Spring is a Java framework popularly used in making web applications. It has advanced over the past years and comes up with added extensions and functionalities. Though it is in demand in the IT industry, some of its shortcomings are improved with the updated framework of Spring, i.e. Spring MVC and Spring Boot. Both of them accomplish different purposes but can be used to increase the efficiency of your application. This blog will discuss both the frameworks, the differences between spring MVC and spring boot, and which one is a better player.
What is Spring MVC?
Spring MVC is a Java framework used to build web-based applications. The MVC term signifies that it follows the Model View Controller design pattern. So, Spring MVC is an integrated version of the Spring framework and Model View Controller. It has all the basic features of the core Spring framework like Dependency Injection and Inversion of Control. The MVC pattern segregates the application’s different aspects (input logic, business logic, and UI logic) while providing a loose coupling between these elements.
- The Model contains the core data of the application. In general, they consist of POJO (Plain Old Java Object).
- The View is responsible for rendering the model’s data, and it generates HTML output that the client’s browser can interpret.
- The Controller contains the business logic of the application.
Spring MVC is built around the DispatcherTemplate that handles the HTTP requests and responses.
How does Spring MVC Works?
Let’s understand the workflow of Spring MVC. Below are the steps that show it’s working.
- The client system sends an HTTP request to a specific URL.
- DispatcherServlet, configured in the web.xml file, receives the request.
- It then passes the request to a specific controller by finding it using Handler Mapping depending on the URL requested using @RequestMapping and @Controller annotations.
- Spring MVC Controller executes the business logic and then returns a logical view name and model to DispatcherServlet.
- DispatcherServlet consults view resolvers until the actual View is determined for rendering the output.
- DispatcherServlet contacts the chosen view (like Excel, Freemarker, JSP) with model data, and it renders the output depending on the model data.
- The provided output is returned to the client in the form of a response.
What is Spring Boot?
Spring Boot is another popular Java framework used for building applications. It mainly focuses on creating microservices. The microservice architecture allows the development and deployment of the applications independently. It is an extended version of the Spring framework that helps to reduce the development time. The applications built using spring boot are enterprise-ready. There are four layers in Spring boot; these are listed below:
Presentation layer: It consists of the front-end part and handles the HTTP requests. This request is then authenticated and transferred to the business layer.
Business layer: This layer handles the business logic; it contains service classes and performs authentication and validation.
Persistence layer: It contains the storage logic that translates the business object to database rows.
Database layer: This layer performs the CRUD (Create, Retrieve, Update and Delete) operations
How does Spring Boot Work?
Spring Boot architecture is similar to Spring MVC, except that Spring Boot does not require DAO (Data Access Object) or DAOImpl classes. The initial point of a spring boot application is @SpringBootApplication and the main method. It scans all the components automatically that are present in the project by using @ComponentScan annotation. It also configures the application automatically based on the dependencies added to the project by using @EnableAutoConfiguration annotation.
The workflow goes like:
- The client makes the HTTP requests.
- This request goes to the controller, and the controller maps and handles it.
- The request is passed on to the service layer where all the business logic is performed on the data that is mapped to JPA with model classes.
- As a result, a JSP page is returned to the user if no error occurred.
Spring MVC is a part of the Spring framework that helps in handling HTTP requests and responses. On the other hand, Spring Boot is the extension of the Spring framework and provides a faster way to build applications. Spring MVC allows you to easily build fully functional Java Web applications with the help of kits ready-made components, and Spring Boot helps rapidly build production-ready applications. Spring Boot framework is also capable of embedding HTTP servers like Tomcat. In situations where more flexibility is required, it is advised to use Spring MVC as it allows you to make configurations according to your specific needs rather than spring boot. Unlike Spring MVC, spring boot is a tool that injects your functionality into the program without the laborious task of doing it individually. The community and documentation of the Spring MVC are much better than that of Spring boot.
