Spring Initializr Reference Guide

Authors

Stéphane Nicoll, Dave Syer

Table of Contents

I. Spring Initializr Documentation
1. About the documentation
2. Getting help
II. User Guide
3. Getting Started
3.1. Advanced options
3.2. Dependencies
3.3. Tuning default values
4. Command line support
5. IDEs support
6. Spring Boot CLI support
III. Configuration Guide
7. Creating your own instance
7.1. Configuring basic settings
7.2. Configuring available Spring Boot versions
7.3. Configuring available project types
7.4. Configuring dependencies
7.4.1. Availability (version range)
7.4.2. Repository
7.5. Configuring Bill of Materials
7.5.1. Map coordinates according to the Spring Boot version
7.5.2. Aliases
7.5.3. Facets
7.5.4. Links
7.5.5. Improve search results
8. ‘How-to’ guides
8.1. Add a new dependency
8.2. Override the version of a dependency
8.3. Link a Boot version to a version of your dependency
8.4. Configure a snapshot repository
8.5. Make sure a regular dependency brings the base starter
8.6. Share common dependency settings in a group
9. Advanced configuration
9.1. Caching configuration
IV. API Guide
10. Metadata Format
10.1. Content
10.1.1. Project dependencies
10.1.2. Project types
10.1.3. Packaging
10.1.4. Java version
10.1.5. Languages
10.1.6. Boot version
10.2. Defaults
11. Using the Stubs
11.1. Using WireMock with Spring Boot
11.1.1. Loading Stubs from the Classpath
11.1.2. Using the Stub Runner
11.2. Names and Paths of Stubs

Part I. Spring Initializr Documentation

This section provides a brief overview of the Spring Initializr reference documentation: think of it as map for the rest of the document. Some sections are targeted to a specific audience so this reference guide is not meant to be read in a linear fashion.

Spring Initializr provides a simple web UI to configure the project to generate and endpoints that you can use via plain HTTP: you can see our default instance at start.spring.io. The service allows you to customize the project to generate: the build system and its coordinates, the language and version, the packaging and finally the dependencies to add to the project. The latter is a core concept: based on the chosen Spring Boot version, a set of dependencies can be chosen, usually Spring Boot starters, that will have a concrete impact on your application. More details in the Part II, “User Guide” section.

You can easily create your own instance of the Initializr, by using the jars as libraries in your own app. There is minimal code involved and the service has a very rich configuration structure, allowing you to define not only the values of various project attributes but also the list of dependencies and the constraints to apply to them. If that sounds interesting, then Part III, “Configuration Guide” has all the details you need. You might only want to modify an existing instance of the Initializr, e.g. to add a new dependency type, or update the version of an existing one. For those and other simple and common use cases check out Chapter 8, ‘How-to’ guides.

The Initializr also provides an extensible API to generate quickstart projects, and to inspect the metadata used to generate projects, for instance to list the available dependencies and versions. The API can be used standalone or embedded in other tools (e.g. it is used in Spring Tool Suite, and in the IntelliJ IDEA and Netbeans plugins for Spring Boot). These features are covered in Part IV, “API Guide”.

1. About the documentation

The Spring Initializr reference guide is available as html. The latest copy is available at docs.spring.io/initializr/docs/current/reference.

Copies of this document may be made for your own use and for distribution to others, provided that you do not charge any fee for such copies and further provided that each copy contains this Copyright Notice, whether distributed in print or electronically.

2. Getting help

Having trouble with Spring Initializr, We’d like to help!

[Note]Note

All of Spring Initializr is open source, including the documentation! If you find problems with the docs; or if you just want to improve them, please get involved.

Part II. User Guide

If you’re wondering how to use start.spring.io or what features are available, this section is for you! You’ll find the various way you can interact with the service and get a better insight at what you can do with it.

3. Getting Started

Let’s create a first project and discover the various options that you can use to tune it. Go to start.spring.io, change the Group field from "com.example" to "org.acme" and put the focus in the Dependencies field on the right hand side. If you type "web", you will see a list of matching choices with that simple criteria. Use the mouse or the arrow keys and Enter to select the "Web" starter.

Your browser should now be in this state:

Browser
[Note]Note

The Spring Boot version above probably doesn’t match the one you have. As we will see later, start.spring.io is continuously updated as new Spring Boot versions are published and the service uses the latest version by default.

Click on Generate Project, this downloads a zip file containing a Maven project with the following structure:

mvnw
mvnw.cmd
pom.xml
src
├── main
│   ├── java
│   │   └── org
│   │       └── acme
│   │           └── DemoApplication.java
│   └── resources
│       ├── application.properties
│       ├── static
│       └── templates
└── test
    └── java
        └── org
            └── acme
                └── DemoApplicationTests.java

A typical project generated by Spring Initializr contains a Spring Boot application (DemoApplication), a test and an empty configuration. If you run the main method of DemoApplication, you’ll see an "empty" spring boot app starting on localhost:8080.

Because Spring Initializr has detected it is a web application, a static and templates directories have been created to hold your static resources and ui templates.

Also, a Maven wrapper is automatically included so that you don’t have to install Maven to run this project (you can build it with ./mvnw install). If you prefer, you can select Gradle instead in the first drop down list at the top of the screen. This will generate a Gradle-based project instead that also contains a wrapper if you don’t have Gradle installed (build it with ./gradlew build).

3.1 Advanced options

Next to the Generate Project you’ll find a "Switch to the full version" link. If you click on that, you’ll see all the available options. Let’s browse through them quickly:

  • Group: project coordinates (id of the project’s group, as referred by the groupId attribute in Apache Maven). Also infers the root package name to use.
  • Artifact: project coordinates (id of the artifact, as referred by the artifactId attribute in Apache Maven). Also infers the name of the project
  • Name: display name of the project that also determines the name of your Spring Boot application. For instance, if the name of your project is my-app, the generated project will have a MyAppApplication class
  • Description: description of the project
  • Package Name: root package of the project. If not specified, the value of the Group attribute is used
  • Packaging: project packaging (as referred by the concept of the same name in Apache Maven). start.spring.io can generate jar or war projects
  • Java Version: the Java version to use
  • Language: the programming language to use

If you keep on scrolling, you’ll discover all the dependencies that you can find using the search box on the right. You’ll probably notice that some dependencies are greyed out in the UI, meaning that they aren’t available because they require a specific Spring Boot version. We’ll tackle that in the next section.

