Chapter 6. Aspect Oriented Programming with Spring

6.1. Introduction

Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP) complements Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) by providing another way of thinking about program structure. In addition to classes, AOP gives you aspects. Aspects enable modularization of concerns such as transaction management that cut across multiple types and objects. (Such concerns are often termed crosscutting concerns.)

One of the key components of Spring is the AOP framework. While the Spring IoC container does not depend on AOP, meaning you don't need to use AOP if you don't want to, AOP complements Spring IoC to provide a very capable middleware solution.

AOP is used in Spring:

  • To provide declarative enterprise services, especially as a replacement for EJB declarative services. The most important such service is declarative transaction management, which builds on Spring's transaction abstraction.

  • To allow users to implement custom aspects, complementing their use of OOP with AOP.

Thus you can view Spring AOP as either an enabling technology that allows Spring to provide declarative transaction management without EJB; or use the full power of the Spring AOP framework to implement custom aspects.

This chapter first introduces AOP concepts, which you will want to read whichever style of aspect declaration you choose to use. The remainder of the chapter focuses on the Spring 2.0 AOP support; see the following chapter for an overview of the Spring 1.2 style AOP, which you may well encounter in books, articles, and existing applications.

If you are interested only in generic declarative services or other pre-packaged declarative middleware services such as pooling, you don't need to work directly with Spring AOP, and can skip most of this chapter.

6.1.1. AOP concepts

Let us begin by defining some central AOP concepts. These terms are not Spring-specific. Unfortunately, AOP terminology is not particularly intuitive; however, it would be even more confusing if Spring used its own terminology.

  • Aspect: A modularization of a concern that cuts across multiple objects. Transaction management is a good example of a crosscutting concern in J2EE applications. In Spring AOP, aspects are implemented using regular classes (the schema-based approach) or regular classes annotated with the @Aspect annotation (@AspectJ style).

  • Join point: A point during the execution of a program, such as the execution of a method or the handling of an exception. In Spring AOP, a join point always represents a method execution. Join point information is available in advice bodies by declaring a parameter of type org.aspectj.lang.JoinPoint.

  • Advice: Action taken by an aspect at a particular join point. Different types of advice include "around," "before" and "after" advice. Advice types are discussed below. Many AOP frameworks, including Spring, model an advice as an interceptor, maintaining a chain of interceptors "around" the join point.

  • Pointcut: A predicate that matches join points. Advice is associated with a pointcut expression and runs at any join point matched by the pointcut (for example, the execution of a method with a certain name). The concept of join points as matched by pointcut expressions is central to AOP: Spring uses the AspectJ pointcut language by default.

  • Introduction: (Also known as an inter-type declaration). Declaring additional methods or fields on behalf of a type. Spring allows you to introduce new interfaces (and a corresponding implementation) to any proxied object. For example, you could use an introduction to make a bean implement an IsModified interface, to simplify caching.

  • Target object: Object being advised by one or more aspects. Also referred to as the advised object. Since Spring AOP is implemented using runtime proxies, this object will always be a proxied object.

  • AOP proxy: Object created by the AOP framework in order to implement the aspect contracts (advise method executions and so on). In Spring, an AOP proxy will be a JDK dynamic proxy or a CGLIB proxy. Note: proxy creation is transparent to users of the schema-based and @AspectJ styles of aspect declaration introduced in Spring 2.0

  • Weaving: Linking aspects with other application types or objects to create an advised object. This can be done at compile time (using the AspectJ compiler, for example), load time, or at runtime. Spring, like other pure Java AOP frameworks, performs weaving at runtime.

Types of advice:

  • Before advice: Advice that executes before a join point, but which does not have the ability to prevent execution flow proceeding to the join point (unless it throws an exception).

  • After returning advice: Advice to be executed after a join point completes normally: for example, if a method returns without throwing an exception.

  • After throwing advice: Advice to be executed if a method exits by throwing an exception.

  • After (finally) advice: Advice to be executed regardless of the means by which a join point exits (normal or exceptional return).

  • Around advice: Advice that surrounds a join point such as a method invocation. This is the most powerful kind of advice. Around advice can perform custom behavior before and after the method invocation. It is also responsible for choosing whether to proceed to the join point or to shortcut executing by returning its own return value or throwing an exception.

Around advice is the most general kind of advice. Most interception-based AOP frameworks, such as Nanning Aspects, provide only around advice.

As Spring, like AspectJ, provides a full range of advice types, we recommend that you use the least powerful advice type that can implement the required behavior. For example, if you need only to update a cache with the return value of a method, you are better off implementing an after returning advice than an around advice, although an around advice can accomplish the same thing. Using the most specific advice type provides a simpler programming model with less potential for errors. For example, you don't need to invoke the proceed() method on the JoinPoint used for around advice, and hence can't fail to invoke it.

In Spring 2.0, all advice parameters are statically typed, so that you work with advice parameters of the appropriate type (the type of the return value from a method execution for example) rather than Object arrays.

The concept of join points, matched by pointcuts, is the key to AOP which distinguishes it from older technologies offering only interception. Pointcuts enable advice to be targeted independently of the OO hierarchy. For example, an around advice providing declarative transaction management can be applied to a set of methods spanning multiple objects (such as all business operations in the service layer).

6.1.2. Spring AOP capabilities and goals

Spring AOP is implemented in pure Java. There is no need for a special compilation process. Spring AOP does not need to control the class loader hierarchy, and is thus suitable for use in a J2EE web container or application server.

Spring currently supports only method execution join points (advising the execution of methods on Spring beans). Field interception is not implemented, although support for field interception could be added without breaking the core Spring AOP APIs. If you need to advise field access and update join points, consider a language such as AspectJ.

Spring's approach to AOP differs from that of most other AOP frameworks. The aim is not to provide the most complete AOP implementation (although Spring AOP is quite capable); it is rather to provide a close integration between AOP implementation and Spring IoC to help solve common problems in enterprise applications.

Thus, for example, Spring's AOP functionality is normally used in conjunction with a Spring IoC container. Aspects are configured using normal bean definition syntax (although this allows powerful "autoproxying" capabilities): a crucial difference from other AOP implementations. There are some things you can't do easily or efficiently with Spring AOP, such as advise very fine-grained objects. AspectJ is the best choice in such cases. However, our experience is that Spring AOP provides an excellent solution to most problems in J2EE applications that are amenable to AOP.

Spring AOP will never strive to compete with AspectJ to provide a comprehensive AOP solution. We believe that both proxy-based frameworks like Spring and full-blown frameworks such as AspectJ are valuable, and that they are complementary, rather than in competition. Spring 2.0 seamlessly integrates Spring AOP and IoC with AspectJ, to enable all uses of AOP to be catered for within a consistent Spring-based application architecture. This integration does not affect the Spring AOP API or the AOP Alliance API; Spring AOP remains backward-compatible. See the following chapter for a discussion of the Spring AOP APIs.

6.1.3. AOP Proxies in Spring

Spring defaults to using J2SE dynamic proxies for AOP proxies. This enables any interface or set of interfaces to be proxied.

Spring can also use CGLIB proxies. This is necessary to proxy classes, rather than interfaces. CGLIB is used by default if a business object doesn't implement an interface. As it's good practice to program to interfaces rather than classes, business objects normally will implement one or more business interfaces. It is possible to force the use of CGLIB, in those (hopefully rare) cases where you need to advise a method that is not declared on an interface, or where you need to pass a proxied object to a method as a concrete type.

Beyond Spring 2.0, Spring may offer additional types of AOP proxy, including wholly generated classes. This won't affect the programming model.

6.2. @AspectJ support

"@AspectJ" refers to a style of declaring aspects as regular Java classes annotated with Java 5 annotations. The @AspectJ style was introduced by the AspectJ project as part of the AspectJ 5 release. Spring 2.0 interprets the same annotations as AspectJ 5, using a library supplied by AspectJ for pointcut parsing and matching. The AOP runtime is still pure Spring AOP though, and there is no dependency on the AspectJ compiler or weaver.

Using the AspectJ compiler and weaver enables use of the full AspectJ language, and is discussed in Section 6.8, “Using AspectJ with Spring applications”.

6.2.1. Enabling @AspectJ Support

To use @AspectJ aspects in a Spring configuration you need to enable Spring support for configuring Spring AOP based on @AspectJ aspects, and autoproxying beans based on whether or not they are advised by those aspects. By autoproxying we mean that if Spring determines that a bean is advised by one or more aspects, it will automatically generate a proxy for that bean to intercept method invocations and ensure that advice is executed as needed.

The @AspectJ support is enabled by including the following element inside your spring configuration:

<aop:aspectj-autoproxy/>

This assumes that you are using schema support as described in Appendix A, XML Schema-based configuration. See Section A.2.6, “The aop schema” for how to import the tags in the aop namespace.

If you are using the DTD, it is still possible to enable @AspectJ support by adding the following definition to your application context:

<bean class="org.springframework.aop.aspectj.annotation.AnnotationAwareAspectJAutoProxyCreator" />

You will also need two AspectJ libraries on the classpath of your application: aspectjweaver.jar and aspectjrt.jar. These libraries are available in the lib directory of an AspectJ installation (version 1.5.1 or later required), or in the lib/aspectj directory of the Spring-with-dependencies distribution.

