The surprise of Spring Boot

I am a long time Java programmer. It was what I used to write my final year project at university, and it was my first, second and third jobs.

That third job lasted more than a decade and, alongside a huge amount of other things, I got to deliver a number of projects in both PHP and Ruby. PHP was interesting and I’d happily work in it again, but Ruby was fun.

Terse, expressive, powerful and (mostly) lightweight in nature, it feels like a blessing of a language.

The time came to change job again though, and although I looked for some Ruby roles, I’d been a bit too hands-off to be able to be seriously considered and so I got another Java role. But! What a surprise! Whilst I wasn’t looking, Java frameworks learned some lessons from their “convention over configuration” brethren, and those lessons are mostly reflected in Spring Boot by Pivotal Software. Here is a complete Hello World web application in Spring Boot:

@RestController
class ThisWillActuallyRun {

    @RequestMapping("/")
    String home() {
        "Hello World!"
    }

}

This is borrowed from the Quick Start example, and is in Groovy, so there’s no other requirement for imports, classpaths etc. Just use the Spring Boot command line tool to run it, and you’re done!

The Getting Started guides cover a wealth of activities to do almost anything you can imagine, but the framework is perfect for writing microservice-based applications with very little configuration required beyond adding some annotations to your classes and methods.

It makes writing Java a pleasure again, and an experience far from the heavyweight EJB and Spring2 I was recoiling from a few years ago!

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