3.2 Dependencies

The UI allows you to select the Spring Boot version you want to use. You may want to be conservative and keep the default which corresponds at all times to the latest stable release. Or you may want to chose a milestone or snapshot of the next major version. Either way, you’ll notice that certain dependencies become available and others aren’t anymore when you change the version.

If you are searching for a dependency that you know to be available and you get no result, it’s worth looking in the advanced section if that dependency is available in the Spring Boot version that is currently selected.

You may find it is not the case with a message that looks like the following:

requires Spring Boot >=1.0.0.RELEASE and <1.5.0.RC1

Concretely, this defines a "version range" that states the dependency is deprecated and is no longer available as of Spring Boot 1.5. You may want to check the release notes of the related project to understand what your migration path can be. Alternatively, the message could be:

requires Spring Boot >=2.0.0.RELEASE

That version range means the dependency is not available with the current Spring Boot generation. Obviously, if you select Spring Boot 2.0 (or later if available), you’ll be able to select that dependency.

3.3 Tuning default values

The Initializr service is configured to offer default values so that you can generate a new project with minimum fuss. Maybe you are a Kotlin fan? Or a Gradle fan? Currently start.spring.io defaults to Java and Maven but it also allows you to tune these defaults easily.

You can share or bookmark URLs that will automatically customize form inputs. For instance, the following URL changes the default to use Kotlin and Gradle:

https://start.spring.io/#!language=kotlin&type=gradle-project

The following attributes are supported:

  • Programming language: language (java, groovy or kotlin)
  • Java version: javaVersion (1.8, 10)
  • Project type: type (maven-project, gradle-project)
  • Packaging: packaging (jar, war)
  • Group: groupId
  • Artifact: artifactId
  • Name: name
  • Description: description
  • Package Name: packageName
[Tip]Tip

The same default rules will apply if a property is overridden. For instance, if the Group is customized, it will automatically customize the root package as well.

[Note]Note

The Spring Boot version and the list of dependencies cannot be customized that way as they evolve quite frequently.

4. Command line support

You can also generate a project in a shell using cURL or HTTPie. To discover the available options of a particular instance, simply "curl it", i.e. if you have curl installed invoke curl start.spring.io on the command-line (or alternatively http start.spring.io if you prefer to use HTTPie).

The result is a textual representation of the capabilities of the service that are split in three sections:

First, a table that describes the available project’s types. On the default instance, you’ll find the maven-project and gradle-project we’ve discussed above but you’ll also be able to generate only a build script rather than an entire project.

Then, a table that describes the available parameters. For the most part, these are the same options as the ones available in the web UI. There are, however, a few additional ones:

  • applicationName can be used to define the name of the application, disabling the algorithm that infer it based on the name parameter
  • baseDir can be used to create a base directory in the archive so that you can extract the generated zip without creating a directory for it first

Finally, the list of dependencies are defined. Each entry provides the identifier that you’ll have to use if you want to select the dependency, a description and the Spring Boot version range, if any.

Alongside the capabilities of the service, you’ll also find a few examples that help you understand how you can generate a project. These are obviously tailored to the client that you are using.

Let’s assume that you want to generate a "my-project.zip" project based on Spring Boot 1.5.2.RELEASE, using the web and devtools dependencies (remember, those two ids are displayed in the capabilities of the service):

$ curl https://start.spring.io/starter.zip -d dependencies=web,devtools \
           -d bootVersion=1.5.2.RELEASE -o my-project.zip

If you extract my-project.zip, you’ll notice a few differences compared to what happens with the web UI:

  • The project will be extracted in the current directory (the web UI adds a base directory automatically with the same name as the one of the project)
  • The name of the project is not my-project (the -o parameter has no impact on the name of the project)

The exact same project can be generated using the http command as well:

$ http https://start.spring.io/starter.zip dependencies==web,devtools \
           bootVersion==1.5.1.RELEASE -d
[Note]Note

HTTPie reads the same hint as the browser so it will store a demo.zip file in the current directory, with the same differences discussed above.

5. IDEs support

Spring Initializr is also integrated in all major Java IDEs and allows you to create and import a new project without having to leave the IDE for the command-line or the web UI.

The following IDEs have dedicated support:

Refer to the documentation of your favorite IDE for more details.

6. Spring Boot CLI support

The spring command line tool defines an init command that allows you to create a project using Spring Initializr.

Check the documentation for more details.

Part III. Configuration Guide

This section describes how you can create your own instance of the service and tune it for your needs, and also how you can configure an existing instance. You’ll also find some advanced tips to make sure the available options are consistent with the chosen Spring Boot generation.

7. Creating your own instance

Spring Initializr is split across three main modules:

  • initializr-generator: standalone project generation library that can be reused in many environments (including embedded in your own project)
  • initializr-web: API endpoints and web interface
  • initializr-actuator: optional module to provide statistics and metrics on project generation

Because it contains several auto-configurations, creating your own instance is quite easy, actually you could get started using Spring Initializr itself to generate a starting point!

Create a new project with the web dependency and add the following dependency:

<dependency>
	<groupId>io.spring.initializr</groupId>
	<artifactId>initializr-web</artifactId>
	<version>0.7.0.BUILD-SNAPSHOT</version>
</dependency>

Or if you are using Gradle:

implementation("io.spring.initializr:initializr-web:0.7.0.BUILD-SNAPSHOT")
[Note]Note

Spring Initializr releases are not available on Maven Central so you will need to configure the build to add an extra repository at repo.spring.io/release.

If you start the application, you’ll see the familiar interface but none of the drop down lists have values (except the one for the Spring Boot version, we will come back to that later). In the rest of this section, we will configure those basic settings.

[Tip]Tip

Most of the settings are configured via application.properties using the initializr namespace. Because the configuration is highly hierarchical, we recommend using the yaml format that is more readable for such structure. If you agree, go ahead and rename application.properties to application.yml.