Difference Between Spring MVC and Spring Boot
Let’s have a head-to-head comparison between the two frameworks, below is the table showing Spring MVC vs Spring Boot.
|Spring MVC||Spring Boot|
|Spring MVC is a Model, View, and Controller based framework used to build web applications.||Spring Boot is one of the most widely used frameworks in the REST API development field. It is developed on top of the conventional spring framework. It is used to build stand-alone web spring applications.|
|This framework requires a lot of configurations, such as DispatcherServlet configurations and View Resolver configurations.||Spring Boot handles the configurations automatically with its Auto-configuration feature.|
|Every dependency needs to be specified separately for the features to run.||Spring Booth has the concept of starters, once it is added to the classpath, it will bring all the dependencies needed for developing a web application.|
|Spring MVC helps to develop applications easily.||Spring Boot helps to develop the applications easily and quickly with features like auto-configuration and starters.|
|The time required for development is more as compared to Spring Boot because developers need to devote time to adding required dependencies||Spring Boot helps in reducing the development time as all the dependency-related task gets handled.|
|The productivity gets reduced since one needs to understand the dependency add-ons.||Since the development time is less, productivity increases.|
|Spring MVC requires a lot of manual configurations into the feature for JAR packaging.||Spring Boot allows the embedded server to run the feature in a stand-alone manner.|
|A deployment descriptor is required for the Spring MVC framework.||A deployment descriptor is not required for the Spring Boot framework.|
|The four components of Spring MVC are Model, View, Controller, and Front Controller (DispatcherServlet class).||The four layers of Spring Boot are the Presentation layer, Business layer, Persistence layer, and Database layer.|
|Spring MVC is only designed to develop dynamic web pages and RESTful web services.||Spring Boot allows building different other kinds of applications too.|
|It does not provide powerful batch processing.||It provides powerful batch processing.|
|It is necessary to build the configuration manually if we are using Spring MVC.||Spring Boot eliminates the need to manually build the configuration.|
|Spring MVC requires a deployment descriptor.||Spring Boot does not require deployment descriptors.|
|Each dependency is specified separately in Spring MVC.||In Spring Boot, all dependencies are wrapped together in a single unit.|
|The Spring MVC framework requires more time for development.||The Spring Boot framework reduces development time and increases productivity at the same time.|
|There is no powerful batch processing feature in Spring MVC.||The Spring Boot framework provides powerful batch processing capabilities.|
Spring MVC vs Spring Boot- Which is Better?
Spring Boot is much more comfortable to work with than spring MVC but the choice may also depend on the type of application you are working in. Both these frameworks have their own benefits, for example, Spring MVC is a good choice for developing modular web applications and omits the overlapping task of handling HTTP requests. On the other hand, Spring Boot helps in saving time, and reducing efforts by reducing the number of configurations. One common thing that might create confusion is the use of annotation to develop an application in both types of technology.
In this blog, we discussed the key differences between Spring MVC and Spring Boot, and both these frameworks can be used interchangeably based on your requirements and type of application. In simple words, Spring Boot is simply an extended version of Spring to make development, testing, and deployment more convenient, and Spring MVC is a good option to fulfill specific needs.
1. Is spring MVC necessary before spring boot?
It is not necessary to learn Spring MVC before starting with Spring Boot but it is good to know about it. You are eligible to learn spring boot if you are comfortable with Java, Maven, and Gradle. Spring boot is easy to learn.
2. Can I use spring MVC with spring boot?
Yes, you can use Spring MVC with Spring Boot. To create and run a Spring MVC web application in spring boot, you need to add the spring-boot-starter dependency in your pom.xml file.
3. Does Spring boot replace Spring?
Spring Boot has not replaced Spring but has made working with it faster and easier as most of the changes needed for migrating an application are related to configuration. Still, our custom controllers and other components will remain the same.
4. What is a front controller in Spring MVC?
DispatcherServlet class present in org.springframework.web.servlet package is the front controller of Spring MVC. It takes the request to the appropriate controller and manages the flow of the application. You are only required to specify the DispatcherServlet class in the web.xml file.
5. What is a Spring actuator?
Spring Actuator is an interesting feature of Spring Boot. It allows you to see what is happening inside a running application.
For some popular interview questions on Spring, Spring MVC and Spring Boot, you can refer to this link.