6.2.2. Declaring an aspect

With the @AspectJ support enabled, any bean defined in your application context with a class that is an @AspectJ aspect (has the @Aspect annotation) will be automatically detected by Spring and used to configure Spring AOP. The following example shows the minimal definition required for a not-very-useful aspect:

A regular bean definition in the application context, pointing to a bean class that has the @Aspect annotation:

<bean id="myAspect" class="org.xyz.NotVeryUsefulAspect">
   <!-- configure properties of aspect here as normal -->
</bean>

And the NotVeryUsefulAspect class definition, annotated with org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Aspect annotation;

package org.xyz;
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Aspect;

@Aspect
public class NotVeryUsefulAspect {

}

Aspects (classes annotated with @Aspect) may have methods and fields just like any other class. They may also contain pointcut, advice, and introduction (inter-type) declarations.

6.2.3. Declaring a pointcut

Recall that pointcuts determine join points of interest, and thus enable us to control when advice executes. Spring AOP only supports method execution join points for Spring beans, so you can think of a pointcut as matching the execution of methods on Spring beans. A pointcut declaration has two parts: a signature comprising a name and any parameters, and an attendant pointcut expression that actually determines exactly which method executions we are interested in. In the @AspectJ annotation-style of AOP, a pointcut signature is provided by a regular method definition, and the pointcut expression is indicated using the @Pointcut annotation (the method serving as the pointcut signature must have a void return type).

An example will help make this distinction between a pointcut signature and a pointcut expression clear. The following example defines a pointcut named 'anyOldTransfer' that will match the execution of any method named 'transfer':

@Pointcut("execution(* transfer(..))")// the pointcut expression
private void anyOldTransfer() {}// the pointcut signature

The pointcut expression that forms the value of the @Pointcut annotation is a regular AspectJ 5 pointcut expression. For a full discussion of AspectJ's pointcut language, see the AspectJ Programming Guide (and for Java 5 based extensions, the AspectJ 5 Developers Notebook) or one of the books on AspectJ such as "Eclipse AspectJ" by Colyer et. al. or "AspectJ in Action" by Ramnivas Laddad.

6.2.3.1. Supported Pointcut Designators

Spring AOP supports the following AspectJ pointcut designators for use in pointcut expressions:

  • execution - for matching method execution join points, this is the primary pointcut designator you will use when working with Spring AOP

  • within - limits matching to join points within certain types (simply the execution of a method declared within a matching type when using Spring AOP)

  • this - limits matching to join points (the execution of methods when using Spring AOP) where the bean reference (Spring AOP proxy) is an instance of the given type

  • target - limits matching to join points (the execution of methods when using Spring AOP) where the target object (application object being proxied) is an instance of the given type

  • args - limits matching to join points (the execution of methods when using Spring AOP) where the arguments are instances of the given types

  • @target - limits matching to join points (the execution of methods when using Spring AOP) where the class of the executing object has an annotation of the given type

  • @args - limits matching to join points (the execution of methods when using Spring AOP) where the runtime type of the actual arguments passed have annotations of the given type(s)

  • @within - limits matching to join points within types that have the given annotation (the execution of methods declared in types with the given annotation when using Spring AOP)

  • @annotation - limits matching to join points where the subject of the join point (method being executed in Spring AOP) has the given annotation

Because Spring AOP limits matching to only method execution join points, the discussion of the pointcut designators above gives a narrower definition than you will find in the AspectJ programming guide. In addition, AspectJ itself has type-based semantics and at an execution join point both 'this' and 'target' refer to the same object - the object executing the method. Spring AOP is a proxy based system and differentiates between the proxy object itself (bound to 'this') and the target object behind the proxy (bound to 'target').

6.2.3.2. Combining pointcut expressions

Pointcut expressions can be combined using '&&', '||' and '!'. It is also possible to refer to pointcut expressions by name. The following example shows three pointcut expressions: anyPublicOperation (which matches if a method execution join point represents the execution of any public method); inTrading (which matches if a method execution is in the trading module), and tradingOperation (which matches if a method execution represents any public method in the trading module).

    @Pointcut("execution(public * *(..))")
    private void anyPublicOperation() {}
    
    @Pointcut("within(com.xyz.someapp.trading..*")
    private void inTrading() {}
    
    @Pointcut("anyPublicOperation() && inTrading()")
    private void tradingOperation() {}

It is a best practice to build more complex pointcut expressions out of smaller named components as shown above. When referring to pointcuts by name, normal Java visibility rules apply (you can see private pointcuts in the same type, protected pointcuts in the hierarchy, public pointcuts anywhere and so on). Visibility does not affect pointcut matching.

6.2.3.3. Sharing common pointcut definitions

When working with enterprise applications, you often want to refer to modules of the application and particular sets of operations from within several aspects. We recommend defining a "SystemArchitecture" aspect that captures common pointcut expressions for this purpose. A typical such aspect would look as follows:

package com.xyz.someapp;

import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Aspect;
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Pointcut;

@Aspect
public class SystemArchitecture {

  /**
   * A join point is in the web layer if the method is defined
   * in a type in the com.xyz.someapp.web package or any sub-package
   * under that.
   */
  @Pointcut("within(com.xyz.someapp.web..*)")
  public void inWebLayer() {}

  /**
   * A join point is in the service layer if the method is defined
   * in a type in the com.xyz.someapp.service package or any sub-package
   * under that.
   */
  @Pointcut("within(com.xyz.someapp.service..*)")
  public void inServiceLayer() {}

  /**
   * A join point is in the data access layer if the method is defined
   * in a type in the com.xyz.someapp.dao package or any sub-package
   * under that.
   */
  @Pointcut("within(com.xyz.someapp.dao..*)")
  public void inDataAccessLayer() {}

  /**
   * A business service is the execution of any method defined on a service
   * interface. This definition assumes that interfaces are placed in the
   * "service" package, and that implementation types are in sub-packages.
   * 
   * If you group service interfaces by functional area (for example, 
   * in packages com.xyz.someapp.abc.service and com.xyz.def.service) then
   * the pointcut expression "execution(* com.xyz.someapp..service.*.*(..))"
   * could be used instead.
   */
  @Pointcut("execution(* com.xyz.someapp.service.*.*(..))")
  public void businessService() {}
  
  /**
   * A data access operation is the execution of any method defined on a 
   * dao interface. This definition assumes that interfaces are placed in the
   * "dao" package, and that implementation types are in sub-packages.
   */
  @Pointcut("execution(* com.xyz.someapp.dao.*.*(..))")
  public void dataAccessOperation() {}

}

The pointcuts defined in such an aspect can be referred to anywhere that you need a pointcut expression. For example, to make the service layer transactional, you could write:

<aop:config>
  <aop:advisor 
      pointcut="com.xyz.someapp.SystemArchitecture.businessService()"
      advice-ref="tx-advice"/>
</aop:config>

<tx:advice id="tx-advice">
<tx:attributes>
    <tx:method name="*" propagation="REQUIRED"/>
  </tx:attributes>
</tx:advice>

The <aop:config> and <aop:advisor> tags are discussed in the section entitled Section 6.3, “Schema-based AOP support”. The transaction tags are discussed in the chapter entitled Chapter 9, Transaction management.

6.2.3.4. Examples

Spring AOP users are likely to use the execution pointcut designator the most often. The format of an execution expression is:

execution(modifiers-pattern? ret-type-pattern declaring-type-pattern? name-pattern(param-pattern)
          throws-pattern?)

All parts except the returning type pattern (ret-type-pattern in the snippet above), name pattern, and parameters pattern are optional. The returning type pattern determines what the return type of the method must be in order for a join point to be matched. Most frequently you will use * as the returning type pattern, which matches any return type. A fully-qualified type name will match only when the method returns the given type. The name pattern matches the method name. You can use the * wildcard as all or part of a name pattern. The parameters pattern is slightly more complex: () matches a method that takes no parameters, whereas (..) matches any number of parameters (zero or more). The pattern (*) matches a method taking one parameter of any type, (*,String) matches a method taking two parameters, the first can be of any type, the second must be a String. Consult the Language Semantics section of the AspectJ Programming Guide for more information.

Some examples of common pointcut expressions are given below.

  • the execution of any public method:

    execution(public * *(..))
  • the execution of any method with a name beginning with "set":

    execution(* set*(..))
  • the execution of any method defined by the AccountService interface:

    execution(* com.xyz.service.AccountService.*(..))
  • the execution of any method defined in the service package:

    execution(* com.xyz.service.*.*(..))
  • the execution of any method defined in the service package or a sub-package:

    execution(* com.xyz.service..*.*(..))
  • any join point (method execution only in Spring AOP) within the service package:

    within(com.xyz.service.*)
  • any join point (method execution only in Spring AOP) within the service package or a sub-package:

    within(com.xyz.service..*)
  • any join point (method execution only in Spring AOP) where the proxy implements the AccountService interface:

    this(com.xyz.service.AccountService)
    'this' is more commonly used in a binding form :- see the following section on advice for how to make the proxy object available in the advice body.
  • any join point (method execution only in Spring AOP) where the target object implements the AccountService interface:

    target(com.xyz.service.AccountService)
    'target' is more commonly used in a binding form :- see the following section on advice for how to make the target object available in the advice body.
  • any join point (method execution only in Spring AOP) which takes a single parameter, and where the argument passed at runtime is Serializable:

    args(java.io.Serializable)
    'args' is more commonly used in a binding form :- see the following section on advice for how to make the method arguments available in the advice body.

    Note that the pointcut given in this example is different to execution(* *(java.io.Serializable)): the args version matches if the argument passed at runtime is Serializable, the execution version matches if the method signature declares a single parameter of type Serializable.

