Spring

Spring MVC Annotations

Introduction:

Spring 2.5 onwards, we can use annotations to mark our Spring components.

One way of doing so is to use a <component-scan> tag in our appConfig.xml:

The Spring container will then recursively scan all components in the given package & its sub-packages.

In this quick tutorial, we’ll discuss the most commonly used Spring MVC annotations.

Defining a Controller:

There’re two different annotations we can use for our controller based on its type:

1. @Controller:

We can simply use this annotation to mark any of our Spring MVC controller classes:

2. @RestController:

This annotation is useful for annotating our RESTful controllers:

This annotation is itself annotated with both @Controller and @ResponseBody annotations.

We have covered the difference between @Controller and @RestController in much detail in one of our other articles.

Request-Handling Annotations:

Let’s now look at the annotation we can use for handling our HTTP requests:

1. @RequestMapping:

We use this annotation to map the web request methods in the Spring MVC Controller. We can also customize it using its available attributes:

  • method: denotes one the HTTP request methods – PUT, GET, POST, DELETE, PATCH
  • value: the mapped URL
  • params: filters the request based on the HTTP parameters
  • headers: filters the request based on the HTTP headers.
  • produces: defines the media type of the HTTP responses
  • consumes: specifies the media type of the HTTP request

We can also use this annotation at class-level for setting up some common properties.

Moreover, Spring 4.3 onwards, @RequestMapping offers several variants for different HTTP methods. These include @GetMapping, @PutMapping, @PostMapping, @DeleteMapping, and @PatchMatching.

2. @RequestParam:

With this annotation, we can bind an HTTP request parameter to the method parameter:

Optionally, we can also provide a default value. For the missing value of the request parameter, the default value is used:

3. @PathVariable:

We can bind the method parameter to one of the variables in the path or URI. We’ll use @PathVariable for it:

Also, we can choose to mark a path variable as optional by setting required to false:

4. @RequestBody:

An HTTP request body can be passed as an argument to a handler method in our controller.  We often use it for reading the request body of requests with HTTP methods as PUT and POST.

The content is automatically deserialized using HttpMessageConverter based on its type.

Response-Handling Annotations:

Now, let’s explore some annotations we can use for dealing with HTTP responses:

1. @ResponseBody:

Similar to the @RequestBody, we have a @ResponseBody annotation. When we annotate a method with this annotation, Spring treats the result of this method as the response itself:

We can also annotate our @Controller class with this annotation. If so, all methods in our controller will use it.

2. @ResponseStatus:

With this, we can map the desired HTTP response status to the methods in our controller:

We can learn more about how to set a status code and reason using @ResponseStatus.

3. @ExceptionHandler:

We can write custom exception handler methods. These methods will be invoked when an exception of its type is raised during the method execution:

Conclusion:

In this tutorial, we skimmed through most of the commonly used Spring MVC annotations.

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