Dependencies - Java-Springs

A typical enterprise application does not consist of a single object (or bean in the Spring parlance).Even the simplest application has a few objects that work together to present what the end-user sees as a coherent application.

Dependency injection

Dependency injection (DI) is a process whereby objects define their dependencies,that is, the other objects they work with, only through constructor arguments, arguments to a factory method, or properties that are set on the object instance after it is constructed or returned from a factory method.The container then injects those dependencies when it creates the bean.This process is fundamentally the inverse, hence the name Inversion of Control (IoC), of the bean itself controlling the instantiation or location of its dependencies on its own by using direct construction of classes, or the Service Locator pattern.

Code is cleaner with the DI principle and decoupling is more effective when objects are provided with their dependencies.The object does not look up its dependencies, and does not know the location or class of the dependencies.As such, your classes become easier to test, in particular when the dependencies are on interfaces or abstract base classes, which allow for stub or mock implementations to be used in unit tests.

Constructor-based dependency injection

Constructor-based DI is accomplished by the container invoking a constructor with a number of arguments, each representing a dependency.Calling a static factory method with specific arguments to construct the bean is nearly equivalent, and this discussion treats arguments to a constructor and to a static factory method similarly.The following example shows a class that can only be dependency-injected with constructor injection. Notice that there is nothing special about this class, it is a POJO that has no dependencies on container specific interfaces,base classes or annotations.

public class SimpleMovieLister {
// the SimpleMovieLister has a dependency on a MovieFinder
private MovieFinder movieFinder;
// a constructor so that the Spring container can 'inject' a MovieFinder
public SimpleMovieLister(MovieFinder movieFinder) {
this.movieFinder = movieFinder;
}
// business logic that actually 'uses' the injected MovieFinder is omitted.
}

Constructor argument resolution

Constructor argument resolution matching occurs using the argument's type. If no potential ambiguity exists in the constructor arguments of a bean definition, then the order in which the constructor arguments are defined in a bean definition is the order in which those arguments are supplied to the appropriate constructor when the bean is being instantiated. Consider the following class:

package x.y;
public class Foo {
public Foo(Bar bar, Baz baz) {
// ...
}
}

No potential ambiguity exists, assuming that Bar and Baz classes are not related by inheritance.Thus the following configuration works fine, and you do not need to specify the constructor argument indexes and/or types explicitly in the <constructor-arg/> element.

<beans>
<bean id="foo" class="x.y.Foo">
<constructor-arg ref="bar"/>
<constructor-arg ref="baz"/>
</bean>
<bean id="bar" class="x.y.Bar"/>
<bean id="baz" class="x.y.Baz"/>
</beans>

When another bean is referenced, the type is known, and matching can occur (as was the case with the preceding example).When a simple type is used, such as <value>true<value>, Spring cannot determine the type of the value, and so cannot match by type without help. Consider the following class:

package examples;
public class ExampleBean {
// No. of years to the calculate the Ultimate Answer
private int years;
// The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything
private String ultimateAnswer;
public ExampleBean(int years, String ultimateAnswer) {
this.years = years;
this.ultimateAnswer = ultimateAnswer;
}
}

Constructor argument type matching

In the preceding scenario, the container can use type matching with simple types if you explicitly specify the type of the constructor argument using the type attribute. For example:

<bean id="exampleBean" class="examples.ExampleBean">
<constructor-arg type="int" value="7500000"/>
<constructor-arg type="java.lang.String" value="42"/>
</bean>

Constructor argument index

Use the index attribute to specify explicitly the index of constructor arguments. For example:

<bean id="exampleBean"class="examples.ExampleBean">
<constructor-arg index="0"value="7500000"/>
<constructor-arg index="1"value="42"/>
</bean>

In addition to resolving the ambiguity of multiple simple values, specifying an index resolves ambiguity where a constructor has two arguments of the same type. Note that the index is 0 based.

Setter-based dependency injection

Setter-based DI is accomplished by the container calling setter methods on your beans after invoking a no-argument constructor or no-argument static factory method to instantiate your bean.

The following example shows a class that can only be dependency-injected using pure setter injection.This class is conventional Java. It is a POJO that has no dependencies on container specific interfaces, base classes or annotations.

public class SimpleMovieLister {
// the SimpleMovieLister has a dependency on the MovieFinder
private MovieFinder movieFinder;
// a setter method so that the Spring container can 'inject' a MovieFinder
public void setMovieFinder(MovieFinder movieFinder) {
this.movieFinder = movieFinder;
}
// business logic that actually 'uses' the injected MovieFinder is omitted.
}

The ApplicationContext supports constructor- and setter-based DI for the beans it manages. It also supports setter-based DI after some dependencies are already injected through the constructor approach.

