Spring Framework: “Hidden” Gems

The Spring Framework (and its portfolio projects) contain a lot of functionality already by themselves. However there are also some nice hidden gems inside the framework, in this blog I will (un)cover a couple of them. The code for the sample(s) can be found on Github.

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Pro Spring MVC: with Web Flow – Sample Application Fails To Start

Update (1-8-2012): Please download the most recent version of the sources from either the GitHub repository or from the Apress website. This version fixes the problem with the project dependencies.

You arrived at this page because of 2 reasons. First you bought Pro Spring MVC: with Web Flow for which I would like to thank you and I really hope it is a valuable addition to your book shelve. Secondly you are trying to run the sample application which ships with the book but the application fails to start/deploy (and sometimes also has some compilation errors), for this we are really sorry and we apologize for the inconvenience that has given you. We also read books and we know that there is nothing so frustrating as a book with source code and the sources don’t compile or the sample doesn’t work.

STS Startup Error

The Problem

For some reason the Gradle tooling we choose sometimes fails to correctly resolve and reference projects in the same workspace, this is either due to some error in our build file (despite all the testing we did) or it is an error/undocumented feature of the Gradle Tooling. However as a reader it doesn’t really help you. (See GRADLE-2409).

When one now deploys the application you get a nice stack trace as shown on the left (click for larger image). This is, believe us, not the experience we wanted you to have. Following are a couple of workarounds which can help you get it to work, meanwhile we will also try to fix the build script so that the tooling resolves correctly. You can always get the most recent sources from our GitHub repository this you can always fork or download as a ZIP file.

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Spring Persistence with Hibernate

This book sets out to explain the usage of hibernate with the spring framework. This is basically done in the first chapters. It explains how to configure hibernate from within a spring ApplicationContext and it explains how to write a dao. To bad that, for the dao, they still use the old technique with HibernateTemplate/HibernateDaoSupport which isn’t recommended anymore since the release of spring 2.0, it is still in the framework for backwards compatibility. The book would have been better if they would explain this.

The remainder of the book is more or less an introduction to hibernate and explains how to write and execute HQL based queries, use the (Detached)Criteria API. Next to that it tries to explain spring, dependency injection and Spring MVC. In short everything is touched upon, but all just to little.

If you need a kickstart into configuring hibernate and spring and don’t have an hibernate knowledge this book could be starting guide. If you already have some knowledge on how to do those things, I would suggest JPA persistency with Hibernate (although a bit dated) and the spring reference guide. For the other parts there are some great books out there.

Migrate classic J2EE to Spring (Step 1) (revised)

A couple of months ago I wrote a step 1 on migrating a classis J(2)EE application to a spring based application. Recently I had some time again on my hands and after studying the application and also after some discussions I had I decided to structure the project a little different.

“External” applications

The Adventure Builder applications uses 4 other applications to deliver its services. However in a normal real situation those 4 applications are outside of our control. We cannot change them nor redeploy them. So I decided to just include the ear files for those 4 projects instead of rebuilding them each time.

Generated stubs/skeletons

The application makes use of generated java and xml files. Also in a real situation you should generate those once and after that reuse. You should only (re)generate those files if the external interface changes (best would be to not generate at all). I decided to use the generated java files and xml files and include them in the project. They can be found in the src/generated directory.


Deployment is now maven based, maven can start and create a glassfish domain for you. It will create all jms/jdbc/mail resources and deploy the 4 external applications. After that setup you can choose to start glassfish with the normal startServ command or reuse maven to start it. Simply run the setup.bat/setup.sh file from the setup directory. To deploy our own 2 applications simply go to the apps directory and type mvn glassfish:deploy.


The initial project as is has some test classes available so that we can make sure that the application still behaves as it should behave after we are going to change it to use Spring and Hibernate.

Hopefully Step 2 will follow shortly and that we can have a look at the different steps and easier code.

Migrate classic J2EE to Spring (Step 1)

A few months ago SpringSource released a white paper describing the migration from J2EE to a Spring framework based application. Even before they wrote that white paper I already had the idea of writing something about how to migrate from J2EE to a Spring based application. However Colin Sampaleanu (at al.) beat me to writing the white paper :).

However I also had the idea of providing some practical information like a sample. The white paper gives some thought on what to do and where but it doesn’t give a clear sample. So I started writing a possible migration path (multi step sample) from a J2EE application to a Spring based application.
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