7.1 Configuring basic settings

Most of the drop-down lists are configured via a simple list-based structure where each entry has an id, a name and whether that entry is the default or not. If no name is provided, the id is used instead.

Let’s configure the languages and the Java versions we want to support:

initializr:
  javaVersions:
	- id: 9
	  default: false
	- id: 1.8
	  default: true
  languages:
	- name: Java
	  id: java
	  default: true
	- name: Kotlin
	  id: kotlin
	  default: false

If you click on the "Switch to the full version" link, the two drop down lists now offer the options and default values defined above.

Spring Initializr supports java, groovy and kotlin and additional languages can be added in your own customization.

The available packagings are also configurable that way:

initializr:
  packagings:
	- name: Jar
	  id: jar
	  default: true
	- name: War
	  id: war
	  default: false

These two packaging types are the only one explicitly supported at the moment.

7.2 Configuring available Spring Boot versions

If you look at the project home page for Spring Boot, the latest versions are displayed. And you’ve probably noticed that they match the drop down list that you automatically get with a default instance of the Initializr. The reason for that is that Spring Initializr calls an API on spring.io to retrieve the latest versions automatically. This makes sure that you always get the latest available versions.

If you are behind a proxy, or need to customize the RestTemplate that is used behind the scenes, you can define a RestTemplateCustomizer bean in your configuration. For more details, check the documentation.

If you don’t want the version to be upgraded automatically, you need to override the InitializrMetadataProvider bean to provide your own metadata for the service. For instance, you could swap to an implementation that always returns the contents of static application.yml:

@Bean
public InitializrMetadataProvider initializrMetadataProvider(
		InitializrProperties properties) {
	InitializrMetadata metadata = InitializrMetadataBuilder
			.fromInitializrProperties(properties).build();
	return new SimpleInitializrMetadataProvider(metadata);
}

The thing to remember is that, by default, you don’t have to worry about upgrading your instance when a new Spring Boot version is released. However, you may need to configure caching to avoid requesting that service too often.

7.3 Configuring available project types

The available project types mostly define the structure of the generated project and its build system. Once a project type is selected, the related action is invoked to generate the project.

By default, Spring Initializr exposes the following resources (all accessed via HTTP GET):

  • /pom.xml generate a Maven pom.xml
  • /build.gradle generate a Gradle build
  • /starter.zip generate a complete project structure archived in a zip
  • /starter.tgz generate a complete project structure archived in a tgz

Each type also defines one or more tags that provides additional metadata entries to qualify the entry. The following standard tags exist:

  • build: the name of the build system to use (e.g. maven, gradle)
  • format: the format of the project (e.g. project for a full project, build for just a build file).

By default, the HTML UI filters all the available types to only display the ones that have a format tag with value project.

You can of course implement additional endpoints that generate whatever project structure you need but, for now, we’ll simply configure our instance to generate a Gradle or a Maven project:

initializr:
  types:
	- name: Maven Project
	  id: maven-project
	  description: Generate a Maven based project archive
	  tags:
		build: maven
		format: project
	  default: true
	  action: /starter.zip
	- name: Gradle Project
	  id: gradle-project
	  description: Generate a Gradle based project archive
	  tags:
		build: gradle
		format: project
	  default: false
	  action: /starter.zip
[Note]Note

If you intend to build a custom client against your service, you can add as many tags as you want, and process them in the client in a way that makes sense for your users.

For instance, the spring boot CLI uses them as a shortcut to the full type id. So rather than having to create a Gradle project as follows:

$ spring init --type=gradle-project my-project.zip

You can simply define a more convenient build parameter:

$ spring init --build=gradle my-project.zip

With that configuration, you should be able to generate your first project, congratulations! Let’s now add dependencies so that you can start searching for them.

7.4 Configuring dependencies

The most basic dependency is composed of:

  • An id used in clients to refer to it
  • The full maven coordinates of the dependency (groupId and artifactId)
  • A display name (used in the UI and the search results)
  • A description can (and should) be added to provide more information about the dependency

Spring Initializr automatically considers that a dependency without maven coordinates defines an official Spring Boot starter. In such a case, the id is used to infer the artifactId.

For instance, the following configures the spring-boot-starter-web Starter:

initializr:
  dependencies:
	- name: Web
	  content:
		- name: Web
		  id: web
		  description: Full-stack web development with Tomcat and Spring MVC

Each dependency is contained in a group that gathers dependencies sharing a common surface area or any other form of grouping. In the example above, a Web group holds our unique dependency. A group can also provide default values for various settings, see the dedicated how-to for more details.

In our spring-boot-starter-web example above, the dependency is managed by Spring Boot so there is no need to provide a version attribute for it. You’ll surely need to define additional dependencies that are not provided by Spring Boot and we strongly recommend you to use a Bill Of Materials (or BOM).

If no BOM is available you can specify a version directly:

initializr:
  dependencies:
	- name: Tech
	  content:
		- name: Acme
		  id: acme
		  groupId: com.example.acme
		  artifactId: acme
		  version: 1.2.0.RELEASE
		  description: A solid description for this dependency

If you add this configuration and search for "acme" (or "solid"), you’ll find this extra entry; generating a maven project with it should add the following to the pom:

<dependency>
	<groupId>com.example.acme</groupId>
	<artifactId>acme</artifactId>
	<version>1.2.0.RELEASE</version>
</dependency>

The rest of this section will detail the other configuration options.

7.4.1 Availability (version range)

By default, a dependency is available regardless of the Spring Boot version you have selected. If you need to restrict a dependency to a certain Spring Boot generation you can add a versionRange attribute to its definition. A version range is a range of versions of Spring Boot which are valid in combination with it. The versions are not applied to the dependency itself, but rather used to filter out the dependency, or modify it, when different versions of Spring Boot are selected for the generated project.

