As a lightweight container, Spring is often considered an EJB replacement. We do believe that for many if not most applications and use cases, Spring as a container, combined with its rich supporting functionality in the area of transactions, ORM and JDBC access, is a better choice than implementing equivalent functionality via an EJB container and EJBs.
However, it is important to note that using Spring does not prevent you from using EJBs. In fact, Spring makes it much easier to access EJBs and implement EJBs and functionality within them. Additionally, using Spring to access services provided by EJBs allows the implementation of those services to later transparently be switched between local EJB, remote EJB, or POJO (plain old Java object) variants, without the client code having to be changed.
In this chapter, we look at how Spring can help you access and implement EJBs. Spring provides particular value when accessing stateless session beans (SLSBs), so we'll begin by discussing this.