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1. Overview

In this tutorial, we want to have a look at how to return HTML from a Spring MVC controller.

Let's take a look at what needs to be done.

2. Maven Dependency

First, we have to add the spring-boot-starter-web Maven dependency for our MVC controller:

<dependency>
    <groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
    <artifactId>spring-boot-starter-web</artifactId>
    <versionId>1.3.7.RELEASE</versionId>
</dependency>

3. Controller

Next, let's create our controller:

@Controller
public class HtmlController {
    @GetMapping(value = "/welcome", produces = MediaType.TEXT_HTML_VALUE)
    @ResponseBody
    public String welcomeAsHTML() {
        return "<html>\n" + "<header><title>Welcome</title></header>\n" +
          "<body>\n" + "Hello world\n" + "</body>\n" + "</html>";
    }
}

We use the @Controller annotation to tell the DispatcherServlet that this class handles HTTP Requests.

Next, we configure our @GetMapping annotation to produce MediaType.TEXT_HTML_VALUE output.

And finally, the @ResponseBody annotation tells the controller that the object returned should be automatically serialized to the configured media type, that is, TEXT_HTML_VALUE, or text/html.

Without this last annotation, we'd receive a 404 error since a String return value by default refers to a view name.

With that controller in place, we can test it out:

curl -v localhost:8081/welcome

The output will look similar to:

> ... request ...
>
< HTTP/1.1 200
< Content-Type: text/html;charset=UTF-8
< ... other response headers ...
<

<html>
<header><title>Welcome</title></header>
<body>
Hello world
</body>
</html>

As expected, we see that the Content-Type of the response is text/html. Furthermore, we see that the response also has the correct HTML content.

4. Conclusion

In this article, we looked at how to return HTML from a Spring MVC controller.

As always, code samples are available over on GitHub.

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