23. SpringApplication

The SpringApplication class provides a convenient way to bootstrap a Spring application that will be started from a main() method. In many situations you can just delegate to the static SpringApplication.run method:

public static void main(String[] args) {
    SpringApplication.run(MySpringConfiguration.class, args);

When your application starts you should see something similar to the following:

  .   ____          _            __ _ _
 /\\ / ___'_ __ _ _(_)_ __  __ _ \ \ \ \
( ( )\___ | '_ | '_| | '_ \/ _` | \ \ \ \
 \\/  ___)| |_)| | | | | || (_| |  ) ) ) )
  '  |____| .__|_| |_|_| |_\__, | / / / /
 :: Spring Boot ::   v1.5.6.RELEASE

2013-07-31 00:08:16.117  INFO 56603 --- [           main] o.s.b.s.app.SampleApplication            : Starting SampleApplication v0.1.0 on mycomputer with PID 56603 (/apps/myapp.jar started by pwebb)
2013-07-31 00:08:16.166  INFO 56603 --- [           main] ationConfigEmbeddedWebApplicationContext : Refreshing org.springframework.boot.context.embedded.AnnotationConfigEmbedde[email protected]: startup date [Wed Jul 31 00:08:16 PDT 2013]; root of context hierarchy
2014-03-04 13:09:54.912  INFO 41370 --- [           main] .t.TomcatEmbeddedServletContainerFactory : Server initialized with port: 8080
2014-03-04 13:09:56.501  INFO 41370 --- [           main] o.s.b.s.app.SampleApplication            : Started SampleApplication in 2.992 seconds (JVM running for 3.658)

By default INFO logging messages will be shown, including some relevant startup details such as the user that launched the application.

23.1 Startup failure

If your application fails to start, registered FailureAnalyzers get a chance to provide a dedicated error message and a concrete action to fix the problem. For instance if you start a web application on port 8080 and that port is already in use, you should see something similar to the following:



Embedded servlet container failed to start. Port 8080 was already in use.


Identify and stop the process that's listening on port 8080 or configure this application to listen on another port.

Spring Boot provides numerous FailureAnalyzer implementations and you can add your own very easily.

If no failure analyzers are able to handle the exception, you can still display the full auto-configuration report to better understand what went wrong. To do so you need to enable the debug property or enable DEBUG logging for org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.logging.AutoConfigurationReportLoggingInitializer.

For instance, if you are running your application using java -jar you can enable the debug property as follows:

$ java -jar myproject-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar --debug

23.2 Customizing the Banner

The banner that is printed on start up can be changed by adding a banner.txt file to your classpath, or by setting banner.location to the location of such a file. If the file has an unusual encoding you can set banner.charset (default is UTF-8). In addition to a text file, you can also add a banner.gif, banner.jpg or banner.png image file to your classpath, or set a banner.image.location property. Images will be converted into an ASCII art representation and printed above any text banner.

Inside your banner.txt file you can use any of the following placeholders:

Table 23.1. Banner variables



The version number of your application as declared in MANIFEST.MF. For example Implementation-Version: 1.0 is printed as 1.0.


The version number of your application as declared in MANIFEST.MF formatted for display (surrounded with brackets and prefixed with v). For example (v1.0).


The Spring Boot version that you are using. For example 1.5.6.RELEASE.


The Spring Boot version that you are using formatted for display (surrounded with brackets and prefixed with v). For example (v1.5.6.RELEASE).

${Ansi.NAME} (or ${AnsiColor.NAME}, ${AnsiBackground.NAME}, ${AnsiStyle.NAME})

Where NAME is the name of an ANSI escape code. See AnsiPropertySource for details.


The title of your application as declared in MANIFEST.MF. For example Implementation-Title: MyApp is printed as MyApp.


The SpringApplication.setBanner(…​) method can be used if you want to generate a banner programmatically. Use the org.springframework.boot.Banner interface and implement your own printBanner() method.

You can also use the spring.main.banner-mode property to determine if the banner has to be printed on System.out (console), using the configured logger (log) or not at all (off).

The printed banner will be registered as a singleton bean under the name springBootBanner.


YAML maps off to false so make sure to add quotes if you want to disable the banner in your application.

        banner-mode: "off"

23.3 Customizing SpringApplication

If the SpringApplication defaults aren’t to your taste you can instead create a local instance and customize it. For example, to turn off the banner you would write:

public static void main(String[] args) {
    SpringApplication app = new SpringApplication(MySpringConfiguration.class);

The constructor arguments passed to SpringApplication are configuration sources for spring beans. In most cases these will be references to @Configuration classes, but they could also be references to XML configuration or to packages that should be scanned.

It is also possible to configure the SpringApplication using an application.properties file. See Chapter 24, Externalized Configuration for details.

For a complete list of the configuration options, see the SpringApplication Javadoc.

23.4 Fluent builder API

If you need to build an ApplicationContext hierarchy (multiple contexts with a parent/child relationship), or if you just prefer using a ‘fluent’ builder API, you can use the SpringApplicationBuilder.

