Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A quick tutorial to Spring-MVC with Maven

In this post, we'll see how to get started with a Spring MVC project in a few steps.


  • Maven 3
  • Tomcat 6
  • Eclipse Helios/+
    • m2eclipse plugin
    • Spring IDE plugin

1 Creating the web project

First, let's create a Dynamic Web Project : 

Name it Spring-MVC-Tutorial and specify Tomcat 6 as the web server on which the application will be deployed:

And click on FINISH.

Now, in order to enable Maven support, create the following directories under the src directory : 
  • main/java
  • main/resources
  • test/java
  • test/resources
As the src directory actually is a source directory, once you've created the mentioned sub directories, these will look like packages, at first:

Then, right-click on the project and choose Maven -> Enable dependency management. This will open a Wizard in which you'll be able to configure Maven related information such as the group ID, the artifact ID, and so on. Following this tutorial, simply keep the default values and click on FINISH.

Now, our project has become a Maven-based project, which looks like this : 

2 Adding Spring Maven dependencies

In the pom.xml file, add the following dependencies, so that Maven retrieves the libraries necessary to a Spring-MVC project : 
  • spring-core
  • spring-context
  • spring-webmvc
As soon as you've added these dependencies, you could see that Maven has automatically downloaded the related libraries and added them to the project's classpath : 

Here's what our Maven configuration file looks like :

<project xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
 xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/xsd/maven-4.0.0.xsd">


     <!-- specifiy which directory within the project hierarchy will be considered 
      as the root directory from the generated war file -->


Note that we have added the "maven-war-plugin" to specify that at the WAR file generation, the "WebContent" directory should be considered as being the web application root directory.

3 Configuring the DispatcherServlet

A Spring-MVC project follows the "Front controller" pattern : we'll define a servlet based on Spring's DispatcherServlet class. This servlet serves as "front controller" and will handle incoming requests. It will then dispatch them to the appropriate controller classes, based on each request's URL.

Let's define the servlet : in the web.xml file (which is located in WebContent/WEB-INF):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<web-app xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
 xmlns="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee" xmlns:web="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee/web-app_2_5.xsd"
 xsi:schemaLocation="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee/web-app_2_5.xsd"
 id="WebApp_ID" version="2.5">
 <display-name>Spring MVC tutorial</display-name>

As you can see, in our example, we've mapped all incoming requests with the ".do" extension to be handled by the servlet named "MyDispatcherServlet", which is the front controller to our application.

4 Spring context configuration

Now, we'll create the Spring configuration XML file : under the WEB-INF directory, create a new Spring configuration file. As we've installed the Spring IDE plugin, (this plugin is very handy when it comes to Spring configuration as it provides, among other things, some auto-completion and validation), right-click -> New -> Other -> Spring -> Spring Bean configuration file

By default, with a Spring-MVC project, Spring will look for a Spring configuration file that is named as follows : [DispatcherServlet's name]-servlet.xml
So in our case, we'll name our Spring configuration file : MyDispatcherServlet-servlet.xml

Here's the content of our Spring configuration file : 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
 xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans.xsd
  http://www.springframework.org/schema/context http://www.springframework.org/schema/context/spring-context-3.1.xsd
  http://www.springframework.org/schema/mvc http://www.springframework.org/schema/mvc/spring-mvc-3.1.xsd">
 <!-- Enabling Spring beans auto-discovery -->
 <context:component-scan base-package="controller" />

 <!-- Enabling Spring MVC configuration through annotations -->
 <mvc:annotation-driven />

 <!-- Defining which view resolver to use -->
 <bean class= "org.springframework.web.servlet.view.InternalResourceViewResolver" > 
  <property name="prefix" value="/WEB-INF/views/" /> 
  <property name="suffix" value=".jsp" /> 

  • We have enabled Spring beans auto-discovery by adding <context:component-scan base-package="controller" />
  • Spring-MVC related configuration will be defined through annotations as we have added <mvc:annotation-driven />
  • We will be using the InternalResourceViewResolver to define which view should be rendered to the user, once the controller class has handled incoming requests. More on this below... For now, just try to remember that we gave its "prefix" property the value "/WEB-INF/views/", and its "suffix" property the vlaue ".jsp".

5 Implementing the controller

Create a package named "controller". This package name is not arbitrary. It should match the package name that we've specified in the <context:component-scan> element in the Spring configuration file. 

Then, create a class as follows. You may choose another the name as it is not significant : due to our Spring configuration, Spring will scan the "controller" package and look for classes with Spring annotations (such as @Component, @Controller, @Service, and @Repository).

package controller;

import org.springframework.stereotype.Controller;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMethod;

public class MyController {
 @RequestMapping(method=RequestMethod.GET, value="/home")
 public String handleRequest(){
  return "welcome";

  • The @Controller annotation indicates that our class is a Spring registered bean
  • The @RequestMapping annotation marks the handleRequest( ) method as a method that will be executed to handle GET method requests with /home URI.
Basically, whenever an incoming request is handled by the handleRequest( ) method, as it returns unconditionally "welcome",  the view resolver from type InternalResourceViewResolver will concatenate the defined prefix, to this value, and then to the defined suffix.

