spring vs spring boot framework for the development

Everything You Need to Know About Spring VS Spring Boot Framework

29 Apr 2024

Recently, building the best performing applications is crucial for startups and organizations alike. 

Choosing the right tools to develop your web applications can make all the difference. Have you heard of Spring and Spring Boot framework? These powerful Java frameworks are popular for a reason: they can streamline development, shorten timelines, and empower you to create robust applications. 

But what’s the difference between spring vs spring boot framework, and which one is right for your company? This guide will break down everything you need to know about Spring and Spring Boot framework, helping you make an informed decision for building the future of your business.

So, let’s get started!

What is Spring ?

spring framework

Spring is a popular open-source application framework and inversion of control container for the Java platform. It provides comprehensive infrastructure support for developing Java applications. Spring’s core feature is dependency injection, which allows developers to build loosely coupled components and manage their dependencies effectively.

Originally developed by Rod Johnson in 2003, Spring has evolved into a comprehensive ecosystem that includes various modules for different aspects of enterprise application development, such as:

  • Spring Core: Provides the fundamental functionality of the Spring framework, including dependency injection and inversion of control.
  • Spring MVC: Offers a model-view-controller (MVC) framework for building web applications.
  • Spring Data: Simplifies data access operations by providing a consistent programming model for accessing data from different sources, including relational databases, NoSQL databases, and cloud services.
  • Spring Security: Offers comprehensive security features for Java applications, including authentication, authorization, and cryptographic functions.
  • Spring Cloud: Provides tools and libraries for building distributed systems and microservices-based architectures, including service discovery, circuit breakers, and distributed configuration management.

Overall, Spring Framework is widely used in enterprise Java development due to its flexibility, scalability, and extensive ecosystem of libraries and tools.

Key Features of Spring Framework?

Spring Framework is a popular tool for Java developers, designed to simplify the development of Java applications, particularly for enterprise environments. Here are some of its key features:

  1. Modular Design: Spring is all about flexibility. It’s composed of independent modules that address specific development needs. You can choose only the modules your project requires, like Spring MVC for web development or Spring Data for data access. This modularity keeps projects focused and beginners from being overwhelmed.
  1. Dependency Injection (DI): This core principle tackles how objects interact and rely on each other. Instead of objects creating their own dependencies (other objects they use), Spring injects them. This creates several advantages:
  • Loose Coupling: Objects become less dependent on specific implementations, making them easier to test and more adaptable.
  • Improved Maintainability: If a dependency needs to change, it’s isolated within the injection process, not scattered throughout your code.
  1. Inversion of Control (IoC): Spring takes control of object creation and lifecycle management. This means developers write less boilerplate code for setting up and tearing down objects. Benefits include:
  • Reduced Boilerplate: You don’t need to write repetitive code for object creation and configuration.
  • Centralized Control: Object life cycles are managed in one place, simplifying application management.
  1. Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP): Spring supports AOP, allowing you to define reusable aspects for cross-cutting concerns like logging, security, or transaction management. These aspects can be applied to various parts of the application without modifying the core logic. This promotes cleaner code and avoids code duplication.

These features make Spring an excellent choice for developing modern, robust, and maintainable enterprise-level applications. You can check the major difference between Java EE vs Spring Boot here.

Advantages of Spring Framework

The Spring framework offers several advantages, such as:

1. Full-Stack Development

Spring empowers you to build applications from the ground up. Whether it’s the presentation layer (UI), business logic, or data access layer, Spring offers tools and functionalities for each stage of development.

2. Lightweight & POJO-Based

Spring utilizes Plain Old Java Objects (POJOs), eliminating the need for complex inheritance hierarchies. This keeps the framework lightweight and promotes code simplicity.

3. Loose Coupling & Easy Testing

Spring’s Dependency Injection (DI) approach decouples components from their dependencies. This allows for easier testing, as components can be tested in isolation without relying on external functionalities.

4. Declarative Configuration

Spring provides options for both XML and annotation-based configurations. This declarative approach lets you define application behavior without writing extensive boilerplate code, improving readability and maintainability.

5. Rich Middleware Services

Spring goes beyond core functionalities. It offers a comprehensive suite of middleware services like security, transaction management, and messaging, streamlining development and reducing the need for third-party libraries.

Disadvantages of Spring Framework

  1. Steep Learning Curve: Spring, especially for beginners unfamiliar with Java or object-oriented principles, can have a challenging learning curve. The framework encompasses a vast array of modules and concepts, requiring time and effort to master.
  2. Configuration Complexity: While Spring promotes a modular approach, extensive configuration, particularly using XML files in traditional Spring projects, can become cumbersome for complex applications. Managing dependencies and configurations can be time-consuming.
  3. Potential for Over Engineering: Spring’s flexibility can sometimes lead to overengineering, especially in smaller projects. It’s crucial to carefully evaluate project requirements and choose Spring modules judiciously to avoid unnecessary complexity.
  4. Security Considerations: While Spring Security offers robust security features, developers still need to be vigilant about implementing secure coding practices and staying updated on potential vulnerabilities within the framework itself.

