Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Web Architecture Consultant specializing in open source frameworks.

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Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

A Webapp Makeover with Spring 4 and Spring Boot

A typical Maven and Spring web application has a fair amount of XML and verbosity to it. Add in Jersey and Spring Security and you can have hundreds of lines of XML before you even start to write your Java code. As part of a recent project, I was tasked with upgrading a webapp like this to use Spring 4 and Spring Boot. I also figured I'd try to minimize the XML.

This is my story on how I upgraded to Spring 4, Jersey 2, Java 8 and Spring Boot 0.5.0 M6.

When I started, the app was using Spring 3.2.5, Spring Security 3.1.4 and Jersey 1.18. The pom.xml had four Jersey dependencies, three Spring dependencies and three Spring Security dependencies, along with a number of exclusions for "jersey-spring".

Upgrading to Spring 4
Upgrading to Spring 4 was easy, I changed the version property to 4.0.0.RC2 and added the new Spring bill of materials to my pom.xml. I also add the Spring milestone repo since Spring 4 won't be released to Maven central until tomorrow.



Next, I removed all the references to ${spring.framework.version} in dependencies since it'd be controlled by Maven's dependency management feature.

-        <version>${spring.framework.version}</version>

I also changed to use Maven 3's wildcard syntax to exclude multiple dependencies.

-                    <artifactId>spring</artifactId>
-                </exclusion>
-                <exclusion>
-                    <groupId>org.springframework</groupId>
-                    <artifactId>spring-core</artifactId>
-                </exclusion>
-                <exclusion>
-                    <groupId>org.springframework</groupId>
-                    <artifactId>spring-web</artifactId>
-                </exclusion>
-                <exclusion>
-                    <groupId>org.springframework</groupId>
-                    <artifactId>spring-beans</artifactId>
-                </exclusion>
-                <exclusion>
-                    <groupId>org.springframework</groupId>
-                    <artifactId>spring-context</artifactId>
+                    <artifactId>*</artifactId>

I confirmed the upgrade worked by running "mvn dependency:tree | grep spring", followed by "mvn jetty:run" and viewing the app in my browser.

Upgrading to Jersey 2
The next item I tackled was upgrading to Jersey 2.4.1. I changed the version number in my pom.xml, then added the Jersey BOM.


You might ask "why Jersey?" if we already have Spring MVC and its REST support? You might also ask why not Play or Grails instead of a Java + Spring stack? For this particular project, I recommended technology options, and these were certainly among them. However, the team chose differently and I support their decision. The project is creating an iOS app, as well as a responsive HTML5 mobile/desktop app. We figured we had enough risk with new technologies on the front-end that we should play it a bit safer on the backend. To make the backend work a bit sexier, we've decided to allow Spring 4, Java 8 and possibly some reactive principles.

Next, I changed from the old com.sun.jersey dependencies to org.glassfish.jersey and removed jersey-spring.


The last thing I needed to do was change the servlet-class and param-name in web.xml:


Requiring Java 8
Requiring Java 8 to compile was easy enough. I added the maven-compiler-plugin to enforce a minimum version.


I downloaded the latest Java 8 SDK and installed it. Then I set my JAVA_HOME to use it.

export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.8`

Integrating Spring Boot
I learned about Spring Boot a few weeks ago at Devoxx. Josh Long gave me a 3-minute demo at the speaker's dinner and showed me enough to pique my interest. To integrate it into my project, I started with the Quick Start. I added the boot-parent, dependencies for web, security and actuator (logging, metrics, etc.) and the Maven plugin. I removed all the Spring and Spring Security dependencies.


Upon restarting my app, I got an error about spring-security.xml using a 3.1 XSD. I fixed it by changing to 3.2. Next, I wanted to eliminate web.xml. First of all, I created an ApplicationInitializer so the WAR could be started from the command line.

package com.raibledesigns.boot.config;

import org.springframework.boot.SpringApplication;
import org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.EnableAutoConfiguration;
import org.springframework.boot.builder.SpringApplicationBuilder;
import org.springframework.boot.web.SpringBootServletInitializer;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.ComponentScan;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Configuration;

public class ApplicationInitializer extends SpringBootServletInitializer {

    protected SpringApplicationBuilder configure(SpringApplicationBuilder application) {
        return application.sources(ApplicationInitializer.class);

    public static void main(String[] args) {, args);

