Spring Core in Spring Certification

Spring Core in Spring Certification (20%).

What is dependency injection and what are the advantages

Dependency injection (DI) is a process whereby objects define their dependencies 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

DI Benefits

  1. Reduced glue boilerplate code, so code is cleaner.
  2. Decoupling is more effective (IOC containers support eager instantiation and lazy loading of services)
  3. Easier to test (no singletons or JNDI lookup mechanisms are required in unit tests)
  4. Better applications design with DI
  5. Increased module reusability.
  6. Increased maintainability.
  7. Standardizes parts of application development.

DI exists in two major variants

  1. Constructor-based
    • mandatory dependencies
    • recommended by Spring
    • It enables one to implement application components as immutable objects and to ensure that required dependencies are not null.
    • constructor-injected components are always returned to client (calling) code in a fully initialized state
    • Constructor argument resolution matching occurs by using the argument’s type.
    • Too many dependencies implying bad design
  2. Setter-based dependency injection
    • should be used for optional dependencies that can be assigned reasonable default values
    • use of the @Required annotation on a setter method can be used to make the property a required dependency.
    • setter methods make objects of that class amenable to reconfiguration or re-injection later.

What is an interface and what are the advantages of making use of them in Java

Interfaces cannot be instantiated and it’s a way of implementing multiple inheritance (polymorphism).


  • providing different implementations at runtime,
  • the ability to inject dependencies, and
  • polymorphism.

Why Interfaces are recommended for Spring beans?

Spring’s DI implementation is based on two core Java concepts: JavaBeans and interfaces.

  • JavaBeans (POJOs): Any Spring-managed resource is referred to as a bean.
  • Using interfaces you can get the most out of DI because your beans can utilize any interface implementation to satisfy their dependency. The use of interfaces also allows Spring to utilize JDK dynamic proxies to provide powerful concepts such as AOP for crosscutting concerns.
  • Increased testability, by mocking or stubbing
  • JDK dynamic proxying
  • Easy dependency injection

What is meant by “application-context”?

ApplicationContext implements org.springframework.context.ApplicationContext.

I’d like to illustrate it by comparing with BeanFactory.

  • The BeanFactory provides the configuration framework and basic functionality.
  • The ApplicationContext adds more enterprise-specific functionality.


  • The BeanFactory interface provides an advanced configuration mechanism capable of managing any type of object.
  • Spring makes heavy use of the BeanPostProcessor extension point (to effect proxying and so on)
  • To explicitly register a BeanFactoryPostProcessor when using a BeanFactory implementation
  • It is not supporting to integrate AOP services like Security, JTA,…
  • Beanfactory is lazy initializer. It can’t create the bean objects at the time of creating IOC container using Beanfactory. It creates the bean objects on demand , when we call the factory.getBean()
  • Use an ApplicationContext unless you have a good reason for not doing so.
    • E.g., the resources of an application are restricted, such as when running Spring for an applet or a mobile device.
    • When using third-party libraries that only allow creating objects using a factory class.

ApplicationContext ApplicationContext interface represents the Spring IoC container and is responsible for instantiating, configuring, and assembling the beans.

  • ApplicationContext is a sub-interface of BeanFactory.
  • ApplicationContext is eager initializer, at the time of creating the IOC container itself it instantiate all the beans which scope is singleton.
  • An ApplicationContext implementation provides the following:
    • access to beans using bean factory methods
    • ability to load file resources in a generic way
    • ability to publish events to registered listeners
    • ability to resolve messages and support internationalization (most used in international web applications)
    • application-layer specific contexts such as the WebApplicationContext for use in web applications.

How are you going to create a new instance of an ApplicationContext

In standalone applications

  • ClassPathXmlApplicationContext: looks for xxx.xml anywhere in the classpath (including JAR files).
  • FileSystemXmlApplicationContext: looks for xxx.xml in a specific location within the filesystem.
  • AnnotationConfigApplicationContext, is the newest and most flexible implementation.

Implementations in Web Application WebApplicationContext extended ApplicationContext which is designed to work with the standard javax.servlet.ServletContext so it’s able to communicate with the container.

  • AnnotationConfigWebApplicationContext: Loads a Spring web application context from one or more Java-based configuration classes
  • XmlWebApplicationContext: Loads context definitions from one or more XML files contained in a web application

Use AnnotationConfigApplicationContext

public class HelloWorldConfiguration {

  public MessageProvider provider() {
    return new HelloWorldMessageProvider();

  public MessageRenderer renderer(){

    MessageRenderer renderer = new StandardOutMessageRenderer();
    return renderer;

public class HelloWorldSpringAnnotated {

  public static void main(String... args) {
    ApplicationContext ctx = new AnnotationConfigApplicationContext (HelloWorldConfiguration.class);
    MessageRenderer mr = ctx.getBean("renderer", MessageRenderer.class);


Use AnnotationConfigWebApplicationContext

public class CourtServletContainerInitializer implements ServletContainerInitializer {

  public void onStartup(Set<Class<?>> c, ServletContext ctx) throws ServletException {
    AnnotationConfigWebApplicationContext applicationContext = new AnnotationConfigWebApplicationContext();
    DispatcherServlet dispatcherServlet = new DispatcherServlet(applicationContext);
    ServletRegistration.Dynamic courtRegistration = ctx.addServlet("court", dispatcherServlet);
    courtRegistration.setLoadOnStartup(1); courtRegistration.addMapping("/");

Can you describe the lifecycle of a Spring Bean in an ApplicationContext

It’s important to understand the lifecycle of a Spring bean, because you may want to take advantage of some of the opportunities that Spring offers to customize how a bean is created.