Use Cases for Spring Framework

The Spring framework can be utilized for various tasks, including:

  1. Enterprise Applications: Spring excels at building complex, large-scale enterprise applications. Its features like dependency injection, aspect-oriented programming (AOP), and transaction management empower developers to create robust and maintainable applications.
  2. Microservices Architecture: Spring can be used to develop individual microservices within a larger architecture. Its modular design and support for various messaging systems facilitate communication and coordination between services.
  3. Data Access and Persistence: Spring offers a unified approach to data access through its Data Access Object (DAO) and JPA (Java Persistence API) abstractions. This simplifies database interactions and ensures consistency across different data sources.
  4. Batch Processing: Spring Batch provides a framework for building efficient batch processing applications. It handles repetitive tasks, data processing pipelines, and complex calculations effectively.
  5. RESTful Web Services: Spring MVC is a popular choice for building RESTful web services. It offers annotations, message converters, and exception-handling mechanisms to streamline web service development.

What is Spring Boot Framework?

spring boot framework

Is Java Spring and Spring Boot the same thing? Absolutely No, both are different by their nature. Spring Boot is a Java-based framework that simplifies the process of developing robust applications. It empowers developers to create standalone, production-grade applications based on Spring that are easy to run.

As an extension of the Spring framework, Spring Boot removes much of the boilerplate code and configuration typically associated with Spring. It offers a pre-configured environment for building applications powered by Spring with minimal XML and annotation-based configuration. Applications developed with Spring Boot can be started with a single command, making it a preferred choice for quick application development.

Being built on Spring, Spring Boot architecture inherits all the features and advantages of Spring. It aims to reduce the amount of code and simplify the application development process. This expands the job opportunities for Spring Boot developers.

Key Features of Spring Boot Framework

Spring Boot framework comes with several features:

  • An embedded server that simplifies application development.
  • Starter dependencies that ease the process of building and configuring applications.
  • Automatic Spring configuration.
  • Metrics, health checks, and other reports.

Everything in Spring Boot comes pre-configured. We just need to use the right configuration to utilize a specific feature. For instance, Spring Boot can be used to create a REST API.

Advantages of Spring Boot Framework

Spring Boot offers several advantages, including reduced development time and avoidance of unnecessary configuration. Other Spring Boot advantages include:

  • Ability to create standalone applications.
  • No need to deploy WAR files.
  • No XML configuration required.
  • Direct embedding of Tomcat, Jetty, and Undertow.
  • Production-ready features.
  • Ease of launch.
  • Simplified customization and management.

Disadvantages of Spring Boot Framework

Despite its numerous advantages, Spring Boot does have a few limitations:

1. Lack of control

Spring Boot generates many unused dependencies, resulting in a large deployment file.

2. Complex process

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

3. Limited suitability

While Spring Boot is excellent for microservices, some developers argue that it’s not suitable for building large-scale applications.

Use cases of Spring Boot Framework

  1. Microservices and Standalone Applications: Spring Boot framework shines in building microservices and standalone applications. Its autoconfiguration capabilities reduce boilerplate code, allowing developers to focus on core functionalities.
  2. Rapid Prototyping and Proof-of-Concepts (POCs): Spring Boot’s quick development features like hot reloading and embedded servers make it ideal for rapid prototyping and creating POCs to test ideas and gather feedback.
  3. Cloud-Native Development: Spring Boot integrates seamlessly with Spring Cloud, a suite of tools for building cloud-native applications. This enables features like service discovery, configuration management, and load balancing.
  4. Data Processing Applications:  Similar to Spring Framework, Spring Boot can be used for data processing applications, simplifying development with autoconfiguration and streamlined configuration management.
  5. RESTful APIs: As an extension of Spring Framework, Spring Boot simplifies RESTful API development by inheriting Spring MVC’s functionalities and adding autoconfiguration for faster API creation.

Key Differences between Spring vs Spring Boot Framework

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

FeatureSpring FrameworkSpring Boot
PurposeBuild web applicationsBuild REST APIs
Key FunctionalityDependency Injection (DI)Autoconfiguration
Why UseEase of development, maintainabilityRapid application development (RAD)
Use CaseLoosely coupled applicationsStandalone applications
Deployment DescriptorMandatoryNot needed
Server DependencyExplicit configurationPre-installed or embedded servers (Tomcat, Jetty)
DatabaseNo support for in-memory databaseSupports in-memory databases (H2)
Coding ComplexityMany lines of boilerplate codeEliminates boilerplate code
ConfigurationsManual configuration buildingDefault configurations for faster bootstrapping
DependenciesMany dependenciesSingle dependency
HTTP AuthenticationRequires additional dependenciesRequires spring-boot-starter-security
CLI ToolsNot includedIncluded
XML ConfigurationRequiredNot needed
TestingComparatively difficultEasier
PluginsNo plugins for build toolsIncludes plugins for build tools

How Spring Boot Addresses Spring’s Main Issues?