You configure the dependencies in the form of a BeanDefinition, which you use with PropertyEditor instances to convert properties from one format to another. However, most Spring users do not work with these classes directly (programmatically), but rather with an XML definition file that is then converted internally into instances of these classes, and used to load an entire Spring IoC container instance.

Constructor-based or setter-based DI?

Since you can mix both, Constructor- and Setter-based DI, it is a good rule of thumb to use constructor arguments for mandatory dependencies and setters for optional dependencies. Note that the use of a @Required annotation on a setter can be used to make setters required dependencies.

The Spring team generally advocates setter injection, because large numbers of constructor arguments can get unwieldy, especially when properties are optional. Setter methods also make objects of that class amenable to reconfiguration or re-injection later.Management through JMX MBeans is a compelling use case.

Some purists favor constructor-based injection. Supplying all object dependencies means that the object is always returned to client (calling) code in a totally initialized state.The disadvantage is that the object becomes less amenable to reconfiguration and re-injection.

Use the DI that makes the most sense for a particular class.Sometimes, when dealing with third-party classes to which you do not have the source, the choice is made for you.A legacy class may not expose any setter methods, and so constructor injection is the only available DI.

Dependency resolution process

The container performs bean dependency resolution as follows:

  1. The ApplicationContext is created and initialized with configuration metadata that describes all the beans.Configuration metadata can be specified via XML, Java code or annotations.
  2. For each bean, its dependencies are expressed in the form of properties, constructor arguments, or arguments to the static-factory method if you are using that instead of a normal constructor. These dependencies are provided to the bean,when the bean is actually created.
  3. Each property or constructor argument is an actual definition of the value to set, or a reference to another bean in the container.
  4. Each property or constructor argument which is a value is converted from its specified format to the actual type of that property or constructor argument.By default Spring can convert a value supplied in string format to all built-in types, such as int, long, String, boolean, etc.

The Spring container validates the configuration of each bean as the container is created, including the validation of whether bean reference properties refer to valid beans.However, the bean properties themselves are not set until the bean is actually created.Creation of a bean potentially causes a graph of beans to be created, as the bean's dependencies and its dependencies' dependencies (and so on) are created and assigned.

Circular dependencies

If you use predominantly constructor injection, it is possible to create an unresolvable circular dependency scenario.For example: Class A requires an instance of class B through constructor injection, and class B requires an instance of class A through constructor injection.If you configure beans for classes A and B to be injected into each other, the Spring IoC container detects this circular reference at runtime, and throws a BeanCurrentlyInCreationException.

One possible solution is to edit the source code of some classes to be configured by setters rather than constructors. Alternatively, avoid constructor injection and use setter injection only.In other words, although it is not recommended,you can configure circular dependencies with setter injection.

Unlike the typical case (with no circular dependencies), a circular dependency between bean A and bean B forces one of the beans to be injected into the other prior to being fully initialized itself (a classic chicken/egg scenario).

You can generally trust Spring to do the right thing.It detects configuration problems, such as references to non-existent beans and circular dependencies, at container load-time.Spring sets properties and resolves dependencies as late as possible, when the bean is actually created.This means that a Spring container which has loaded correctly can later generate an exception when you request an object if there is a problem creating that object or one of its dependencies.For example, the bean throws an exception as a result of a missing or invalid property.

This potentially delayed visibility of some configuration issues is why ApplicationContext implementations by default pre-instantiate singleton beans. At the cost of some upfront time and memory to create these beans before they are actually needed, you discover configuration issues when the ApplicationContext is created, not later.You can still override this default behavior so that singleton beans will lazy-initialize, rather than be pre-instantiated.

If no circular dependencies exist, when one or more collaborating beans are being injected into a dependent bean, each collaborating bean is totally configured prior to being injected into the dependent bean.This means that if bean A has a dependency on bean B, the Spring IoC container completely configures bean B prior to invoking the setter method on bean A. In other words, the bean is instantiated (if not a pre-instantiated singleton), its dependencies are set, and the relevant lifecycle methods (such as a configured init method or the IntializingBean callback method) are invoked.