So, in our case, the view to be rendered would be : /WEB-INF/views/welcome.jsp

6 Create the sample view file (JSP)

  1. First, create a directory named "views" under WEB-INF
  2. In the "views" directory, create a JSP page named "welcome.jsp" as follows : 

<%@ page language="java" contentType="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1"
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1">
Welcome my Spring-MVC-Tutorial homepage

7 WAR file generation and deployment

With the M2Eclipse plugin, simply run the project as "Maven package". Then copy the generated WAR file from the "target" directory into the "webapps" directory from Tomcat.

8 Testing the application

Open a browser, type the following URL : 
  • http://localhost/Spring-MVC-Tutorial-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT/home.go
And you will get to the following page : 

9 Source code

The project we went through step by step, may be downloaded/checked out (github repository) here. Just make sure you get the master branch of the Spring-MVC-Tutorials repository.


  1. Nice write up. One issue, though, as you have
    the url-pattern as "*.go" but say that we've mapped all incoming requests with the ".do" extension.

    That might throw a newbie for a loop if they're just doing copy/paste.

  2. hi, thanks for the example.
    i try to run it but encounter problems.

    1. when i try to address http://localhost/Spring-MVC-Tutorial-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT/home.go - i get 101 (i understand i need to add port :8080)

    2. when i try to address http://localhost:8080/Spring-MVC-Tutorial-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT/home.go - i get 404

    3. when i open the war file, i cant see the view directory inside the WEB-INF directory (nor the jsp file). why?

    thanks in advance,

    1. Hi there,

      To answer to your first remark, the 8080 is usually the port that is used with standard Tomcat configuration. You may configure it to use another port if you want to, though.

      From your third statement, I believe the war file you does not have the expected structure. How did you generate it? Through the export wizard from Eclipse? If so, it's normal because, it is a maven project and as you can see in the pom.xml file, I've configured it so that the webContent directory is considered as the root directory of the application. If you use Maven to generate the war, it will deploy just fine.

      If you have the M2Eclipse plugin, simply execute the package goal on the project and you'll find the war file in the target directory.
      You may execute > mvn package on the project as well, if you'd rater use Maven command lines.

      Hope that'd help.
      Best regards.

    2. hi Yiu, thanks for your quick reply!!
      Just for the record, i am a maven newbie.
      I am using eclipse->m2e, so i create the war using run as->maven install.
      i took a second look at the pom file. noticed that i did not have a node: WebContent
      now i get the views dir at WEB-INF. but I still get 404 trying to reach home.go

      1. i am running tomcat6 from eclipse. (servers->tomcat v6.0->Add and Remove -> Add Spring-MVC-Tutorial, Publish, Start)

      2. in pom, i also have:



      i think i got this automatically from transforming the project to a mavan project.


    3. Do you get any error message in the console when deploying the application on your embedded Tomcat configuration? If not, my guess would be that you're not accessing the correct root context.

      When deploying a war on a standalone Tomcat configuration, it will set the root context as being the war filename. So let's suppose you're dropping a file name "foo.war" in Tomcat's webapps directory, you'll access it at an URL such as http://localhost:8080/foo/...

      On the other hand, if you're deploying an Eclipse project on a Tomcat configuration that is embedded in the IDE, it usually takes the project's name as root context...

      Let me know it this was your problem

  3. it seems like i have several problems.

    i am running the war form m2e plugin (run->maven install, servers-> add resorce-> Spring-MVC-Tutorial)
    so, i deleted the post-fix of "-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT" and now i see an exception (which is good).
    i am not sure where should i run the project from. from eclipse or externally?
    is there a convention for running eclipse-tomcat-maven projects?
    should i install a tomcat plugin?

    it seems like the spring is not configured well.
    i get:

    java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: org.springframework.web.servlet.DispatcherServlet

    can you tell why?

    thanks !!

  4. No, you don't need any Tomcat plugin to get a Maven-based web application project to run into an embedded Tomcat instance. Sounds like the Maven dependencies of your project are not deployed on the embedded Tomcat.

    Did you check that your project's deployment assembly contains the Maven dependencies? To do that, right click on your projet, open its properties and click on the "deployment assembly" section. Then, you need to add the Maven dependencies (click on "add", choose "Java build path entries" and then Maven dependencies).

    Let me know if you worked out your problem.

  5. Great tutorial for maven/spring newbies like me.
    Btw, I'm using Netbeans and after completing the project, I had some errors in dispatcher.xml.
    Changing tag as follows fixed everything. If someone receives error this may help.

    1. < beans

  6. Hello,thanks for your great tutorial.
    I got a problem when run this application:
    Servlet.init() for servlet MyDispatcherServlet threw exception
    org.springframework.beans.factory.BeanDefinitionStoreException: Failed to read candidate component class: file [C:\ItDevelop\Tomcat7\webapps\Spring-MVC-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT\WEB-INF\classes\controller\MyController.class]; nested exception is java.lang.IncompatibleClassChangeError: class org.springframework..

    How can I fix this problem, thanks very much!

    1. Based on the type of error you got, you may either have two (or more) different versions of a same .jar, or one of the dependencies is providing an implementation that does not match its associated interface. I suggest you take a look on StackOverflow as others faced the same kind of problem (for instance: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/13528508/spring-mvc-hibernate-project-throws-incompatibleclasschangeerror-tomcat-7).

      Best regards.

  7. Very well written tutorial. Thanks for posting this.