Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Mike Kavis, Irit Gillath, Trevor Parsons, Carmen Gonzalez, Jon McNeill

Related Topics: Java, Linux, SYS-CON MEDIA, IT SOLUTIONS GUIDE

Java: Article

i-Technology Viewpoint: "Spring Good!"

Rick Hightower Gives New Year's Thumbs-Up To Java/J2EE Application Framework

If you have not looked into Spring yet, it is time. Here is why you should!

Grady Booch once said that the great thing about objects is that they can be replaced. The great thing about Spring is it helps you replace them. With Spring, you simply inject collaborating objects called dependencies using JavaBeans properties and configuration files. Then it's easy enough to switch out collaborating objects when you need to. Spring allows you to dynamically add services to objects called aspects. This is similar to the Decorator Design pattern, but does not require you to recompile your code base to apply these services. This allows you to replace objects with objects that enhance the originals.

The ability to inject collaborating objects is often called IoC (inversion of control). Thus, Spring is an IoC container. If you follow the latest developer buzz then you've likely heard of IoC (Inversion of Control) containers and AOP (aspect-oriented programming). Like many developers, however, you may not see where these technologies fit into your development efforts. As the word inversion implies, IoC is like JNDI turned inside out. Instead of using a tangle of abstract factories, service locators, singletons, and straight construction, each object is constructed with its collaborating objects. Thus, the container manages the collaborators. (Collaborators are objects that an object needs to fullfill its role.)

The ability to dynamically add services to objects is called AOP. AOP allows developers to create non-domain concerns, called crosscutting concerns, and insert them in their application code. With AOP, common services like logging, persistence, transactions, and the like can be factored into aspects and applied to domain objects without complicating the object model of the domain objects.

Thus, Spring is an IoC/AOP container. There are many IoC containers. There are also many AOP frameworks. If Spring was only an IoC/AOP container, it would be worth your attention and interest since it seems to be the most mature. Spring is a lot more than an IoC/AOP container.

What makes Spring different than the other frameworks and containers, is Spring goes beyond just being an IoC container or an AOP framework. The other containers are academic interests, and some are quite good. They provide good support of IoC and AOP.

Spring goes one step further by eating its own dog food. It uses IoC and AOP to provide a comprehensive library for simplifying J2EE development. This comprehensive library is written with aspects, dependency injection and OOP best practices.

Spring makes J2EE development easier. It does this with a variety of mechanisms. One common mechanism is its use of templates. A template is a cross between a utility class and execution environment. Spring Templates are an embellishment and extention of the Template design pattern (GOF).

At first glance templates appear to be well written utility classes. However, templates provide a lot more than just utility functions. Templates provide and execution environment. When using a template you first endeavor to use one of its it utility method. If the template doesn't have a utility method you need, you implement a callback object. The callback object has a method that executes a method in the environment of the template. The template therefore takes care of things like exception handling and resource management in a consistent manner. This means your code base will not be littered with try/catch/finally blocks, and it is easier to ensure that resources and exception are handled correctly.

Spring promotes good programming practices. It does this by providing great examples how to use IoC and AOP in a consistent manner. It also does this by showing how to build things like templates to manage resources and exceptions in the consistent manner. It goes even further by building sets of frameworks on top of  IoC, AOP and templates that are the embodiment of good OO programming.

The IoC capabilities allowing injection of dependent objects turns out to be a great mechanism for testing your code. It is easy now to inject mock objects (object for testing), and test your classes in an isolated manner. For example, you can test you business delegates without relying on the DAO (Data access objects) objects talking to the database. Essentially Spring took back development from the design pattern hacks deemed necessary to program J2EE. As Rod Johnson once put it: Spring puts the OO back in J2EE development.

Spring provides portability through abstraction of common services. For example, Spring provides a common interface object relational management (ORM) systems like Hibernate, JDO, Cayenne, Spring JDBC and iBatis. It provides a mechanism for building DAO objects that divorces the client code from the underlying implementation. it does this by providing a common set of exceptions like object not found exception, and making these exception runtime exceptions.

Spring provides a easy on-ramp for many industry-standard projects. And not just industry-standard projects but the de facto industry-standard projects. The projects that people actually use to get their daily work done. For example, Spring provides support for JDO, Hibernate, Quartz, Tapestry, JavaServer faces, and many more frameworks. Its been said that Spring simplifies J2EE development, and that is a primary focus of Spring. However,Spring provides utilities to work with all tiers of an n-tier application. For an MVC application, there are utilities for working with View technologies (Struts, Spring, Rich Client etc.), Model (EJB, AOP based transaction, AOP based security, etc.), etc. You can use Spring to build Swing and SWT applications.

