Annotation-based Spring Configuration

Spring has been supporting annotation-based context configuration for some years now. Time to explore it if you haven’t already done so! A quick overview is available here. Getting rid of your XML configuration is as easy as:

public class MyContext {
    // Reference to a bean defined somewhere else
    @Autowired SomeBean someBean;

    public OtherBean otherBean() {
        return new OtherBean(someBean);

    // A bean referencing another bean in this context
    @Bean AnyBean anyBean() {
        return new AnyBean(otherBean());

If you need to reference a specific bean using @Autowired, you can use @Qualified to reference a bean by name:

    // Reference to a specific bean defined somewhere else
    @Autowired @Qualifier("someSpecificBean")
    SomeBean someBean;

Then, somewhere in your application’s bootstrap code, load the context. In a Web App, load the @Configuration-annotated class using a ContextListener as you would with a XML context configuration.

ApplicationContext context = new AnnotationConfigApplicationContext(MyContext.class);

Another possibility is to use classpath scanning to pick up your annotated beans, contexts, controllers, …:

ApplicationContext context = new AnnotationConfigApplicationContext();

That’s it! You get a context configuration in pure Java source code that’s easy to navigate and refactor in any IDE of your choice.

If you want to load a context in a test case using @ContextConfiguration, you’ll have to resort to a custom ContextLoader implementation (see here) until SPR-6184 is fixed.

This entry was posted in Java, Spring. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Annotation-based Spring Configuration

  1. Ben says:

    Thanks for this post… SPR-6184 has been fixed now

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