My Process for New Spring Projects

Posted On // Leave a Comment
I've been getting a lot of questions lately about how to start new Spring projects and what is the best approach.  I don't know if I have the best approach or not, but here is an approach that has worked well for me.  I think it is a pretty good way to get started and iterate on a project.

With a new workstation,  I usually grab the latest versions I can get of Java, Git CLI, Spring Tool Suite, Gradle CLI, and Node.js.  Grab the appropriate versions for your OS, and install each of them in turn.

Next, make a directory to store your project code separate from your Eclipse workspace.  I like to create a "git" directory in my user directory to store my project code.  Trust me, you will find this useful later.

After installing Spring Tool Suite, I add in support for Gradle by going to the "Help" -> "Dashboard" menu, and then clicking the "IDE Extensions" button in the "Manage" section of the resulting page.  Then, under the "Language and Framework Tooling" section, I select "Gradle Support" and click the "Install" button.  Answer any questions, and let the IDE restart, and you should be good to start.

Next, I start a project by going to "File" -> "New" -> "Spring Starter Project".  This will create a project that uses Spring Boot, which is a fantastic way to create modern Spring applications.
Make sure to uncheck "Use default location".  We're going to put the project's code as a subdirectory under that "git" directory we created earlier.  Select a Gradle Project, and fill out the appropriate details for your project.  I use my registered domain name for the group and package for my code, and leave most of the rest at defaults.  Click "Next >" to choose the Spring Boot starters to user for your project.  Personally, I often start just with the "Web" starter and add in additional starters as I go along.
Click "Finish" and let the IDE create, download, and build the project for you.  Once all the dependencies are downloaded, and dialogs all close you should see your new project in your workspace.
The next thing I typically do is to enable Grade Dependency Management in the IDE.  Right click on the project, and select "Gradle" - > "Enable Dependency Management".
Now, you can easily update Eclipse's classpath for the project, as your Gradle build file changes.

Now that I have the basics done for the project, I typically like to start up the project just to make sure everything is working ok.  In Spring Tool Suite 3.7.1, there is a function called the "Boot Dashboard" that allows you to easily launch Spring Boot applications.  You may need to go to the "Window" -> "Show View" -> "Other" menu to find it and open the "Boot Dashboard".  If you can't find it, you can right click on the project, and select "Run as" - > "Spring Boot App" to launch your application as well.

In either case, when you launch your application, it will start up and begin accepting connections at http://localhost:8080.  If you see "java.lang.IllegalStateException: Tomcat connector in failed state" error text in the Console view, it is likely you already have something running on your machine that is listening on port 8080.  You will need to configure the embedded Tomcat server that Spring Boot is using to listen on a different port.  You can do this be either going to the Boot Dashboard view, and right clicking on your project and selecting "Open Config", or you can go to the "Run" -> "Run Configurations" menu, and Try port 8081 or some other port number that you can remember.
What this is doing is setting a system property for the Spring Boot called "server.port" which will tell the embedded Tomcat container to listen on a different port.  You can read up more on how properties get set in a Spring Boot application by going to the reference page for externalizing configuration properties for Spring Boot applications.  Properties can be specified in properties files, or YAML files, Environment variables, via command line arguments, and other methods.

Once the application successfully starts up, you can right click on it in the "Boot Dashboard" view and select "Open Web Browser", or you can just go to http://localhost:8080 (or whatever port you changed your application to listen on) in your favorite browser.

But are probably getting a 404 error when you try to browse to that address.  The reason is that the starter doesn't have content yet to deliver to you.  Let's add the proverbial "Hello World" page to our app to make sure we can see something.  Under the "src/main/resources" folder, let's add a new "index.html" file.  Spring Boot will serve this file out as a default when you navigate to your app.
Next, paste the following into your new file and save it:
<h1>Hello World!</h1>

Now, either right click on your application in the "Boot Dashboard" and select "(Re)start", or click the red square in the "Console" view to Terminate the running app, and then re-launch it by right clicking on the project and selecting "Run as" -> "Spring Boot Application" from the context menu.

Browse to your application as before, and you should now see some swank "Hello World" goodness.
Now that we've got a basic working version of things, it is probably a good idea to check this project into Git, so that we don't lose the great work we've done.  Right click on the project, and select "Team" -> "Share Project"
Then, in the resulting dialog, check the "User or create repository in parent folder of project".  Then click on your project in the list, and the click the "Create Repository" button.  After the repository is created, click the "Finish" button.
Before we commit our changes, we want to make sure to exclude a directory Gradle uses for caching.  Select the "Window" -> "Show View" -> "Other" menu item, and then type "Navigator" in the filter box.  Select the "Navigator" view and click "OK".  In the resulting view, right click on the ".gradle" folder and select "Team" -> "Ignore".  Then, click on the "Package Explorer" tab to get back to the normal package view for projects.

Next, right click on your project in the "Package Explorer" tab, and select "Team" -> "Commit".  Select all your files, add a commit comment, and click the "Commit" button.  This doesn't store your files out on a server, but it at least captures this working version of your application locally in case you need to roll back to it.
I want to push this project to Github, so I'll go to my Github account, and create a new repository on Github.
Next, I can copy the URL from the "Quick Setup" section for the repo out of the resulting page after I click "Create repository".
Now, back in Eclipse, I can right click on the project and go to then "Team" -> "Remote" -> "Push" menu.  In the resulting dialog, I can paste the URL I copied into the "URI" field.  Fill out your user name and password, and then click "Next".
In the resulting dialog make sure to click the "All Branches Spec" and "All Tags Spec" buttons to make sure everything you do locally would get pushed up to your git server.  Then click "Finish" and then click "OK" in the confirmation dialog.  Then you should be able to push your project out to your Git server.

This stage of the project is available at under the "post-1" tag.  Simply clone the repo, and then check out the "post-1" tag to see the results.