Examples of dependency injection

The following example uses XML-based configuration metadata for setter-based DI. A small part of a Spring XML configuration file specifies some bean definitions:

<bean id="exampleBean" class="examples.ExampleBean">
<!-- setter injection using the nested <ref/> element -->
<property name="beanOne"><ref bean="anotherExampleBean"/></property>
<!-- setter injection using the neater 'ref' attribute -->
<property name="beanTwo" ref="yetAnotherBean"/>
<property name="integerProperty" value="1"/>
</bean>
<bean id="anotherExampleBean" class="examples.AnotherBean"/>
<bean id="yetAnotherBean" class="examples.YetAnotherBean"/>
public class ExampleBean {
private AnotherBean beanOne;
private YetAnotherBean beanTwo;
private int i;
public void setBeanOne(AnotherBean beanOne) {
this.beanOne = beanOne;
}
public void setBeanTwo(YetAnotherBean beanTwo) {
this.beanTwo = beanTwo;
}
public void setIntegerProperty(int i) {
this.i = i;
}
}

In the preceding example, setters are declared to match against the properties specified in the XML file.The following example uses constructor-based DI:

<bean id="exampleBean" class="examples.ExampleBean">
<!-- constructor injection using the nested <ref/> element -->
<constructor-arg>
<ref bean="anotherExampleBean"/>
</constructor-arg>
<!-- constructor injection using the neater 'ref' attribute -->
<constructor-arg ref="yetAnotherBean"/>
<constructor-arg type="int" value="1"/>
</bean>
<bean id="anotherExampleBean" class="examples.AnotherBean"/>
<bean id="yetAnotherBean" class="examples.YetAnotherBean"/>
public class ExampleBean {
private AnotherBean beanOne;
private YetAnotherBean beanTwo;
private int i;
public ExampleBean(
AnotherBean anotherBean, YetAnotherBean yetAnotherBean, int i) {
this.beanOne = anotherBean;
this.beanTwo = yetAnotherBean;
this.i = i;
}
}

The constructor arguments specified in the bean definition will be used as arguments to the constructor of the ExampleBean.

Now consider a variant of this example, where instead of using a constructor,Spring is told to call a static factory method to return an instance of the object:

<bean id="exampleBean" class="examples.ExampleBean"
factory-method="createInstance">
<constructor-arg ref="anotherExampleBean"/>
<constructor-arg ref="yetAnotherBean"/>
<constructor-arg value="1"/>
</bean>
<bean id="anotherExampleBean" class="examples.AnotherBean"/>
<bean id="yetAnotherBean" class="examples.YetAnotherBean"/>
public class ExampleBean {
// a private constructor
private ExampleBean(...) {
...
}
// a static factory method; the arguments to this method can be
// considered the dependencies of the bean that is returned,
// regardless of how those arguments are actually used.
public static ExampleBean createInstance (
AnotherBean anotherBean, YetAnotherBean yetAnotherBean, int i) {
ExampleBean eb = new ExampleBean (...);
// some other operations...
return eb;
}
}

Arguments to the static factory method are supplied via <constructor-arg/>elements, exactly the same as if a constructor had actually been used.The type of the class being returned by the factory method does not have to be of the same type as the class that contains the static factory method, although in this example it is.An instance (non-static) factory method would be used in an essentially identical fashion (aside from the use of the factory-bean attribute instead of the class attribute).

Dependencies and configuration in detail

Spring's XML-based configuration metadata supports sub-element types within its <property/> and <constructor-arg/> elements for this purpose.

Straight values (primitives, Strings, and so on)

The value attribute of the <property/> element specifies a property or constructor argument as a human-readable string representation. As mentioned previously, JavaBeans PropertyEditors are used to convert these string values from a String to the actual type of the property or argument.

<bean id="myDataSource" class="org.apache.commons.dbcp.BasicDataSource" destroy-method="close">
<!-- results in a setDriverClassName(String) call -->
<property name="driverClassName" value="com.mysql.jdbc.Driver"/>
<property name="url" value="jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/mydb"/>
<property name="username" value="root"/>
<property name="password" value="masterkaoli"/>
</bean>

The preceding XML is more succinct; however,typos are discovered at runtime rather than design time, unless you use an IDE such as IntelliJ IDEA or the Spring Source Tool Suite (STS) that support automatic property completion when you create bean definitions. Such IDE assistance is highly recommended.