A typical version is composed of four parts: a major revision, a minor revision, a patch revision and a qualifier. Qualifiers are ordered as follows:

  • M for milestones (e.g. 2.0.0.M1 is the first milestone of the upcoming 2.0.0 release): can be seen as "beta" release
  • RC for release candidates (e.g. 2.0.0.RC2 is the second release candidate of upcoming 2.0.0 release)
  • RELEASE for general availability (e.g. 2.0.0.RELEASE is 2.0.0 proper)
  • BUILD-SNAPSHOT for development build (2.1.0.BUILD-SNAPSHOT represents the latest available development build of the upcoming 2.1.0 release).
[Tip]Tip

snapshots are in a bit special in that scheme as they always represents the "latest state" of a release. M1 represents the most oldest version for a given major, minor and patch revisions.

A version range has a lower and an upper bound, and if the bound is inclusive it is denoted as a square bracket ([ or ]), otherwise it is exclusive and denoted by a parenthesis (( or )). For instance [1.1.6.RELEASE,1.3.0.M1) means from all versions from 1.1.6.RELEASE up to but not including 1.3.0.M1 (concretely no including the 1.3.x line and after).

A version range can be a single value, e.g. 1.2.0.RELEASE, which is short for "this version or greater". It is an inclusive lower bound with an implied infinite upper bound.

If you need to specify "the latest release" in a given line, you can use a x rather than an hard-coded version. For instance, 1.4.x.BUILD-SNAPSHOT is the latest snapshot build of the 1.4.x line. For instance, if you want to restrict a dependency from 1.1.0.RELEASE to the latest stable release of the 1.3.x line, you’d use [1.1.0.RELEASE,1.3.x.RELEASE].

Snapshots are naturally ordered higher than released versions, so if you are looking to match a dependency to only the latest snapshots of Spring Boot, you could use a version range of 1.5.x.BUILD-SNAPSHOT (assuming 1.5 was the latest).

[Tip]Tip

Remember to quote the values of a version range in YAML configuration files (with double quotes "").

See below in the section on linking versions for more examples and idioms.

7.4.2 Repository

If the dependency is not available on Maven Central (or whatever default repository that is configured on your end), you can also add a reference to a repository. A repository is declared at the top level (under env) and given an id via the key in the configuration:

initializr:
  env:
    repositories:
      my-api-repo-1:
        name: repo1
        url: http://example.com/repo1

Once defined, the repository can then be referred back to in a dependency

initializr:
  dependencies:
    - name: Other
      content:
        - name: Foo
          groupId: org.acme
          artifactId: foo
          version: 1.3.5
          repository: my-api-repo-1

It is usually preferable to have a BOM for every dependency, and attach the repository to the BOM instead.

[Tip]Tip

The snapshots and milestones repositories on repo.spring.io are automatically available with the spring-snapshots and spring-milestones identifiers respectively.

7.5 Configuring Bill of Materials

A Bill of Materials (BOM) is a special pom.xml, deployed to a Maven repository, and used to control dependency management for a set of related artifacts. In the Spring Boot ecosystem we usually use the suffix -dependencies on the artifact id of a BOM. In other projects we see -bom. It is recommended that all dependencies are included in a BOM of some sort, since they provide nice high level features for users of the dependency. It is also important that 2 BOMs used in a project do not contain conflicting versions for the same dependency, so the best practice is to look at the existing BOMs in the Initializr before you add a new one, and make sure that you aren’t adding a conflict.

In the Initializr a BOM is declared at the env level, and given an id through the configuration key. Example:

initializr:
  env:
    boms:
      my-api-bom:
        groupId: org.acme
        artifactId: my-api-dependencies
        version: 1.0.0.RELEASE
        repositories: my-api-repo-1

If a BOM requires a special, non-default repository, then it can be referred to here, instead of having to explicitly list the repository again for each dependency. A dependency, or a dependency group, can declare that it requires the use of one or more BOMs by referring to the id:

initializr:
  dependencies:
    - name: Other
      content:
        - name: My API
          id : my-api
          groupId: org.acme
          artifactId: my-api
          bom: my-api-bom

7.5.1 Map coordinates according to the Spring Boot version

In addition to a Spring Boot version range for the dependency or a BOM, you can configure the version relationships at a finer grained level using version mappings. A dependency or BOM has a list of "mappings", each of which consists of a version range, and a set of one or more dependency properties to override for those versions of Spring Boot. You can use a mapping to switch the version of a dependency, or (better) the BOM, or to change its artifact id (if the project changed its packaging) for instance.

Here’s an example of a BOM with mappings:

initializr:
  env:
    boms:
      cloud-bom:
        groupId: com.example.foo
        artifactId: acme-foo-dependencies
        mappings:
          - versionRange: "[1.2.3.RELEASE,1.3.0.RELEASE)"
            groupId: com.example.bar
            artifactId: acme-foo-bom
            version: Arcturus.SR6
          - versionRange: "[1.3.0.RELEASE,1.4.0.RELEASE)"
            version: Botein.SR7
          - versionRange: "[1.4.0.RELEASE,1.5.x.RELEASE)"
            version: Castor.SR6
          - versionRange: "[1.5.0.RELEASE,1.5.x.BUILD-SNAPSHOT)"
            version: Diadem.RC1
            repositories: spring-milestones
          - versionRange: "1.5.x.BUILD-SNAPSHOT"
            version: Diadem.BUILD-SNAPSHOT
            repositories: spring-snapshots,spring-milestones

The primary use case here is to map Spring Boot versions to the preferred or supported versions of the Foo project. You can also see that for the milestone and snapshot BOMs, additional repositories are declared because those artifacts are not in the default repository. Initially the BOM was identified as com.example.bar:acme-foo-bom and renamed as of Botein to com.example.foo:acme-foo-dependencies.

[Tip]Tip

We also use the x trick in version ranges to avoid updating the range every time a new Spring Boot 1.5 bug fix release is available

See below in the section on linking versions for more examples.

7.5.2 Aliases

A dependency has an id (e.g. "web-services"), but it could be necessary to provide a new id and still be able to serve request from client using the now deprecated id. To do so, an alias can be defined for ths dependency;

initializr:
  dependencies:
    - name: Other
      content:
        - name: Web Services
          id: web-services
          aliases:
            - ws

The same project can now be generated with dependencies=ws or dependencies=web-services.

