which you will be required to rebuild and retest your application in all environments. Not only that, every time a change happens, you will also have to redeploy your application in the production environment.

To overcome this problem, Spring Boot enables you to externalize your configuration. Externalizing the configuration means using the application code that you use in one environment in an external environment. Spring Boot lets you externalize your configuration so you can reuse your code in diverse environments. The following files can be used to externalize configuration:

  • Properties files
  • YAML files
  • Environment variables, etc.

To debug your application and analyze logs, you may need to understand what is happening inside the application. For example, which beans are configured, the number of times a specific service was called, or the number of times a specific service failed. The actuator is the window into your application. The Actuator framework is a lightweight framework that you can use without installing another application or tool to inspect your application health-check endpoints. Spring Actuator provides an easy way to track health, metrics, info, and so on.

Besides monitoring, Actuator endpoints enable you to interact with your application. Spring Boot includes several built-in endpoints, and you can also add your own actuator implementations.

Also Read: Spring Boot Interview Questions

Conclusion

To learn more, refer to Actuator Endpoints in Spring Boot 2.0. The actuator implementation can be found in a separate spring-boot-actuator project on Github.

Other than the Spring mentioned above, Spring Boot features, many others will help you become familiar with the framework. For further reading, refer to Spring.io Projects You can head to the website of upGrad to get more information about Spring Boot features. You can also attend various courses of your liking.

If you’re interested to learn more about Spring Boot, full-stack software development, check out upGrad & IIIT-B’s PG Diploma in Full-stack Software Development which is designed for working professionals and offers 500+ hours of rigorous training, 9+ projects, and assignments, IIIT-B Alumni status, practical hands-on capstone projects & job assistance with top firms.

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