You can also configure a java.util.Properties instance as:

<bean id="mappings"
class="org.springframework.beans.factory.config.PropertyPlaceholderConfigurer">
<!-- typed as a java.util.Properties -->
<property name="properties">
<value>
jdbc.driver.className=com.mysql.jdbc.Driver
jdbc.url=jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/mydb
</value>
</property>
</bean>

The Spring container converts the text inside the <value/> element into a java.util.Properties instance by using the JavaBeans PropertyEditor mechanism.This is a nice shortcut, and is one of a few places where the Spring team do favor the use of the nested <value/> element over the value attribute style.

The idref element

The idref element is simply an error-proof way to pass the id (string value - not a reference) of another bean in the container to a <constructor-arg/> or <property/> element.

<bean id="theTargetBean" class="..."/>
<bean id="theClientBean" class="...">
<property name="targetName">
<idref bean="theTargetBean" />
</property>
</bean>

The above bean definition snippet is exactly equivalent (at runtime) to the following snippet:

<bean id="theTargetBean" class="..." />
<bean id="client"class="...">
<property name="targetName" value="theTargetBean" />
</bean>

The first form is preferable to the second, because using the idref tag allows the container to validate at deployment time that the referenced, named bean actually exists.In the second variation, no validation is performed on the value that is passed to the targetName property of the client bean. Typos are only discovered (with most likely fatal results) when the client bean is actually instantiated.If the client bean is a prototype bean, this typo and the resulting exception may only be discovered long after the container is deployed.

Additionally, if the referenced bean is in the same XML unit, and the bean name is the bean id, you can use the local attribute, which allows the XML parser itself to validate the bean id earlier, at XML document parse time.

<property name="targetName">
<!-- a bean with id 'theTargetBean' must exist;
otherwise an exception will be thrown --
>
<idref local="theTargetBean"/>
</property>

A common place (at least in versions earlier than Spring 2.0) where the <idref/> element brings value is in the configuration of AOP interceptors in a ProxyFactoryBean bean definition. Using <idref/> elements when you specify the interceptor names prevents you from misspelling an interceptor id.

References to other beans (collaborators)

The ref element is the final element inside a <constructor-arg/>or <property/> definition element. Here you set the value of the specified property of a bean to be a reference to another bean (a collaborator) managed by the container.The referenced bean is a dependency of the bean whose property will be set, and it is initialized on demand as needed before the property is set.(If the collaborator is a singleton bean, it may be initialized already by the container.) All references are ultimately a reference to another object.Scoping and validation depend on whether you specify the id/name of the other object through the bean,local, or parent attributes.

Specifying the target bean through the bean attribute of the <ref/> tag is the most general form, and allows creation of a reference to any bean in the same container or parent container, regardless of whether it is in the same XML file.The value of the bean attribute may be the same as the id attribute of the target bean, or as one of the values in the name attribute of the target bean.

<ref bean="someBean"/>

Specifying the target bean through the local attribute leverages the ability of the XML parser to validate XML id references within the same file. The value of the local attribute must be the same as the id attribute of the target bean.The XML parser issues an error if no matching element is found in the same file. As such, using the local variant is the best choice (in order to know about errors as early as possible)if the target bean is in the same XML file.

<ref local="someBean"/>

Specifying the target bean through the parent attribute creates a reference to a bean that is in a parent container of the current container.The value of the parent attribute may be the same as either the id attribute of the target bean, or one of the values in the name attribute of the target bean, and the target bean must be in a parent container of the current one. You use this bean reference variant mainly when you have a hierarchy of containers and you want to wrap an existing bean in a parent container with a proxy that will have the same name as the parent bean.

<!-- in the parent context -->
<bean id="accountService" class="com.foo.SimpleAccountService">
<!-- insert dependencies as required as here -->
</bean>
<!-- in the child (descendant) context -->
<bean id="accountService"
<-- bean name is the same as the parent bean -->
class="org.springframework.aop.framework.ProxyFactoryBean">
<property name="target">
<ref parent="accountService"/> <!-- notice how we refer to the parent bean -->
</property>
<!-- insert other configuration and dependencies as required here -->
</bean>

Inner beans

A <bean/> element inside the <property/> or <constructor-arg/> elements defines a so-called inner bean.

<bean id="outer" class="...">
<!-- instead of using a reference to a target bean,
simply define the target bean inline --
>
<property name="target">
<bean class="com.example.Person"> <!-- this is the inner bean -->
<property name="name" value="Fiona Apple"/>
<property name="age" value="25"/>
</bean>
</property>
</bean>

An inner bean definition does not require a defined id or name; the container ignores these values.It also ignores the scope flag.Inner beans are always anonymous and they are always scoped as prototypes.It is not possible to inject inner beans into collaborating beans other than into the enclosing bean.

