How SpringBoot AutoConfiguration magic works?

In my previous post Why SpringBoot? we have looked at how to create a SpringBoot application. But you may or may not understand what is going on behind the scenes. You may want to understand the magic behind the SpringBoot’s AutoConfiguration.

But before that you should know about Spring’s @Conditional feature based on which all the SpringBoot’s AutoConfiguration magic depends.

Exploring the power of @Conditional 
While developing Spring based applications we may come across of a need to register beans conditionally.

For example, you may want to register a DataSource bean pointing to DEV Database while running application locally and point to a different PRODUCTION Database while running in production. 

You can externalize the database connection parameters into properties files and use the file appropriate for the environment. But you need to change the configuration whenever you need to point to a different environment and build the application.

To address this problem Spring 3.1 introduced the concept of Profiles. You can register multiple beans of the same type and associate them to one or more profiles. When you run the application you can activate the desired profiles and beans associated with the activated profiles only will be registered.

@Configuration
public class AppConfig
{
    @Bean
    @Profile("DEV")
    public DataSource devDataSource() {
        ...
    }

    @Bean
    @Profile("PROD")
    public DataSource prodDataSource() {
        ...
    }
}

Then you can specify the active profile using System Property -Dspring.profiles.active=DEV

This approach works for simple cases like enable or disable bean registrations based on activated profiles. But if you want to register beans based on some conditional logic then the Profiles approach itself is not sufficient.

To provide much more flexibility for registering Spring beans conditionally, Spring 4 introduced the concept of @Conditional. By using @Conditional approach you can register a bean conditionally based on any arbitrary condition.

For example, you may want to register a bean when:

  • A specific class is present in classpath 
  • A Spring bean of certain type doesn’t already registered in ApplicationContext 
  • A specific file exists on a location 
  • A specific property value is configured in a configuration file 
  • A specific system property is present/absent 

These are just a few examples only and you can have any condition you want.

Let us take a look at how Spring’s @Conditional works.

Suppose we have a UserDAO interface with methods to get data from a data store. We have two implements of UserDAO interface namely JdbcUserDAO which talks to MySQL database and MongoUserDAO which talks to MongoDB.

We may want to enable only one of JdbcUserDAO and MongoUserDAO based on a System Property say dbType.

If the application is started using java -jar myapp.jar -DdbType=MySQL then we want to enable JdbcUserDAO, otherwise if the application is started using java -jar myapp.jar -DdbType=MONGO we want to enable MongoUserDAO.

Suppose we have UserDAO interface and JdbcUserDAO, MongoUserDAO implementations as follows:

public interface UserDAO
{
    List<String> getAllUserNames();
}

public class JdbcUserDAO implements UserDAO
{
    @Override
    public List<String> getAllUserNames()
    {
        System.out.println("**** Getting usernames from RDBMS *****");
        return Arrays.asList("Siva","Prasad","Reddy");
    }
}

public class MongoUserDAO implements UserDAO
{
    @Override
    public List<String> getAllUserNames()
    {
        System.out.println("**** Getting usernames from MongoDB *****");
        return Arrays.asList("Bond","James","Bond");
    }
}

We can implement the Condition MySQLDatabaseTypeCondition to check whether the System Property dbType is “MYSQL” as follows:

public class MySQLDatabaseTypeCondition implements Condition
{
    @Override
    public boolean matches(ConditionContext conditionContext, AnnotatedTypeMetadata metadata)
    {
        String enabledDBType = System.getProperty("dbType");
        return (enabledDBType != null && enabledDBType.equalsIgnoreCase("MYSQL"));
    }
}

We can implement the Condition MongoDBDatabaseTypeCondition to check whether the System Property dbType is “MONGODB” as follows:

public class MongoDBDatabaseTypeCondition implements Condition
{
    @Override
    public boolean matches(ConditionContext conditionContext, AnnotatedTypeMetadata metadata)
    {
        String enabledDBType = System.getProperty("dbType");
        return (enabledDBType != null && enabledDBType.equalsIgnoreCase("MONGODB"));
    }
}

Now we can configure both JdbcUserDAO and MongoUserDAO beans conditionally using @Conditional as follows:

@Configuration
public class AppConfig
{
    @Bean
    @Conditional(MySQLDatabaseTypeCondition.class)
    public UserDAO jdbcUserDAO(){
        return new JdbcUserDAO();
    }

    @Bean
    @Conditional(MongoDBDatabaseTypeCondition.class)
    public UserDAO mongoUserDAO(){
        return new MongoUserDAO();
    }
}

If we run the application like java -jar myapp.jar -DdbType=MYSQL then only JdbcUserDAO bean will be registered.
But if you set the System property like -DdbType=MONGODB then only MongoUserDAO bean will be registered.