  • any join point (method execution only in Spring AOP) where the target object has an @Transactional annotation:

    @target(org.springframework.transaction.annotation.Transactional)
    [email protected]' can also be used in a binding form :- see the following section on advice for how to make the annotation object available in the advice body.
  • any join point (method execution only in Spring AOP) where the declared type of the target object has an @Transactional annotation:

    @within(org.springframework.transaction.annotation.Transactional)
    [email protected]' can also be used in a binding form :- see the following section on advice for how to make the annotation object available in the advice body.
  • any join point (method execution only in Spring AOP) where the executing method has an @Transactional annotation:

    @annotation(org.springframework.transaction.annotation.Transactional)
    [email protected]' can also be used in a binding form :- see the following section on advice for how to make the annotation object available in the advice body.
  • any join point (method execution only in Spring AOP) which takes a single parameter, and where the runtime type of the argument passed has the @Classified annotation:

    @args(com.xyz.security.Classified)
    [email protected]' can also be used in a binding form :- see the following section on advice for how to make the annotation object(s) available in the advice body.

6.2.4. Declaring advice

Advice is associated with a pointcut expression, and runs before, after, or around method executions matched by the pointcut. The pointcut expression may be either a simple reference to a named pointcut, or a pointcut expression declared in place.

6.2.4.1. Before advice

Before advice is declared in an aspect using the @Before annotation:

import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Aspect;
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Before;

@Aspect
public class BeforeExample {

  @Before("com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.dataAccessOperation()")
  public void doAccessCheck() {
    // ...
  }

}

If using an in-place pointcut expression we could rewrite the above example as:

import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Aspect;
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Before;

@Aspect
public class BeforeExample {

  @Before("execution(* com.xyz.myapp.dao.*.*(..))")
  public void doAccessCheck() {
    // ...
  }

}

6.2.4.2. After returning advice

After returning advice runs when a matched method execution returns normally. It is declared using the @AfterReturning annotation:

import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Aspect;
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.AfterReturning;

@Aspect
public class AfterReturningExample {

  @AfterReturning("com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.dataAccessOperation()")
  public void doAccessCheck() {
    // ...
  }

}
Note: it is of course possible to have multiple advice declarations, and other members as well, all inside the same aspect. We're just showing a single advice declaration in these examples to focus on the issue under discussion at the time.

Sometimes you need access in the advice body to the actual value that was returned. You can use the form of @AfterReturning that binds the return value for this:

import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Aspect;
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.AfterReturning;

@Aspect
public class AfterReturningExample {

  @AfterReturning(
    pointcut="com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.dataAccessOperation()",
    returning="retVal")
  public void doAccessCheck(Object retVal) {
    // ...
  }
  
}

The name used in the returning attribute must correspond to the name of a parameter in the advice method. When a method execution returns, the return value will be passed to the advice method as the corresponding argument value. A returning clause also restricts matching to only those method executions that return a value of the specified type (Object in this case, which will match any return value).

6.2.4.3. After throwing advice

After throwing advice runs when a matched method execution exits by throwing an exception. It is declared using the @AfterThrowing annotation:

import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Aspect;
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.AfterThrowing;

@Aspect
public class AfterThrowingExample {

  @AfterThrowing("com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.dataAccessOperation()")
  public void doRecoveryActions() {
    // ...
  }

}

Often you want the advice to run only when exceptions of a given type are thrown, and you also often need access to the thrown exception in the advice body. Use the throwing attribute to both restrict matching (if desired, use Throwable as the exception type otherwise) and bind the thrown exception to an advice parameter.

import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Aspect;
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.AfterThrowing;

@Aspect
public class AfterThrowingExample {

  @AfterThrowing(
    pointcut="com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.dataAccessOperation()",
    throwing="ex")
  public void doRecoveryActions(DataAccessException ex) {
    // ...
  }

}

The name used in the throwing attribute must correspond to the name of a parameter in the advice method. When a method execution exits by throwing an exception, the exception will be passed to the advice method as the corresponding argument value. A throwing clause also restricts matching to only those method executions that throw an exception of the specified type (DataAccessException in this case).

6.2.4.4. After (finally) advice

After (finally) advice runs however a matched method execution exits. It is declared using the @After annotation. After advice must be prepared to handle both normal and exception return conditions. It is typically used for releasing resources, etc.

import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Aspect;
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.After;

@Aspect
public class AfterFinallyExample {

  @After("com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.dataAccessOperation()")
  public void doReleaseLock() {
    // ...
  }

}

6.2.4.5. Around advice

The final kind of advice is around advice. Around advice runs "around" a matched method execution. It has the opportunity to do work both before and after the method executes, and to determine when, how, and even if, the method actually gets to execute at all. Around advice is often used if you need to share state before and after a method execution in a thread-safe manner (starting and stopping a timer for example). Always use the least powerful form of advice that meets your requirements (i.e. don't use around advice if simple before advice would do).

Around advice is declared using the @Around annotation. The first parameter of the advice method must be of type ProceedingJoinPoint. Within the body of the advice, calling proceed() on the ProceedingJoinPoint causes the underlying method to execute. The proceed method may also be called passing in an Object[] - the values in the array will be used as the arguments to the method execution when it proceeds.

The behavior of proceed when called with an Object[] is a little different than the behavior of proceed for around advice compiled by the AspectJ compiler. For around advice written using the traditional AspectJ language, the number of arguments passed to proceed must match the number of arguments passed to the around advice (not the number of arguments taken by the underlying join point), and the value passed to proceed in a given argument position supplants the original value at the join point for the entity the value was bound to. (Don't worry if this doesn't make sense right now!) The approach taken by Spring is simpler and a better match to its proxy-based, execution only semantics. You only need to be aware of this difference if you compiling @AspectJ aspects written for Spring and using proceed with arguments with the AspectJ compiler and weaver. There is a way to write such aspects that is 100% compatible across both Spring AOP and AspectJ, and this is discussed in the following section on advice parameters.
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Aspect;
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Around;
import org.aspectj.lang.ProceedingJoinPoint;

@Aspect
public class AroundExample {

  @Around("com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.businessService()")
  public Object doBasicProfiling(ProceedingJoinPoint pjp) throws Throwable {
    // start stopwatch
    Object retVal = pjp.proceed();
    // stop stopwatch
    return retVal;
  }

}

The value returned by the around advice will be the return value seen by the caller of the method. A simple caching aspect for example could return a value from a cache if it has one, and invoke proceed() if it does not. Note that proceed may be invoked once, many times, or not at all within the body of the around advice, all of these are quite legal.

6.2.4.6. Advice parameters

Spring 2.0 offers fully typed advice - meaning that you declare the parameters you need in the advice signature (as we saw for the returning and throwing examples above) rather than work with Object[] arrays all the time. We'll see how to make argument and other contextual values available to the advice body in a moment. First let's take a look at how to write generic advice that can find out about the method the advice is currently advising.

6.2.4.6.1. Access to the current JoinPoint

Any advice method may declare as its first parameter, a parameter of type org.aspectj.lang.JoinPoint (please note that around advice is required to declare a first parameter of type ProceedingJoinPoint, which is a subclass of JoinPoint. The JoinPoint interface provides a number of useful methods such as getArgs() (returns the method arguments), getThis() (returns the proxy object), getTarget() (returns the target object), getSignature() (returns a description of the method that is being advised) and toString() (prints a useful description of the method being advised). Please do consult the Javadocs for full details.

6.2.4.6.2. Passing parameters to advice

We've already seen how to bind the returned value or exception value (using after returning and after throwing advice). To make argument values available to the advice body, you can use the binding form of args. If a parameter name is used in place of a type name in an args expression, then the value of the corresponding argument will be passed as the parameter value when the advice is invoked. An example should make this clearer. Suppose you want to advise the execution of dao operations that take an Account object as the first parameter, and you need access to the account in the advice body. You could write the following:

@Before("com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.dataAccessOperation() &&" + 
        "args(account,..)")
public void validateAccount(Account account) {
  // ...
}

The args(account,..) part of the pointcut expression serves two purposes: firstly, it restricts matching to only those method executions where the method takes at least one parameter, and the argument passed to that parameter is an instance of Account; secondly, it makes the actual Account object available to the advice via the account parameter.

Another way of writing this is to declare a pointcut that "provides" the Account object value when it matches a join point, and then just refer to the named pointcut from the advice. This would look as follows:

@Pointcut("com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.dataAccessOperation() &&" + 
          "args(account,..)")
private void accountDataAccessOperation(Account account) {}

@Before("accountDataAccessOperation(account)")
public void validateAccount(Account account) {
  // ...
}

The interested reader is once more referred to the AspectJ programming guide for more details.

The proxy object (this), target object (target), and annotations (@within, @target, @annotation, @args) can all be bound in a similar fashion. The following example shows how you could match the execution of methods annotated with an @Auditable annotation, and extract the audit code.

