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1. Overview

The Spring 4.3 release brought some nice refinements into core container, caching, JMS, Web MVC and testing submodules of the framework.

In this post, we will discuss few of these improvements including:

  • Implicit Constructor Injection
  • Java 8 Default Interface Methods Support
  • Improved Resolution of Dependencies
  • Cache Abstraction Refinements
  • Composed @RequestMapping Variants
  • @RequestScope, @SessionScope, @ApplicationScope annotations
  • @RequestAttribute and @SessionAttribute annotations
  • Libraries/Application Servers Versions Support
  • the InjectionPoint class

2. Implicit Constructor Injection

Consider the following service class:

@Service
public class FooService {

    private final FooRepository repository;

    @Autowired
    public FooService(FooRepository repository) {
        this.repository = repository
    }
}

Quite a common use case, but if you forget the @Autowired annotation on the constructor, the container will throw an exception looking for a default constructor, unless you explicitly do the wiring.

So as of 4.3, you no longer need to specify an explicit injection annotation in such a single-constructor scenario. This is particularly elegant for classes which do not carry any annotations at all:

public class FooService {

    private final FooRepository repository;

    public FooService(FooRepository repository) {
        this.repository = repository
    }
}

In Spring 4.2 and below, the following configuration for this bean will not work, because Spring will not be able to find a default constructor for FooService. Spring 4.3 is smarter and will autowire the constructor automatically:

<beans>
    <bean class="com.baeldung.spring43.ctor.FooRepository" />
    <bean class="com.baeldung.spring43.ctor.FooService" />
</beans>

Similarly, you may have noticed that @Configuration classes historically did not support constructor injection. As of 4.3, they do, and they naturally allow omitting @Autowired in a single-constructor scenario as well:

@Configuration
public class FooConfiguration {

    private final FooRepository repository;

    public FooConfiguration(FooRepository repository) {
        this.repository = repository;
    }

    @Bean
    public FooService fooService() {
        return new FooService(this.repository);
    }
}

3. Java 8 Default Interface Methods Support

Before Spring 4.3, default interface methods were not supported.

This was not easy to implement because even JDK’s JavaBean introspector did not detect default methods as accessors. Since Spring 4.3, getters and setters implemented as default interface methods are identified during injection, which allows to use them for instance as common preprocessors for accessed properties, like in this example:

public interface IDateHolder {

    void setLocalDate(LocalDate localDate);

    LocalDate getLocalDate();

    default void setStringDate(String stringDate) {
        setLocalDate(LocalDate.parse(stringDate, 
          DateTimeFormatter.ofPattern("dd.MM.yyyy")));
    }

}

This bean may now have the stringDate property injected:

<bean id="dateHolder" 
  class="com.baeldung.spring43.defaultmethods.DateHolder">
    <property name="stringDate" value="15.10.1982"/>
</bean>

Same goes for using test annotations like @BeforeTransaction and @AfterTransaction on default interface methods. JUnit 5 already supports its test annotations on default interface methods, and Spring 4.3 follows the lead. Now you can abstract common testing logic in an interface and implement it in test classes. Here is an interface for test cases that logs messages before and after transactions in tests:

public interface ITransactionalTest {

    Logger log = LoggerFactory.getLogger(ITransactionalTest.class);

    @BeforeTransaction
    default void beforeTransaction() {
        log.info("Before opening transaction");
    }

    @AfterTransaction
    default void afterTransaction() {
        log.info("After closing transaction");
    }

}

Another improvement concerning annotations @BeforeTransaction, @AfterTransaction and @Transactional is the relaxation of the requirement that the annotated methods should be public — now they may have any visibility level.

4. Improved Resolution of Dependencies

The newest version also introduces the ObjectProvider, an extension of the existing ObjectFactory interface with handy signatures such as getIfAvailable and getIfUnique to retrieve a bean only if it exists or if a single candidate can be determined (in particular: a primary candidate in case of multiple matching beans).

@Service
public class FooService {

    private final FooRepository repository;

    public FooService(ObjectProvider<FooRepository> repositoryProvider) {
        this.repository = repositoryProvider.getIfUnique();
    }
}

You may use such ObjectProvider handle for custom resolution purposes during initialization as shown above, or store the handle in a field for late on-demand resolution (as you typically do with an ObjectFactory).

5. Cache Abstraction Refinements

The cache abstraction is mainly used to cache values that are CPU and IO consuming. In particular use cases, a given key may be requested by several threads (i.e. clients) in parallel, especially on startup. Synchronized cache support is a long-requested feature that has now been implemented. Assume the following:

@Service
public class FooService {

    @Cacheable(cacheNames = "foos", sync = true)
    public Foo getFoo(String id) { ... }

}

Notice the sync = true attribute which tells the framework to block any concurrent threads while the value is being computed. This will make sure that this intensive operation is invoked only once in case of concurrent access.

Spring 4.3 also improves the caching abstraction as follows:

  • SpEL expressions in cache-related annotations can now refer to beans (i.e. @beanName.method()).
  • ConcurrentMapCacheManager and ConcurrentMapCache now support the serialization of cache entries via a new storeByValue attribute.
  • @Cacheable, @CacheEvict, @CachePut, and @Caching may now be used as meta-annotations to create custom composed annotations with attribute overrides.

6. Composed @RequestMapping Variants

Spring Framework 4.3 introduces the following method-level composed variants of the @RequestMapping annotation that help to simplify mappings for common HTTP methods and better express the semantics of the annotated handler method.