7.5.3 Facets

A "facet" is a label on a dependency which is used to drive a code modification in the generated project. In the standard Initializr generator, there is only one facet that is actually used (web), but custom installations might choose to use it for their own purposes. The web facet is used to drive the inclusion of a dependency with id web (defaulting to spring-boot-starter-web if such dependency is not present) when any other dependency with that facet is included.

The value of the "facets" property of a dependency is a list of strings.

7.5.4 Links

Links can be used to provide descriptive and hyperlink data to guide to user on how to learn more about a dependency. A dependency has a "links" property which is a list of Link. Each link has a rel label to identify it, an href and an optional (but recommended) description.

The following rel value are currently officially supported:

  • guide: the link points to a guide describing how to use the related dependency. It can be a tutorial, a how-to or typically a guide available on spring.io/guides
  • reference: the link points to a section of a developer guide typically or any page that documents how to use the dependency

The url can be templated if its actual value can change according to the environment. An URL parameter is specified with curly braces, something like example.com/doc/{bootVersion}/section defines a bootVersion parameter.

The following attributes are currently supported:

  • bootVersion: the Spring Boot version that is currently active

Here is an example that adds two links to the acme dependency:

initializr:
  dependencies:
	- name: Tech
	  content:
		- name: Acme
		  id: acme
		  groupId: com.example.acme
		  artifactId: acme
		  version: 1.2.0.RELEASE
		  description: A solid description for this dependency
		  links:
		    - rel: guide
			  href: https://com.example/guides/acme/
			  description: Getting started with Acme
		    - rel: reference
			  href: http://docs.example.com/acme/html

7.5.5 Improve search results

Each dependency can have a weight (a number >=0) and also keywords (list of string) that are used to prioritize them in the search feature in the web UI. If you type one of the keywords into the "Dependencies" box in the UI, those dependencies will be listed below, in order of decreasing weight, if they have one (unweighted dependencies come last).

8. ‘How-to’ guides

This section provides answers to some common ‘how do I do that…​’ type of questions that often arise when configuring Spring Initializr.

8.1 Add a new dependency

To add a new dependency, first identify the Maven co-ordinates of the dependency you want to add (groupId:artifactId:version) and then check which versions of Spring Boot it works with. If there are multiple versions that work with different versions of Spring Boot, then that’s fine too.

  • If there is a published BOM that manages the version of you dependency, then add that first, in the env section (see Section 7.5, “Configuring Bill of Materials”).
  • Then configure the dependency, fitting it into an existing group if you can, otherwise creating a new group.
  • If there is a BOM then omit the version.
  • If there is a Spring Boot version range (or min or max) that you need for this dependency, add that as a linked version.

8.2 Override the version of a dependency

Sometimes it happens that the BOM that normally manages your dependency version is in conflict with the newest version. Or maybe this is the case for only a range of Spring Boot versions. Or maybe there just is no BOM, or it’s not worth creating one for just one dependency. In these cases you can specify the version manually for a dependency either at the top level, or in a version mapping. At the top level it looks like this (just a version property in a dependency):

initializr:
  dependencies:
	- name: Tech
	  content:
		- name: Acme
		  id: acme
		  groupId: com.example.acme
		  artifactId: acme
		  version: 1.2.0.RELEASE
		  description: A solid description for this dependency

8.3 Link a Boot version to a version of your dependency

If your dependency requires a specific version of Spring Boot, ot different versions of Spring Boot require different versions of your dependency there are a couple of mechanisms to configure that.

The simplest is to put a versionRange in the dependency declaration. This is a range of versions of Spring Boot, not of your dependency. For example:

initializr:
  dependencies:
    - name: Stuff
      content:
        - name: Foo
          id: foo
          ...
          versionRange: 1.2.0.M1
        - name: Bar
          id: bar
          ...
          versionRange: "[1.5.0.RC1,2.0.0.M1)"

In this example Foo is available for Spring Boot 1.2.0 (or any milestone of 1.2.0) or greater, and Bar is available for Spring Boot 1.5.0 up to, but not including 2.0.0.

If different versions of your dependency work with different versions of Spring Boot, that’s when you need the mappings property. A mapping is a combination of a versionRange and some or all of the other properties of the dependency, overriding the values defined at the top level. For example:

initializr:
  dependencies:
    - name: Stuff
      content:
        - name: Foo
          id: foo
          groupId: org.acme.foo
          artifactId: foo-spring-boot-starter
          versionRange: 1.3.0.RELEASE
          bom: cloud-task-bom
          mappings:
            - versionRange: "[1.3.0.RELEASE,1.3.x.RELEASE]"
              artifactId: foo-starter
            - versionRange: "1.4.0.RELEASE"

In this example, The artifact of foo was changed to foo-spring-boot-starter as of the version that is compatible with Spring Boot 1.4. This mapping instruct that if Spring Boot 1.3.x is selected, the artifact Id should be set to foo-starter.

A mapping can also be applied to a BOM declaration. For example:

initializr:
  env:
    boms:
      my-api-bom:
        groupId: org.acme
        artifactId: my-api-bom
        additionalBoms: ['my-api-dependencies-bom']
        mappings:
          - versionRange: "[1.0.0.RELEASE,1.1.6.RELEASE)"
            version: 1.0.0.RELEASE
            repositories: my-api-repo-1
          - versionRange: "1.2.1.RELEASE"
            version: 2.0.0.RELEASE
            repositories: my-api-repo-2

In this example Spring Boot versions up to 1.1.6 select version 1.0.0 of the BOM, and set a different repository. Spring Boot versions 1.2.1 and above select 2.0.0 of the BOM and yet another repository.

8.4 Configure a snapshot repository

A dependency, or a BOM, might require the use of a specific repository, if the default one (usually Maven Central) does not contain the artifacts. Normally, the best place to declare that is in the BOM configuration, but if there isn’t a BOM then you can put it in the dependency itself. You can also use a Spring Boot version mapping to override the default repository for a dependency or BOM.