First the definition of the @Auditable annotation:

@Retention(RetentionPolicy.RUNTIME)
@Target(ElementType.METHOD)
public @interface Auditable {
	AuditCode value();
}

And then the advice that matches the execution of @Auditable methods:

@Before("com.xyz.lib.Pointcuts.anyPublicMethod() && " + 
        "@annotation(auditable)")
public void audit(Auditable auditable) {
  AuditCode code = auditable.value();
  // ...
}
6.2.4.6.3. Determining argument names

The parameter binding in advice invocations relies on matching names used in pointcut expressions to declared parameter names in (advice and pointcut) method signatures. Parameter names are not available through Java reflection, so Spring AOP uses the following strategies to determine parameter names:

  1. If the parameter names have been specified by the user explicitly, then the specified parameter names are used: both the advice and the pointcut annotations have an optional "argNames" attribute which can be used to specify the argument names of the annotated method - these argument names are available at runtime. For example:

    @Before(
       value="com.xyz.lib.Pointcuts.anyPublicMethod() && " + 
             "@annotation(auditable)",
       argNames="auditable")
    public void audit(Auditable auditable) {
      AuditCode code = auditable.value();
      // ...
    }
    If an @AspectJ aspect has been compiled by the AspectJ compiler (ajc) then there is no need to add the argNames attribute as the compiler will do this automatically.
  2. Using the 'argNames' attribute is a little clumsy, so if the 'argNames' attribute has not been specified, then Spring AOP will look at the debug information for the class and try to determine the parameter names from the local variable table. This information will be present as long as the classes have been compiled with debug information ('-g:vars' at a minimum). The consequences of compiling with this flag on are: (1) your code will be slightly easier to understand (reverse engineer), (2) the class file sizes will be very slightly bigger (typically inconsequential), (3) the optimization to remove unused local variables will not be applied by your compiler. In other words, you should encounter no difficulties building with this flag on.

  3. If the code has been compiled without the necessary debug information, then Spring AOP will attempt to deduce the pairing of binding variables to parameters (for example, if only one variable is bound in the pointcut expression, and the advice method only takes one parameter, the pairing is obvious!). If the binding of variables is ambiguous given the available information, then an AmbiguousBindingException will be thrown.

  4. If all of the above strategies fail then an IllegalArgumentException will be thrown.

6.2.4.6.4. Proceeding with arguments

We remarked earlier that we would describe how to write a proceed call with arguments that works consistently across Spring AOP and AspectJ. The solution is simply to ensure that the advice signature binds each of the method parameters in order. For example:

@Around("execution(List<Account> find*(..)) &&" +
        "com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.inDataAccessLayer() && " +
        "args(accountHolderNamePattern)")		
public Object preProcessQueryPattern(ProceedingJoinPoint pjp, String accountHolderNamePattern)
throws Throwable {
  String newPattern = preProcess(accountHolderNamePattern);
  return pjp.proceed(new Object[] {newPattern});
}        

In many cases you will be doing this binding anyway (as in the example above).

6.2.4.7. Advice ordering

What happens when multiple pieces of advice all want to run at the same join point? Spring AOP follows the same precedence rules as AspectJ to determine the order of advice execution. The highest precedence advice runs first "on the way in" (so given two pieces of before advice, the one with highest precedence runs first). "On the way out" from a join point, the highest precedence advice runs last (so given two pieces of after advice, the one with the highest precedence will run second). For advice defined within the same aspect, precedence is established by declaration order. Given the aspect:

@Aspect
public class AspectWithMultipleAdviceDeclarations {

  @Pointcut("execution(* foo(..))")
  public void fooExecution() {}
  
  @Before("fooExecution()")
  public void doBeforeOne() {
    // ...
  }
  
  @Before("fooExecution()")
  public void doBeforeTwo() {
    // ...
  }
  
  @AfterReturning("fooExecution()")
  public void doAfterOne() {
    // ...
  }

  @AfterReturning("fooExecution()")
  public void doAfterTwo() {
    // ...
  }

}

then for any execution of a method named foo, the doBeforeOne, doBeforeTwo, doAfterOne, and doAfterTwo advice methods all need to run. The precedence rules are such that the advice will execute in declaration order. In this case the execution trace would be:

doBeforeOne
doBeforeTwo
foo
doAfterOne
doAfterTwo

In other words doBeforeOne has precedence over doBeforeTwo, because it was defined before doBeforeTwo, and doAfterTwo has precedence over doAfterOne because it was defined after doAfterOne. It's easiest just to remember that advice runs in declaration order ;) - see the AspectJ Programming Guide for full details.

When two pieces of advice defined in different aspects both need to run at the same join point, unless you specify otherwise the order of execution is undefined. You can control the order of execution by specifying precedence. This is done in the normal Spring way by implementing the org.springframework.core.Ordered interface in the aspect class. Given two aspects, the aspect returning the lower value from Ordered.getValue() has the higher precedence.

6.2.5. Introductions

Introductions (known as inter-type declarations in AspectJ) enable an aspect to declare that advised objects implement a given interface, and to provide an implementation of that interface on behalf of those objects.

An introduction is made using the @DeclareParents annotation. This annotation is used to declare that matching types have a new parent (hence the name). For example, given an interface UsageTracked, and an implementation of that interface DefaultUsageTracked, the following aspect declares that all implementors of service interfaces also implement the UsageTracked interface. (In order to expose statistics via JMX for example.)

@Aspect
public class UsageTracking {

  @DeclareParents(value="com.xzy.myapp.service.*+",
                  defaultImpl=DefaultUsageTracked.class)
  public static UsageTracked mixin;
  
  @Before("com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.businessService() &&" +
          "this(usageTracked)")
  public void recordUsage(UsageTracked usageTracked) {
    usageTracked.incrementUseCount();
  }
  
}

The interface to be implemented is determined by the type of the annotated field. The value attribute of the @DeclareParents annotation is an AspectJ type pattern :- any bean of a matching type will implement the UsageTracked interface. Note that in the before advice of the above example, service beans can be directly used as implementations of the UsageTracked interface. If accessing a bean programmatically you would write the following:

UsageTracked usageTracked = (UsageTracked) context.getBean("myService");

6.2.6. Aspect instantiation models

This is an advanced topic...

By default there will be a single instance of each aspect within the application context. AspectJ calls this the singleton instantiation model. It is possible to define aspects with alternate lifecycles :- Spring supports AspectJ's perthis and pertarget instantiation models (percflow, percflowbelow, and pertypewithin are not currently supported).

A "perthis" aspect is declared by specifying a perthis clause in the @Aspect annotation. Let's look at an example, and then we'll explain how it works.

@Aspect("perthis(com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.businessService())")
public class MyAspect {

  private int someState;
	
  @Before(com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.businessService())
  public void recordServiceUsage() {
    // ...
  }
  	
}

The effect of the perthis clause is that one aspect instance will be created for each unique service object executing a business service (each unique object bound to 'this' at join points matched by the pointcut expression). The aspect instance is created the first time that a method is invoked on the service object. The aspect goes out of scope when the service object goes out of scope. Before the aspect instance is created, none of the advice within it executes. As soon as the aspect instance has been created, the advice declared within it will execute at matched join points, but only when the service object is the one this aspect is associated with. See the AspectJ programming guide for more information on per-clauses.

The 'pertarget' instantiation model works in exactly the same way as perthis, but creates one aspect instance for each unique target object at matched join points.

6.2.7. Example

Now that you've seen how all the constituent parts work, let's put them together to do something useful!

The execution of business services can sometimes fail due to concurrency issues (for example, deadlock loser). If the operation is retried, it is quite likely to succeed next time round. For business services where it is appropriate to retry in such conditions (idempotent operations that don't need to go back to the user for conflict resolution), we'd like to transparently retry the operation to avoid the client seeing a PessimisticLockingFailureException. This is a requirement that clearly cuts across multiple services in the service layer, and hence is ideal for implementing via an aspect.

Because we want to retry the operation, we'll need to use around advice so that we can call proceed multiple times. Here's how the basic aspect implementation looks:

@Aspect
public class ConcurrentOperationExecutor implements Ordered {
   
   private static final int DEFAULT_MAX_RETRIES = 2;

   private int maxRetries = DEFAULT_MAX_RETRIES;
   private int order = 1;

   public void setMaxRetries(int maxRetries) {
      this.maxRetries = maxRetries;
   }
   
   public int getOrder() {
      return this.order;
   }
   
   public void setOrder(int order) {
      this.order = order;
   }
   
   @Around("com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.businessService()")
   public Object doConcurrentOperation(ProceedingJoinPoint pjp) throws Throwable { 
      int numAttempts = 0;
      PessimisticLockingFailureException lockFailureException;
      do {
         numAttempts++;
         try { 
            return pjp.proceed();
         }
         catch(PessimisticLockingFailureException ex) {
            lockFailureException = ex;
         }
      }
      while(numAttempts <= this.maxRetries);
      throw lockFailureException;
   }

}

Note that the aspect implements the Ordered interface so we can set the precedence of the aspect higher than the transaction advice (we want a fresh transaction each time we retry). The maxRetries and order properties will both be configured by Spring. The main action happens in the doConcurrentOperation around advice. Notice that for the moment we're applying the retry logic to all businessService()s. We try to proceed, and if we fail with an PessimisticLockingFailureException we simply try again unless we have exhausted all of our retry attempts.

The corresponding Spring configuration is:

<aop:aspectj-autoproxy/>

<bean id="concurrentOperationExecutor"
  class="com.xyz.myapp.service.impl.ConcurrentOperationExecutor">
     <property name="maxRetries" value="3"/>
     <property name="order" value="100"/>  
</bean>

To refine the aspect so that it only retries idempotent operations, we might define an Idempotent annotation:

@Retention(RetentionPolicy.RUNTIME)
public @interface Idempotent {
  // marker annotation
}

and use the annotation to annotate the implementation of service operations. The change to the aspect to only retry idempotent operations simply involves refining the pointcut expression so that only @Idempotent operations match:

@Around("com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.businessService() && " + 
        "@annotation(com.xyz.myapp.service.Idempotent)")
public Object doConcurrentOperation(ProceedingJoinPoint pjp) throws Throwable { 
  ...	
}

6.3. Schema-based AOP support

If you are unable to use Java 5, or simply prefer an XML-based format, then Spring 2.0 also offers support for defining aspects using the new "aop" namespace tags. The exact same pointcut expressions and advice kinds are supported as when using the @AspectJ style, hence in this section we will focus on the new syntax and refer the reader to the discussion in the previous section (Section 6.2, “@AspectJ support”) for an understanding of writing pointcut expressions and the binding of advice parameters.