  1. Spring bean configuration is read and metadata in the form of a BeanDefinition object is created for each bean.

  2. All instances of BeanFactoryPostProcessor are invoked in sequence and are allowed an opportunity to alter the bean metadata.

  3. For each bean in the container, starts creation phase

    1. The beans are instantiated: the bean factory is calling the constructor of each bean. If the bean is created using constructor dependency injection, the dependency bean is created first and then injected where needed.

    2. dependencies are injected via setter.

    3. From this point. Instantiation is completed. Now, bean post process beans are invoked before initialization. The preinitialization BeanPostProcessor infrastructure beans are consulted to see whether they want to call anything from this bean. These are Spring-specific infrastructure beans that perform bean modifications after they are created. The @PostConstruct annotation method is called, which is registered by CommonAnnotationBeanPostProcessor.

    4. The InitializingBean’s afterPropertiesSet() method is invoked by a BeanFactory after it has set all the bean properties supplied and has satisfied BeanFactoryAware and ApplicationContextAware.

    5. The init-method attribute is executed last because this is the actual initialization method of the bean.

  4. Beans are being used

  5. Spring application context is to shut down, the beans in it will receive destruction callbacks in this order:

    1. @PreDestroy
    2. destroy() as defined by the DisposableBean callback interface
    3. A custom configured destroy() method

Combining lifecycle mechanisms

  1. @PostConstruct and @PreDestroy JSR-250 annotations. Best practice!

     public class Bar {
       public void init() throws Exception {
         System.out.println("init method is called");
       public void destroy() throws RuntimeException {
         System.out.println("destroy method is called");
  2. The InitializingBean and DisposableBean. Beans can define callback methods, which can be invoked by the container BeanPostProcessor. Do not use!
    • In InitializingBean, container calls afterproperteisSet().
    • In DisposableBean, container callsdestroy().
     public class Baz implements InitializingBean, DisposableBean {
       public void afterPropertiesSet() throws Exception {
         System.out.println("init method invoked");
       public void destroy() throws Exception {
         System.out.println("destroy method invoked");
  3. Custom init() and destroy() methods from Bean. Not bad.

     public class Foo {
       public void init() {
         System.out.println("init method is called");
       public void destroy() {
         System.out.println("destroy method is called");


How are you going to create an ApplicationContext in an integration test test

ContextLoader is a strategy interface for loading an ApplicationContext for an integration test managed by the Spring TestContext Framework.

Its sub-interface SmartContextLoader to provide support for annotated classes, active bean definition profiles, test property sources, context hierarchies, and WebApplicationContext support.

Implementations of SmartContextLoader:

  • AnnotationConfigContextLoader: Loads a standard ApplicationContext from annotated classes.
  • AnnotationConfigWebContextLoader: Loads a WebApplicationContext from annotated classes.

Annotations @WebAppConfiguration is a class-level annotation that you can use to declare that the ApplicationContext loaded for an integration test should be a WebApplicationContext.

@ContextConfiguration defines class-level metadata that is used to determine how to load and configure an ApplicationContext for integration tests.

@DirtiesContext application context will be reloaded for the next test method.

Note that @WebAppConfiguration must be used in conjunction with @ContextConfiguration, either within a single test class or within a test class hierarchy.

public class MyWebAppTest {
  private WebApplicationContext wac;

What is the preferred way to close an application context?

A Spring application has a lifecycle composed of three phases:

  1. Initialization: In this phase, bean definitions are read, beans are created, dependencies are injected, and resources are allocated, also known as the bootstrap phase. After this phase is complete, the application can be used.

  2. Running: In this phase, the application is up and running. It is used by clients, and beans are retrieved and used to provide responses for their requests. This is the main phase of the lifecycle and covers 99% of it.

  3. Destruction: The context is being shut down, resources are released, and beans are handed over to the garbage collector. But some beans work with resources that might refuse to release them if they are not notified before destruction.

When Spring application context is to shut down, the beans receive destruction callbacks in this order:

  1. @PreDestroy
  2. destroy() as defined by the DisposableBean callback interface
  3. A custom configured destroy() method.

However, Spring doesn’t fire destruction callbacks automatically.

For web application runs as a servlet, you can simply call destroy() in the servlet’s destroy() method.

For stand-alone application, things are not simple, especially if you have multiple exit points out of your application.

Solution: use AbstractApplicationContext’s registerShutdownHook() method. The method automatically instructs Spring to register a shutdown hook of the underlying JVM runtime. After it is added, calls to ctx.destroy() or close() will be removed.

public class DestructiveBeanWithHook {

  public static void main(String... args) {
    GenericApplicationContext ctx = new AnnotationConfigApplicationContext( DestructiveBeanConfig.class);


    ctx.registerShutdownHook();// no need to call ctx.destroy() or close()

How to close applicatoinContext in SpringBoot

  1. SpringBoot registers shutdown-hook

  2. call the close() method directly using the application context.