Collections

In the <list/>, <set/>, <map/>,and <props/> elements, you set the properties and arguments of the Java Collection types List, Set, Map, and Properties, respectively.

<bean id="moreComplexObject" class="example.ComplexObject">
<!-- results in a setAdminEmails(java.util.Properties) call -->
<property name="adminEmails">
<props>
<prop key="administrator">administrator@example.org</prop>
<prop key="support">support@example.org</prop>
<prop key="development">development@example.org</prop>
</props>
</property>
<!-- results in a setSomeList(java.util.List) call -->
<property name="someList">
<list>
<value>a list element followed by a reference</value>
<ref bean="myDataSource" />
</list>
</property>
<!-- results in a setSomeMap(java.util.Map) call -->
<property name="someMap">
<map>
<entry key="an entry" value="just some string"/>
<entry key ="a ref" value-ref="myDataSource"/>
</map>
</property>
<!-- results in a setSomeSet(java.util.Set) call -->
<property name="someSet">
<set>
<value>just some string</value>
<ref bean="myDataSource" />
</set>
</property>
</bean>

The value of a map key or value, or a set value, can also again be any of the following elements:

bean | ref | idref | list | set | map | props | value | null

Collection merging

As of Spring 2.0, the container supports the merging of collections. An application developer can define a parent-style <list/>, <map/>, <set/>or <props/> element, and have child-style <list/>, <map/>, <set/> or <props/> elements inherit and override values from the parent collection.That is, the child collection's values are the result of merging the elements of the parent and child collections, with the child's collection elements overriding values specified in the parent collection.

The following example demonstrates collection merging:

<beans>
<bean id="parent" abstract="true" class="example.ComplexObject">
<property name="adminEmails">
<props>
<prop key="administrator">administrator@example.com</prop>
<prop key="support">support@example.com</prop>
</props>
</property>
</bean>
<bean id="child" parent="parent">
<property name="adminEmails">
<!-- the merge is specified on the *child* collection definition -->
<props merge="true">
<prop key="sales">sales@example.com</prop>
<prop key="support">support@example.co.uk</prop>
</props>
</property>
</bean>
<beans>

Notice the use of the merge=true attribute on the <props/>element of the adminEmails property of the child bean definition.When the child bean is resolved and instantiated by the container, the resulting instance has an adminEmails Properties collection that contains the result of the merging of the child's adminEmails collection with the parent's adminEmails collection.

administrator=administrator@example.com
sales=sales@example.com

The child Properties collection's value set inherits all property elements from the parent <props/>, and the child's value for the support value overrides the value in the parent collection.

This merging behavior applies similarly to the <list/>, <map/>,and <set/> collection types.In the specific case of the <list/> element, the semantics associated with the List collection type, that is, the notion of an ordered collection of values, is maintained; the parent's values precede all of the child list's values.In the case of the Map, Set, and Properties collection types, no ordering exists. Hence no ordering semantics are in effect for the collection types that underlie the associated Map, Set, and Properties implementation types that the container uses internally.

Limitations of collection merging

You cannot merge different collection types (such as a Map and a List), and if you do attempt to do so an appropriate Exception is thrown. The merge attribute must be specified on the lower, inherited, child definition; specifying the merge attribute on a parent collection definition is redundant and will not result in the desired merging.The merging feature is available only in Spring 2.0 and later.

Strongly-typed collection (Java 5+ only)

In Java 5 and later, you can use strongly typed collections (using generic types).That is, it is possible to declare a Collection type such that it can only contain String elements (for example).If you are using Spring to dependency-inject a strongly-typed Collection into a bean, you can take advantage of Spring's type-conversion support such that the elements of your strongly-typed Collection instances are converted to the appropriate type prior to being added to the Collection.

public class Foo {
private Map<String, Float> accounts;
public void setAccounts(Map<String, Float> accounts) {
this.accounts = accounts;
}
}
<beans>
<bean id="foo" class="x.y.Foo">
<property name="accounts">
<map>
<entry key="one" value="9.99"/>
<entry key="two" value="2.75"/>
<entry key="six" value="3.99"/>
</map>
</property>
</bean>
</beans>

When the accounts property of the foo bean is prepared for injection, the generics information about the element type of the strongly-typed Map<String,Float> is available by reflection. Thus Spring's type conversion infrastructure recognizes the various value elements as being of type Float, and the string values 9.99, 2.75, and 3.99 are converted into an actual Float type.

