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117A. Spring-MVC Web Applications
Version 2.5

Book cover

This course enables the experienced Java developer to use the Spring application framework to manage objects in a lightweight "IoC" (inversion-of-control) container; to create simple and complex web applications; and to manage persistent objects using Spring's support for DAOs and transaction control. Spring is a far-reaching framework that aims to facilitate all sorts of Java development, including every level of multi-tier distributed systems. Here we focus on the Core and Web/MVC modules, with a lighter (but by no means dismissive) touch on persistence through DAO and ORM modules.

The Core module gives the developer declarative control over object creation and assembly; this is useful for any tier of any Java application. So is Spring's validation framework, and so we study these things in a mix of standalone (Java SE) applications and web applications. Then students build web applications that use the Spring MVC framework to rationalize their designs into coherent request/response cycles. They use Spring command objects to manage HTML forms and their data, and connect these to the validation framework. We connect our applications to persistent stores and study the DAO and ORM modules, to better understand JDBC and JPA persistence models and declarative transaction control.

Prerequisites

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the scope, purpose, and architecture of Spring
  • Use Spring's bean factories and application contexts to declare application components, rather than hard-coding their states and lifecycles
  • Use dependency injection to further control object relationships from outside the Java code base
  • Use annotations to take advantage of Spring post-processors for automated bean instantiation and wiring
  • Create validators for business objects, and associate them for application-level and unit-testing uses
  • Build a web application as a Spring DispatcherServlet and associated application context, with declared beans acting as controllers, command objects, and view resolvers
  • Build and manage HTML forms with Spring command objects and custom tags
  • Use Spring interceptors to implement horizontal features in the web application
  • Connect business objects to persistent stores using Spring's DAO and ORM modules

Timeline: 5 days.

IDE Support: SpringIDE 2.2

  • In addition to the primary lab files, an optional overlay is available that adds support for SpringIDE 2.2. Students can code, build, deploy, and test all exercises from within Eclipse, and take advantage of Eclipse WTP's built-in editors and wizards for web applications, XML files, JSPs, and more. An appendix in the coursebook introduces SpringIDE features. See also our orientation to Using Capstone's Eclipse Overlays, and please be advised that this is an optional feature; it is not a separate version of the course, and the course itself does not contain explicit Eclipse-specific lab instructions.

Module 1. Introduction to Spring

Chapter 1. Overview of Spring

  • Java EE: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
  • Enter the Framework
  • Spring Value Proposition
  • The Spring Container
  • Web Applications
  • Persistence Support
  • Aspect-Oriented Programming
  • The Java EE Module(s)
  • Integrating Other Frameworks

Chapter 2. The Container

  • JavaBeans, Reconsidered
  • The Factory Pattern
  • Inversion of Control
  • XML View: Declaring Beans
  • Java View: Using Beans
  • Singletons and Prototypes

Chapter 3. Instantiation and Configuration

  • Configuring Through Properties
  • Configuration Namespaces
  • The p: Notation
  • Bean (Configuration) Inheritance
  • Configuring Through Constructors
  • Bean Post-Processors
  • Lifecycle Hooks
  • Integrating Existing Factory Code

Chapter 4. Dependency Injection

  • Complex Systems
  • Assembling Object Graphs
  • Dependency Injection
  • Single and Multiple Relationships
  • The Utility Schema
  • Bean Aliases
  • Inner Beans
  • Autowiring
  • Auto-Detecting Beans
  • @Autowired Properties
  • Best Practices with Spring 2.5 Annotations

Chapter 5. Assembling Object Models

  • Collections and Maps
  • Support for Generics
  • The Spring Utility Schema (util:)
  • Autowiring to Multiple Beans
  • Order of Instantiation
  • Bean Factory vs. Application Context

Chapter 6. Validation

  • Validators
  • The Errors Object
  • ValidationUtils
  • Error Messages and Localization
  • Nested Property Paths

Module 2. Web Applications

Chapter 1. The Web Module

  • Servlets and JSPs: What's Missing
  • The MVC Pattern
  • The Front Controller Pattern
  • DispatcherServlet
  • A Request/Response Cycle
  • The Strategy Pattern
  • JavaBeans as Web Components
  • Web Application Contexts
  • Handler Mappings
  • "Creating" a Model
  • View Resolvers

Chapter 2. Customizing Control Flow

  • HandlerMapping Options
  • ViewResolver Options
  • Chaining View Resolvers
  • Triggering Redirects

Chapter 3. Controllers and Commands

  • Working with Forms
  • Command Objects
  • The Template Method Pattern
  • Command Controllers
  • Data Binding
  • MultiActionController
  • Scope and Granularity of Command Objects
  • Auto-Detecting @Controllers
  • The @RequestMapping Annotation

Chapter 4. Binding and Validation

  • Property Editors
  • Custom Property Editors
  • Registrars
  • Validating Form Input

Chapter 5. Form Controllers

  • Form Controllers
  • AbstractFormController
  • SimpleFormController
  • Spring Custom Tags
  • <form:form> and Friends
  • <form:errors>
  • Reporting Errors
  • @RequestMapping for Form Controllers
  • @RequestMapping for Multi-Action Controllers
  • Other Handler Annotations
  • Controller vs. @Controller

Chapter 6. Refining the Handling Cycle

  • The Intercepting Filter Pattern
  • Exception Handling
  • Interceptors
  • The Decorator Pattern
  • Context and Lifecycle
  • Awareness Interfaces
  • Support and Utility Classes
  • "Death By XML"

Module 3. Persistence

Chapter 1. Templates and DAOs

  • The DAO Pattern
  • The DaoSupport Hierarchy
  • The DataAccessException Hierarchy
  • JDBC DAOs
  • JdbcTemplate and RowMapper

Chapter 2. Working with JPA

  • Object/Relational Mapping
  • The Java Persistence API
  • Blending Spring and JPA
  • Entity Manager Factories
  • Configuration Issues

Chapter 3. Transactions

  • Transaction Managers
  • Transaction Advice
  • AOP vs. Annotations
  • JDBC Transaction Manager
  • JPA Transaction Manager

Appendix A. Spring IDE

  • Installing Spring IDE
  • Naviation Features
  • Auto-Completes
  • Validation
  • Support for Spring WebFlow

Appendix B. Learning Resources

System Requirements

Hardware Requirements (Minimum) 1.0 GHz, 256 meg RAM, 500 meg disk space.
Hardware Requirements (Recommended) 1.5 GHz, 512 meg RAM, 1 gig disk space.
Operating System Tested on Windows XP Professional. Course software should be viable on all systems which support a J2SE 5.0 JDK.
Network and Security Limited privileges required -- please see our standard security requirements.
Software Requirements All free downloadable tools.