    • while closing the application context, the parent context isn’t affected due to separate lifecycles.
    • This destroys all the beans, releases the locks, then closes the bean factory.
     ConfigurableApplicationContext ctx = new SpringApplicationBuilder(Application.class).web(WebApplicationType.NONE).run();

Describe dependency injection using Java configuration

  1. Configuration metadata is traditionally supplied in XML format.
  2. Spring 2.5 introduced support for annotation-based configuration metadata.
  3. Spring 3.0, many features provided by the Spring JavaConfig project became part of the core Spring Framework. Java configuration typically uses @Bean annotated methods within a @Configuration class.
public class ServiceConfig {

  private AccountRepository accountRepository;

  public TransferService transferService() {
    return new TransferServiceImpl(accountRepository);

public class RepositoryConfig {

  private final DataSource dataSource;

  @Autowired //not necessary, since target bean defines only one constructor
  public RepositoryConfig(DataSource dataSource) {
    this.dataSource = dataSource;

  public AccountRepository accountRepository() {
    return new JdbcAccountRepository(dataSource);

@Import({ServiceConfig.class, RepositoryConfig.class})
public class SystemTestConfig {

  public DataSource dataSource() {
    return new DataSource

Describe dependency injection using @Autowired annotations?

@Component marks the class as a Java Bean and Spring picks that up and pulls it into the Application context so that it can be injected into @Autowired instances.

@Autowire is kind of Annotation-based container configuration, is the short version for automatic dependency injection.

how does Spring know what to inject?

  1. @Autowired matches by type by default. Additional @qualifier will be used among selected cadidates only.
  2. JSR-250 @Resource annotation, which is semantically defined to identify a specific target component by its unique name rather than @Autowired.

@Autowired Injection types

  1. constructor
  2. “traditional” setter methods, void setXXX(){}
  3. annotation to methods with arbitrary names and multiple arguments
  4. field injection
  5. field injection of an array of that type
  6. Requried by default.@Autowired(required = false) means optional.
    • The 'required' attribute of @Autowired is recommended over the @Required annotation on setter methods.
    • you can express the non-required nature of a particular dependency through Java 8’s java.util.Optional.
     @Autowired(required = false)
     public void setMovieFinder(MovieFinder movieFinder) {
       this.movieFinder = movieFinder;
     public void setMovieFinder(Optional<MovieFinder> movieFinder) { }
  7. for interfaces that are well-known resolvable dependencies: BeanFactory, ApplicationContext, Environment, ResourceLoader, ApplicationEventPublisher, and MessageSource. These interfaces and their extended interfaces, such as ConfigurableApplicationContext or ResourcePatternResolver, are automatically resolved, with no special setup necessary.
public class MovieRecommender {

  private Set<MovieCatalog> movieCatalogs;
  private final CustomerPreferenceDao customerPreferenceDao;
  private ApplicationContext context;
  private MovieCatalog movieCatalog;
  private MovieCatalog[] movieCatalogs;
  public MovieRecommender(CustomerPreferenceDao customerPreferenceDao) {
    this.customerPreferenceDao = customerPreferenceDao;
  public void setMovieCatalogs(Set<MovieCatalog> movieCatalogs) {
    this.movieCatalogs = movieCatalogs;

Limitations and disadvantages of autowiring

  1. Explicit dependencies in property and constructor-arg settings always override autowiring.
  2. Autowiring is less exact than explicit wiring.
  3. Wiring information may not be available to tools that may generate documentation from a Spring container.
  4. Multiple bean definitions within the container may match the type specified by the setter method or constructor argument to be autowired.
  5. While injecting Map type, the key type msut be String.

     private Map<String, MovieCatalog> movieCatalogs;
     public void setMovieCatalogs(Map<String, MovieCatalog> movieCatalogs) {
       this.movieCatalogs = movieCatalogs;

Describe Component scanning

Spring attacks automatic wiring from two angles:

  1. Component scanning — Spring automatically discovers beans to be created in the application context.

  2. Autowiring — Spring automatically satisfies bean dependencies.

@Configuration classes are meta-annotated with @Component, so they are candidates for component-scanning. But, it’s not a sterotype! ```java @Target(value=TYPE) @Retention(value=RUNTIME) @Documented @Component public @interface Configuration

Filtering configuration can be added to the `@ComponentScan` annotation as to include or exclude certain classes.

- **basePackages**
- **basePackageClasses**
- **includeFilters**
- **includeFilters**

      basePackages = "...",
      basePackageClasses = XxxService.class,
      excludeFilters = @ComponentScan.Filter(type = FilterType.REGEX, pattern = ".*Repository"),
      includeFilters = @ComponentScan.Filter(type = FilterType.ANNOTATION, classes = MyService.class))
    public class FooApplication(){}

## Describe Stereotypes annotations

**Stereotype** annotations are annotations that are applied classes that contains information of **which role Spring beans implemented** by the class fulfills.

- `@Component`
- `@Controller`
- `@RestController`
- `@Service`
- `@Repository`

`@AliasFor` cannot be used on any stereotype annotations (@Component and its specializations)

## Scopes for Spring beans? What is the default scope

- Singleton scope: per container, **default bean scope**, **stateless**
- Prototype: each time a bean is request, **stateful**
- Request: Scopes a single bean definition to the lifecycle of an HTTP request, web-aware contexts only
- Session: Scopes a single bean definition to the lifecycle of an HTTP Session, web-aware contexts only
- Application: Scopes a single bean definition to the lifecycle of a ServletContext, web-aware contexts only
- Websocket: Scopes a single bean definition to the lifecycle of a WebSocket, web-aware contexts only
- As of Spring 3.0, a **thread scope** is available but is not registered by default.

