86. Traditional deployment

86.1 Create a deployable war file

The first step in producing a deployable war file is to provide a SpringBootServletInitializer subclass and override its configure method. This makes use of Spring Framework’s Servlet 3.0 support and allows you to configure your application when it’s launched by the servlet container. Typically, you update your application’s main class to extend SpringBootServletInitializer:

public class Application extends SpringBootServletInitializer {

    protected SpringApplicationBuilder configure(SpringApplicationBuilder application) {
        return application.sources(Application.class);

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


The next step is to update your build configuration so that your project produces a war file rather than a jar file. If you’re using Maven and using spring-boot-starter-parent (which configures Maven’s war plugin for you) all you need to do is to modify pom.xml to change the packaging to war:


If you’re using Gradle, you need to modify build.gradle to apply the war plugin to the project:

apply plugin: 'war'

The final step in the process is to ensure that the embedded servlet container doesn’t interfere with the servlet container to which the war file will be deployed. To do so, you need to mark the embedded servlet container dependency as provided.

If you’re using Maven:

    <!-- … -->
    <!-- … -->

And if you’re using Gradle:

dependencies {
    // …
    providedRuntime 'org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-tomcat'
    // …

If you are using a version of Gradle that supports compile only dependencies (2.12 or later), you should continue to use providedRuntime. Among other limitations, compileOnly dependencies are not on the test classpath so any web-based integration tests will fail.

If you’re using the Spring Boot build tools, marking the embedded servlet container dependency as provided will produce an executable war file with the provided dependencies packaged in a lib-provided directory. This means that, in addition to being deployable to a servlet container, you can also run your application using java -jar on the command line.


Take a look at Spring Boot’s sample applications for a Maven-based example of the above-described configuration.

86.2 Create a deployable war file for older servlet containers

Older Servlet containers don’t have support for the ServletContextInitializer bootstrap process used in Servlet 3.0. You can still use Spring and Spring Boot in these containers but you are going to need to add a web.xml to your application and configure it to load an ApplicationContext via a DispatcherServlet.

86.3 Convert an existing application to Spring Boot

For a non-web application it should be easy (throw away the code that creates your ApplicationContext and replace it with calls to SpringApplication or SpringApplicationBuilder). Spring MVC web applications are generally amenable to first creating a deployable war application, and then migrating it later to an executable war and/or jar. Useful reading is in the Getting Started Guide on Converting a jar to a war.

Create a deployable war by extending SpringBootServletInitializer (e.g. in a class called Application), and add the Spring Boot @SpringBootApplication annotation. Example:

public class Application extends SpringBootServletInitializer {

    protected SpringApplicationBuilder configure(SpringApplicationBuilder application) {
        // Customize the application or call application.sources(...) to add sources
        // Since our example is itself a @Configuration class (via @SpringBootApplication)
        // we actually don't need to override this method.
        return application;


Remember that whatever you put in the sources is just a Spring ApplicationContext and normally anything that already works should work here. There might be some beans you can remove later and let Spring Boot provide its own defaults for them, but it should be possible to get something working first.

Static resources can be moved to /public (or /static or /resources or /META-INF/resources) in the classpath root. Same for messages.properties (Spring Boot detects this automatically in the root of the classpath).

Vanilla usage of Spring DispatcherServlet and Spring Security should require no further changes. If you have other features in your application, using other servlets or filters for instance, then you may need to add some configuration to your Application context, replacing those elements from the web.xml as follows:

  • A @Bean of type Servlet or ServletRegistrationBean installs that bean in the container as if it was a <servlet/> and <servlet-mapping/> in web.xml.
  • A @Bean of type Filter or FilterRegistrationBean behaves similarly (like a <filter/> and <filter-mapping/>.
  • An ApplicationContext in an XML file can be added through an @ImportResource in your Application. Or simple cases where annotation configuration is heavily used already can be recreated in a few lines as @Bean definitions.

Once the war is working we make it executable by adding a main method to our Application, e.g.

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

If you intend to start your application as a war or as an executable application, you need to share the customizations of the builder in a method that is both available to the SpringBootServletInitializer callback and the main method, something like:

public class Application extends SpringBootServletInitializer {

    protected SpringApplicationBuilder configure(SpringApplicationBuilder builder) {
        return configureApplication(builder);

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        configureApplication(new SpringApplicationBuilder()).run(args);

    private static SpringApplicationBuilder configureApplication(SpringApplicationBuilder builder) {
        return builder.sources(Application.class).bannerMode(Banner.Mode.OFF);


Applications can fall into more than one category:

  • Servlet 3.0+ applications with no web.xml.
  • Applications with a web.xml.
  • Applications with a context hierarchy.
  • Applications without a context hierarchy.

All of these should be amenable to translation, but each might require slightly different tricks.

Servlet 3.0+ applications might translate pretty easily if they already use the Spring Servlet 3.0+ initializer support classes. Normally all the code from an existing WebApplicationInitializer can be moved into a SpringBootServletInitializer. If your existing application has more than one ApplicationContext (e.g. if it uses AbstractDispatcherServletInitializer) then you might be able to squash all your context sources into a single SpringApplication. The main complication you might encounter is if that doesn’t work and you need to maintain the context hierarchy. See the entry on building a hierarchy for examples. An existing parent context that contains web-specific features will usually need to be broken up so that all the ServletContextAware components are in the child context.

Applications that are not already Spring applications might be convertible to a Spring Boot application, and the guidance above might help, but your mileage may vary.

86.4 Deploying a WAR to WebLogic

To deploy a Spring Boot application to WebLogic you must ensure that your servlet initializer directly implements WebApplicationInitializer (even if you extend from a base class that already implements it).

A typical initializer for WebLogic would be something like this:

import org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.SpringBootApplication;
import org.springframework.boot.context.web.SpringBootServletInitializer;
import org.springframework.web.WebApplicationInitializer;

public class MyApplication extends SpringBootServletInitializer implements WebApplicationInitializer {


If you use logback, you will also need to tell WebLogic to prefer the packaged version rather than the version that pre-installed with the server. You can do this by adding a WEB-INF/weblogic.xml file with the following contents:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

86.5 Deploying a WAR in an Old (Servlet 2.5) Container

Spring Boot uses Servlet 3.0 APIs to initialize the ServletContext (register Servlets etc.) so you can’t use the same application out of the box in a Servlet 2.5 container. It is however possible to run a Spring Boot application on an older container with some special tools. If you include org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-legacy as a dependency (maintained separately to the core of Spring Boot and currently available at 1.0.2.RELEASE), all you should need to do is create a web.xml and declare a context listener to create the application context and your filters and servlets. The context listener is a special purpose one for Spring Boot, but the rest of it is normal for a Spring application in Servlet 2.5. Example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<web-app version="2.5" xmlns="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee https://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee/web-app_2_5.xsd">








In this example we are using a single application context (the one created by the context listener) and attaching it to the DispatcherServlet using an init parameter. This is normal in a Spring Boot application (you normally only have one application context).