8.5 Make sure a regular dependency brings the base starter

If a dependency does not stand on its own (and specifically if it does not depend on an existing Spring Boot starter) you can flag it as a "non starter":

initializr:
  dependencies:
    - name: Stuff
      content:
        - name: Lib
          id: lib
          groupId: com.acme
          artifactId: lib
          starter:false

When a project is generated that only has dependencies with this flag set, then the base Spring Boot starter is added as well.

8.6 Share common dependency settings in a group

A dependency group is a hint for user interface implementations, to group things together for users when they are selecting dependencies. It is also a convenient way to share settings between dependencies because every dependency inherits all the settings. The most common settings in a group are the groupId, versionRange and bom:

initializr:
  dependencies:
    - name: Stuff
      bom: stuff-bom
      versionRange: "[1.3.0.RELEASE,2.0.0.M1)"
      content:
...

These dependencies, by default, will be available only for Spring Boot versions 1.3 up to 2.0 (excluded) and will bring in the stuff-bom BOM.

9. Advanced configuration

9.1 Caching configuration

If you use the service, you’ll notice that the logs have lots of entries with the message Fetching boot metadata from spring.io/project_metadata/spring-boot. To avoid checking for the latest Spring Boot versions too often, you should enable caching on your service. Spring Initializr has some auto-configuration to apply the proper caches if you are willing to use a JCache (JSR-107) implementation.

Add the javax.cache:cache-api and your favorite JCache implementation and simply enable caching by adding @EnableCaching to your @SpringBootApplication. For instance, you could use ehcache by adding the following:

<dependency>
	<groupId>javax.cache</groupId>
	<artifactId>cache-api</artifactId>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>org.ehcache</groupId>
	<artifactId>ehcache</artifactId>
</dependency>

Or if you are using Gradle:

implementation("javax.cache:cache-api")
implementation("org.ehcache:ehcache")

You’ll notice that the log entry is much more rare. If you do not want to use JSR-107, you should configure the cache yourselves. Here are the caches used by the application (each one will require some configuration to get it working):

Table 9.1. Cache configuration

cache nameDescription

initializr.metadata

Cache the full metadata of the service. When the metadata expires, it is fully resolved again (including a check on spring.io for the latest Spring Boot versions). Adapt the expiration settings accordingly.

initializr.dependency-metadata

Cache dependency-specific metadata.

initializr.project-resources

Cache resources that are used to generate projects.


Part IV. API Guide

10. Metadata Format

This section describes the hal/json structure of the metadata exposed by the initializr. Such metadata can be used by third party clients to provide a list of options and default settings that can be used to request the creation of a project.

A third-party client is advised to set a User-Agent header for each request sent to the service. A good structure for a user agent is clientId/clientVersion (i.e. foo/1.2.0 for the "foo" client and version 1.2.0).

10.1 Content

Any third party client can retrieve the capabilities of the service by issuing a GET on the root URL using the following Accept header: application/vnd.initializr.v2.1+json. Please note that the metadata may evolve in a non backward compatible way in the future so adding this header ensures the service returns the metadata format you expect.

This is an example output for a service running at start.spring.io:

request. 

GET / HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/vnd.initializr.v2.1+json
Host: start.spring.io

response. 

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Length: 4874
ETag: "7884ff1cd4c266dedd7fb74f3c0defcf"
Content-Type: application/vnd.initializr.v2.1+json
Cache-Control: max-age=604800

{
  "_links" : {
    "maven-build" : {
      "href" : "http://start.spring.io/pom.xml?type=maven-build{&dependencies,packaging,javaVersion,language,bootVersion,groupId,artifactId,version,name,description,packageName}",
      "templated" : true
    },
    "maven-project" : {
      "href" : "http://start.spring.io/starter.zip?type=maven-project{&dependencies,packaging,javaVersion,language,bootVersion,groupId,artifactId,version,name,description,packageName}",
      "templated" : true
    },
    "gradle-build" : {
      "href" : "http://start.spring.io/build.gradle?type=gradle-build{&dependencies,packaging,javaVersion,language,bootVersion,groupId,artifactId,version,name,description,packageName}",
      "templated" : true
    },
    "gradle-project" : {
      "href" : "http://start.spring.io/starter.zip?type=gradle-project{&dependencies,packaging,javaVersion,language,bootVersion,groupId,artifactId,version,name,description,packageName}",
      "templated" : true
    },
    "dependencies" : {
      "href" : "http://start.spring.io/dependencies{?bootVersion}",
      "templated" : true
    }
  },
  "dependencies" : {
    "type" : "hierarchical-multi-select",
    "values" : [ {
      "name" : "Core",
      "values" : [ {
        "id" : "web",
        "name" : "Web",
        "description" : "Web dependency description",
        "_links" : {
          "guide" : {
            "href" : "https://example.com/guide",
            "title" : "Building a RESTful Web Service"
          },
          "reference" : {
            "href" : "https://example.com/doc"
          }
        }
      }, {
        "id" : "security",
        "name" : "Security"
      }, {
        "id" : "data-jpa",
        "name" : "Data JPA"
      } ]
    }, {
      "name" : "Other",
      "values" : [ {
        "id" : "org.acme:foo",
        "name" : "Foo",
        "_links" : {
          "guide" : [ {
            "href" : "https://example.com/guide1"
          }, {
            "href" : "https://example.com/guide2",
            "title" : "Some guide for foo"
          } ],
          "reference" : {
            "href" : "https://example.com/{bootVersion}/doc",
            "templated" : true
          }
        }
      }, {
        "id" : "org.acme:bar",
        "name" : "Bar"
      }, {
        "id" : "org.acme:biz",
        "name" : "Biz",
        "versionRange" : "2.2.0.BUILD-SNAPSHOT"
      }, {
        "id" : "org.acme:bur",
        "name" : "Bur",
        "versionRange" : "[2.1.4.RELEASE,2.2.0.BUILD-SNAPSHOT)"
      }, {
        "id" : "my-api",
        "name" : "My API"
      } ]
    } ]
  },
  "type" : {
    "type" : "action",
    "default" : "maven-project",
    "values" : [ {
      "id" : "maven-build",
      "name" : "Maven POM",
      "action" : "/pom.xml",
      "tags" : {
        "build" : "maven",
        "format" : "build"
      }
    }, {
      "id" : "maven-project",
      "name" : "Maven Project",
      "action" : "/starter.zip",
      "tags" : {
        "build" : "maven",
        "format" : "project"
      }
    }, {
      "id" : "gradle-build",
      "name" : "Gradle Config",
      "action" : "/build.gradle",
      "tags" : {
        "build" : "gradle",
        "format" : "build"
      }
    }, {
      "id" : "gradle-project",
      "name" : "Gradle Project",
      "action" : "/starter.zip",
      "tags" : {
        "build" : "gradle",
        "format" : "project"
      }
    } ]
  },
  "packaging" : {
    "type" : "single-select",
    "default" : "jar",
    "values" : [ {
      "id" : "jar",
      "name" : "Jar"
    }, {
      "id" : "war",
      "name" : "War"
    } ]
  },
  "javaVersion" : {
    "type" : "single-select",
    "default" : "1.8",
    "values" : [ {
      "id" : "1.6",
      "name" : "1.6"
    }, {
      "id" : "1.7",
      "name" : "1.7"
    }, {
      "id" : "1.8",
      "name" : "1.8"
    } ]
  },
  "language" : {
    "type" : "single-select",
    "default" : "java",
    "values" : [ {
      "id" : "groovy",
      "name" : "Groovy"
    }, {
      "id" : "java",
      "name" : "Java"
    }, {
      "id" : "kotlin",
      "name" : "Kotlin"
    } ]
  },
  "bootVersion" : {
    "type" : "single-select",
    "default" : "2.1.4.RELEASE",
    "values" : [ {
      "id" : "2.2.0.BUILD-SNAPSHOT",
      "name" : "Latest SNAPSHOT"
    }, {
      "id" : "2.1.4.RELEASE",
      "name" : "2.1.4"
    }, {
      "id" : "1.5.17.RELEASE",
      "name" : "1.5.17"
    } ]
  },
  "groupId" : {
    "type" : "text",
    "default" : "com.example"
  },
  "artifactId" : {
    "type" : "text",
    "default" : "demo"
  },
  "version" : {
    "type" : "text",
    "default" : "0.0.1-SNAPSHOT"
  },
  "name" : {
    "type" : "text",
    "default" : "demo"
  },
  "description" : {
    "type" : "text",
    "default" : "Demo project for Spring Boot"
  },
  "packageName" : {
    "type" : "text",
    "default" : "com.example.demo"
  }
}