### How to inject a prototype-scoped bean into a singleton bean

Dependencies are resolved at instantiation time!!!

- A new prototype bean is instantiated and then dependency-injected into the singleton bean at the beginning.
- The prototype instance is the sole instance that is ever supplied to the singletonscoped bean.
- The injection occurs only once, when the Spring container is instantiating the singleton bean and resolving and injecting its dependencies.


1. ApplicationContextAware

If you need a new instance of a prototype bean at runtime more than once, use **“Method injection”**. 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.

2. Lookup Method Injection `@Lookup`

It's used when a singleton depends on a nonsingleton. let the singleton declare a method, the lookup method, which returns an instance of the nonsingleton bean.

public class PrototypeDemo { }
public class someServices {

    public PrototypeDemo getThisBean() { }

Are beans lazily or eagerly instantiated by default? How do you alter this behavior?

  • Singleton beans are eagerly instantiated by default.
  • Prototype beans are typically created lazily when requested.

Eager: instantiation and by default loads the bean immediately.

@Lazy: postpone the creation of a bean until it is first accessed. By default is true. So @Lazy(value=true) equsls to @Lazy. To alter behavior, set @Lazy(true) true of false

  • Used on injection points (as @Autowired)
  • Used on bean definition
    • With @Component
    • With @Bean along with @Configuration
  • Advantage: it speeds container bootstrap time and has a smaller memory footprint. useful when the dependency is a huge object.
  • Disadvantage: error remains unnoticed untill using of it
public class AccountServiceImpl implements AccountService { }

public class Ch2BeanConfiguration {

  public AccountService accountService() {
    AccountServiceImpl bean = new AccountServiceImpl();
    return bean;

// on injection point
public class JdbcPetRepo extends JdbcAbstractRepo<Pet> implements PetRepo {

  public void setDataSource(DataSource dataSource) {
    this.dataSource = dataSource;

What is a property source? How would you use @PropertySource

@PropertySource annotation is a facility to load the contents of a .properties file (i.e., key-value pairs) to set up bean properties.

  1. To read the contents of a properties file (i.e., key-value pairs) to set up bean properties, you can use Spring’s @PropertySource annotation with PropertySourcesPlaceholderConfigurer.
    • you can use the@PropertySource annotation to convert the key values into a bean inside a Java config class.
    • Once you define the @PropertySource annotation to load the properties file, you also need to define a PropertySourcePlaceholderConfigurer bean with the @Bean annotation to enable the property placeholder resolve mechanism. Spring automatically wires the demo.properties file so its properties become accessible as bean properties.
    • throws IllegalArgumentException
     @PropertySource(value = { "classpath:application.properties" })
     public class AppConfig {
       public static PropertySourcesPlaceholderConfigurer placeHolderConfigurer() {
         return new PropertySourcesPlaceholderConfigurer();
  2. If you want to read the contents of any file, you can use Spring’s Resource mechanism decorated with the @Value annotation.
    • To define the Java variable values with these values, you make use of the@Value annotation with a placeholder expression.
    • The syntax is @Value("${key:default_value}")

Class-level annotation annotation for integration test. Have higher precedence than

  • Property sources loaded from operating system’s environment
  • Java system properties
  • Property sources added by application via @PropertySource

NB: inlined properties have higher precedence than properties loaded from resource locations.

@TestPropertySource(properties = { "timezone = GMT", "port: 4242" })  // inline properties
public class MyIntegrationTests {  }

What is a BeanFactoryPostProcessor and what is it used for? When is it invoked

BeanFactoryPostProcessor is for manipulate bean definition. If you want to change the actual bean instances, use BeanPostProcessor.


  • works in the ApplicationContext lifecycle Load Bean Definition step,
  • before the container instantiates any beans other than BeanFactoryPostProcessors beans,
  • they read, and potentially operate on the bean configuration metadata, or say, bean meta-data, or bean definition.
  • A custom BeanFactoryPostProcessor can also be used, for example, to register custom property editors.
  • You can configure multiple BeanFactoryPostProcessors, control the order by implement ordered interface.

It’s invoked after container is initialized, and bean definition is read, before anybean is initialized.

public class CustomBeanFactory implements BeanFactoryPostProcessor {

    public void postProcessBeanFactory(ConfigurableListableBeanFactory beanFactory) throws BeansException {
        for (String beanName : beanFactory.getBeanDefinitionNames()) {

            BeanDefinition beanDefinition = beanFactory.getBeanDefinition(beanName);

            // Manipulate the beanDefiniton or whatever you need to do

Why would you define a static @Bean method

Static @Bean methods are called without creating their containing configuration class as an instance.

This makes particular sense when defining postprocessor beans, e.g. of type:

  1. BeanFactoryPostProcessor
    • PropertySourcesPlaceholderConfigurer class: is used to process placeholders defined in configuration metadata files or classes and replace those placeholders with the values of properties found in PropertySources.
  2. BeanPostProcessor,

Since such beans will get initialized early in the container lifecycle and should avoid triggering other parts of the configuration at that point.

Calls to static @Bean methods never get intercepted by the container, because CGLIB subclassing can override only non-static methods.