However, after adding this, I received the following error on startup:

org.springframework.beans.factory.BeanCreationException: Error creating bean with name 
Invocation of init method failed; nested exception is 
java.lang.AbstractMethodError: org.hibernate.validator.internal.engine.ConfigurationImpl

Adding hibernate-validator as a dependency solved this problem:


To configure Spring Security without web.xml and spring-security.xml, I created

package com.raibledesigns.boot.config;

import org.springframework.context.annotation.Configuration;
import org.springframework.core.Ordered;
import org.springframework.core.annotation.Order;

@Order(Ordered.LOWEST_PRECEDENCE - 6)
public class WebSecurityConfig extends WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter {
    protected void configure(HttpSecurity http) throws Exception {
                .antMatchers("/", "/home").permitAll()
        http.httpBasic().realmName("My API");

    protected void configure(AuthenticationManagerBuilder authManagerBuilder) throws Exception {

To configure Jersey without web.xml, I created a JerseyConfig class:

package com.raibledesigns.boot.config;

import org.glassfish.jersey.filter.LoggingFilter;
import org.glassfish.jersey.jackson.JacksonFeature;
import org.glassfish.jersey.server.ResourceConfig;
import org.glassfish.jersey.server.ServerProperties;


public class JerseyConfig extends ResourceConfig {

    public JerseyConfig() {
        property(ServerProperties.BV_SEND_ERROR_IN_RESPONSE, true);
        property(ServerProperties.JSON_PROCESSING_FEATURE_DISABLE, false);
        property(ServerProperties.MOXY_JSON_FEATURE_DISABLE, true);
        property(ServerProperties.WADL_FEATURE_DISABLE, true);

Finally, I created to set the welcome page.

package com.raibledesigns.boot.config;

import org.springframework.context.annotation.Configuration;
import org.springframework.web.servlet.config.annotation.ViewControllerRegistry;
import org.springframework.web.servlet.config.annotation.WebMvcConfigurerAdapter;

public class MvcConfig extends WebMvcConfigurerAdapter {

    public void addViewControllers(ViewControllerRegistry registry) {

To cleanup, I deleted src/main/webapp/WEB-INF and created src/main/resources/logback.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <include resource="org/springframework/boot/logging/logback/base.xml"/>
    <logger name="org.springframework.boot" level="INFO"/>
    <logger name="" level="ERROR"/>

Since Boot doesn't support JSP out-of-the-box, I renamed my index.jsp file to index.html and changed the URL in it to point to "/v1.0/hello". I was pleased to see that everything worked nicely. I learned shortly after that I could remove the Spring BOM since Spring Boot uses a <spring.version> property to control its Spring version.

The only issue I found is when started the app with "mvn package && java -jar target/app.war", it failed to initialize Jersey. I tried adding a @Bean for the servlet:

public ServletRegistrationBean jerseyServlet() {
    ServletRegistrationBean registration = new ServletRegistrationBean(new ServletContainer(), "/v1.0/*");
    registration.addInitParameter(ServletProperties.JAXRS_APPLICATION_CLASS, JerseyConfig.class.getName());
    return registration;

Unfortunately, when running it using "java -jar", I get the following error:

org.glassfish.hk2.api.MultiException: A MultiException has 1 exceptions.  They are:
1. org.glassfish.jersey.server.internal.scanning.ResourceFinderException: /.../target/app.war!/WEB-INF/classes (No such file or directory)
	at org.jvnet.hk2.internal.Utilities.justCreate(
	at org.jvnet.hk2.internal.ServiceLocatorImpl.create(
	at org.jvnet.hk2.internal.ServiceLocatorImpl.createAndInitialize(
	at org.jvnet.hk2.internal.ServiceLocatorImpl.createAndInitialize(
	at org.glassfish.jersey.server.ApplicationHandler.createApplication(
	at org.glassfish.jersey.server.ApplicationHandler.<init>(
	at org.glassfish.jersey.servlet.WebComponent.<init>(

This seems strange since there is a WEB-INF/classes in my WAR. Regardless, this is not a Boot problem per se, but more of a Jersey issue. From one of the Boot developers:

The whole idea with Boot is that servlets are just a transport - they are a means to an end, and hopefully not the only one - the "container" is Spring, not the servlet container. We probably could add some form of support for SCI but only by hacking the containers since the spec really doesn't allow for much control of their lifecycle. It hasn't been a priority so far.