The current capabilities are the following:

  • Project dependencies: these are the starters really or actually any dependency that we might want to add to the project.
  • Project types: these define the action that can be invoked on this service and a description of what it would produce (for instance a zip holding a pre-configured Maven project). Each type may have one more tags that further define what it generates.
  • Packaging: the kind of projects to generate. This merely gives a hint to the component responsible to generate the project (for instance, generate an executable jar project).
  • Java version: the supported java versions
  • Language: the language to use (e.g. Java)
  • Boot version: the Spring Boot version to use
  • Additional basic information such as: groupId, artifactId, version, name, description and packageName.

Each top-level attribute (i.e. capability) has a standard format:

  • A type attribute that defines the semantic of the attribute (see below).
  • A default attribute that defines either the default value or the reference to the default value.
  • A values attribute that defines the set of acceptable values (if any). This can be hierarchical (with values being held in values). Each item in a values array can have an id, name and description).

The following attribute type are supported:

  • text: defines a simple text value with no option.
  • single-select: defines a simple value to be chosen amongst the specified options.
  • hierarchical-multi-select: defines a hierarchical set of values (values in values) with the ability to select multiple values.
  • action: a special type that defines the attribute defining the action to use.

Each action is defined as a HAL-compliant URL. For instance, the maven-project type templated URL is defined as follows:

Type link example. 

{
  "href" : "http://start.spring.io/starter.zip?type=maven-project{&dependencies,packaging,javaVersion,language,bootVersion,groupId,artifactId,version,name,description,packageName}",
  "templated" : true
}

You can use Spring HATEOAS and the UriTemplate helper in particular to generate an URI from template variables. Note that the variables match the name of top-level attribute in the metadata document. If you can’t parse such URI, the action attribute of each type gives you the root action to invoke on the server. This requires more manual handling on your end.

10.1.1 Project dependencies

A dependency is usually the coordinates of a starter module but it can be just a regular dependency. A typical dependency structure looks like this:

{
  "name": "Display name",
  "id": "org.acme.project:project-starter-foo",
  "description": "What starter foo does"
}

The name is used as a display name to be shown in whatever UI used by the remote client. The id can be anything, really as the actual dependency definition is defined through configuration. If no id is defined, a default one is built using the groupId and artifactId of the dependency. Note in particular that the version is never used as part of an automatic id.

Each dependency belongs to a group. The idea of the group is to gather similar dependencies and order them. Here is a value containing the core group to illustrates the feature:

Dependency group example. 

{
  "name" : "Core",
  "values" : [ {
    "id" : "web",
    "name" : "Web",
    "description" : "Web dependency description",
    "_links" : {
      "guide" : {
        "href" : "https://example.com/guide",
        "title" : "Building a RESTful Web Service"
      },
      "reference" : {
        "href" : "https://example.com/doc"
      }
    }
  }, {
    "id" : "security",
    "name" : "Security"
  }, {
    "id" : "data-jpa",
    "name" : "Data JPA"
  } ]
}

Each dependency can have links (in a HAL-compliant format). Links are grouped by "relations" that provide a semantic to the link. A link can also have a title and its URI can be templated. At the moment, the only valid parameter is bootVersion.

The official relations are:

  • guide: link to an how-to or guide that explain how to get started
  • reference: link to a section of a reference guide (documentation)

10.1.2 Project types

The type element defines what kind of project can be generated and how. For instance, if the service exposes the capability to generate a Maven project, this would look like this:

Project type example. 

{
  "id" : "maven-build",
  "name" : "Maven POM",
  "action" : "/pom.xml",
  "tags" : {
    "build" : "maven",
    "format" : "build"
  }
}

You should not rely on the output format depending that information. Always use the response headers that define a Content-Type and also a Content-Disposition header.