In static@bean class, @Autowired and @Value do not work on the class itself, since it is being created as a bean instance too early.

What is a PropertySourcesPlaceholderConfigurer used for

Add a static bean factory method in the configuration class, which will enable the property placeholder resolve mechanism.

Its bean instance is a special infrastructural bean that is used to process placeholders defined in configuration metadata files or classes and replace those placeholders with the values of properties found in PropertySources. Therefore, that bean instance should be instantiated without creating an instance of the configuration class.

public static PropertySourcesPlaceholderConfigurer propertyPlaceHolderConfigurer() {
  return new PropertySourcesPlaceholderConfigurer();

What is a BeanPostProcessor and how is it different to a BeanFactoryPostProcessor? What do they do? When are they called

BeanFactoryPostProcessor is for manipulate bean definition. If you want to change the actual bean instances, use BeanPostProcessor.

BeanPostProcessor is an interface that defines callback methods that allow for modification of bean instances, like to implement your own (or override the container’s default) instantiation logic, dependency-resolution logic, and so forth.

  1. postProcessBeforeInitialization()
  2. postProcessAfterInitialization()

They’re “called” when the Spring IoC container instantiates a bean. During the startup for all the singleton and on demand for the proptotypes one, it may even replace a bean instance with, for instance, an AOP. It’s scoped per-container.


Java Configuration and all other annotations: a AutowiredAnnotationBeanPostProcessor bean is used to autowire dependencies. This is a post processor bean implementation that autowires annotated fields, setter methods, and arbitrary config methods. It is registered by the @Configuration annotation, but it can also be registered in mixed configurations by component scanning. This bean takes care of the autowiring configured with @Autowired, @Value, and@Inject.

@Required annotation, which is backed by the built-in Spring post-processor RequiredAnnotationBeanPostProcessor which checks whether all the bean properties with the @Required annotation have been set.

To write a bean post-processor

To register a bean post-processor in an application context, just annotate the class with the @Component annotation. The application context is able to detect which bean implements the BeanPostProcessor interface and register it to process all other bean instances in the container.

the postProcessBeforeInitialization() and postProcessAfterInitialization() methods must return the original bean instance even if you don’t do anything in the method.

public class AuditCheckBeanPostProcessor implements BeanPostProcessor {

  public Object postProcessBeforeInitialization(Object bean, String beanName) throws BeansException {
    System.out.println("In AuditCheckBeanPostProcessor. postProcessBeforeInitialization, processing bean type: " + bean.getClass()); return bean;
  public Object postProcessAfterInitialization(Object bean, String beanName) throws BeansException {
    return bean;

What is an initialization method and how is it declared on a Spring bean

An initialization method is invoked

  1. after all properties on the bean have been populated
  2. before the bean is taken into use.

Different ways to declare, Spring invokes them in a specific order:

  1. Annotating with @PostConstruct the method that is called right after the bean is instantiated and dependencies injected. The method must be invoked before the bean is used, and, like any other initialization method chosen, may be called only once during a bean lifecycle.

     public class Bar {
       public void init() throws Exception {
         System.out.println("init method is called");
       public void destroy() throws RuntimeException {
         System.out.println("destroy method is called");
  2. Implementing the org.springframework.beans.factory.InitializingBean interface and providing an implementation for the method afterPropertiesSet() (not recommended !!!, since it couples the application code with Spring infrastructure).

  3. A custom configured init() method that specified within the bean configuration file is invoked. The equivalent of the init-method attribute when using Java Configuration @Bean(initMethod="...")

public class BeanOne {
  public void init() { /* initialization logic  */}

public class BeanTwo {
  public void cleanup() { /* destruction logic*/ }

public class AppConfig {
  @Bean(initMethod = "init")
  public BeanOne beanOne() {
    return new BeanOne();

  @Bean(destroyMethod = "cleanup")
  public BeanTwo beanTwo() {
    return new BeanTwo();


What is a destroy method, how is it declared and when is it called

The destroy method is invoked just before the end of a bean’s lifetime.

  • singletonscoped beans are invoked at the shutdown of the whole Spring Container.
  • The destroy methods of request‐scoped beans are invoked at the end of the current web request, and
  • the destroy methods of session‐scoped beans are invoked at HTTP session timeout or invalidation.
  • Prototype‐scoped beans are not tracked after their instantiation; therefore, their destroy methods cannot be invoked.

A destroy method will be invoked when the application context is about to close.

Destroy methods are called in the same order:

  1. Methods annotated with @PreDestroy

  2. destroy() as defined by the DisposableBean callback interface

  3. A custom configured destroy() method``

Consider how you enable JSR-250 annotations like @PostConstruct and @PreDestroy? When/how will they get called?

When a Spring App uses annotation-based configuration, a default CommonAnnotationBeanPostProcessor is automatically registered in the application context and no additional configuration is necessary to enable @PostConstruct and @PreDestroy.

JSR-250 includes @PostConstruct and @PreDestroy.

Destroy methods are called in the order:

  1. @PreDestroy annotation.
  2. destroy() as defined by the DisposableBean callback interface(not recommanded, coupling with Spring)
  3. destroy Method element of the @Bean annotation.

How else can you define an initialization or destruction method for a Spring bean?

Three ways to initialize and three ways of destruction. Details see above.