If you have not looked into Spring yet, it is time.

------------------------------------------------
The above started as a reply to Cameron Purdy's prediction list, which I really liked. Then I got carried away and it became a full blown plug for Spring. (Darn Caffiene!)

What is Spring?

Spring is a popular AOP/IoC framework that was developed by Rod Johnson, Juergen Hoeller et al. Spring simplifies J2EE and Java development. Rod Johnson is the famed author who wrote Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development.

Spring makes J2EE development easier. Spring is a J2EE framework that simplifies commons tasks and encourages good design based on programming to interfaces. Springs makes your application easier to configure and reduces the need for many J2EE design patterns (quite a few J2EE design patterns are really glorified hacks that clutter your code base). Spring puts the OO design back into your J2EE application.

More Stories By Rick Hightower

Rick Hightower serves as chief technology officer for ArcMind Inc. He is coauthor of the popular book Java Tools for Extreme Programming, which covers applying XP to J2EE development, and also recently co-authored Professional Struts. He has been working with J2EE since the very early days and lately has been working mostly with Maven, Spring, JSF and Hibernate. Rick is a big JSF and Spring fan. Rick has taught several workshops and training courses involving the Spring framework as well as worked on several projects consulting, mentoring and developing with the Spring framework. He blogs at http://jroller.com/page/RickHigh.

Comments (4) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Rick Hightower 01/08/05 06:26:10 PM EST

The article (like the last one I wrote) started out as being a blog entry (http://jroller.com/page/RickHigh/20050107#spring_plug).

It is nice when the JDJ picks it up and gives it more exposure. The last blog entry turned article I wrote was read quite a bit according to the JDJ folks.

I've written some follow up ideas at:

http://www.arc-mind.com/papers/springIsGood.html

Rick Hightower 01/08/05 05:53:57 PM EST

I've used Spring on a half dozen different projects now (most if not all of them in production).

The first time I used Spring I was amazed how much it helped to simplify the code base.

Once you get rid of all of the service locators, and dynamic creation of implementations, and singletons, etc. then the code base gets a bit smaller.

Also using the Spring templates really helps to keep things simple and yet manage resources well.

I much prefer using Hibernate with Spring then without it. It really simplifies things.

Agreed 01/08/05 05:20:08 AM EST

Spring manages your mappings and helps maintain consistency across your data connections and helps you abstract your business logic, keeping it out of the actual pages. Best of all it also integrates with Struts.

Spring has sprung 01/08/05 05:04:16 AM EST

Wasn't it Purdy who said it's imposible to resist saying the word Spring. ("Yup, it's like trying not to think of pink elephants - impossible once you get that in your head. Spring, spring, spring, spring. La tee dah, spring spring spring.")

What's in a name?

@ThingsExpo Stories
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
Every innovation or invention was originally a daydream. You like to imagine a “what-if” scenario. And with all the attention being paid to the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) you don’t have to stretch the imagination too much to see how this may impact commercial and homeowners insurance. We’re beyond the point of accepting this as a leap of faith. The groundwork is laid. Now it’s just a matter of time. We can thank the inventors of smart thermostats for developing a practical business application that everyone can relate to. Gone are the salad days of smart home apps, the early chalkb...
CommVault has announced that top industry technology visionaries have joined its leadership team. The addition of leaders from companies such as Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Cisco, PwC and EMC signals the continuation of CommVault Next, the company's business transformation for sales, go-to-market strategies, pricing and packaging and technology innovation. The company also announced that it had realigned its structure to create business units to more directly match how customers evaluate, deploy, operate, and purchase technology.
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to make sense of it all.
With several hundred implementations of IoT-enabled solutions in the past 12 months alone, this session will focus on experience over the art of the possible. Many can only imagine the most advanced telematics platform ever deployed, supporting millions of customers, producing tens of thousands events or GBs per trip, and hundreds of TBs per month. With the ability to support a billion sensor events per second, over 30PB of warm data for analytics, and hundreds of PBs for an data analytics archive, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Kaskade, Vice President and General Manager, Big Data & Ana...
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing demand and the rapidly changing workspace model.
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS solutions that provide a Hadoop flavor either make choices for customers very flexible in the name of opti...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...