Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: John Esposito, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, John Basso, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Java IoT, Linux Containers, SYS-CON MEDIA, IT SOLUTIONS GUIDE

Java IoT: Article

i-Technology Viewpoint: "Spring Good!"

Rick Hightower Gives New Year's Thumbs-Up To Java/J2EE Application Framework

If you have not looked into Spring yet, it is time. Here is why you should!

Grady Booch once said that the great thing about objects is that they can be replaced. The great thing about Spring is it helps you replace them. With Spring, you simply inject collaborating objects called dependencies using JavaBeans properties and configuration files. Then it's easy enough to switch out collaborating objects when you need to. Spring allows you to dynamically add services to objects called aspects. This is similar to the Decorator Design pattern, but does not require you to recompile your code base to apply these services. This allows you to replace objects with objects that enhance the originals.

The ability to inject collaborating objects is often called IoC (inversion of control). Thus, Spring is an IoC container. If you follow the latest developer buzz then you've likely heard of IoC (Inversion of Control) containers and AOP (aspect-oriented programming). Like many developers, however, you may not see where these technologies fit into your development efforts. As the word inversion implies, IoC is like JNDI turned inside out. Instead of using a tangle of abstract factories, service locators, singletons, and straight construction, each object is constructed with its collaborating objects. Thus, the container manages the collaborators. (Collaborators are objects that an object needs to fullfill its role.)

The ability to dynamically add services to objects is called AOP. AOP allows developers to create non-domain concerns, called crosscutting concerns, and insert them in their application code. With AOP, common services like logging, persistence, transactions, and the like can be factored into aspects and applied to domain objects without complicating the object model of the domain objects.

Thus, Spring is an IoC/AOP container. There are many IoC containers. There are also many AOP frameworks. If Spring was only an IoC/AOP container, it would be worth your attention and interest since it seems to be the most mature. Spring is a lot more than an IoC/AOP container.

What makes Spring different than the other frameworks and containers, is Spring goes beyond just being an IoC container or an AOP framework. The other containers are academic interests, and some are quite good. They provide good support of IoC and AOP.

Spring goes one step further by eating its own dog food. It uses IoC and AOP to provide a comprehensive library for simplifying J2EE development. This comprehensive library is written with aspects, dependency injection and OOP best practices.

Spring makes J2EE development easier. It does this with a variety of mechanisms. One common mechanism is its use of templates. A template is a cross between a utility class and execution environment. Spring Templates are an embellishment and extention of the Template design pattern (GOF).

At first glance templates appear to be well written utility classes. However, templates provide a lot more than just utility functions. Templates provide and execution environment. When using a template you first endeavor to use one of its it utility method. If the template doesn't have a utility method you need, you implement a callback object. The callback object has a method that executes a method in the environment of the template. The template therefore takes care of things like exception handling and resource management in a consistent manner. This means your code base will not be littered with try/catch/finally blocks, and it is easier to ensure that resources and exception are handled correctly.

Spring promotes good programming practices. It does this by providing great examples how to use IoC and AOP in a consistent manner. It also does this by showing how to build things like templates to manage resources and exceptions in the consistent manner. It goes even further by building sets of frameworks on top of  IoC, AOP and templates that are the embodiment of good OO programming.

The IoC capabilities allowing injection of dependent objects turns out to be a great mechanism for testing your code. It is easy now to inject mock objects (object for testing), and test your classes in an isolated manner. For example, you can test you business delegates without relying on the DAO (Data access objects) objects talking to the database. Essentially Spring took back development from the design pattern hacks deemed necessary to program J2EE. As Rod Johnson once put it: Spring puts the OO back in J2EE development.

Spring provides portability through abstraction of common services. For example, Spring provides a common interface object relational management (ORM) systems like Hibernate, JDO, Cayenne, Spring JDBC and iBatis. It provides a mechanism for building DAO objects that divorces the client code from the underlying implementation. it does this by providing a common set of exceptions like object not found exception, and making these exception runtime exceptions.

