4. New Features and Enhancements in Spring Framework 4.1

Version 4.1 included a number of improvements, as described in the following sections:

4.1 JMS Improvements

Spring 4.1 introduces a much simpler infrastructure to register JMS listener endpoints by annotating bean methods with @JmsListener. The XML namespace has been enhanced to support this new style (jms:annotation-driven), and it is also possible to fully configure the infrastructure using Java config (@EnableJms, JmsListenerContainerFactory). It is also possible to register listener endpoints programmatically using JmsListenerConfigurer.

Spring 4.1 also aligns its JMS support to allow you to benefit from the spring-messaging abstraction introduced in 4.0, that is:

  • Message listener endpoints can have a more flexible signature and benefit from standard messaging annotations such as @Payload, @Header, @Headers, and @SendTo. It is also possible to use a standard Message in lieu of javax.jms.Message as method argument.
  • A new JmsMessageOperations interface is available and permits JmsTemplate like operations using the Message abstraction.

Finally, Spring 4.1 provides additional miscellaneous improvements:

  • Synchronous request-reply operations support in JmsTemplate
  • Listener priority can be specified per <jms:listener/> element
  • Recovery options for the message listener container are configurable using a BackOff implementation
  • JMS 2.0 shared consumers are supported

4.2 Caching Improvements

Spring 4.1 supports JCache (JSR-107) annotations using Spring’s existing cache configuration and infrastructure abstraction; no changes are required to use the standard annotations.

Spring 4.1 also improves its own caching abstraction significantly:

  • Caches can be resolved at runtime using a CacheResolver. As a result the value argument defining the cache name(s) to use is no longer mandatory.
  • More operation-level customizations: cache resolver, cache manager, key generator
  • A new @CacheConfig class-level annotation allows common settings to be shared at the class level without enabling any cache operation.
  • Better exception handling of cached methods using CacheErrorHandler

Spring 4.1 also has a breaking change in the Cache interface as a new putIfAbsent method has been added.

4.3 Web Improvements

  • The existing support for resource handling based on the ResourceHttpRequestHandler has been expanded with new abstractions ResourceResolver, ResourceTransformer, and ResourceUrlProvider. A number of built-in implementations provide support for versioned resource URLs (for effective HTTP caching), locating gzipped resources, generating an HTML 5 AppCache manifests, and more. See Section 22.16.9, “Serving of Resources”.
  • JDK 1.8’s java.util.Optional is now supported for @RequestParam, @RequestHeader, and @MatrixVariable controller method arguments.
  • ListenableFuture is supported as a return value alternative to DeferredResult where an underlying service (or perhaps a call to AsyncRestTemplate) already returns ListenableFuture.
  • @ModelAttribute methods are now invoked in an order that respects inter-dependencies. See SPR-6299.
  • Jackson’s @JsonView is supported directly on @ResponseBody and ResponseEntity controller methods for serializing different amounts of detail for the same POJO (e.g. summary vs. detail page). This is also supported with View-based rendering by adding the serialization view type as a model attribute under a special key. See the section called “Jackson Serialization View Support” for details.
  • JSONP is now supported with Jackson. See the section called “Jackson JSONP Support”.
  • A new lifecycle option is available for intercepting @ResponseBody and ResponseEntity methods just after the controller method returns and before the response is written. To take advantage declare an @ControllerAdvice bean that implements ResponseBodyAdvice. The built-in support for @JsonView and JSONP take advantage of this. See Section 22.4.1, “Intercepting requests with a HandlerInterceptor”.
  • There are three new HttpMessageConverter options:

    • Gson — lighter footprint than Jackson; has already been in use in Spring Android.
    • Google Protocol Buffers — efficient and effective as an inter-service communication data protocol within an enterprise but can also be exposed as JSON and XML for browsers.
    • Jackson based XML serialization is now supported through the jackson-dataformat-xml extension. When using @EnableWebMvc or <mvc:annotation-driven/>, this is used by default instead of JAXB2 if jackson-dataformat-xml is in the classpath.
  • Views such as JSPs can now build links to controllers by referring to controller mappings by name. A default name is assigned to every @RequestMapping. For example FooController with method handleFoo is named "FC#handleFoo". The naming strategy is pluggable. It is also possible to name an @RequestMapping explicitly through its name attribute. A new mvcUrl function in the Spring JSP tag library makes this easy to use in JSP pages. See Section 22.7.3, “Building URIs to Controllers and methods from views”.
  • ResponseEntity provides a builder-style API to guide controller methods towards the preparation of server-side responses, e.g. ResponseEntity.ok().
  • RequestEntity is a new type that provides a builder-style API to guide client-side REST code towards the preparation of HTTP requests.
  • MVC Java config and XML namespace:

    • View resolvers can now be configured including support for content negotiation, see Section 22.16.8, “View Resolvers”.
    • View controllers now have built-in support for redirects and for setting the response status. An application can use this to configure redirect URLs, render 404 responses with a view, send "no content" responses, etc. Some use cases are listed here.
    • Path matching customizations are frequently used and now built-in. See Section 22.16.11, “Path Matching”.
  • Groovy markup template support (based on Groovy 2.3). See the GroovyMarkupConfigurer and respecitve ViewResolver and `View' implementations.

4.4 WebSocket Messaging Improvements

  • SockJS (Java) client-side support. See SockJsClient and classes in same package.
  • New application context events SessionSubscribeEvent and SessionUnsubscribeEvent published when STOMP clients subscribe and unsubscribe.
  • New "websocket" scope. See Section 26.4.15, “WebSocket Scope”.
  • @SendToUser can target only a single session and does not require an authenticated user.
  • @MessageMapping methods can use dot "." instead of slash "/" as path separator. See SPR-11660.
  • STOMP/WebSocket monitoring info collected and logged. See Section 26.4.17, “Runtime Monitoring”.
  • Significantly optimized and improved logging that should remain very readable and compact even at DEBUG level.
  • Optimized message creation including support for temporary message mutability and avoiding automatic message id and timestamp creation. See Javadoc of MessageHeaderAccessor.
  • Close STOMP/WebSocket connections that have no activity within 60 seconds after the WebSocket session is established. See SPR-11884.

4.5 Testing Improvements