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Is Spring Boot a Framework?

August 07, 2020

Spring Boot and Spring framework are two terms developers confuse with often. If someone said they have used Spring for their project in 2020, It is most likely a Spring Boot project. And in some cases, Did Spring develop into Spring Boot? Is it okay call Spring Boot projects as Spring projects?

Also, Is spring framework being replaced by spring boot?

To answer this question we need to discuss about the MAGIC of Spring Boot. That is the Spring Boot Starters and Auto Configurations.

Back then, setting up a new web development project is pain. It will take ages only to get the appropriate jar dependencies. And I dont even want to talk about the configuration files.

But thanks to the magic of auto configuration. A developer these days can boot up a web application within few minutes.

Need to enable security for your web app? No worries, add appropriate starter and a couple of entries in application.properties. This is always true for smaller simpler web projects.

Spring Boot is easy

Spring Boot is easy to learn and use because it abstracts away the inner working. This helps the developers concentrate on the business logic. It does this by creating a set of rules and conventions for you to follow. As long as you play by its rules, you don’t have to bear the pain.

Spring boot also has rich integration to third party libraries. This means the developers dont have to worry about learning them.

This is why the developers end up with an ultimatum. Suffer the pain or embrace Spring Boot and forget about learning Spring Boot.

The least resistant path

I have talked about not playing by Spring Boot’s rules will bring discomfort for the developers. This is not entirely true.

Spring Boot is an opinionated framework. But it also provides ways for you to have your own opinion. If you want to use Oracle Toplink for Spring Boot instead of hibernate, You can very well do. For this you need to understand nuances of Spring framework itself.

Spring Boot has made developers not to learn the underlying logic because they don’t have to. Because it just works.

I get laughed at sometimes for using Spring Framework for projects. The ranting is usually goes like using instead of Spring Boot. But I have my reasons. I dont want a 19 MB jar for a simple use case. This shows what implications Spring Boot has done to the development community. I can’t blame Spring Boot for this. But this has become an unintended side effect.

Spring boot and Spring Framework are different

People mistake Spring Boot for being a superset of Spring framework. But Spring Boot itself is not a framework. But It is only an opinionated view of Spring Platform. It is may also be a set of common understandings of how to use a third party API or dependencies.

The phrase Spring Boot Framework Doesn’t exist. spring official website has not referred to Spring Boot as a framework anywhere in their entire site.

People say its like comparing Java to JavaScript. That is not true either. Java and Javascript solve two different problems and only have the syntax in common.

Spring Framework and Spring Boot, solve common problems. They applications developed by these use common libraries more or less. But first one gives more control and area to explore. And the later gives out of the box solutions.

  • So, Is Spring boot a framework? No. Spring Boot is not a framework.
  • Is Spring framework being replaced by Spring Boot.? No, Spring Boot itself uses Spring framework for its functionalities.
  • Should developers be learning Spring framework? Yes if you want to properly use Spring Boot.

What do you think?

When was the last time you have used Spring Framework in your project?

Comment below.

Raja Anbazhagan

About the author

Raja is a Software Engineer with over 7 years of experience in working with Enterprise Java applications. Lately, He is focused in cloud-based Java applications and serverless technologies. He spends his spare time in stackoverflow.

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