Spring provides a easy on-ramp for many industry-standard projects. And not just industry-standard projects but the de facto industry-standard projects. The projects that people actually use to get their daily work done. For example, Spring provides support for JDO, Hibernate, Quartz, Tapestry, JavaServer faces, and many more frameworks. Its been said that Spring simplifies J2EE development, and that is a primary focus of Spring. However,Spring provides utilities to work with all tiers of an n-tier application. For an MVC application, there are utilities for working with View technologies (Struts, Spring, Rich Client etc.), Model (EJB, AOP based transaction, AOP based security, etc.), etc. You can use Spring to build Swing and SWT applications.

If you have not looked into Spring yet, it is time.

------------------------------------------------
The above started as a reply to Cameron Purdy's prediction list, which I really liked. Then I got carried away and it became a full blown plug for Spring. (Darn Caffiene!)

What is Spring?

Spring is a popular AOP/IoC framework that was developed by Rod Johnson, Juergen Hoeller et al. Spring simplifies J2EE and Java development. Rod Johnson is the famed author who wrote Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development.

Spring makes J2EE development easier. Spring is a J2EE framework that simplifies commons tasks and encourages good design based on programming to interfaces. Springs makes your application easier to configure and reduces the need for many J2EE design patterns (quite a few J2EE design patterns are really glorified hacks that clutter your code base). Spring puts the OO design back into your J2EE application.

More Stories By Rick Hightower

Rick Hightower serves as chief technology officer for ArcMind Inc. He is coauthor of the popular book Java Tools for Extreme Programming, which covers applying XP to J2EE development, and also recently co-authored Professional Struts. He has been working with J2EE since the very early days and lately has been working mostly with Maven, Spring, JSF and Hibernate. Rick is a big JSF and Spring fan. Rick has taught several workshops and training courses involving the Spring framework as well as worked on several projects consulting, mentoring and developing with the Spring framework. He blogs at http://jroller.com/page/RickHigh.

Comments (4) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Rick Hightower 01/08/05 06:26:10 PM EST

The article (like the last one I wrote) started out as being a blog entry (http://jroller.com/page/RickHigh/20050107#spring_plug).

It is nice when the JDJ picks it up and gives it more exposure. The last blog entry turned article I wrote was read quite a bit according to the JDJ folks.

I've written some follow up ideas at:

http://www.arc-mind.com/papers/springIsGood.html

Rick Hightower 01/08/05 05:53:57 PM EST

I've used Spring on a half dozen different projects now (most if not all of them in production).

The first time I used Spring I was amazed how much it helped to simplify the code base.

Once you get rid of all of the service locators, and dynamic creation of implementations, and singletons, etc. then the code base gets a bit smaller.

Also using the Spring templates really helps to keep things simple and yet manage resources well.

I much prefer using Hibernate with Spring then without it. It really simplifies things.

Agreed 01/08/05 05:20:08 AM EST

Spring manages your mappings and helps maintain consistency across your data connections and helps you abstract your business logic, keeping it out of the actual pages. Best of all it also integrates with Struts.

Spring has sprung 01/08/05 05:04:16 AM EST

Wasn't it Purdy who said it's imposible to resist saying the word Spring. ("Yup, it's like trying not to think of pink elephants - impossible once you get that in your head. Spring, spring, spring, spring. La tee dah, spring spring spring.")

What's in a name?

@ThingsExpo Stories
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
A critical component of any IoT project is the back-end systems that capture data from remote IoT devices and structure it in a way to answer useful questions. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle large data sets, but they are not well suited to many IoT-scale products and the need for real-time insights. At Fuze, we have developed a backend platform as part of our mobility-oriented cloud service that uses Big Data-based approache...
trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vice president of product management, IoT solutions at GlobalSign, will teach IoT developers how t...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.