The SpringApplicationBuilder allows you to chain together multiple method calls, and includes parent and child methods that allow you to create a hierarchy.

For example:

new SpringApplicationBuilder()

There are some restrictions when creating an ApplicationContext hierarchy, e.g. Web components must be contained within the child context, and the same Environment will be used for both parent and child contexts. See the SpringApplicationBuilder Javadoc for full details.

23.5 Application events and listeners

In addition to the usual Spring Framework events, such as ContextRefreshedEvent, a SpringApplication sends some additional application events.


Some events are actually triggered before the ApplicationContext is created so you cannot register a listener on those as a @Bean. You can register them via the SpringApplication.addListeners(…​) or SpringApplicationBuilder.listeners(…​) methods.

If you want those listeners to be registered automatically regardless of the way the application is created you can add a META-INF/spring.factories file to your project and reference your listener(s) using the org.springframework.context.ApplicationListener key.


Application events are sent in the following order, as your application runs:

  1. An ApplicationStartingEvent is sent at the start of a run, but before any processing except the registration of listeners and initializers.
  2. An ApplicationEnvironmentPreparedEvent is sent when the Environment to be used in the context is known, but before the context is created.
  3. An ApplicationPreparedEvent is sent just before the refresh is started, but after bean definitions have been loaded.
  4. An ApplicationReadyEvent is sent after the refresh and any related callbacks have been processed to indicate the application is ready to service requests.
  5. An ApplicationFailedEvent is sent if there is an exception on startup.

You often won’t need to use application events, but it can be handy to know that they exist. Internally, Spring Boot uses events to handle a variety of tasks.

23.6 Web environment

A SpringApplication will attempt to create the right type of ApplicationContext on your behalf. By default, an AnnotationConfigApplicationContext or AnnotationConfigEmbeddedWebApplicationContext will be used, depending on whether you are developing a web application or not.

The algorithm used to determine a ‘web environment’ is fairly simplistic (based on the presence of a few classes). You can use setWebEnvironment(boolean webEnvironment) if you need to override the default.

It is also possible to take complete control of the ApplicationContext type that will be used by calling setApplicationContextClass(…​).


It is often desirable to call setWebEnvironment(false) when using SpringApplication within a JUnit test.

23.7 Accessing application arguments

If you need to access the application arguments that were passed to SpringApplication.run(…​) you can inject a org.springframework.boot.ApplicationArguments bean. The ApplicationArguments interface provides access to both the raw String[] arguments as well as parsed option and non-option arguments:

import org.springframework.boot.*
import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.*
import org.springframework.stereotype.*

public class MyBean {

    public MyBean(ApplicationArguments args) {
        boolean debug = args.containsOption("debug");
        List<String> files = args.getNonOptionArgs();
        // if run with "--debug logfile.txt" debug=true, files=["logfile.txt"]


Spring Boot will also register a CommandLinePropertySource with the Spring Environment. This allows you to also inject single application arguments using the @Value annotation.

23.8 Using the ApplicationRunner or CommandLineRunner

If you need to run some specific code once the SpringApplication has started, you can implement the ApplicationRunner or CommandLineRunner interfaces. Both interfaces work in the same way and offer a single run method which will be called just before SpringApplication.run(…​) completes.

The CommandLineRunner interfaces provides access to application arguments as a simple string array, whereas the ApplicationRunner uses the ApplicationArguments interface discussed above.

import org.springframework.boot.*
import org.springframework.stereotype.*

public class MyBean implements CommandLineRunner {

    public void run(String... args) {
        // Do something...


You can additionally implement the org.springframework.core.Ordered interface or use the org.springframework.core.annotation.Order annotation if several CommandLineRunner or ApplicationRunner beans are defined that must be called in a specific order.

23.9 Application exit

Each SpringApplication will register a shutdown hook with the JVM to ensure that the ApplicationContext is closed gracefully on exit. All the standard Spring lifecycle callbacks (such as the DisposableBean interface, or the @PreDestroy annotation) can be used.

In addition, beans may implement the org.springframework.boot.ExitCodeGenerator interface if they wish to return a specific exit code when SpringApplication.exit() is called. This exit code can then be passed to System.exit() to return it as a status code.

public class ExitCodeApplication {

	public ExitCodeGenerator exitCodeGenerator() {
		return new ExitCodeGenerator() {
			public int getExitCode() {
				return 42;

	public static void main(String[] args) {
				.exit(SpringApplication.run(ExitCodeApplication.class, args)));


Also, the ExitCodeGenerator interface may be implemented by exceptions. When such an exception is encountered, Spring Boot will return the exit code provided by the implemented getExitCode() method.

23.10 Admin features

It is possible to enable admin-related features for the application by specifying the spring.application.admin.enabled property. This exposes the SpringApplicationAdminMXBean on the platform MBeanServer. You could use this feature to administer your Spring Boot application remotely. This could also be useful for any service wrapper implementation.


If you want to know on which HTTP port the application is running, get the property with key local.server.port.


Take care when enabling this feature as the MBean exposes a method to shutdown the application.