Null and empty string values

Spring treats empty arguments for properties and the like as empty Strings.The following XML-based configuration metadata snippet sets the email property to the empty String value ("")

<bean class="ExampleBean">
<property name="email" value=""/>
</bean>

The preceding example is equivalent to the following Java code: exampleBean.setEmail("").The <null/> element handles null values. For example:

<bean class="ExampleBean">
<property name="email"><null/></property>
</bean>

The above configuration is equivalent to the following Java code: exampleBean.setEmail(null).

XML shortcut with the p-namespace

The p-namespace enables you to use the bean element's attributes, instead of nested <property/> elements, to describe your property values and/or collaborating beans.

Spring 2.0 and later supports extensible configuration formats with namespaces, which are based on an XML Schema definition.The beans configuration format is defined in an XML Schema document. However, the p-namespace is not defined in an XSD file and exists only in the core of Spring Framework The following example shows two XML snippets that resolve to the same result:

The example shows an attribute in the p-namespace called email in the bean definition. This tells Spring to include a property declaration.As previously mentioned, the p-namespace does not have a schema definition, so you can set the name of the attribute to the property name.

As you can see, this example includes not only a property value using the p-namespace, but also uses a special format to declare property references.Whereas the first bean definition uses <property name="spouse" ref="jane"/> to create a reference from bean john to bean jane, the second bean definition uses p:spouse-ref="jane" as an attribute to do the exact same thing.In this case spouse is the property name, whereas the -ref part indicates that this is not a straight value but rather a reference to another bean.

XML format does not. We recommend that you choose your approach carefully and communicate this to your team members, to avoid producing XML documents that use all three approaches at the same time.

Compound property names

You can use compound or nested property names when you set bean properties, as long as all components of the path except the final property name are not null. Consider the following bean definition.

<bean id="foo" class="foo.Bar">
<property name="fred.bob.sammy" value="123" />
</bean>

The foo bean has a fred property, which has a bob property, which has a sammy property, and that final sammy property is being set to the value 123. In order for this to work, the fred property of foo, and the bob property of fred must not be null after the bean is constructed, or a NullPointerException is thrown.

Using depends-on

If a bean is a dependency of another that usually means that one bean is set as a property of another. Typically you accomplish this with the <ref/> element in XML-based configuration metadata. However, sometimes dependencies between beans are less direct; for example, a static initializer in a class needs to be triggered, such as database driver registration.The depends-on attribute can explicitly force one or more beans to be initialized before the bean using this element is initialized.The following example uses the depends-on attribute to express a dependency on a single bean:

<bean id="beanOne" class="ExampleBean" depends-on="manager"/><bean id="manager" class="ManagerBean" />

To express a dependency on multiple beans, supply a list of bean names as the value of the depends-on attribute, with commas, whitespace and semicolons, used as valid delimiters:

<bean id="beanOne"class="ExampleBean" depends-on="manager,accountDao">
<property name="manager" ref="manager" />
</bean>
<bean id="manager" class="ManagerBean" />
<bean id="accountDao" class="x.y.jdbc.JdbcAccountDao" />

Lazy-initialized beans

By default, ApplicationContext implementations eagerly create and configure all singleton beans as part of the initialization process.Generally, this pre-instantiation is desirable, because errors in the configuration or surrounding environment are discovered immediately, as opposed to hours or even days later.When this behavior is not desirable, you can prevent pre-instantiation of a singleton bean by marking the bean definition as lazy-initialized.A lazy-initialized bean tells the IoC container to create a bean instance when it is first requested, rather than at startup.

In XML,this behavior is controlled by the lazy-init attribute on the <bean/> element; for example:

<bean id="lazy" class="com.foo.ExpensiveToCreateBean"lazy-init="true"/>
<bean name="not.lazy" class="com.foo.AnotherBean"/>

When the preceding configuration is consumed by an ApplicationContext, the bean named lazy is not eagerly pre-instantiated when the ApplicationContext is starting up, whereas the not.lazy bean is eagerly pre-instantiated.

However, when a lazy-initialized bean is a dependency of a singleton bean that is not lazy-initialized, the ApplicationContext creates the lazy-initialized bean at startup, because it must satisfy the singleton's dependencies.The lazy-initialized bean is injected into a singleton bean elsewhere that is not lazy-initialized.