Now that we have seen how to conditionally register a bean based on System Property.

Suppose we want to register MongoUserDAO bean only when MongoDB java driver class “com.mongodb.Server” is available on classpath, if not we want to register JdbcUserDAO bean. 

To accomplish that we can create Conditions to check the presence or absence of MongoDB driver class “com.mongodb.Server” as follows:

public class MongoDriverPresentsCondition implements Condition
{
    @Override
    public boolean matches(ConditionContext conditionContext,AnnotatedTypeMetadata metadata)
    {
        try {
            Class.forName("com.mongodb.Server");
            return true;
        } catch (ClassNotFoundException e) {
            return false;
        }
    }
}

public class MongoDriverNotPresentsCondition implements Condition
{
    @Override
    public boolean matches(ConditionContext conditionContext, AnnotatedTypeMetadata metadata)
    {
        try {
            Class.forName("com.mongodb.Server");
            return false;
        } catch (ClassNotFoundException e) {
            return true;
        }
    }
}

We just have seen how to register beans conditionally based on presence/absence of a class in classpath.

What if we want to register MongoUserDAO bean only if no other Spring bean of type UserDAO is already registered.

We can create a Condition to check if there is any existing bean of a certain type as follows:

public class UserDAOBeanNotPresentsCondition implements Condition
{
    @Override
    public boolean matches(ConditionContext conditionContext, AnnotatedTypeMetadata metadata)
    {
        UserDAO userDAO = conditionContext.getBeanFactory().getBean(UserDAO.class);
        return (userDAO == null);
    }
}

What if we want to register MongoUserDAO bean only if property app.dbType=MONGO is set in properties placeholder configuration file?

We can implement that Condition as follows:

public class MongoDbTypePropertyCondition implements Condition
{
    @Override
    public boolean matches(ConditionContext conditionContext,
    AnnotatedTypeMetadata metadata)
    {
        String dbType = conditionContext.getEnvironment()
                            .getProperty("app.dbType");
        return "MONGO".equalsIgnoreCase(dbType);
    }
}

We have just seen how to implement various types of Conditions.

But there is even more elegant way to implement Conditions using Annotations. Instead of creating a Condition implementation for both MYSQL and MongoDB, we can create aDatabaseType annotation as follows:

@Target({ ElementType.TYPE, ElementType.METHOD })
@Retention(RetentionPolicy.RUNTIME)
@Conditional(DatabaseTypeCondition.class)
public @interface DatabaseType
{
    String value();
}

Then we can implement DatabaseTypeCondition to use the DatabaseType value to determine whether to enable or disable bean registration as follows:

public class DatabaseTypeCondition implements Condition
{
    @Override
    public boolean matches(ConditionContext conditionContext,
    AnnotatedTypeMetadata metadata)
    {
        Map<String, Object> attributes = metadata.getAnnotationAttributes(DatabaseType.class.getName());
        String type = (String) attributes.get("value");
        String enabledDBType = System.getProperty("dbType","MYSQL");
        return (enabledDBType != null && type != null && enabledDBType.equalsIgnoreCase(type));
    }
}

Now we can use the @DatabaseType annotation on our bean definitions as follows:

@Configuration
@ComponentScan
public class AppConfig
{
    @DatabaseType("MYSQL")
    public UserDAO jdbcUserDAO(){
        return new JdbcUserDAO();
    }

    @Bean
    @DatabaseType("MONGO")
    public UserDAO mongoUserDAO(){
        return new MongoUserDAO();
    }
}

Here we are getting the metadata from DatabaseType annotation and checking against the System Property dbType value to determine whether to enable or disable the bean registration.

We have seen good number of examples to understand how we can register beans conditionally using @Conditional annotation.

SpringBoot extensively uses @Conditional feature to register beans conditionally based on various criteria.

You can find various Condition implementations that SpringBoot uses in org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure package of spring-boot-autoconfigure-{version}.jar

Now that we come to know about how SpringBoot uses @Conditional feature to conditionally check whether to register a bean or not.
But what exactly triggers the auto-configuration mechanism?

This is what we are going to look at in next section.

SpringBoot AutoConfiguration 
The key to the SpringBoot’s auto-configuration magic is @EnableAutoConfiguration annotation. Typically we annotate our Application entry point class with either @SpringBootApplication or if we want to customize the defaults we can use the following annotations:

@Configuration
@EnableAutoConfiguration
@ComponentScan
public class Application
{

}

The @EnableAutoConfiguration annotation enables the auto-configuration of Spring ApplicationContext by scanning the classpath components and registers the beans that are matching various Conditions. 

