Spring

For Decoupled, Fast Java-Based App Deployments

Java is still one of the most popular programming languages on the market. According to the TIOBE index, Java currently stays at #3, behind Python and C. According to the PYPL index, Java is #2, behind Python. That popularity means your business will most likely consider Java for numerous types of projects, including applications and layers for Android, web, IoT, cloud, games, data science, and research.

Java is an incredibly flexible and powerful language, one that most businesses can’t avoid. 

During your developers’ journey with Java, they will run into numerous tools and frameworks, each designed to help make the task of working with this language easier, more efficient, and more powerful.

One such framework is Spring. Spring isn’t your typical developer framework. Spring is a Java-based platform that provides comprehensive infrastructure support for developing applications. With Spring, your developers can spend their time focusing on the application and not the infrastructure.

With Spring, your developers can build applications from Plain Old Java Objects (POJOs) and then apply enterprise services to those POJOs. And Spring serves as a foundation for understanding all of the projects under the Spring umbrella, such as Spring Boot, Spring Data, and Spring Batch. 

In fact, without understanding the Spring framework, your developers will have trouble grasping the other available tools in the Spring toolkit.

What is Spring?

You already know that Spring is a framework. But, as we mentioned, it’s not your typical framework. Consider the web application, which is made up of 3 dependent layers:

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    UI layer
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    Business logic layer
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    Data access layer

Each of these layers requires the others for the whole to function, and each layer might include hundreds (or even thousands) of classes and dependencies. This is where Spring comes in. Without Spring at play, each component within an application would have to be tightly coupled, otherwise the whole would fail. However, such interdependent programming isn’t considered a best practice. When you program components so tightly integrated, the slightest change to one component will impact the others.

With Spring you can practice much more loose coupling, which means a change in one component won’t affect the functioning of others.

To that end, Spring is associated with the Dependency Injector take on Inversion of Control.

What is Inversion of Control (IoC)?

When we talk about Inversion of Control, we refer to the inversion of the flow of control in object-oriented design that achieves loose coupling. As an example, consider your primary means of transportation. Every morning, when you leave to go to work, you get in a car and drive yourself. That’s you controlling the car. If we apply Inversion of Control to this, you might leave your house and use mass transportation to make it to work. In that instance, someone else controls the vehicle.

With Inversion of Control, Spring makes it possible for you to create a functioning whole out of disparate components.

It's All About Modules

Spring achieves all of this by way of modules. There are roughly 20 Spring modules, which are organized into the following categories:

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    Core Container
    Provides the fundamental pieces of the framework, including Beans, Core, Context, Expression Language, as well as the bits to make IoC and dependency injection possible.
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    Data Access/Integration
    Provides an abstraction layer that precludes the need to deal with JDBC coding parsing of database-vendor error codes. This module includes JDBC, ORM, OXM, JMS, Transactions.
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    Web
    Provides basic web functionality and includes Web, Servlet, Portlet, Struts.
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    AOP/Aspects/Instrumentation
    Provides a complaint programming implementation for the defining of method-interceptors and pointcuts to help decouple code.
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    Test
    Supports JUnit and TestNG testing of Spring components.

What is Aspect-Oriented Programming?

You will also need to understand the concept of aspect-oriented programming (AOP). With object-oriented programming (OOP), the component that offers modularity is the class. In AOP, modularity is made possible via the aspect. This is possible because it allows the separation of cross-cutting concerns by adding additional behavior to existing code without modifying the code itself. 

By working with the AOP model, it’s possible to add behaviors without cluttering the code that is core to the application functionality. This is made possible by breaking down the programming logic into separate pieces (called concerns). Some concerns (such as logging) “cut across” numerous abstractions. These concerns are called cross-cutting concerns. All AOP implementations include cross-cutting concerns.

All of this is brought together by “wiring” classes with an XML file so all of the objects are instantiated and initialized by Spring. In the end, Spring is a method of simplifying the creation of Java-based websites and services that depend on databases. With Spring you’ll find you can structure entire applications in a consistent, productive manner.

Why should you use Spring?

There are several reasons why you should consider using Spring. For one, Spring has become the de-facto standard framework for building Java-based web applications. Spring is also capable of exposing RESTful services. Besides, it also includes Spring Security, which adds both authentication and authorization into the mix.

Other reasons include:

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    Easier communication with databases
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    Better handling of long-running jobs
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    Easily handles external resources
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    Outstanding testing
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    Can be used for standalone Java projects
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    Can be used to convert applications into executables
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    Makes it possible to integrate social media into your applications
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    Fast prototyping
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    Makes it easier to get started

Conclusion

Spring is a complicated framework, but it’s one your developers should most certainly take the time to understand. If your business needs rapid Java application deployment of web apps and services that are flexible and decoupled, Spring is the framework you need.

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