You can also control lazy-initialization at the container level by using the default-lazy-init attribute on the <beans/> element; for example:

<beans default-lazy-init="true">
<!-- no beans will be pre-instantiated... -->
</beans>

Autowiring collaborators

The Spring container can autowire relationships between collaborating beans.You can allow Spring to resolve collaborators (other beans)automatically for your bean by inspecting the contents of the ApplicationContext. Autowiring has the following advantages:

  • Autowiring can significantly reduce the need to specify properties or constructor arguments.
  • Autowiring can update a configuration as your objects evolve.For example, if you need to add a dependency to a class, that dependency can be satisfied automatically without you needing to modify the configuration.Thus autowiring can be especially useful during development, without negating the option of switching to explicit wiring when the code base becomes more stable.

When using XML-based configuration metadata2, you specify autowire mode for a bean definition with the autowire attribute of the <bean/> element. The autowiring functionality has five modes. You specify autowiring per bean and thus can choose which ones to autowire.

Table Autowiring modes:-

Autowiring modes

With byType or constructor autowiring mode, you can wire arrays and typed-collections.In such cases all autowire candidates within the container that match the expected type are provided to satisfy thedependency.You can autowire strongly-typed Maps if the expected key type is String. An autowiredMaps values will consist of all bean instances that match the expected type, and the Maps keys willcontain the corresponding bean names.

You can combine autowire behavior with dependency checking, which is performed after autowiring completes.

Limitations and disadvantages of autowiring

Autowiring works best when it is used consistently across a project. If autowiring is not used in general, it might be confusing to developers to use it to wire only one or two bean definitions.

Consider the limitations and disadvantages of autowiring:

  • Explicit dependencies in property and constructor-arg settings always override autowiring.
  • You cannot autowire so-called simple properties such as primitives, Strings,and Classes (and arrays of such simple properties).This limitation is by-design.

  • Autowiring is less exact than explicit wiring. Although, as noted in the above table, Spring is careful to avoid guessing in case of ambiguity that might have unexpected results, the relationships between your Spring-managed objects are no longer documented explicitly.
  • Wiring information may not be available to tools that may generate documentation from a Spring container.
  • Multiple bean definitions within the container may match the type specified by the setter method or constructor argument to be autowired.For arrays,collections, or Maps, this is not necessarily a problem.However for dependencies that expect a single value, this ambiguity is not arbitrarily resolved.If no unique bean definition is available, an exception is thrown.

In the latter scenario, you have several options:

  • Abandon autowiring in favor of explicit wiring.
  • Avoid autowiring for a bean definition by setting its autowire-candidate attributes to false.
  • Designate a single bean definition as the primary candidate by setting the primary attribute of its <bean/> element to true.
  • If you are using Java 5 or later, implement the more fine-grained control available with annotation-based configuration

Excluding a bean from autowiring

On a per-bean basis, you can exclude a bean from autowiring. In Spring's XML format, set the autowire-candidate attribute of the <bean/> element to false; the container makes that specific bean definition unavailable to the autowiring infrastructure (including annotation style configurations such as @Autowired).

You can also limit autowire candidates based on pattern-matching against bean names.The top-level <beans/> element accepts one or more patterns within its default-autowire-candidates attribute. For example, to limit autowire candidate status to any bean whose name ends with Repository, provide a value of *Repository.To provide multiple patterns, define them in a comma-separated list. An explicit value of true or false for a bean definitions autowire-candidate attribute always takes precedence, and for such beans, the pattern matching rules do not apply.

These techniques are useful for beans that you never want to be injected into other beans by autowiring. It does not mean that an excluded bean cannot itself be configured using autowiring. Rather, the bean itself is not a candidate for autowiring other beans.

Method injection

In most application scenarios, most beans in the container are singletons.When a singleton bean needs to collaborate with another singleton bean, or a non-singleton bean needs to collaborate with another non-singleton bean,you typically handle the dependency by defining one bean as a property of the other.

A problem arises when the bean lifecycles are different.Suppose singleton bean A needs to use non-singleton (prototype) bean B, perhaps on each method invocation on A. The container only creates the singleton bean A once,and thus only gets one opportunity to set the properties.The container cannot provide bean A with a new instance of bean B every time one is needed.