To use the aop namespace tags described in this section, you need to import the spring-aop schema as described in Appendix A, XML Schema-based configuration. See Section A.2.6, “The aop schema” for how to import the tags in the aop namespace.

Within your Spring configurations, all aspect and advisor elements must be placed within an <aop:config> element (you can have more than one <aop:config> element in an application context configuration). An <aop:config> element can contain pointcut, advisor, and aspect elements (note these must be declared in that order).

[Warning]Warning

The <aop:config> style of configuration makes heavy use of Spring's auto-proxying mechanism. This can cause issues (such as advice not being woven) if you are already using explicit auto-proxying via the use of BeanNameAutoProxyCreator or suchlike. The recommended usage pattern is to use either just the <aop:config> style, or just the AutoProxyCreator style.

6.3.1. Declaring an aspect

Using the schema support, an aspect is simply a regular Java object defined as a bean in your Spring application context. The state and behavior is captured in the fields and methods of the object, and the pointcut and advice information is captured in the XML.

An aspect is declared using the <aop:aspect> element, and the backing bean is referenced using the ref attribute:

<aop:config>
  <aop:aspect id="myAspect" ref="aBean">
    ...
  </aop:aspect>
</aop:config>

<bean id="aBean" class="...">
  ...
</bean>

The bean backing the aspect ("aBean" in this case) can of course be configured and dependency injected just like any other Spring bean.

6.3.2. Declaring a pointcut

A pointcut can be declared inside an aspect, in which case it is visible only within that aspect. A pointcut can also be declared directly inside an <aop:config> element, enabling the pointcut definition to be shared across several aspects and advisors.

A pointcut representing the execution of any business service in the service layer could be defined as follows:

<aop:config>

  <aop:pointcut id="businessService" 
        expression="execution(* com.xyz.myapp.service.*.*(..))"/>

</aop:config>

Note that the pointcut expression itself is using the same AspectJ pointcut expression language as described in Section 6.2, “@AspectJ support”. If you are using the schema based declaration style with Java 5, you can refer to named pointcuts defined in types (@Aspects) within the pointcut expression, but this feature is not available on JDK 1.4 and below (it relies on the Java 5 specific AspectJ reflection APIs). On JDK 1.5 therefore, another way of defining the above pointcut would be:

<aop:config>

  <aop:pointcut id="businessService" 
        expression="com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.businessService()"/>

</aop:config>

Assuming you have a SystemArchitecture aspect as described in Section 6.2.3.3, “Sharing common pointcut definitions”.

Declaring a pointcut inside an aspect is very similar to declaring a top-level pointcut:

<aop:config>

  <aop:aspect id="myAspect" ref="aBean">

    <aop:pointcut id="businessService" 
          expression="execution(* com.xyz.myapp.service.*.*(..))"/>
          
    ...
    
  </aop:aspect>

</aop:config>

When combining pointcut sub-expressions, '&&' is awkward within an XML document, and so the keywords 'and', 'or' and 'not' can be used in place of '&&', '||' and '!' respectively.

Note that pointcuts defined in this way are referred to by their XML id, and cannot define pointcut parameters. The named pointcut support in the schema based definition style is thus more limited than that offered by the @AspectJ style.

6.3.3. Declaring advice

The same five advice kinds are supported as for the @AspectJ style, and they have exactly the same semantics.

6.3.3.1. Before advice

Before advice runs before a matched method execution. It is declared inside an <aop:aspect> using the <aop:before> element.

<aop:aspect id="beforeExample" ref="aBean">

    <aop:before 
      pointcut-ref="dataAccessOperation" 
      method="doAccessCheck"/>
          
    ...
    
</aop:aspect>

Here dataAccessOperation is the id of a pointcut defined at the top (<aop:config>) level. To define the pointcut inline instead, replace the pointcut-ref attribute with a pointcut attribute:

<aop:aspect id="beforeExample" ref="aBean">

    <aop:before 
      pointcut="execution(* com.xyz.myapp.dao.*.*(..))" 
      method="doAccessCheck"/>
          
    ...
    
</aop:aspect>

As we noted in the discussion of the @AspectJ style, using named pointcuts can significantly improve the readability of your code.

The method attribute identifies a method (doAccessCheck) that provides the body of the advice. This method must be defined for the bean referenced by the aspect element containing the advice. Before a data access operation is executed (a method execution join point matched by the pointcut expression), the "doAccessCheck" method on the aspect bean will be invoked.

6.3.3.2. After returning advice

After returning advice runs when a matched method execution completes normally. It is declared inside an <aop:aspect> in the same way as before advice. For example:

<aop:aspect id="afterReturningExample" ref="aBean">

    <aop:after-returning 
      pointcut-ref="dataAccessOperation" 
      method="doAccessCheck"/>
          
    ...
    
</aop:aspect>

Just as in the @AspectJ style, it is possible to get hold of the return value within the advice body. Use the returning attribute to specify the name of the parameter to which the return value should be passed:

<aop:aspect id="afterReturningExample" ref="aBean">

    <aop:after-returning 
      pointcut-ref="dataAccessOperation"
      returning="retVal" 
      method="doAccessCheck"/>
          
    ...
    
</aop:aspect>

The doAccessCheck method must declare a parameter named retVal. The type of this parameter constrains matching in the same way as described for @AfterReturning. For example, the method signature may be declared as:

public void doAccessCheck(Object retVal) {...

6.3.3.3. After throwing advice

After throwing advice executes when a matched method execution exits by throwing an exception. It is declared inside an <aop:aspect> using the after-throwing element:

<aop:aspect id="afterThrowingExample" ref="aBean">

    <aop:after-throwing
      pointcut-ref="dataAccessOperation" 
      method="doRecoveryActions"/>
          
    ...
    
</aop:aspect>

Just as in the @AspectJ style, it is possible to get hold of the thrown exception within the advice body. Use the throwing attribute to specify the name of the parameter to which the exception should be passed:

<aop:aspect id="afterThrowingExample" ref="aBean">

    <aop:after-throwing 
      pointcut-ref="dataAccessOperation"
      thowing="dataAccessEx" 
      method="doRecoveryActions"/>
          
    ...
    
</aop:aspect>

The doRecoveryActions method must declare a parameter named dataAccessEx. The type of this parameter constrains matching in the same way as described for @AfterThrowing. For example, the method signature may be declared as:

public void doRecoveryActions(DataAccessException dataAccessEx) {...

6.3.3.4. After (finally) advice

After (finally) advice runs however a matched method execution exits. It is declared using the after element:

<aop:aspect id="afterFinallyExample" ref="aBean">

    <aop:after
      pointcut-ref="dataAccessOperation" 
      method="doReleaseLock"/>
          
    ...
    
</aop:aspect>

6.3.3.5. Around advice

The final kind of advice is around advice. Around advice runs "around" a matched method execution. It has the opportunity to do work both before and after the method executes, and to determine when, how, and even if, the method actually gets to execute at all. Around advice is often used if you need to share state before and after a method execution in a thread-safe manner (starting and stopping a timer for example). Always use the least powerful form of advice that meets your requirements (i.e. don't use around advice if simple before advice would do).

Around advice is declared using the aop:around element. The first parameter of the advice method must be of type ProceedingJoinPoint. Within the body of the advice, calling proceed() on the ProceedingJoinPoint causes the underlying method to execute. The proceed method may also be calling passing in an Object[] - the values in the array will be used as the arguments to the method execution when it proceeds. See Section 6.2.4.5, “Around advice” for notes on calling proceed with an Object[].

<aop:aspect id="aroundExample" ref="aBean">

    <aop:around
      pointcut-ref="businessService" 
      method="doBasicProfiling"/>
          
    ...
    
</aop:aspect>

The implementation of the doBasicProfiling advice would be exactly the same as in the @AspectJ example (minus the annotation of course):

public Object doBasicProfiling(ProceedingJoinPoint pjp) throws Throwable {
    // start stopwatch
    Object retVal = pjp.proceed();
    // stop stopwatch
    return retVal;
}

6.3.3.6. Advice parameters

The schema based declaration style supports fully typed advice in the same way as described for the @AspectJ support - by matching pointcut parameters by name against advice method parameters. See Section 6.2.4.6, “Advice parameters” for details.

If you wish to explicity specify argument names for the advice methods (not relying on either of the detection strategies previously described) then this is done using the arg-names attribute of the advice element. For example:

<aop:before
  pointcut="com.xyz.lib.Pointcuts.anyPublicMethod() and @annotation(auditable)"
  method="audit"
  arg-names="auditable"/>

The arg-names attribute accepts a comma-delimited list of parameter names.

Find below a slightly more involved example of the XSD-based approach that illustrates some around advice used in conjunction with a number of strongly typed parameters.

