Bean definition inheritance - Java-Springs

A bean definition can contain a lot of configuration information, including constructor arguments, property values, and container-specific information such as initialization method, static factory method name, and so on.A child bean definition inherits configuration data from a parent definition.The child definition can override some values,or add others, as needed. Using parent and child bean definitions can save a lot of typing. Effectively, this is a form of templating.

If you work with an ApplicationContext interface programmatically, child bean definitions are represented by the Child Bean Definition class. Most users do not work with them on this level, instead configuring bean definitions declaratively in something like the Class Path Xml Application Context. When you use XML-based configuration metadata, you indicate a child bean definition by using the parent attribute, specifying the parent bean as the value of this attribute.

<bean id="inheritedTestBean" abstract="true"
class="org.springframework.beans.TestBean">
<property name="name" value="parent"/>
<property name="age" value="1"/>
</bean>
<bean id="inheritsWithDifferentClass"
class="org.springframework.beans.DerivedTestBean"
parent="inheritedTestBean" init-method="initialize">
<property name="name" value="override"/>
<!-- the age property value of 1 will be inherited from parent -->
</bean>

child bean definition uses the bean class from the parent definition if none is specified, but can also override it. In the latter case, the child bean class must be compatible with the parent, that is, it must accept the parent's property values.

A child bean definition inherits constructor argument values, property values, and method overrides from the parent, with the option to add new values. Any initialization method,destroy method, and/or static factory method settings that you specify will override the corresponding parent settings.

The remaining settings are always taken from the child definition: depends on, autowire mode, dependency check, singleton, scope, lazy init.

The preceding example explicitly marks the parent bean definition as abstract by using the abstract attribute. If the parent definition does not specify a class, explicitly marking the parent bean definition as abstract is required, as follows:

<bean id="inheritedTestBeanWithoutClass" abstract="true">
<property name="name" value="parent"/>
<property name="age" value="1"/>
</bean>
<bean id="inheritsWithClass" class="org.springframework.beans.DerivedTestBean"
parent="inheritedTestBeanWithoutClass" init-method="initialize">
<property name="name" value="override"/>
<!-- age will inherit the value of 1 from the parent bean definition-->
</bean>

The parent bean cannot be instantiated on its own because it is incomplete, and it is also explicitly marked as abstract.When a definition is abstract like this, it is usable only as a pure template bean definition that serves as a parent definition for child definitions.Trying to use such an abstract parent bean on its own, by referring to it as a ref property of another bean or doing an explicit getBean() call with the parent bean id,returns an error.Similarly, the container's internal preInstantiateSingletons() method ignores bean definitions that are defined as abstract.


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