  1. JSR-250: @PostConstruct, @PreDestroy
  2. InitializingBean and DisposableBean methods
  3. Bean init and destroy methods

What does component-scanning do

Component, or classpath, scanning is the process using which the Spring container searches the classpath for classes annotated with stereotype annotations and registers bean definitions in the Spring container for such classes.

What is the behavior of the annotation @Autowired with regards to field injection, constructor injection and method injection

@Autowired tries to find a matching bean by type and inject it at the place on annotation - that may be a constructor, a method (not only setter, but usually setter) and field.

  1. Container examines the type of field
  2. Container searches for a bean that matches the type
  3. If multiple matching, @Primary bean is injected
  4. If multiple matching, @Qualifier bean might be used
  5. If multiple matching, try to match bean name and filed name
  6. Exception throws if no unique matching
  7. @Autowired cannot be used to autowire primitive values, or Strings. @Value specializes in this exactly.
public class MovieRecommender {

  private final CustomerPreferenceDao customerPreferenceDao;
  private MovieCatalog movieCatalog;  //@Autowired to fields
  @Autowired // to constructors
  public MovieRecommender(@Qualifier("second")CustomerPreferenceDao customerPreferenceDao) {
    this.customerPreferenceDao = customerPreferenceDao;

What do you have to do, if you would like to inject something into a private field? How does this impact testing

For private fields:

  1. private fields and setters can be annotated as @Autowired and @Value
  2. use Constructor to initialize

For testing:

  1. @TestPropertySource allows using either a test-specific property file or customizing individual property values.
  2. Spring framework provides ReflectionTestUtils

How does the @Qualifier annotation complement the use of @Autowired

@Autowired + @Qualifier = @Resource(name="beanName")

@Qualifier used at 3 locations:

  1. Inject Points. The most basic use of the @Qualifier annotation is to specify the name of the Spring bean to be selected the bean to be dependency-injected.
    • On a field
    • On a method

        public void setDessert(Dessert dessert) {
          this.dessert = dessert;
    • On a method argument (before parameter type)

        public class MovieRecommender {
          private MovieCatalog movieCatalog;
          public void prepare(@Qualifier("main") MovieCatalog movieCatalog) {
            this.movieCatalog = movieCatalog;
  2. Bean Definitions. This will assign a qualifier to the bean and the same qualifier can later be used at an injection point to inject the bean in question.
    1. declare it
     public class IceCream implements Dessert {
       return new IceCream();
    1. use it
     public void setDessert(Dessert dessert) {
       this.dessert = dessert;
  3. Annotation Definition. To create custom qualifier annotations

NB: A scenario that use @Qualifier without @Autowired. @Qualifiercan also be used alongside the @Bean annotation when explicitly defining beans with Java configuration

public class FooFormatter { }

public class FooFormatter { }

public Dessert iceCream() {
  return new IceCream();

What is a proxy object and what are the two different types of proxies Spring can create

Spring provides a subproject, the Spring AOP, which offers a pure Java solution for defining method execution join points on the target object — the Spring beans — by employing the Proxy pattern.

The proxy objects as the wrappers around the actual objects, so the features can be introduced before, after, or around the method calls of the originator objects. When another object wants to invoke a method on the original object, it will invoke the same method on the proxy object. The proxy object may perform some processing before, optionally, invoking the (same) method on the original object.

Spring framework is able to create two types of proxy objects:

  1. JDK Dynamic Proxy - default: Creates a proxy object that implements all the interfaces

  2. CGLIB Proxy: Dynamically generates the bytecode for a new class on runtime for each proxy, reusing already generated classes wherever possible.

If a Spring bean implements an interface, all the implementation of that interface will be proxied by the JDK, and if the bean does not implement any interface, CGLIB proxying is applied to the concrete class objects. It’s also possible to use the CGLIB proxy mechanism at all times with the configuration.

What are the limitations of these proxies (per type)

Limitations of JDK Dynamic Proxies

  1. Requires the proxied object to implement at least one interface.
  2. Only public methods found in the implemented interface(s) will be available in the proxy object.
  3. Proxy objects must be referenced using an interface type and cannot be referenced using a type of a superclass of the proxied object type.
  4. Does not support self-invocations.

Limitations of CGLIB Proxies

  1. Requires the class of the proxied object to be non-final.
  2. Requires methods in the proxied object to be non-final.
  3. Does not support self-invocations.
  4. Cannot proxy private methods. (public, protected and package-visible are ok)

What is the power of a proxy object and where are the disadvantages

power of a proxy object

  • Add behavior to existing beans. E.g., Transaction management, logging, security.
  • Separate concerns. E.g., logging, security etc from business logic.

Disadvantage of proxy object

  • Proxies can only work from the outside
  • proxied objects must be instantiated by the Spring container(not new keyword)
  • proxies are not serializable

advantages of Java Config

  • Type safe assured by IDEs
  • Support more complex scenarios compares to XML and annotation based config


  • Cannot dynamically change the config you must rebuild the project
  • Configuration classes cannot be final. Configuration classes are subclassed by the Spring container using CGLIB and final classes cannot be subclassed.

What does the @Bean annotation do

The @Bean annotation tells Spring that this method will return an object that should be registered as a bean in the Spring application context.

The @Bean annotation together with the method are treated as a bean definition, and the method name becomes the bean id.