First off, the service interface and implementation of said interface that will be being advised:

package x.y.service;

public interface FooService {

   Foo getFoo(String fooName, int age);
}

// the attendant implementation (defined in another file of course)

public class DefaultFooService implements FooService {

   public Foo getFoo(String name, int age) {
      return new Foo(name, age);
   }
}

Next up is the (admittedly simple) aspect. Notice the fact that the profile(..) method accepts a number of strongly-typed parameters, the first of which happens to be the join point used to proceed with the method call: the presence of this parameter is an indication that the profile(..) is to be used as around advice:

package x.y;

import org.aspectj.lang.ProceedingJoinPoint;
import org.springframework.util.StopWatch;

public class SimpleProfiler {

   public Object profile(ProceedingJoinPoint call, String name, int age) throws Throwable {
      StopWatch clock = new StopWatch(
            "Profiling for '" + name + "' and '" + age + "'");
      try {
         clock.start(call.toShortString());
         return call.proceed();
      } finally {
         clock.stop();
         System.out.println(clock.prettyPrint());
      }
   }
}

Finally, here is the XML configuration that is required to effect the execution of the above advice for a particular joinpoint:

<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
      xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
      xmlns:aop="http://www.springframework.org/schema/aop"
      xsi:schemaLocation="
http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans-2.0.xsd
http://www.springframework.org/schema/aop http://www.springframework.org/schema/aop/spring-aop-2.0.xsd">

   <!-- this is the object that will be proxied by Spring's AOP infrastructure -->
   <bean id="fooService" class="x.y.service.DefaultFooService"/>

   <!-- this is the actual advice itself -->
   <bean id="profiler" class="x.y.SimpleProfiler"/>

   <aop:config>
      <aop:aspect ref="profiler">

         <aop:pointcut id="theExecutionOfSomeFooServiceMethod"
                    expression="execution(* x.y.service.FooService.getFoo(String,int))
                    and args(name, age)"/>

         <aop:around pointcut-ref="theExecutionOfSomeFooServiceMethod"
                  method="profile"/>

      </aop:aspect>
   </aop:config>

</beans>

If we had the following driver script, we would get output something like this on standard output:

import org.springframework.beans.factory.BeanFactory;
import org.springframework.context.support.ClassPathXmlApplicationContext;
import x.y.service.FooService;

public final class Boot {

   public static void main(final String[] args) throws Exception {
      BeanFactory ctx = new ClassPathXmlApplicationContext("x/y/plain.xml");
      FooService foo = (FooService) ctx.getBean("fooService");
      foo.getFoo("Pengo", 12);
   }
}
StopWatch 'Profiling for 'Pengo' and '12'': running time (millis) = 0
-----------------------------------------
ms     %     Task name
-----------------------------------------
00000  ?  execution(getFoo)

6.3.3.7. Advice ordering

When multiple advice needs to execute at the same join point (executing method) the ordering rules are as described in Section 6.2.4.7, “Advice ordering”. The precedence between aspects is determined by implementing the Ordered interface on the bean backing the aspect.

6.3.4. Introductions

Introductions (known as inter-type declarations in AspectJ) enable an aspect to declare that advised objects implement a given interface, and to provide an implementation of that interface on behalf of those objects.

An introduction is made using the aop:declare-parents element inside an aop:aspect This element is used to declare that matching types have a new parent (hence the name). For example, given an interface UsageTracked, and an implementation of that interface DefaultUsageTracked, the following aspect declares that all implementors of service interfaces also implement the UsageTracked interface. (In order to expose statistics via JMX for example.)

<aop:aspect id="usageTrackerAspect" ref="usageTracking">

  <aop:declare-parents
      types-matching="com.xzy.myapp.service.*+",
      implement-interface="UsageTracked"
      default-impl="com.xyz.myapp.service.tracking.DefaultUsageTracked"/>
  
  <aop:before
    pointcut="com.xyz.myapp.SystemArchitecture.businessService()
              and this(usageTracked)"
    method="recordUsage"/>
  
</aop:aspect>

The class backing the usageTracking bean would contain the method:

public void recordUsage(UsageTracked usageTracked) {
    usageTracked.incrementUseCount();
}

The interface to be implemented is determined by implement-interface attribute. The value of the types-matching attribute is an AspectJ type pattern :- any bean of a matching type will implement the UsageTracked interface. Note that in the before advice of the above example, service beans can be directly used as implementations of the UsageTracked interface. If accessing a bean programmatically you would write the following:

UsageTracked usageTracked = (UsageTracked) context.getBean("myService");

6.3.5. Aspect instantiation models

The only supported instantiation model for schema-defined aspects is the singleton model. Other instantiation models may be supported in future releases.

6.3.6. Advisors

The concept of "advisors" is brought forward from the AOP support defined in Spring 1.2 and does not have a direct equivalent in AspectJ. An advisor is like a small self-contained aspect that has a single piece of advice. The advice itself is represented by a bean, and must implement one of the advice interfaces described in Section 7.3.2, “Advice types in Spring”. Advisors can take advantage of AspectJ pointcut expressions though.

Spring 2.0 supports the advisor concept with the <aop:advisor> element. You will most commonly see it used in conjunction with transactional advice, which also has its own namespace support in Spring 2.0. Here's how it looks:

<aop:config>

  <aop:pointcut id="businessService"
        expression="execution(* com.xyz.myapp.service.*.*(..))"/>

  <aop:advisor 
      pointcut-ref="businessService"
      advice-ref="tx-advice"/>
      
</aop:config>

<tx:advice id="tx-advice">
  <tx:attributes>
    <tx:method name="*" propagation="REQUIRED"/>
  </tx:attributes>
</tx:advice>

As well as the pointcut-ref attribute used in the above example, you can also use the pointcut attribute to define a pointcut expression inline.

To define the precedence of an advisor so that the advice can participate in ordering, use the order attribute to define the Ordered value of the advisor.

6.3.7. Example

Let's see how the concurrent locking failure retry example from Section 6.2.7, “Example” looks when rewritten using the schema support.

The execution of business services can sometimes fail due to concurrency issues (for example, deadlock loser). If the operation is retried, it is quite likely it will succeed next time round. For business services where it is appropriate to retry in such conditions (idempotent operations that don't need to go back to the user for conflict resolution), we'd like to transparently retry the operation to avoid the client seeing a PessimisticLockingFailureException. This is a requirement that clearly cuts across multiple services in the service layer, and hence is ideal for implementing via an aspect.

Because we want to retry the operation, we'll need to use around advice so that we can call proceed multiple times. Here's how the basic aspect implementation looks (it's just a regular Java class using the schema support):

public class ConcurrentOperationExecutor implements Ordered {
   
   private static final int DEFAULT_MAX_RETRIES = 2;

   private int maxRetries = DEFAULT_MAX_RETRIES;
   private int order = 1;

   public void setMaxRetries(int maxRetries) {
      this.maxRetries = maxRetries;
   }
   
   public int getOrder() {
      return this.order;
   }
   
   public void setOrder(int order) {
      this.order = order;
   }
   
   public Object doConcurrentOperation(ProceedingJoinPoint pjp) throws Throwable { 
      int numAttempts = 0;
      PessimisticLockingFailureException lockFailureException;
      do {
         numAttempts++;
         try { 
            return pjp.proceed();
         }
         catch(PessimisticLockingFailureException ex) {
            lockFailureException = ex;
         }
      }
      while(numAttempts <= this.maxRetries);
      throw lockFailureException;
   }

}

Note that the aspect implements the Ordered interface so we can set the precedence of the aspect higher than the transaction advice (we want a fresh transaction each time we retry). The maxRetries and order properties will both be configured by Spring. The main action happens in the doConcurrentOperation around advice method. We try to proceed, and if we fail with a PessimisticLockingFailureException we simply try again unless we have exhausted all of our retry attempts.

This class is identical to the one used in the @AspectJ example, but with the annotations removed.

The corresponding Spring configuration is:

<aop:config>

  <aop:aspect id="concurrentOperationRetry" ref="concurrentOperationExecutor">

    <aop:pointcut id="idempotentOperation"
        expression="execution(* com.xyz.myapp.service.*.*(..))"/>
       
    <aop:around
       pointcut-ref="idempotentOperation"
       method="doConcurrentOperation"/>
  
  </aop:aspect>

</aop:config>

<bean id="concurrentOperationExecutor"
  class="com.xyz.myapp.service.impl.ConcurrentOperationExecutor">
     <property name="maxRetries" value="3"/>
     <property name="order" value="100"/>  
</bean>

Notice that for the time being we assume that all business services are idempotent. If this is not the case we can refine the aspect so that it only retries genuinely idempotent operations, by introducing an Idempotent annotation:

@Retention(RetentionPolicy.RUNTIME)
public @interface Idempotent {
  // marker annotation
}

and using the annotation to annotate the implementation of service operations. The change to the aspect to only retry idempotent operations simply involves refining the pointcut expression so that only @Idempotent operations match:

  <aop:pointcut id="idempotentOperation"
        expression="execution(* com.xyz.myapp.service.*.*(..)) and
                    @annotation(com.xyz.myapp.service.Idempotent)"/>

6.4. Choosing which AOP declaration style to use

Once you have decided that an aspect is the best approach for implementing a given requirement, how do you decide between using Spring AOP or AspectJ, and between the Aspect language (code) style, @AspectJ declaration style, and XML? These decisions are influenced by a number of factors including application requirements, development tools, and team familiarity with AOP.

6.4.1. Spring AOP or full AspectJ?

Use the simplest thing that can work. Spring AOP is simpler than using full AspectJ as there is no requirement to introduce the AspectJ compiler / weaver into your development and build processes. If you only need to advise the execution of operations on Spring beans, then Spring AOP is the right choice. If you need to advise domain objects, or any other object not managed by the Spring container, then you will need to use AspectJ. You will also need to use AspectJ if you wish to advise join points other than simple method executions (for example, call join points, field get or set join points, and so on).