A solution is to forego some inversion of control.You can make bean A aware of the container by implementing the ApplicationContextAware interface, and by making a getBean("B") call to the container ask for (a typically new) bean B instance every time bean A needs it.The following is an example of this approach:

// a class that uses a stateful
Command-style class to perform some processing

package fiona.apple;
// Spring-API imports
import org.springframework.beans.BeansException;
import org.springframework.context.Applicationcontext;
import org.springframework.context.ApplicationContextAware;
public class CommandManager implements ApplicationContextAware {
private ApplicationContext applicationContext;
public Object process(Map commandState) {
// grab a new instance of the appropriate Command
Command command = createCommand();
// set the state on the (hopefully brand new) Command instance
command.setState(commandState);
return command.execute();
}
protected Command createCommand() {
// notice the Spring API dependency!
return this.applicationContext.getBean("command", Command.class);
}
public void setApplicationContext(ApplicationContext applicationContext)
throws BeansException {
this.applicationContext = applicationContext;
}
}

The preceding is not desirable, because the business code is aware of and coupled to the Spring Framework. Method Injection, a somewhat advanced feature of the Spring IoC container, allows this use case to be handled in a clean fashion.

Lookup method injection

Lookup method injection is the ability of the container to override methods on container managed beans, to return the lookup result for another named bean in the container. The Spring Framework implements this method injection by using bytecode generation from the CGLIB library to generate dynamically a subclass that overrides the method.

Looking at the CommandManager class in the previous code snippet, you see that the Spring container will dynamically override the implementation of the createCommand() method. Your CommandManager class will not have any Spring dependencies, as can be seen in the reworked example:

package fiona.apple;
// no more Spring imports!
public abstract class CommandManager {
public Object process(Object commandState) {
// grab a new instance of the appropriate Command interface
Command command = createCommand();
// set the state on the (hopefully brand new) Command instance
command.setState(commandState);
return command.execute();
}
// okay... but where is the implementation of this method?
protected abstract Command createCommand();
}

In the client class containing the method to be injected (the CommandManager in this case),the method to be injected requires a signature of the following form:

<public|protected> [abstract] <return-type> theMethodName(no-arguments);

If the method is abstract, the dynamically-generated subclass implements the method.Otherwise, the dynamically-generated subclass overrides the concrete method defined in the original class.For example:

<!-- a stateful bean deployed as a prototype (non-singleton) -->
<bean id="command" class="fiona.apple.AsyncCommand" scope="prototype">
<!-- inject dependencies here as required -->
</bean>
<!-- commandProcessor uses statefulCommandHelper -->
<bean id="commandManager" class="fiona.apple.CommandManager">
<lookup-method name="createCommand" bean="command"/>
</bean>

The bean identified as commandManager calls its own method createCommand() whenever it needs a new instance of the command bean.You must be careful to deploy the command bean as a prototype, if that is actually what is needed. If it is deployed as a singleton,the same instance of the command bean is returned each time.

Arbitrary method replacement

A less useful form of method injection than lookup method Injection is the ability to replace arbitrary methods in a managed bean with another method implementation.With XML-based configuration metadata, you can use the replaced-method element to replace an existing method implementation with another, for a deployed bean.Consider the following class, with a method computeValue, which we want to override:

public class MyValueCalculator {
public String computeValue(String input) {
// some real code...
}
// some other methods...
}

A class implementing the org.springframework.beans.factory.support.MethodReplacer interface provides the new method definition.

/** meant to be used to override the existing computeValue(String)
implementation in MyValueCalculator
*/
public class ReplacementComputeValue implements MethodReplacer {
public Object reimplement(Object o, Method m, Object[] args) throws Throwable {
// get the input value, work with it, and return a computed result
String input = (String) args[0];
...
return ...;
}
}

The bean definition to deploy the original class and specify the method override would look like this:

<bean id="myValueCalculator" class="x.y.z.MyValueCalculator">
<!-- arbitrary method replacement -->
<replaced-method name="computeValue" replacer="replacementComputeValue">
<arg-type>String</arg-type>
</replaced-method>
</bean>
<bean id="replacementComputeValue" class="a.b.c.ReplacementComputeValue"/>

You can use one or more contained <arg-type/> elements within the <replaced-method/> element to indicate the method signature of the method being overridden.The signature for the arguments is necessary only if the method is overloaded and multiple variants exist within the class. For convenience, the type string for an argument may be a substring of the fully qualified type name.For example, the following all match java.lang.String:

java.lang.String
String
Str

Because the number of arguments is often enough to distinguish between each possible choice, this shortcut can save a lot of typing, by allowing you to type only the shortest string that will match an argument type.


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