I hope this article is useful to see how you to upgrade your Java webapps to use Spring 4 and Spring Boot. I've created a boot-makeover project on GitHub with all the code mentioned. You can also view the commits for each step.

Posted in Java at Dec 11 2013, 12:47:15 PM MST 7 Comments

A while back I created a containerless Jersey app that might be helpful when figuring out your problem:

Posted by James Ward on December 11, 2013 at 02:41 PM MST #

Hi Matt,

Thanks for all of the helpful info in this post!

I know hosting this on Tomcat kind of defeats the purpose of utilizing spring boot, but should it be easy to deploy this war to tomcat? I can't call the service and it appeared from your post that you were successfully redirected from index.html. When I try to access index.html, I get a 404 (messages below). I noticed that the jndi url generated by the WebMvcConfigurer adapter has no port associated with it, yet I am running on 8080. Is there additional configuration that I need to/can do to correct this particular problem? (although I have the same Jersey problem you experienced as well)

: Adding welcome page: jndi:/localhost/boot-makeover/index.html

> GET http://localhost:8080/boot-makeover/index.html
2 > host:
2 > connection: keep-alive
2 > authorization:
Basic dGVzdDp0ZXN0MTIz
2 > accept:
> user-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_9_0)
AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/31.0.1650.63
2 > accept-encoding: gzip,deflate,sdch
2 >
accept-language: en-US,en;q=0.8
2 > cookie:

Dec 14, 2013 10:45:15 PM
org.glassfish.jersey.filter.LoggingFilter log
INFO: 2 * LoggingFilter -
Response received on thread http-bio-8080-exec-8
2 <


Chris Whelan

Posted by Christopher Whelan on December 15, 2013 at 10:25 AM MST #

Thanks for the blog ! Would like to understand what does it mean by "Spring Boot doesn't support JSP"

Posted by Sudhir on December 20, 2013 at 12:45 PM MST #

@Chris - I haven't tried it in Tomcat, only with "mvn jetty:run". I tried it today and it doesn't even startup for me.

INFO: Deploying web application archive /opt/tools/apache-tomcat-7.0.30/webapps/boot-makeover.war
Dec 22, 2013 11:21:09 AM org.apache.catalina.loader.WebappClassLoader validateJarFile
INFO: validateJarFile(/opt/tools/tomcat/webapps/boot-makeover/WEB-INF/lib/tomcat-embed-core-7.0.47.jar) - jar not loaded. See Servlet Spec 2.3, section 9.7.2. Offending class: javax/servlet/Servlet.class
Dec 22, 2013 11:21:09 AM org.apache.catalina.startup.ContextConfig getServletContainerInitializer
SEVERE: The ServletContentInitializer [org.apache.tomcat.websocket.server.WsSci] could not be created
java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: org.apache.tomcat.websocket.server.WsSci
	at org.apache.catalina.loader.WebappClassLoader.loadClass(
	at org.apache.catalina.loader.WebappClassLoader.loadClass(
	at java.lang.Class.forName0(Native Method)
	at java.lang.Class.forName(
	at org.apache.catalina.startup.ContextConfig.getServletContainerInitializer(
	at org.apache.catalina.startup.ContextConfig.processServletContainerInitializers(
	at org.apache.catalina.startup.ContextConfig.webConfig(

Posted by Matt Raible on December 22, 2013 at 12:26 PM MST #

@Sudhir - I was mistaken. It looks like Spring Boot does support JSP, but it's a work-in-progress. See Spring-Boot Not Finding JSP Pages in WAR File on Stack Overflow.

Posted by Matt Raible on December 22, 2013 at 12:32 PM MST #

Trying to autowire beans in Jersey Controller got me in trouble do you think you can help? Please take a look at:

Posted by Panos Vlastaridis on December 30, 2013 at 10:07 AM MST #

This example would be perfect if you had injected a component from Spring into the HelloService. I can not get that to work. I keep seeing problems with the jersey-spring3 bridge reinitializing the root context

Posted by Chad F on July 23, 2014 at 10:32 PM MDT #

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