When using AspectJ, you have the choice of the AspectJ language syntax (also known as the "code style") or the @AspectJ annotation style. If aspects play a large role in your design, and you are able to use the AspectJ Development Tools (AJDT) in Eclipse, then the AspectJ language syntax is the preferred option :- it's cleaner and simpler because the language was purposefully designed for writing aspects. If you are not using Eclipse, or have only a few aspects that do not play a major role in your application, then you may want to consider using the @AspectJ style and sticking with a regular Java compilation in your IDE, and adding an aspect weaving (linking) phase to your build scripts.

6.4.2. @AspectJ or XML for Spring AOP?

If you have chosen to use Spring AOP, then you have a choice of @AspectJ or XML style. On balance we recommend use of the @AspectJ style if you are using Java 5. Clearly if you are not running on Java 5, then the XML style is the best choice. Details of the trade-offs between the XML and @AspectJ styles are discussed below.

The XML style will be most familiar to existing Spring users. It can be used with any JDK level (referring to named pointcuts from within pointcut expressions does still require Java 5 though) and is backed by genuine POJOs. When using AOP as a tool to configure enterprise services (a good test is whether you consider the pointcut expression to be a part of your configuration you might want to change independently) then XML can be a good choice. With the XML style it is arguably clearer from your configuration what aspects are present in the system.

The XML style has two disadvantages. Firstly it does not fully encapsulate the implementation of the requirement it addresses in a single place. The DRY principle says that there should be a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation of any piece of knowledge within a system. When using the XML style, the knowledge of how a requirement is implemented is split across the declaration of the backing bean class, and the XML in the configuration file. When using the @AspectJ style there is a single module - the aspect - in which this information is encapsulated. Secondly, the XML style is more limited in what in can express than the @AspectJ style: only the "singleton" aspect instantiation model is supported, and it is not possible to combine named pointcuts declared in XML. For example, in the @AspectJ style we can write something like:

  @Pointcut(execution(* get*()))
  public void propertyAccess() {}

  @Pointcut(execution(org.xyz.Account+ *(..))
  public void operationReturningAnAccount() {}

  @Pointcut(propertyAccess() && operationReturningAnAccount())
  public void accountPropertyAccess() {}

In the XML style I can declare the first two pointcuts:

  <aop:pointcut id="propertyAccess" 
      expression="execution(* get*())"/>

  <aop:pointcut id="operationReturningAnAccount" 
      expression="execution(org.xyz.Account+ *(..))"/>

but I cannot define the accountPropertyAccess pointcut by combining these definitions.

The @AspectJ style supports additional instantiation models, and richer pointcut composition. It has the advantage of keeping the aspect as a modular unit. It also has the advantage the @AspectJ aspects can be understood both by Spring AOP and by AspectJ - so if you later decide you need the capabilities of AspectJ to implement additional requirements then it is very easy to migrate to an AspectJ based approach. On balance we prefer the @AspectJ style whenever you have aspects that do more than simple "configuration" of enterprise services.

6.5. Mixing aspect types

It is perfectly possible to mix @AspectJ style aspects using the autoproxying support, schema-defined <aop:aspect> aspects, <aop:advisor> declared advisors and even proxies and interceptors defined using the Spring 1.2 style in the same configuration. All of these are implemented using the same underlying support mechanism and will co-exist without any difficulty.

6.6. Proxying mechanisms

Spring AOP uses either JDK dynamic proxies or CGLIB to create the proxy for a given target object. (JDK dynamic proxies are preferred whenever you have a choice).

If the target object to be proxied implements at least one interface then a JDK dynamic proxy will be used. All of the interfaces implemented by the target type will be proxied. If the target object does not implement any interfaces then a CGLIB proxy will be created.

If you want to force the use of CGLIB proxying (for example, to proxy every method defined for the target object, not just those implemented by its interfaces) you can do so. However, there are some issues to consider:

  • Final methods cannot be advised, as they cannot be overriden

  • You will need the CGLIB 2 binaries on your classpath, whereas dynamic proxies are available with the JDK.

To force the use of CGLIB proxies set the value of the proxy-target-class attribute of the <aop:config> element to true:

<aop:config proxy-target-class="true">
	
	...
	
</aop:config>

To force CGLIB proxying when using the @AspectJ autoproxy support, set the proxy-target-class attribute of the <aop:aspectj-autoproxy> element as follows:

<aop:aspectj-autoproxy proxy-target-class="true"/>

6.7. Programmatic creation of @AspectJ Proxies

In addition to declaring aspects in your configuration using either <aop:config> or <aop:aspectj-autoproxy>, it is also possible programmatically to create proxies that advise target objects. For the full details of Spring's AOP API, see the next chapter. Here we want to focus on the ability to automatically create proxies using @AspectJ aspects.

The class org.springframework.aop.aspectj.annotation.AspectJProxyFactory can be used to create a proxy for a target object that is advised by one or more @AspectJ aspects. Basic usage for this class is very simple, as illustrated below. See the Javadocs for full information.

// create a factory that can generate a proxy for the given target object
AspectJProxyFactory factory = new AspectJProxyFactory(targetObject); 

// add an aspect, the class must be an @AspectJ aspect
// you can call this as many times as you need with different aspects
factory.addAspect(SecurityManager.class);

// you can also add existing aspect instances, the type of the object supplied must be an @AspectJ aspect
factory.addAspect(usageTracker);	

// now get the proxy object...
MyInterfaceType proxy = factory.getProxy();

6.8. Using AspectJ with Spring applications

Everything we've covered so far in this chapter is pure Spring AOP. In this section, we're going to look at how you can use the AspectJ compiler/weaver instead of or in addition to Spring AOP if your needs go beyond the facilities offered by Spring AOP alone.

Spring ships with a small AspectJ aspect library (it's available standalone in your distribution as spring-aspects.jar, you'll need to add this to your classpath to use the aspects in it). Section 6.8.1, “Using AspectJ to dependency inject domain objects with Spring” and Section 6.8.2, “Other Spring aspects for AspectJ” discuss the content of this library and how you can use it. Section 6.8.3, “Configuring AspectJ aspects using Spring IoC” discusses how to dependency inject AspectJ aspects that are woven using the AspectJ compiler. Finally, Section 6.8.4, “Using AspectJ Load-time weaving (LTW) with Spring applications” provides an introduction to load-time weaving for Spring applications using AspectJ.

6.8.1. Using AspectJ to dependency inject domain objects with Spring

The Spring container instantiates and configures beans defined in your application context. It is also possible to ask a bean factory to configure a pre-existing object given the name of a bean definition containing the configuration to be applied. The spring-aspects.jar contains an annotation-driven aspect that exploits this capability to allow dependency-injection of any object. The support is intended to be used for objects created outside of the control of any container. Domain objects often fall into this category: they may be created programmatically using the new operator, or by an ORM tool as a result of a database query.

The DependencyInjectionInterceptorFactoryBean in the org.springframework.orm.hibernate.support package can be used to have Spring create and configure prototype domain objects for Hibernate (using either autowiring or named prototype bean definitions). The interceptor does not of course support configuration of objects that you create yourself programmatically rather than retrieve from the database. Similar techniques may be possible with other frameworks. As ever, be pragramatic and choose the simplest thing that meets your requirements. Please note that the aforementioned class does not ship with the Spring distribution. If you want to make use of it, you will have to download it from the Spring CVS repository and compile it yourself; the file itself can be found in the 'sandbox' directory of the Spring CVS repository tree.

The @Configurable annotation marks a class as eligible for Spring-driven configuration. In the simplest case it can be used just as a marker annotation:

package com.xyz.myapp.domain;

import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Configurable;

@Configurable
public class Account {
   ...
}

When used simply as a marker interface in this way, Spring will configure new instances of the annotated type (Account in this case) using a prototypical bean definition with the same name as the fully-qualified type name (com.xyz.myapp.domain.Account). Since the default name for a bean is the fully-qualified name of its type, a convenient way to declare the prototype definition is simply to omit the id attribute:

<bean class="com.xyz.myapp.domain.Account" scope="prototype">
  <property name="fundsTransferService" ref="fundsTransferService"/>
  ...
</bean>

If you want to explicitly specify the name of the prototype bean definition to use, you can do so directly in the annotation:

package com.xyz.myapp.domain;

import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Configurable;

@Configurable("account")
public class Account {
   ...
}

Spring will now look for a bean definition named "account" and use that as a prototypical definition to configure new Account instances.

You can also use autowiring to avoid having to specify a prototypical bean definition at all. To have Spring apply autowiring use the autowire property of the @Configurable annotation: specify either @Configurable(autowire=Autowire.BY_TYPE) or @Configurable(autowire=Autowire.BY_NAME for autowiring by type or by name respectively.

Finally you can enable Spring dependency checking for the object references in the newly created and configured object by using the dependencyCheck attribute (for example: @Configurable(autowire=Autowire.BY_NAME,dependencyCheck=true) ). If this attribute is set to true, then Spring will validate after configuration that all properties (that are not primitives or collections) have been set.

Merely using the annotation on its own does nothing of course. It's the AnnotationBeanConfigurerAspect in spring-aspects.jar that acts on the presence of the annotation. In essence the aspect says "after returning from the initialization of a new object of a type with the @Configurable annotation, configure the newly created object using Spring in accordance with the properties of the annotation". For this to work the annotated types must be woven with the AspectJ weaver - you can either use a build-time ant or maven task to do this (see for example the AspectJ Development Environment Guide) or load-time weaving (see Section 6.8.4, “Using AspectJ Load-time weaving (LTW) with Spring applications”).