  • @GetMapping
  • @PostMapping
  • @PutMapping
  • @DeleteMapping
  • @PatchMapping

For example, @GetMapping is a shorter form of saying @RequestMapping(method = RequestMethod.GET). The following example shows an MVC controller that has been simplified with a composed @GetMapping annotation.

@Controller
@RequestMapping("/appointments")
public class AppointmentsController {

    private final AppointmentBook appointmentBook;

    @Autowired
    public AppointmentsController(AppointmentBook appointmentBook) {
        this.appointmentBook = appointmentBook;
    }

    @GetMapping
    public Map<String, Appointment> get() {
        return appointmentBook.getAppointmentsForToday();
    }
}

7. @RequestScope, @SessionScope, @ApplicationScope annotations

When using annotation-driven components or Java Config, the @RequestScope, @SessionScope and @ApplicationScope annotations can be used to assign a component to the required scope. These annotations not only set the scope of the bean but also set the scoped proxy mode to ScopedProxyMode.TARGET_CLASS.

TARGET_CLASS mode means that CGLIB proxy will be used for proxying of this bean and ensuring that it can be injected in any other bean, even with a broader scope. TARGET_CLASS mode allows proxying not only for interfaces but classes too.

@RequestScope
@Component
public class LoginAction {
    // ...
}
@SessionScope
@Component
public class UserPreferences {
    // ...
}
@ApplicationScope
@Component
public class AppPreferences {
    // ...
}

8. @RequestAttribute and @SessionAttribute annotations

Two more annotations for injecting parameters of the HTTP request into Controller methods appeared, namely @RequestAttribute and @SessionAttribute. They allow you to access some pre-existing attributes, managed globally (i.e. outside the Controller). The values for these attributes may be provided, for instance, by registered instances of javax.servlet.Filter or org.springframework.web.servlet.HandlerInterceptor.

Suppose we have registered the following HandlerInterceptor implementation that parses the request and adds login parameter to the session and another query parameter to a request:

public class ParamInterceptor extends HandlerInterceptorAdapter {

    @Override
    public boolean preHandle(HttpServletRequest request, 
      HttpServletResponse response, Object handler) throws Exception {
        request.getSession().setAttribute("login", "john");
        request.setAttribute("query", "invoices");
        return super.preHandle(request, response, handler);
    }

}

Such parameters may be injected into a Controller instance with corresponding annotations on method arguments:

@GetMapping
public String get(@SessionAttribute String login, 
  @RequestAttribute String query) {
    return String.format("login = %s, query = %s", login, query);
}

9. Libraries/Application Servers Versions Support

Spring 4.3 supports the following library versions and server generations:

  • Hibernate ORM 5.2 (still supporting 4.2/4.3 and 5.0/5.1 as well, with 3.6 deprecated now)
  • Jackson 2.8 (minimum raised to Jackson 2.6+ as of Spring 4.3)
  • OkHttp 3.x (still supporting OkHttp 2.x side by side)
  • Netty 4.1
  • Undertow 1.4
  • Tomcat 8.5.2 as well as 9.0 M6

Furthermore, Spring 4.3 embeds the updated ASM 5.1 and Objenesis 2.4 in spring-core.jar.

10. InjectionPoint

The InjectionPoint class is a new class introduced in Spring 4.3 which provides information about places where a particular bean gets injected, whether it is a method/constructor parameter or a field.

The types of information you can find using this class are:

  • Field object – you can obtain the point of injection wrapped as a Field object by using the getField() method if the bean is injected into a field
  • MethodParameter – you can call getMethodParameter() method to obtain the injection point wrapped as a MethodParameter object if the bean is injected into a parameter
  • Member – calling getMember() method will return the entity containing the injected bean wrapped into a Member object
  • Class<?> – obtain the declared type of the parameter or field where the bean in injected, using getDeclaredType()
  • Annotation[] – by using the getAnnotations() method, you can retrieve an array of Annotation objects which represent the annotations associated with the field or parameter
  • AnnotatedElement – call getAnnotatedElement() to get the injection point wrapped as an AnnotatedElement object

A case in which this class is very useful is when we want to create Logger beans based on the class to which they belong:

@Bean
@Scope("prototype")
public Logger logger(InjectionPoint injectionPoint) {
    return Logger.getLogger(
      injectionPoint.getMethodParameter().getContainingClass());
}

The bean has to be defined with a prototype scope so that a different logger is created for each class. If you create a singleton bean and inject in multiple places, the Spring will return the first encountered injection point.

Then, we can inject the bean into our AppointmentsController:

@Autowired
private Logger logger;

11. Conclusion

In this article, we discussed some of the new features introduced with Spring 4.3.

We’ve covered useful annotations that eliminate boilerplate, new helpful methods of dependency lookup and injection and several substantial improvements within the web and caching facilities.

You can find the source code for the article on GitHub.

I just announced the new Spring Boot 2 material, coming in REST With Spring:

>> CHECK OUT THE LESSONS

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Nicky Moelholm
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Nicky Moelholm

Hi,

Super fine coverage of the new features.

Spring 4.3 also introduces another interesting feature: InjectionPoint.

Perhaps you could mention that as well?

( I recently wrote a post about it: https://moelholm.com/2016/10/09/spring-4-3-introducing-the-injectionpoint/ – please note Juergens comments at the bottom )

Grzegorz Piwowarek
Guest
Grzegorz Piwowarek

Looks interesting 🙂 We’ll probably incorporate this info soon. Thanks!