The open-source Spring Framework is a powerful and lightweight tool that is now the de facto standard for enterprise Java applications.
Speed, simplicity, and productivity allow Spring to solve various enterprise challenges - from implementing secure authentication and authorization mechanisms to building distributed systems, and its developer-centric model brings tech teams practically unlimited access to innovation.
However, just starting to work with Spring, developers often make mistakes that can negatively affect both the application operation and team productivity.
Let's take a deeper dive into the Spring framework and, with our Back-End Development Team, find out what benefits it brings and how to avoid common mistakes in order to maximize business value for an enterprise application.
Why is the Spring Framework the Most Common Choice for Enterprise Applications?
According to an annual JVM ecosystem report, in 2020 Spring was called “the world’s most popular Java framework” - it dominates the Java ecosystem, with 60% using it for their main applications.
Spring's popularity is easy to explain: most Java-based enterprises prefer to use ready-made solutions to solve their problems, instead of creating new ones.
Unlike tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, which have built their own Go, React, and NodeJS platforms, enterprises focus teams not on building libraries and frameworks, but on solving current business issues.
Spring allows this tactic to be fully implemented: being the framework of frameworks, it not only contains many ready-made solutions to address almost any technical problem but also supports many frameworks (such as Struts, Hibernate, Tapestry, EJB, JSF, etc.) to develop the enterprise application in accordance with the business goals and users’ needs.
What are the Benefits of the Spring Framework for Enterprises
If your enterprise is in the Java ecosystem and you are not planning to change it, Spring is a great solution to maintain and develop your application with a focus on speed, extensibility, and reliability.
Here are the main benefits of using Spring in enterprise software:
- Easy start.
Spring has a number of out-of-the-box functions and modules that your team can easily add and customize. Thus, Spring increases developer productivity by focusing on business logic rather than writing code.
- Open-source community.
In addition to a number of out-of-the-box features, Spring has a large open-source community that makes it much easier to find a solution to almost any problem. With a lot of people using Spring, a tech team can find explanations for a specific issue or even a ready-to-use solution quickly and effortlessly. Another way to solve the problem is to view an open-source code and even debug it.
One of the core concepts of Spring is to provide solutions to the most common problems and at the same time leave a convenient place to create/extend custom solutions for a specific problem. Therefore, if there is no suitable module for solving a specific problem, or the existing one does not fit exactly as needed, then a tech team can expand the existing module or write its own.
Rapid start, fast shutdown, and optimized execution are the standard that Spring provides by default. In addition, the Spring kit contains tools for speeding up iterations (LiveReload in Spring DevTools) and getting a quick project start (Spring Initializr at start.spring.io).
This way, Spring makes Java faster, and therefore more productive.
Spring is a well-known DI container that retains most modern coding practices, which in turn leads to testable and therefore more reliable code.
5 Common Mistakes in Using Spring and How to Avoid Them
With its comprehensive toolkit, Spring provides a variety of powerful solutions for enterprise applications. At the same time, mistakes made by teams when working with Spring can negate all the benefits it brings.
Having extensive experience with enterprise products, we at Techstack have repeatedly faced the consequences of such problems, so we would like to consider the main ones and talk about how to avoid them.
Mistake #1 - Focus on Code, not Solutions
Starting to work with Spring, teams often neglect its main advantage - the presence of many solutions ready to use. Instead of taking advantage of them, some developers begin to write code to solve a particular problem, thereby shifting the focus from high-level tasks to low-level ones. This approach significantly reduces team productivity as well as unreasonably increases the deadline for completing tasks.
How to avoid: Instead of making your team write code and essentially reinvent the wheel, consider using libraries and other frameworks that already exist to help you solve the issue. That's what Spring was created for.
Mistake #2 - Using An XML-Based Configuration
Although XML was required for previous versions of Spring, nowadays most of the customization can be done exclusively with Java code/annotations. XML configurations are simply extra and unnecessary boilerplate code that wastes extra time for your team.
How to avoid: Migrate your existing XML config to code/annotation and avoid using XML config. Demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach to the team in order to eliminate the use of XML configuration in the future.
Mistake #3 - Improper Work with Multithreading
Multithreading is deeply integrated into the core functionality of modern applications, and in fact, no Spring (and Java) application is complete without this functionality. Multithreading provides parallel execution of programs, while the problems caused by improper work with this functionality are extremely subtle, and their consequences can cause unpredictable problems in the application.
How to avoid: Avoid global state, class mutability, and state change. Log important data and reuse existing multithreading implementations to minimize the risk of problems and application crashes.
Mistake #4 - Unsettled Testing Process
Enterprise application is usually a huge system with many functions and modules. A well-established process with unit-testing allows not only detecting and fixing errors in the early stages but also creating the documentation necessary to track the operation of the application. Both of these significantly reduce the resources involved in development.
The organization of these processes is often neglected, and as a result, development costs become excessive.
How to avoid: Implement unit tests and build clear processes in the team for writing and maintaining them. The team must understand that unit tests are important not only for testing functionality but also for further work on expanding modules.
Mistake #5 - Disregard for Code Standards
Code written in accordance with the code standards is easy to understand and therefore easier to work with, and that is critical for enterprise projects using Spring. Teams that do not adhere to code standards take longer to transfer information and tasks between developers, and new team members take more time to understand the code structure.
This neglect costs too much for the team’s productivity.
How to avoid: define clear code standards, make following them mandatory for all team members, and explain why this is necessary. It won't be long before the team realizes the benefits of this approach and makes writing clean code a habit.
With a variety of ready-made solutions for solving the most common issues in the arsenal, Spring rightfully occupies a leading position in Java-based enterprise software.
Still, the lightness, reliability, and speed of this framework may not bring the necessary results if your tech team makes mistakes while working with it.
By partnering with experts in enterprise application development who adhere to coding standards and pay due attention to proper testing and multithreading, you will appreciate all the business benefits of Spring.
Contact us to know more about ready-made and custom solutions that bring exceptional value to your enterprise application.