SpringBoot provides various AutoConfiguration classes in spring-boot-autoconfigure-{version}.jar which are responsible for registering various components.

Typically AutoConfiguration classes are annotated with @Configuration to mark it as a Spring configuration class and annotated with @EnableConfigurationProperties to bind the customization properties and one or more Conditional bean registration methods.

For example consider org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.jdbc.DataSourceAutoConfiguration class.

@Configuration
@ConditionalOnClass({ DataSource.class, EmbeddedDatabaseType.class })
@EnableConfigurationProperties(DataSourceProperties.class)
@Import({ Registrar.class, DataSourcePoolMetadataProvidersConfiguration.class })
public class DataSourceAutoConfiguration 
{
    ...
    ...
    @Conditional(DataSourceAutoConfiguration.EmbeddedDataSourceCondition.class)
    @ConditionalOnMissingBean({ DataSource.class, XADataSource.class })
    @Import(EmbeddedDataSourceConfiguration.class)
    protected static class EmbeddedConfiguration {

    }

    @Configuration
    @ConditionalOnMissingBean(DataSourceInitializer.class)
    protected static class DataSourceInitializerConfiguration {
        @Bean
        public DataSourceInitializer dataSourceInitializer() {
        return new DataSourceInitializer();
        }
    }

    @Conditional(DataSourceAutoConfiguration.NonEmbeddedDataSourceCondition.class)
    @ConditionalOnMissingBean({ DataSource.class, XADataSource.class })
    protected static class NonEmbeddedConfiguration {
        @Autowired
        private DataSourceProperties properties;

        @Bean
        @ConfigurationProperties(prefix = DataSourceProperties.PREFIX)
        public DataSource dataSource() {
            DataSourceBuilder factory = DataSourceBuilder
                    .create(this.properties.getClassLoader())
                    .driverClassName(this.properties.getDriverClassName())
                    .url(this.properties.getUrl()).username(this.properties.getUsername())
                    .password(this.properties.getPassword());
            if (this.properties.getType() != null) {
                factory.type(this.properties.getType());
            }
            return factory.build();
        }
    }
    ...
    ...
    @Configuration
    @ConditionalOnProperty(prefix = "spring.datasource", name = "jmx-enabled")
    @ConditionalOnClass(name = "org.apache.tomcat.jdbc.pool.DataSourceProxy")
    @Conditional(DataSourceAutoConfiguration.DataSourceAvailableCondition.class)
    @ConditionalOnMissingBean(name = "dataSourceMBean")
    protected static class TomcatDataSourceJmxConfiguration {
        @Bean
        public Object dataSourceMBean(DataSource dataSource) {
        ....
        ....
        }
    }
    ...
    ...
}

Here DataSourceAutoConfiguration is annotated with @ConditionalOnClass({ DataSource.class,EmbeddedDatabaseType.class }) which means that Auto Configuration of beans within DataSourceAutoConfiguration will be considered only if DataSource.class and EmbeddedDatabaseType.class classes are available on classpath.

The class is also annotated with @EnableConfigurationProperties(DataSourceProperties.class) which enables binding the properties in application.properties to the properties of DataSourceProperties class automatically.

@ConfigurationProperties(prefix = DataSourceProperties.PREFIX)
public class DataSourceProperties implements BeanClassLoaderAware, EnvironmentAware, InitializingBean {

    public static final String PREFIX = "spring.datasource";
    ...
    ...
    private String driverClassName;
    private String url;
    private String username;
    private String password;
    ...
    //setters and getters
}

With this configuration all the properties that starts with spring.datasource.* will be automatically binds to DataSourceProperties object.

spring.datasource.url=jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/test
spring.datasource.username=root
spring.datasource.password=secret
spring.datasource.driver-class-name=com.mysql.jdbc.Driver

You can also see some inner classes and bean definition methods that are annotated with SpringBoot’s Conditional annotations such as @ConditionalOnMissingBean, @ConditionalOnClass and @ConditionalOnProperty etc.

These bean definitions will be registered in ApplicationContext
only if those conditions are matched.

You can also explore many other AutoConfiguration classes in spring-boot-autoconfigure-{version}.jar such as

  • org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.web.DispatcherServletAutoConfiguration 
  • org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.orm.jpa.HibernateJpaAutoConfiguration 
  • org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.data.jpa.JpaRepositoriesAutoConfiguration 
  • org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.jackson.JacksonAutoConfiguration
    etc etc. 

I hope now you have an understanding of how SpringBoot auto-configuration works by using various AutoConfiration classes along with @Conditional features.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *