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Spring vs Spring Boot: An in-depth Comparison (Updated 2022)

Spring vs Spring Boot: Find Out Best Framework for Web Apps

A framework is an open-source software platform that provides support for code libraries and scripting languages that developers can use when building websites and applications. In other words, it makes core programming easy. Spring is a lightweight framework that offers an elaborate environment for robust programming and configuration model for Java-based applications.

Spring Boot is a java-based framework that is best for creating stand-alone, Spring-based applications in a short period. Both Spring and Spring Boot are used for developing web applications in Java. There is, however, a significant difference between Spring vs Spring Boot.

What is Spring?

Spring is a widely-adopted open-source framework for building enterprise applications. The Spring Boot features and Spring framework offers a robust, lightweight infrastructure for Java applications. It simplifies enterprise Java development by providing a comprehensive programming and configuration model for web and non-web application parts.

The Spring framework provides many APIs to boost developer productivity, including transaction management and integration, data access and security, server-side technology abstraction, etc.

Spring framework is one of the most versatile and powerful frameworks in Java. Spring focuses on several areas of application development, providing a wide range of features that help simplify Java EE development and help developers be more productive.

Spring framework addresses the current needs of enterprise application development by introducing a paradigm for building applications with POJOs (Plain Old Java Objects) so that business objects are not tied to any specific framework or runtime environment. This way, it is easy to test, reuse and maintain code agilely.

Let’s have a look at how to create your first message with Spring. The first step is to create a java project in your compiler (we are using Eclipse here).

After creating a Java Project, Create a Package. To create the package in Eclipse IDE: Right-click src directory → New → Package → Name your Package.

What are the main features of Spring?

The most fundamental aspect of Spring and Spring Boot is Dependency Injection (DI) or Inversion of Control (IoC), the cornerstone of every Spring Module. We can create loosely coupled applications that can be easily tested and maintained using these design patterns. The Spring framework also includes several out-of-the-box modules, namely:

  • Spring MVC
  • Spring Security
  • Spring ORM
  • Spring Test
  • Spring AOP
  • Spring Web Flow
  • Spring JDBC.

These modules make web applications more functional and reduce development time significantly.

Spring Use Cases:

Spring framework can be used for several tasks, including

  • Developing serverless applications
  • Building scalable microservices
  • Securing the server-side of your application
  • Asynchronous application development
  • Automating tasks by creating batches

Advantages of Spring

The spring framework provides numerous benefits, such as

  • You can use it for all layers of application development
  • The Spring model is quite light considering it is based on the POJO formula
  • It supports loose coupling and easy testing
  • The Spring framework supports declarative programming, XML and annotation configurations
  • And, Spring offers middleware services

Spring framework houses several benefits, so what led to the introduction of Spring boot?

Spring is the world’s most popular Java framework for building enterprise applications. It was the only way for developers to build a web application for years. But as the scale and complexity of these applications grew, so did Spring. While it has enabled enterprises to build bigger and better things, it has also introduced many new features that have made the Spring framework too complex for many development teams.

Spring Boot was introduced to solve the complexity of creating a Spring-based application. It combines the advantages of Spring's dependency injection and strong configuration with a convention-over-configuration-based setup.

Spring Use Cases:

Spring framework can be used for several tasks, including

  • Developing serverless applications
  • Building scalable microservices
  • Securing the server-side of your application
  • Asynchronous application development
  • Automating tasks by creating batches
  • An event-driven architecture

What is Spring Boot?

Spring Boot is a Java framework that enables developers to build robust applications with ease. It allows users to create standalone, production-grade Spring-based Applications that “just run."

Spring Boot is an extension of the Spring framework, eliminating much of the boilerplate and configuration that characterizes Spring. It provides a pre-configured platform for building Spring-powered applications with minimal XML and annotation-based configuration. Applications built using Spring Boot can be launched using a single command, making it an ideal choice for rapid application development.

Because Spring Boot is built on top of Spring, it has all of Spring's features and benefits. Spring Boot intends to minimize code length and make it as simple as possible for developers to build applications. This increases the scope of Spring Boot developer job opportunities.

What are the main features of Spring Boot?

Spring Boot includes the following features:

  • Embedded server eliminates the need for complex application development
  • Starter dependencies that facilitate building and configuring apps
  • Automated Spring configuration
  • Metrics, health check, and other reports
  • Everything in Spring Boot is pre-configured. We simply need to use the proper configuration to use a specific functionality. If we want to create a REST API, we can use Spring Boot.

Advantages of Spring Boot:

Spring Boot reduces development time, helps avoid unnecessary configuration and many other benefits, like

  • You can use it to create standalone applications
  • There is no need to deploy WAR files while using SpringBoot
  • It doesn't require XML configuration
  • Embeds Tomcat, Jetty and Undertow directly
  • Offers production-ready features
  • SpringBoot is easier to launch
  • Easier customization and management

Drawbacks:

Even though Spring and Spring Boot are proficient in their own way, they are not without faults. Let us now look at the limitations of Spring and Spring Boot.

Complexity

Working with Spring when compared with Spring Boot is more difficult. It necessitates a great deal of knowledge. You will need to learn how to use the Spring framework if you have never used it before. The learning curve is also steep, making it difficult to learn if you don't have a lot of development experience.

Parallel Mechanism

Spring gives developers a variety of options. These options make it difficult to decide which features to use and which to avoid, and incorrect decisions can result in significant delays

No Specific Guidelines

pring framework is unconcerned with XSS or cross-site scripting. With this in mind, we must devise methods to prevent hackers from infiltrating your application.

XML

Creating a Spring application necessitates a large amount of XML.

Drawbacks of Spring Boot:

Despite its many benefits, Spring Boot does have a few drawbacks that you should be aware of:

Lack of control

Spring Boot generates a large number of unused dependencies, which results in a large deployment file

Complex process

The difficult and time-consuming process of converting a legacy or existing Spring project to a Spring Boot application.

Limited suitability

Although Spring Boot is ideal for working with microservices, many developers believe it is not appropriate for building large-scale applications.

How does Spring Boot solve the main issues of Spring?

When compared with Spring Vs Spring Boot, Spring Boot is an update to the Spring framework that enables developers to build stand-alone and integrated web applications in the Java language. Spring Boot improves Spring functionality by streamlining the development process and providing external configurations for services such as MongoDB, MySQL, and Oracle databases. Additional features include integrating external libraries such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), messengers, etc.

Assembled on top of Spring, The magic of Spring Boot Auto-Configuration is that it automatically creates configurations for your application that would otherwise be very laborious to set up. This is done by automatically assigning a value to different components of the application when these components are detected on the classpath.

Spring Boot also has its own set of annotations that were created from a combination of Spring’s annotations, making it simpler and easier to use popular web frameworks in our applications.

Key Differences between Spring and Spring Boot

Now that you know the functions of Spring and Spring Boot, let us discuss the key differences of Spring Vs Spring Boot:

Spring is the most widely used Java application development framework. However, due to new functionalities, Spring has become highly complicated in recent years. Starting a new task usually requires a lengthy and time-consuming process.

It is a lightweight and prominent integrated framework that is used to develop enterprise-class applications. It can be thought of as a framework of frameworks as it provides support to various frameworks like Struts, JSP, Hibernate, and so on. Meanwhile, Spring Boot is an extension of the spring framework, which is used to create stand-alone, production-grade Spring-based Applications with minimal effort.

Spring Boot reduces development time and effort and increases productivity. While dependency injection is the key feature of Spring, for Spring Boot, it is auto-configuration.

Spring Boot is a framework that allows developers to create standalone applications with no or little configuration. It is designed specifically for creating dynamic web pages and microservices.

Differences: Spring VS Spring Boot

The main differences between Spring and Spring Boot are:

ParametersSpringSpringBoot
Where is it used?Spring is a Java EE framework used to develop applicationsThe framework, SpringBoot, is mainly used for developing REST API’s
Key FeatureDependency injection is the framework's primary or most important feature. Dependency Injection (DI) is a design technique that eliminates dependencies from computer code, making it easier to maintain and test the application.Autoconfiguration is the primary feature of Spring Boot. By removing the need to define some beans that are part of the auto-configuration classes, autoconfiguration can help to speed up and simplify development.
Why it’s usedIts intention is to make Java Enterprise Edition development simpler and more productive for developers.Spring Boot adds the RAD (Rapid Application Development) function to the Spring framework, allowing for faster application development.
Application DevelopmentThe Spring framework aids in the development of a loosely coupled application.Spring Boot helps with the development of standalone applications.
Deployment descriptorA deployment descriptor is necessary to run a Spring application.Spring Boot requires no deployment descriptor.
Servers dependencyTo test the Spring Project, we must explicitly configure the servers in the Spring framework.Spring Boot includes pre-installed or embedded servers such as Tomcat and Jetty.
In-memory database supportThe Spring framework does not support in-memory databases.Spring Boot includes support for in-memory databases like H2.
lines of codeEven for simple tasks; the Spring framework requires far too many lines of code (boilerplate code).You save time and increase productivity by avoiding boilerplate code.
ConfigurationsYou must manually build configurations in the spring framework.The default configurations of Spring Boot allow for faster bootstrapping.
DependenciesTo build a web app, Spring framework requires a number of dependencies.Whereas Spring Boot can get the application up and running with just one dependency. Several more dependencies are required during build time and are automatically included in the final archive.
HTTP AuthenticationHTTP Basic Authentication is used to enable security confirmations; it indicates that a number of dependencies and configurations must be enabled in order to enable security. To set up security in an application, Spring requires both the standard spring-security-web and spring-security-config dependencies. Following that, we must include a class that extends the WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter and makes use of the @EnableWebSecurity annotation.These dependencies are also required for Spring Boot to function, but we only need to define the dependency spring-boot-starter-security, which will automatically add all applicable dependencies to the classpath.
XML ConfigurationSpring framework requires XML configuration.Whereas in Spring Boot, there is no need for XML configuration.
CLI ToolsThe Spring framework does not include a command-line interface (CLI) tool for developing and testing applications.Spring Boot includes a command-line interface (CLI) tool for the development and testing of applications.
TestingDue to a large amount of source code, testing is more difficult in Spring than in Spring Boot.Meanwhile, testing in Spring Boot is easier as there is no boilerplate code.
PluginsSpring framework, unlike Spring Boot, does not include a plugin for maven, Gradle, and other build tools.Spring Boot includes Maven and Gradle build tool plugins. The Plugins provide a number of features, including the ability to package executable jars.

Conclusion

We discussed a number of important differences between Spring and Spring Boot and how we could use them based on our requirements. Every framework is important depending on the requirements.

Spring is a lightweight, open-source, and modular Java framework created to address the complexity of enterprise application development. It provides a comprehensive programming and configuration model for building Java-based applications in a flexible way and facilitates the use of best practices. The Spring Framework's innovation lies in making Java developers more productive while ensuring that they can be successful in their development endeavors.

Spring Boot is the most popular framework for building microservice applications with Java. It speeds up the development and deployment processes by offering intuitive default settings for unit and integration tests, web applications, and more. Spring Boot enables developers to build robust applications having secure as well as clear configurations without losing much time and effort on its complex framework.

Even though they go hand-in-hand, Spring and Spring Boot vary considerably. While Spring is the best choice for developers to build enterprise Java applications, it works better with Spring Boot on the side. While Spring offers flexibility and versatility, Spring Boot’s code length and configuration helps developers in building applications using the simplest and easiest method.

Frequently Asked Questions

Spring Boot is used to configure and layout the entire framework needed by Spring applications by providing a number of configuration attributes. The application developer can focus on coding only the portions of their application that are business-specific, while Spring Boot takes care of configuring all of the external functionality. When compared to traditional Spring application development, you can get an application up and running in considerably less time because all of the boilerplate code is taken care of for you. So the answer is Spring Boot.

Spring Boot is not suitable for large-scale projects. The reason is that the automatic configuration of Spring Boot creates a lot of unused dependencies, resulting in large deployment packages.

Spring Boot is a framework that includes everything you need to create web applications and microservices, making it easy to develop and deploy applications. It is mainly used in developing REST APIs.

Spring Boot DevTools allows installing, configuring and running different versions of a Spring Boot application and its dependencies on your local machine. It provides an editor that allows you to change any configuration file or add an additional dependency.

Once the application is configured, running it is as simple as pressing a button. Spring Boot DevTools automatically configures ports and so that you can access the service from a browser. It also comes with a Chrome extension that can be used to debug HTTP requests.

Spring Boot will not be a replacement for the Spring framework. It only makes working with Spring faster and easier. Spring Boot is an opinionated framework designed to allow Spring-based applications to stand on their own. It provides a base configuration that enables developers to quickly get started building Spring-based applications.

If you are looking to develop a project with Spring, then chances are that you will be working with a specific version of Java to make everything work properly. So, it might be that the older versions of Java are not compatible with Spring, and you will need to update the Java version that you are using for everything to work properly.

However, if you are looking for compatibility between older versions of Java and Spring, then it is possible this can be done as long as both are compatible with each other. In some cases, older versions of Java might not be compatible with newer versions of Spring, so this would require some more adjustments and work on your part.

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