How spring boot overcome the issues of spring

Spring Boot was created specifically to address some of the common pain points associated with traditional Spring development. Here’s how it tackles the main issues:

1. Configuration Complexity:

  • Spring can involve a lot of XML configuration files, which can become tedious and error-prone for complex applications.
  • Spring Boot Solution: It uses convention over configuration, meaning it provides sensible defaults for many settings. You can override these defaults with minimal code or annotations. This significantly reduces boilerplate configuration.

2. Steep Learning Curve:

  • The full Spring framework offers a vast ecosystem, and getting started can be overwhelming, especially for beginners.
  • Spring Boot Solution: Spring Boot offers a streamlined approach with pre-configured defaults for common dependencies and functionalities. This lowers the initial learning curve and allows developers to be productive quickly.

3. Project Setup Time:

  • Setting up a new Spring project traditionally involved configuring various dependencies and libraries.
  • Spring Boot Solution: Spring Boot provides starter packs, pre-configured templates that include essential libraries for common use cases (e.g., web development, data access). This eliminates manual setup and gets you coding faster.

4. Application Packaging and Deployment:

  • Traditionally, deploying Spring applications could involve complex war file creation and server configuration.
  • Spring Boot Solution: Spring Boot applications are packaged as executable JAR files with embedded servers like Tomcat or Undertow. This simplifies deployment as you can simply run the JAR to get your application running.

Why Choose Nintriva for Your Spring and Spring Boot Development Needs

homepage of Nintriva

Nintriva offers a powerful combination of expertise in both Spring and Spring Boot frameworks, making them an ideal partner for your project. Here’s why you should consider Nintriva:

Deep Spring & Spring Boot Knowledge:

  • Experienced Developers: Nintriva’s team possesses in-depth knowledge of both Spring and Spring Boot, ensuring they can leverage the strengths of each framework to create the perfect solution for your project.
  • Diverse Project Experience: Nintriva has experience building a wide range of applications using Spring and Spring Boot, from complex enterprise applications to lightweight microservices. This experience allows them to tailor their approach to your specific needs.
  • Staying Up-to-Date: Nintriva prioritizes staying current with the latest advancements in Spring and Spring Boot. This ensures your project benefits from the newest features and best practices.

Streamlined Development with Spring Boot:

  • Faster Development: Nintriva’s understanding of Spring Boot’s autoconfiguration capabilities allows them to develop applications more efficiently, saving you time and resources.
  • Reduced Complexity: Spring Boot’s simplified configuration eliminates boilerplate code, allowing Nintriva to focus on building core functionalities that drive value for your business.
  • Improved Maintainability: Nintriva’s expertise ensures they write clean and maintainable code, making your application easier to update and scale in the future.

Additional Benefits of Nintriva:

  • Agile Development Approach: Nintriva utilizes agile methodologies to ensure close collaboration with you throughout the development process. This allows for continuous feedback and adjustments to meet your evolving needs.
  • Quality Assurance & Testing: Nintriva implements robust testing strategies to deliver high-quality, bug-free applications.
  • Post-Launch Support: Nintriva offers ongoing support and maintenance services to ensure the smooth operation of your application and address any future needs.

Nintriva’s Latest Projects

  1. BIZ Boon

Bringing Businesses Together. BizBoon connects Indian organizations and individuals entering or established in the US and Canada with local firms and institutions.

  1. Column Technologies

Addressing Human Resource requests and inquiries are critical to the overall morale and productivity of an organization, and Nintriva understands they must be addressed in a timely manner. 

  1. eDoctorBook

It’s an online platform enabling seamless and effortless interaction between patients and doctors. 

prompting readers to contact Nintriva

Bottom Line 

Now you can clearly understand a closer analysis of Spring vs Spring Boot frameworks. Spring Boot is a project initializer built on the Spring boot framework. It shines in its ability to reduce unnecessary configuration, making it a highly beneficial tool for developers when used in conjunction with Spring. 

The simplicity of Spring Boot contrasts with the Spring Framework, which requires manual adjustments for each configuration, while Spring Boot provides ready-to-use standalone applications with minimal or no configuration.

 In summary, Spring Boot is essentially a Spring extension that simplifies testing, development, and deployment. Given these advantages, it’s no surprise that hiring a Spring Boot developer is often preferred over a Spring Framework developer in today’s context.

Related blogs