Application context XML configuration in a Spring Boot web service

A colleague told me recently he didn’t use Spring for his latest REST project because he couldn’t get the beans defined in a XML configuration file loaded. He was familiar with Spring but had never boot strapped a brand new project. I didn’t realise this could be a problem because I have used Spring MVC for a very long time. He was right. It was not obvious. For example, in the Spring Boot tutorial Building a RESTful Web Service, everything is @Autowired. In a real application, you might need to define some beans in a XML configuration file. For example, database connection information for the persistence layer.

Using the example from my previous post on Spring Boot. You can use the annotation @ImportResource to load XML configuration files.

public class Application extends SpringBootServletInitializer {
  public static void main(String[] args) {, args);

Spring will auto scan classes annotated with @Service, @Repository, @Controller and @Component. Because Spring AOP is proxy-based, your DAO classes should implement interfaces. For example,

public interface OrderDao {
  Order getOrder(int id) throw OrderNotFoundException;
public class OrderDaoImpl implements OrderDao {
  private JdbcTemplate jdbcTemplate;
  public void setMyDataSource(DataSource myDataSource) {
    this.jdbcTemplate = new JdbcTemplate(myDataSource);

For some reason, Spring’s own JdbcDaoSupport class is not autowired enabled. If you choose to extend JdbcDaoSupport, you will need to use XML configuration to set the datasource manually. I prefer to have JdbcTemplate as a member and @Autowired the setter instead.

The datasource is defined in the XML file spring-config.xml. The file is located in src/main/resources in a maven project. (Please use a connection pool in a real application. I’m using BasicDataSource here for simplicity sake).

<bean id="myDataSource" class="org.apache.commons.dbcp.BasicDataSource" destroy-method="close">
  <property name="driverClassName" value=""/>
  <property name="url" value="${db.url}"/>
  <property name="username" value="${db.username}"/>
  <property name="password" value="${db.password}"/>

The properties are defined in, also in src/main/resources.


Note: I’m using Spring Boot 1.3.5