The body of the method contains logic that ultimately results in the creation of the bean

  1. You can trigger autowiring without adding the @autowire attribute into the@Bean annotation.
  2. When you place the @Qualifier annotation together with the @Autowired and @Bean annotations, autowiring behavior turns into byName mode

What is the default bean id if you only use @Bean? How can you override this?

The @Bean annotation together with the method are treated as a bean definition, and the method name becomes the bean id.

  • Method name is default bean name, or say, Bean Id.
  • Override it by using name or value on @Bean
 public MyBean myBeanDefaultId() {
     return new MyBean();

Why are you not allowed to annotate a final class with @Configuration

JavaConfig requires CGLIB subclassing of each configuration class at runtime, so that @Configuration classes and their factory methods must not be marked as final or private.

How do @Configuration annotated classes support singleton beans

It’s singleton scope by default.

Why can’t @Bean methods be final either

CGlib proxying cannot proxy a final class.

How do you configure profiles? What are possible use cases where they might be useful

  1. JVM argument
  2. Environment API
  3. PropertySource
  4. @Profile

Details are:

  1. One easy way is to specify them as the‐Dspring.profiles.active JVM argument value.

  2. Most straightforward, set via Environment API. The Environment and PropertySource abstraction features in Spring assist developers in accessing various configuration information from the running platform. Environment interface includes: - all system properties, - environment variables, and - application properties

     // Environment API
     AnnotationConfigApplicationContext ctx = new AnnotationConfigApplicationContext();
     // ctx.getEnvironment().setActiveProfiles("profile1", "profile2"); //works with multi profiles
     ctx.register(SomeConfig.class, StandaloneDataConfig.class, JndiDataConfig.class);
  3. For the PropertySource abstraction, Spring will access the properties in the following default order
    1. System properties for the running JVM
    2. Environment variables
    3. Application-defined properties

    In real life, you seldom need to interact directly with the Environment interface but will use a property placeholder in the form of ${} (for example, ${application.home}) and inject the resolved value into Spring beans.

  4. Sometimes you need to define beans according to the runtime environment. The @Profile are eligible for registration when one or more profiles are active. Annotation Type Profile allows for registering different beans depending on differenct conditions. E.g., rewrite dataSource configuration.
@Profile("default") //@Profile({"dev", "qa"})
public class DefaultDataConfig {

    public DataSource dataSource() {
        return new EmbeddedDatabaseBuilder()
  1. In the test class we can activate the development profile by annotating the test class with @ActiveProfiles annotation and giving the profile name as argument.
@ContextConfiguration(classes = {PetConfigClass.class})
public class PetServiceTest { }

Can you use @Bean together with @Profile?

  • On Class, along with @Configuration, inner beans only create when @profile conditon is met
  • On Class, along with @Component, inner beans create when condition met
  • On method, along with @Bean, bean crates when condition met
  • As meta-annotaion, to create custom annotations.

Can you use @Component together with @Profile

public class UserDAOdb8Impl implements UserDAO {}

How many profiles can you have

setActiveProfiles() accepts String… varargs, which is a String[]. In Java, arrays internally use integers for index, the max size is Integer.MAX_VALUE. So theoretically it is 2^31-1 = 2147483647.

How do you inject scalar/literal values into Spring beans

@Autowired cannot be used to autowire primitive values, or Strings, @Value specializes in this exactly.

It can be used to insert scalar values or can be used together with placeholders and SpEL in order to provide flexibility in configuring a bean.

@Component public class Foo {

  private String name;
  public String getName() {
    return name;
  public void setName(String name) {
    this.name = name; }

What is @Value used for

The @Autowired, @Inject, @Value, and @Resource annotations are handled by Spring BeanPostProcessor implementations.

This means that you cannot apply these annotations within your own BeanPostProcessor or BeanFactoryPostProcessor types (if any).

These types must be ‘wired up’ explicitly by using XML or a Spring @Bean method.

  • Setting (default) values of bean fields, method parameters and constructor parameters.
  • Injecting environment variable values into bean fields, method parameters and constructor parameters.
  • Evaluate expressions and inject the result.

What is Spring Expression Language (SpEL for short)

SpEL is an expression language that allows for querying and manipulating an object graph at runtime.


What can you reference using SpEL

  • Static methods and static properties/fields
  • Properties and methods in Spring beans: @mySuperComponent.injectedValue
  • Properties and methods in Java objects: #javaObject.firstName
  • (JVM) System properties: @systemProperties['os.name']
  • System environment properties: @systemEnvironment['KOTLIN_HOME']
  • Spring application environment: @environment['defaultProfiles'][0]

What is the difference between $ and # in @Value expressions

  • With $, reference a property name in the application’s environment.
    expressions are evaluated by the PropertySourcesPlaceholderConfigurer Spring bean prior to bean creation and can only be used in @Value annnotations.

  • With #, SpEL

What is the Environment abstraction in Spring

The Environment is an abstraction integrated in the container that models two key aspects of the application environment: profiles and properties.

  1. profiles A profile is a named, logical group of bean definitions to be registered with the container only if the given profile is active.

  2. properties. Properties may originate from a variety of sources:

    • JVM system properties
    • Operating system environment variables
    • Command-line arguments
    • Application property configuration files
  • The Spring ApplicationContext interface extends the EnvironmentCapable interface, which contain one single method namely the getEnvironment(), which returns an object implementing the Environment interface. Thus a Spring application context has a relation to one single Environment object.
ApplicationContext ctx = new GenericApplicationContext();
Environment env = ctx.getEnvironment();
boolean containsFoo = env.containsProperty("foo");
System.out.println("Does my environment contain the 'foo' property? " + containsFoo);

// obtain Environment instance, and set the active profile
ConfigurableEnvironment environment = applicationContext.getEnvironment(); environment.setActiveProfiles("dev");


Where can properties in the environment come from – there are many sources for properties – check the documentation if not sure. Spring Boot adds even more

see image above.

  • properties files,
  • JVM system properties,
  • system environment variables,
  • JNDI,
  • servlet context parameters,
  • ad-hoc Properties objects,
  • Maps, and so on.

Questions removed from mid 2019 study guide update

What is the concept of a “container” and what is its lifecycle

A container provides an environment in which there are a number of services made available and that perhaps manages objects.

Spring IOC container provides an environment for Spring beans, managing their lifecycle and supplying the services. Two main parts:

  1. org.springframework.beans
  2. org.springframework.context
    1. The BeanFactory interface provides an advanced configuration mechanism capable of managing any type of object.
    2. ApplicationContext is a sub-interface of BeanFactory.
    3. In short, the BeanFactory provides the configuration framework and basic functionality, and the ApplicationContext adds more enterprise-specific functionality.
  • ApplicationContext interface represents the Spring IoC container and is responsible for instantiating, configuring, and assembling the beans.

Container Lifecycle A Spring application has a lifecycle composed of three phases:

  1. Initialization. After this phase is complete, the application can be used.
    1. The application context is initialized.

    2. The container reads the bean definitions (configuration data)(from the spring/test-db01-config.xml in this case).

    3. The bean definitions are processed (in our case a bean of type PropertyPlaceholderConfigurer is created and used to read the properties from datasource.properties, which are then added to the dataSource bean definition).

    4. Beans creation and processing.

      1. In the first stage, the beans are instantiated vis contructor. This basically means that the bean factory is calling the constructor of each bean. If the bean is created using constructor dependency injection, the dependency bean is created first and then injected where needed. For beans that are defined in this way, the instantiation stage coincides with the dependency injection stage.
      2. In the second stage, dependencies are injected. For beans that are defined having dependencies injected via setter, this stage is separate from the instantiation stage.
      3. The next stage is the one in which bean post process beans are invoked before initialization.
      4. In this stage, beans are initialized.
      5. The next stage is the one in which bean post process beans are invoked after initialization.
  2. Use. Beans are used.

  3. Destruction: The context is being shut down, resources are released, and beans are handed over to the garbage collector.
    1. Application shut down is initialized.
    2. The Spring container is closed.
    3. Destruction callbacks are invoked on the singleton Spring beans in the container.

Initialization lifecycle callback methods are called on all objects regardless of scope, in the case of prototypes, configured destruction lifecycle callbacks are not called.

<!-- test-db01-config.xml contents-->
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans ...>
  <bean class="org.springframework.beans.factory.config.PropertyPlaceholderConfigurer">
    <property name="locations" value="classpath:db/datasource.properties"/>
  <bean id="dataSource1" class="org.springframework.jdbc.datasource.DriverManagerDataSource">
    <property name="driverClassName" value="${driverClassName}"/>
    <property name="url" value="${url}"/>
    <property name="username" value="${username}"/>
    <property name="password" value="${password}"/>
public class ApplicationContextTest {

  private Logger logger = LoggerFactory.getLogger(ApplicationContextTest.class);
  public void testDataSource1() {
    ConfigurableApplicationContext ctx = new ClassPathXmlApplicationContext("classpath:spring/test-db01-config.xml");
    logger.info(" >> init done.");
    DataSource dataSource1 = ctx.getBean("dataSource1", DataSource.class);
    logger.info(" >> usage done.");



Get Beans from container

  1. Retrieving Bean by Name
    1. throw NoSuchBeanDefinitionException
    2. we have to cast it to the desired type
     Object obj = context.getBean("User");
     User = (User) obj;
  2. Retrieving Bean by Name and Type

     User user = context.getBean("user", User.class);
  3. Retrieving Bean by Type
    • NoUniqueBeanDefinitionException
     User user = context.getBean(User.class);
  4. Retrieving Bean by Name with Constructor Parameters. prototype scope only
    • BeanDefinitionStoreException
     User user = = (User) context.getBean("haha", age);
  5. Retrieving Bean by Type With Constructor Parameters. prototype scope only

     User user = = (User) context.getBean(User.class, user.getName());

Despite being defined in the BeanFactory interface, the getBean() method is most frequently accessed through the ApplicationContext. Typically, we don’t want to use the getBean() method directly in our program.


Annotations that can be applied to definitions of annotations, must be applicable at type level. Example with @RestController

Meta-annotations can also be combined to create composed annotations. @RestController = @Controller + @ResponseBody.

public @interface RestController {}


  1. Pivotal Certified Professional Spring Developer Exam Study Guide
  2. Spring in Action, Fifth Edition
  3. Core Spring 5 Certification in Detail by Ivan Krizsan
  4. Pro Spring 5: An In-Depth Guide to the Spring Framework and Its Tools
  5. BeanFactoryPostProcessor and BeanPostProcessor in lifecycle events