Note that each id has a related HAL-compliant link that can be used to generate a proper URI based on template variables. The top-level type has, as any other attribute, a default attribute that is a hint to select what the service consider to be a good default.

The action attribute defines the endpoint the client should contact to actually generate a project of that type if you can’t use the HAL-compliant url.

The tags object is used to categorize the project type and give hints to 3rd party client. For instance, the build tag defines the build system the project is going to use and the format tag defines the format of the generated content (i.e. here a complete project vs. a build file. Note that the Content-type header of the reply provides additional metadata).

10.1.3 Packaging

The packaging element defines the kind of project that should be generated.

Packaging example. 

{
  "id" : "jar",
  "name" : "Jar"
}

The obvious values for this element are jar and war.

10.1.4 Java version

The javaVersion element provides a list of possible java versions for the project:

Java example. 

{
  "id" : "1.6",
  "name" : "1.6"
}

10.1.5 Languages

The language element provides a list of possible languages for the project:

Language example. 

{
  "id" : "groovy",
  "name" : "Groovy"
}

10.1.6 Boot version

The bootVersion element provides the list of available boot versions

Spring Boot version example. 

{
  "id" : "2.2.0.BUILD-SNAPSHOT",
  "name" : "Latest SNAPSHOT"
}

10.2 Defaults

Each top-level element has a default attribute that should be used as a hint to provide the default value in the relevant UI component.

11. Using the Stubs

The Initializr project publishes WireMock stubs for all the JSON responses that are tested in the project. If you are writing a client for the Initializr service, you can use these stubs to test your own code. You can consume them with the raw Wiremock APIs, or via some features of Spring Cloud Contract.

[Tip]Tip

WireMock is an embedded web server that analyses incoming requests and chooses stub responses based on matching some rules (e.g. a specific header value). So if you send it a request which matches one of its stubs, it will send you a response as if it was a real Initializr service, and you can use that to do full stack integration testing of your client.

11.1 Using WireMock with Spring Boot

11.1.1 Loading Stubs from the Classpath

A convenient way to consume the stubs in your project is to add a test dependency:

<dependency>
	<groupId>io.spring.initializr</groupId>
	<artifactId>initializr-web</artifactId>
	<classifier>stubs</classifier>
	<version>{project-version}</version>
	<scope>test</scope>
</dependency>

and then pull the stubs from the classpath. In a Spring Boot application, using Spring Cloud Contract, you can start a WireMock server and register all the stubs with it like this:

@RunWith(SpringRunner.class)
@SpringBootTest
@AutoConfigureWireMock(port = 0,
	stubs="classpath:META-INF/io.spring.initializr/initializr-web/0.7.0.BUILD-SNAPSHOT")
public class ClientApplicationTests {

	@Value("${wiremock.server.port}")
	private int port;

	...

}

The Wiremock features come with Spring Cloud Contract Wiremock:

<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.cloud</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-cloud-starter-contract-wiremock</artifactId>
	<scope>test</scope>
</dependency>
[Tip]Tip

This dependency is managed by the spring-cloud-contract-dependencies BOM.

11.1.2 Using the Stub Runner

Alternatively you can configure the stub runner to look for the artifact, using a different Spring Cloud Contract dependency: spring-cloud-starter-contract-stub-runner. The example below will automatically download, if necessary, the defined version of the initializr stubs (so you don’t need the stubs declared as a dependency):

<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.cloud</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-cloud-starter-contract-stubrunner</artifactId>
	<scope>test</scope>
</dependency>

The test should use @AutoConfigureStubRunner instead:

@RunWith(SpringRunner.class)
@SpringBootTest(webEnvironment = WebEnvironment.NONE)
@AutoConfigureStubRunner(
	ids = "io.spring.initializr:initializr-web:0.7.0.BUILD-SNAPSHOT",
	repositoryRoot = "https://repo.spring.io/snapshot")
public class ClientApplicationTests {

	@Autowired
	private StubFinder stubFinder;


	...

}

Here is an example of a test that retrieves the metadata of the service. The assertions do not matter much here but it illustrates how you could integrate that in the test suite of a custom client:

public class ClientApplicationTests {

	@Autowired
	private StubFinder stubFinder;

	@Autowired
	private RestTemplate restTemplate;

	@Test
	public void testCurrentMetadata() {
		RequestEntity<Void> request = RequestEntity.get(createUri("/"))
				.accept(MediaType.valueOf("application/vnd.initializr.v2.1+json"))
				.build();

		ResponseEntity<String> response = this.restTemplate.exchange(request,
				String.class);
		assertThat(response.getStatusCode()).isEqualTo(HttpStatus.OK);
		// other assertions here
	}

	private URI createUri(String path) {
		String url = this.stubFinder.findStubUrl("initializr-web").toString();
		return URI.create(url + path);
	}

	@TestConfiguration
	static class Config {

		@Bean
		public RestTemplate restTemplate(RestTemplateBuilder builder) {
			return builder.build();
		}

	}

}

Then you have a server that returns the stub of the JSON metadata (metadataWithCurrentAcceptHeader.json) when you send it a header Accept:application/vnd.initializr.v2.1+json (as recommended).

11.2 Names and Paths of Stubs

The stubs are laid out in a jar file in a form (under "**/mappings") that can be consumed by WireMock just by setting its file source. The names of the individual stubs are the same as the method names of the test cases that generated them in the Initializr project. So for example there is a test case "metadataWithV2AcceptHeader" in MainControllerIntegrationTests that makes assertions about the response when the accept header is application/vnd.initializr.v2.1+json. The response is recorded in the stub, and it will match in WireMock if the same headers and request parameters that were used in the Initializr test case and used in the client. The method name usually summarizes what those values are.

The stub runner, and the @AutoConfigureWireMock in the examples above loads all the stubs into WireMock, so you don’t necessarily need to know the names of the stubs. You can also register stubs one by one, though, in which case it would help to scan the stubs jar and compare the file names with the test methods. For instance, if you look in the stubs jar, you will see a file called metadataWithV2AcceptHeader.json and, in the initializr-web project, a test method called metadataWithV2AcceptHeader which generated it.