Spring Boot is an open-source micro-framework used to build Spring applications with the help of microservices. Created by Pivotal Software, Inc., it can be used for both traditional WAR deployments and standalone Java applications. Spring Boot helps developers to start coding right away without wasting time on preparing and configuring the environment. In contrast to other Java frameworks, it provides flexible XML configurations, robust batch processing, database transactions, easy workflow, along with a wide variety of tools for development.
It generally functions by providing defaults for the codes and annotation configuration that will help you to instantly start any new Spring project in real-time. It also follows the ‘Opinionated Defaults Configuration’ strategy to eliminate boilerplate and other configurations designed to improve unit testing, development, and integration test procedures.
Do You Need to Learn Spring First?
With the development of Spring Boot, the Spring framework has become substantially more user-friendly. There is no need to use the old framework unless you have a good reason for doing so.
Since Spring Boot is an integration framework, it makes sense to learn how to configure your libraries using it. Though the process is generally simple, these libraries often need some configuration.
Why Is Spring Boot Popular?
Firstly, it is based on Java, which is one of the world’s most popular programming languages. Besides that, Spring Boot can help you to quickly build any applications without having to worry about their safe and correct configuration. ⠀
Spring Boot has a huge user community which means you can find free learning materials and courses. Spring Boot is multi-threaded. This is useful when performing long or repetitive operations. When the main thread is consumed, others are used concurrently.
Some additional benefits include:
- Reduces the time spent on development and increases the overall efficiency of the development team.
- Helps to autoconfigure all components for a production-grade Spring app.
- Facilitates the creation and testing of Java-based applications by providing a default setup for unit and integration tests.
- Helps to avoid all the manual work of writing boilerplate code, annotations, and complex XML configurations.
- Comes with embedded HTTP servers like Jetty and Tomcat to test web applications.
- The integration of Spring Boot with the Spring ecosystem which includes Spring Data, Spring Security, Spring ORM, and Spring JDBC is easy.
- Provides many plugins that developers can use to work with embedded and in-memory databases smoothly and readily.
- Allows for easily connecting with database and queue services like Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MongoDB, Redis, Solr, ElasticSearch, Rabbit MQ, ActiveMQ, and many more.
- Provides admin support – you can manage via remote access to the application.
- Eases the dependency and comes with Embedded Servlet Container.
- Offers flexibility in configuring XML configurations, Java Beans, and Database Transaction.
- Offers easy access to Command Line Interface which makes the development and testing of Spring Boot apps built with Java or Groovy agile.
Disadvantages of Spring Boot
The biggest challenge many developers face when using Spring Boot is the lack of control. The opinionated style installs many additional dependencies (that often go unused) which increases the deployment file size.
The Spring Boot artifact may be run directly in Docker containers. This is useful to get when you need to quickly create microservices. Yet, some developers argue that since Spring Boot was designed to be lightweight and agile, it should therefore not be used for monolithic applications.
Though Spring Boot comes with some basic tools for logs and your app health monitoring, these aren’t sufficient. Tools like Retrace help teams to monitor Java apps with ease. This tool helps to detect slow SQL queries, provides performance and CPU usage reports and shows the most common errors by interpreting the logs.
On top of that, it can be quite challenging to update your legacy Spring code. You can overcome this problem by using tools such as the Spring Boot CLI (Command Line Interface) that will help you convert your legacy code.
Some other disadvantages are:
- If you have never worked with Spring before and want to learn about proxies, dependency injection, and AOP programming, it is not recommended to start with Spring Boot because it doesn’t cover most of these details.
- You really have to understand a lot of the underlying Spring systems (and a bit of Spring history too), along with some advanced topics in order to modify and troubleshoot it.
- Spring Boot works well with microservices. The Spring Boot artifacts can be deployed directly into Docker containers. However, some developers don’t recommend the framework for building large and monolithic apps.
- If you are not familiar with other projects of the Spring ecosystem like Spring Security, Spring AMQP, Spring Integration, etc), using them with Spring Boot will make you miss many concepts that you would grasp if you had started using them independently.
The Spring Boot framework was designed to help developers reduce the time on development and improve performance by providing a default unit setup and integration tests. If you want to start your Java app development project quickly, you can just accept all the default property values and skip the XML configuration.
Spring Boot is simply an extension of Spring itself to make the development, testing, and deployment more convenient. If you are experiencing problems with your Spring Boot application development project, we have a team of seasoned developers to help make your project more efficient!