The AnnotationBeanConfigurerAspect itself needs configuring by Spring (in order to obtain a reference to the bean factory that is to be used to configure new objects). The Spring AOP namespace defines a convenient tag for doing this. Simply include the following in your application context configuration:

<aop:spring-configured/>

If you are using the DTD instead of schema, the equivalent definition is:

<bean 
  class="org.springframework.beans.factory.aspectj.AnnotationBeanConfigurerAspect"
  factory-method="aspectOf"/>

Instances of @Configurable objects created before the aspect has been configured will result in a warning being issued to the log and no configuration of the object taking place. An example might be a bean in the Spring configuration that creates domain objects when it is initialized by Spring. In this case you can use the "depends-on" bean attribute to manually specify that the bean depends on the configuration aspect.

<bean id="myService"
  class="com.xzy.myapp.service.MyService"
  depends-on="org.springframework.beans.factory.aspectj.AnnotationBeanConfigurerAspect">
  ...
</bean>

6.8.1.1. Unit testing @Configurable objects

One of the goals of the @Configurable support is to enable independent unit testing of domain objects without the difficulties associated with hard-coded lookups. If @Configurable types have not been woven by AspectJ then the annotation has no affect during unit testing, and you can simply set mock or stub property references in the object under test and proceed as normal. If @Configurable types have been woven by AspectJ then you can still unit test outside of the container as normal, but you will see a warning message each time that you construct an @Configurable object indicating that it has not been configured by Spring.

6.8.1.2. Working with multiple application contexts

The AnnotationBeanConfigurerAspect used to implement the @Configurable support is an AspectJ singleton aspect. The scope of a singleton aspect is the same as the scope of static members, i.e. there is one aspect instance per classloader that defines the type. This means that if you define multiple application contexts within the same classloader hierarchy you need to consider where to define the <aop:spring-configured/> bean and where to place spring-aspects.jar on the classpath.

Consider a typical Spring web-app configuration with a shared parent application context defining common business services and everything needed to support them, and one child application context per servlet containing definitions particular to that servlet. All of these contexts will co-exist within the same classloader hierarchy, and so the AnnotationBeanConfigurerAspect can only hold a reference to one of them. In this case we recommend defining the <aop:spring-configured/> bean in the shared (parent) application context: this defines the services that you are likely to want to inject into domain objects. A consequence is that you cannot configure domain objects with references to beans defined in the child (servlet-specific) contexts using the @Configurable mechanism (probably not something you want to do anyway!).

When deploying multiple web-apps within the same container, ensure that each web-application loads the types in spring-aspects.jar using its own classloader (for example, by placing spring-aspects.jar in WEB-INF/lib). If spring-aspects.jar is only added to the container wide classpath (and hence loaded by the shared parent classloader), all web applications will share the same aspect instance which is probably not what you want.

6.8.2. Other Spring aspects for AspectJ

In addition to the @Configurable support, spring-aspects.jar contains an AspectJ aspect that can be used to drive Spring's transaction management for types and methods annotated with the @Transactional annotation. This is primarily intended for users who want to use Spring's transaction support outside of the Spring container.

The aspect that interprets @Transactional annotations is the AnnotationTransactionAspect. When using this aspect, you must annotate the implementation class (and/or methods within that class), not the interface (if any) that the class implements. AspectJ follows Java's rule that annotations on interfaces are not inherited.

A @Transactional annotation on a class specifies the default transaction semantics for the execution of any public operation in the class.

A @Transactional annotation on a method within the class overrides the default transaction semantics given by the class annotation (if present). Methods with public, protected, and default visibility may all be annotated. Annotating protected and default visibility methods directly is the only way to get transaction demarcation for the execution of such operations.

For AspectJ programmers that want to use the Spring configuration and transaction management support but don't want to (or can't) use annotations, spring-aspects.jar also contains abstract aspects you can extend to provide your own pointcut definitions. See the Javadocs for AbstractBeanConfigurerAspect and AbstractTransactionAspect for more information. As an example, the following excerpt shows how you could write an aspect to configure all instances of objects defined in the domain model using prototypical bean definitions that match the fully-qualified class names:

public aspect DomainObjectConfiguration extends AbstractBeanConfigurerAspect {

  public DomainObjectConfiguration() {
    setBeanWiringInfoResolver(new ClassNameBeanWiringInfoResolver());
  }

  // the creation of a new bean (any object in the domain model)
  protected pointcut beanCreation(Object beanInstance) :
    initialization(new(..)) &&
    SystemArchitecture.inDomainModel() && 
    this(beanInstance);
		   		   
}

6.8.3. Configuring AspectJ aspects using Spring IoC

When using AspectJ aspects with Spring applications, it's natural to want to configure such aspects using Spring. The AspectJ runtime itself is responsible for aspect creation, and the means of configuring the AspectJ created aspects via Spring depends on the AspectJ instantiation model (per-clause) used by the aspect.

The majority of AspectJ aspects are singleton aspects. Configuration of these aspects is very easy, simply create a bean definition referencing the aspect type as normal, and include the bean attribute 'factory-method="aspectOf"'. This ensures that Spring obtains the aspect instance by asking AspectJ for it rather than trying to create an instance itself. For example:

<bean id="profiler" class="com.xyz.profiler.Profiler"
      factory-method="aspectOf">
  <property name="profilingStrategy" ref="jamonProfilingStrategy"/>
</bean>

For non-singleton aspects, the easiest way to configure them is to create prototypical bean definitions and annotate use the @Configurable support from spring-aspects.jar to configure the aspect instances once they have bean created by the AspectJ runtime.

If you have some @AspectJ aspects that you want to weave with AspectJ (for example, using load-time weaving for domain model types) and other @AspectJ aspects that you want to use with Spring AOP, and these aspects are all configured using Spring, then you'll need to tell the Spring AOP @AspectJ autoproxying support which subset of the @AspectJ aspects defined in the configuration should be used for autoproxying. You can do this by using one or more <include/> elements inside the <aop:aspectj-autoproxy/> declaration. Each include element specifies a name pattern, and only beans with names matched by at least one of the patterns will be used for Spring AOP autoproxy configuration:

<aop:aspectj-autoproxy>
  <include name="thisBean"/>
  <include name="thatBean"/>
</aop:aspectj-autoproxy>

6.8.4. Using AspectJ Load-time weaving (LTW) with Spring applications

Load-time weaving (or LTW) refers to the process of weaving AspectJ aspects with an application's class files as they are loaded into the VM. For full details on configuring load-time weaving with AspectJ, see the LTW section of the AspectJ Development Environment Guide . We will focus here on the essentials of configuring load-time weaving for Spring applications running on Java 5.

Load-time weaving is controlled by defining a file 'aop.xml' in the META-INF directory. AspectJ automatically looks for all 'META-INF/aop.xml' files visible on the classpath and configures itself based on the aggregation of their content.

A basic META-INF/aop.xml for your application should look like this:

<!DOCTYPE aspectj PUBLIC    
  "-//AspectJ//DTD//EN"    "http://www.eclipse.org/aspectj/dtd/aspectj.dtd">    

<aspectj>    
   <weaver>
	 <include within="com.xyz.myapp..*"/>
   </weaver>
</aspectj>

The <include/> element tells AspectJ which set of types should be included in the weaving process. Use the package prefix for your application followed by "..*" (meaning '... and any type defined in a subpackage of this') as a good default. Using the include element is important as otherwise AspectJ will look at every type loaded in support of your application (including all the Spring library classes and many more besides). Normally you don't want to weave these types and don't want to pay the overhead of AspectJ attempting to match against them.

To get informational messages in your log file regarding the activity of the load-time weaver, add the following options to the weaver element:

<!DOCTYPE aspectj PUBLIC    
  "-//AspectJ//DTD//EN"    "http://www.eclipse.org/aspectj/dtd/aspectj.dtd">    

<aspectj>    
   <weaver 
	 options="-showWeaveInfo
              -XmessageHandlerClass:org.springframework.aop.aspectj.AspectJWeaverMessageHandler">
	 <include within="com.xyz.myapp..*"/>
   </weaver>
</aspectj>

Finally, to control exactly which aspects are used, you can use the aspects element. By default all defined aspects are used for weaving (spring-aspects.jar contains a META-INF/aop.xml file that defines the configuration and transaction aspects). If you were using spring-aspects.jar, but only want the configuration support and not the transaction support you could specify this as follows:

<!DOCTYPE aspectj PUBLIC    
  "-//AspectJ//DTD//EN"    "http://www.eclipse.org/aspectj/dtd/aspectj.dtd">    

<aspectj>
  <aspects>
    <include within="org.springframework.beans.factory.aspectj.AnnotationBeanConfigurerAspect"/>
  </aspects>    
  <weaver 
    options="-showWeaveInfo -XmessageHandlerClass:org.springframework.aop.aspectj.AspectJWeaverMessageHandler">
    <include within="com.xyz.myapp..*"/>
  </weaver>
</aspectj>

On the Java 5 platform, load-time weaving is enabled by specifying the following VM argument when launching the Java virtual machine:

-javaagent:<path-to-ajlibs>/aspectjweaver.jar

6.9. Further Resources

More information on AspectJ can be found at the AspectJ home page.

The book Eclipse AspectJ by Adrian Colyer et. al. (Addison-Wesley, 2005) provides a comprehensive introduction and reference for the AspectJ language.

The excellent AspectJ in Action by Ramnivas Laddad (Manning, 2003) comes highly recommended as an introduction to AOP; the focus of the book is on AspectJ, but a lot of general AOP themes are explored in some depth.