Introduction to the Spring Framework in NetBeans IDE
This document shows you how to install the Spring
Framework and run it in NetBeans IDE. The Spring Framework is a popular open source application
framework that can make J2EE development easier. It consists of a container, a framework for managing components,
and a set of snap-in services for web user interfaces, transactions, and persistence.
This tutorial takes advantage of Craig MacKay's Spring NetBeans Module,
and documents the flash demo he has prepared that guides you
through the installation process. At the end of this tutorial, you will have a module installed in your IDE that provides
the following support for the Spring Framework:
- Framework Support (enables the Spring Framework as an option when creating a new web application)
- Spring XML Catalog (provides Spring related XSD and DTD's to enable XML code completion)
- Integrated Library Management (installs libraries required for the Spring Framework, as well as
additional required libraries)
For more information on the Spring Framework.
For a more fine-grained explanation of how Spring Framework artifacts behave and interact with other objects in an
application, visit the official Spring
Framework Reference Documentation, or consult the Spring
For details on the Spring NetBeans Module.
If you are familiar with the Spring Framework, you are welcome to contribute
to the development of the Spring NetBeans Module.
Expected duration: 20 minutes
The following topics are covered below:
Getting the Software
Before beginning, make sure you have the following software installed on your computer:
- NetBeans IDE 5.5 (download)
- Java SE Development Kit (JDK™) version 5.0 or higher
- The Spring NetBeans Module (download)
Note: As an alternative to downloading the IDE and JDK separately, consider
downloading the Java SE
Development Kit 6u1 with NetBeans IDE 5.5 Bundle.
Installing the Module
Begin by installing the Spring NetBeans Module in the IDE:
- Launch NetBeans IDE and choose Update Center from the Tools menu. The Update
Center wizard opens. Under Select Location of Modules, select the Install
Manually Downloaded Modules (.nbm Files) option. Click Next.
- In Step 2, Select Modules to Install, click the Add button located to the
right of the window, and browse to the location where you downloaded the
module. Select the module, click OK, then click Next.
- Notice that Spring Framework Support is listed under the Include to Install pane:
- Accept the license agreement that displays, and the Update Center begins automatically
downloading the module into the IDE. Upon completion, click Next.
- In Step 4, View Certificates and Install Modules, click the Include checkbox to the
left of the Spring Framework Support. When the Unsigned Module alert box pops up, simply
click Yes - this module can be trusted. Then click Finish.
- Finally, when the Restart the IDE window displays, make sure the Restart the IDE option
is selected and click OK. The IDE needs to be restarted in order for changes to
Creating a New Project
Now that the module is installed, you can create a new project for a web application using
the Spring Framework:
- Choose New Project (Ctrl+Shift+N) from the IDE's File menu.
Under Categories select Web. Under Projects select Web Application. Click Next.
- In Project Name, type in SpringWebApp. From the Server drop-down list,
select the server you plan to work with. Leave all
other settings at their defaults and click Next.
- In Step 3, the Frameworks panel, notice that we just installed the
Spring NetBeans Module, Spring Framework 2.0 is now listed:
Select the corresponding checkbox and click Finish. The IDE creates a project
template for the entire application, including all metadata, as well as the
project's Ant build script. You can view the template structure from the Projects
window. Also note that the project's top level index.jsp file, provided
as an entry point to the application, opens by default in the Source Editor.
Running the Project
Let us see what happens when we try running the project in the IDE:
- Right-click the project node and choose Run Project (alternately, press F6).
The IDE automatically starts your server if it is not already running, and deploys the
application to it. The application runs and employs the Spring MVC DispatcherServlet
using the configuration data contained in dispatcher-servlet.xml. Note
any output displayed in the IDE's Output window (Ctrl+4). The generated output
should complete with a BUILD SUCCESSFUL message:
The IDE's default browser starts up, and you see the generated output of the
welcome page view (/WEB-INF/jsp/index.jsp):
Browsing the Project's Structure
Now that you know the project can be deployed and run successfully, look at how the
Spring Framework is integrated in the project's structure:
- In the Projects window, completely expand the Web Pages > WEB-INF node. Note
that the following Spring Framework artifacts have been created for you:
Spring Framework artifacts:
allows fine-tuning of ehcache settings, which might be
needed for persistence-related features (e.g. if ehcache is
used with Hibernate).
reads the log4jConfigLocation context parameter and reads
the log4j configuration specified as the value. This is useful
during development and allows you to fine-tune log output.
contains JSP pages used to render views for the application.
contains tag library definition files
defines beans which make up the application context for the
framework and provides their availability to all dispatcher
defines beans used for specifying controllers and Spring MVC
contains configuration data which can be applied to
values of other XML documents.
defines application listeners and paths to XML files that
- Expand the Libraries node. Note that the Spring Framework JAR files have been
included in the new project:
Note: From the Libraries node, you can also add new
libraries and JAR files. To do so, choose the appropriate action from the
Libraries node's right-click menu.
To remove any JAR files, choose Remove from the right-click menu of a
selected JAR file. Alternatively, you can make any changes to libraries by accessing
the Project Properties dialog (choose Properties from the right-click menu of the
project node, then under Categories, select Libraries).
You can now begin developing the application according to your needs. For example, you can start
modifying the application context (application-context.xml) to add new services and DAO
objects, or add new controllers to the application's dispatcher servlet
This concludes the Introduction to the Spring Framework in NetBeans IDE tutorial. This document
demonstrated how to install the Spring Framework into NetBeans IDE, and introduced you to
the IDE's interface for developing in the framework.
You are encouraged to continue learning about the Spring Framework by working through other tutorials in
NetBeans IDE, such as Thomas Risberg's Developing
a Spring Framework MVC Application Step-by-Step tutorial.
For related and more advanced tutorials on netbeans,
see the following resources:
- Spring Framework Hands-on Lab.
A comprehensive series of lectures and labs using the Spring Framework in NetBeans IDE.
- Adding Support for a Web Framework.
A basic guide describing how to add support by installing a web framework plugin using
the NetBeans Update Center.
- NetBeans IDE 5.5 Tutorial for Web Applications.
A detailed tutorial that teaches you how to build a complete web application using a
composite view, front controllers, JSP pages, and servlets.
- Introduction to the JSF Framework. The
first document in a series that covers the basics of using the JavaServer Faces framework
to code web applications in NetBeans IDE.
- Introduction to Java EE 5 Technology. An introduction to
the major concepts of the Java EE 5 specifications and how they relate to hands-on programming.