23. SpringApplication

The SpringApplication class provides a convenient way to bootstrap a Spring application that is started from a main() method. In many situations, you can delegate to the static SpringApplication.run method, as shown in the following example:

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

When your application starts, you should see something similar to the following output:

  .   ____          _            __ _ _
 /\\ / ___'_ __ _ _(_)_ __  __ _ \ \ \ \
( ( )\___ | '_ | '_| | '_ \/ _` | \ \ \ \
 \\/  ___)| |_)| | | | | || (_| |  ) ) ) )
  '  |____| .__|_| |_|_| |_\__, | / / / /
 :: Spring Boot ::   v2.1.6.RELEASE

2013-07-31 00:08:16.117  INFO 56603 --- [           main] o.s.b.s.app.SampleApplication            : Starting SampleApplication v0.1.0 on mycomputer with PID 56603 (/apps/myapp.jar started by pwebb)
2013-07-31 00:08:16.166  INFO 56603 --- [           main] ationConfigServletWebServerApplicationContext : Refreshing org.springframework.boot.web.servlet.context.AnnotationConfigServletWebServerApplicationContext@6e5a8246: startup date [Wed Jul 31 00:08:16 PDT 2013]; root of context hierarchy
2014-03-04 13:09:54.912  INFO 41370 --- [           main] .t.TomcatServletWebServerFactory : Server initialized with port: 8080
2014-03-04 13:09:56.501  INFO 41370 --- [           main] o.s.b.s.app.SampleApplication            : Started SampleApplication in 2.992 seconds (JVM running for 3.658)

By default, INFO logging messages are shown, including some relevant startup details, such as the user that launched the application. If you need a log level other than INFO, you can set it, as described in Section 26.4, “Log Levels”,

23.1 Startup Failure

If your application fails to start, registered FailureAnalyzers get a chance to provide a dedicated error message and a concrete action to fix the problem. For instance, if you start a web application on port 8080 and that port is already in use, you should see something similar to the following message:



Embedded servlet container failed to start. Port 8080 was already in use.


Identify and stop the process that's listening on port 8080 or configure this application to listen on another port.

Spring Boot provides numerous FailureAnalyzer implementations, and you can add your own.

If no failure analyzers are able to handle the exception, you can still display the full conditions report to better understand what went wrong. To do so, you need to enable the debug property or enable DEBUG logging for org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.logging.ConditionEvaluationReportLoggingListener.

For instance, if you are running your application by using java -jar, you can enable the debug property as follows:

$ java -jar myproject-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar --debug

23.2 Customizing the Banner

The banner that is printed on start up can be changed by adding a banner.txt file to your classpath or by setting the spring.banner.location property to the location of such a file. If the file has an encoding other than UTF-8, you can set spring.banner.charset. In addition to a text file, you can also add a banner.gif, banner.jpg, or banner.png image file to your classpath or set the spring.banner.image.location property. Images are converted into an ASCII art representation and printed above any text banner.

Inside your banner.txt file, you can use any of the following placeholders:

Table 23.1. Banner variables



The version number of your application, as declared in MANIFEST.MF. For example, Implementation-Version: 1.0 is printed as 1.0.


The version number of your application, as declared in MANIFEST.MF and formatted for display (surrounded with brackets and prefixed with v). For example (v1.0).


The Spring Boot version that you are using. For example 2.1.6.RELEASE.


The Spring Boot version that you are using, formatted for display (surrounded with brackets and prefixed with v). For example (v2.1.6.RELEASE).

${Ansi.NAME} (or ${AnsiColor.NAME}, ${AnsiBackground.NAME}, ${AnsiStyle.NAME})

Where NAME is the name of an ANSI escape code. See AnsiPropertySource for details.


The title of your application, as declared in MANIFEST.MF. For example Implementation-Title: MyApp is printed as MyApp.


The SpringApplication.setBanner(…​) method can be used if you want to generate a banner programmatically. Use the org.springframework.boot.Banner interface and implement your own printBanner() method.

You can also use the spring.main.banner-mode property to determine if the banner has to be printed on System.out (console), sent to the configured logger (log), or not produced at all (off).

The printed banner is registered as a singleton bean under the following name: springBootBanner.


YAML maps off to false, so be sure to add quotes if you want to disable the banner in your application, as shown in the following example:

		banner-mode: "off"

23.3 Customizing SpringApplication

If the SpringApplication defaults are not to your taste, you can instead create a local instance and customize it. For example, to turn off the banner, you could write:

public static void main(String[] args) {
	SpringApplication app = new SpringApplication(MySpringConfiguration.class);

The constructor arguments passed to SpringApplication are configuration sources for Spring beans. In most cases, these are references to @Configuration classes, but they could also be references to XML configuration or to packages that should be scanned.

It is also possible to configure the SpringApplication by using an application.properties file. See Chapter 24, Externalized Configuration for details.

For a complete list of the configuration options, see the SpringApplication Javadoc.

23.4 Fluent Builder API

If you need to build an ApplicationContext hierarchy (multiple contexts with a parent/child relationship) or if you prefer using a “fluent” builder API, you can use the SpringApplicationBuilder.

The SpringApplicationBuilder lets you chain together multiple method calls and includes parent and child methods that let you create a hierarchy, as shown in the following example:

new SpringApplicationBuilder()

There are some restrictions when creating an ApplicationContext hierarchy. For example, Web components must be contained within the child context, and the same Environment is used for both parent and child contexts. See the SpringApplicationBuilder Javadoc for full details.

23.5 Application Events and Listeners

In addition to the usual Spring Framework events, such as ContextRefreshedEvent, a SpringApplication sends some additional application events.


Some events are actually triggered before the ApplicationContext is created, so you cannot register a listener on those as a @Bean. You can register them with the SpringApplication.addListeners(…​) method or the SpringApplicationBuilder.listeners(…​) method.

If you want those listeners to be registered automatically, regardless of the way the application is created, you can add a META-INF/spring.factories file to your project and reference your listener(s) by using the org.springframework.context.ApplicationListener key, as shown in the following example:


Application events are sent in the following order, as your application runs:

  1. An ApplicationStartingEvent is sent at the start of a run but before any processing, except for the registration of listeners and initializers.
  2. An ApplicationEnvironmentPreparedEvent is sent when the Environment to be used in the context is known but before the context is created.
  3. An ApplicationPreparedEvent is sent just before the refresh is started but after bean definitions have been loaded.
  4. An ApplicationStartedEvent is sent after the context has been refreshed but before any application and command-line runners have been called.
  5. An ApplicationReadyEvent is sent after any application and command-line runners have been called. It indicates that the application is ready to service requests.
  6. An ApplicationFailedEvent is sent if there is an exception on startup.

You often need not use application events, but it can be handy to know that they exist. Internally, Spring Boot uses events to handle a variety of tasks.

Application events are sent by using Spring Framework’s event publishing mechanism. Part of this mechanism ensures that an event published to the listeners in a child context is also published to the listeners in any ancestor contexts. As a result of this, if your application uses a hierarchy of SpringApplication instances, a listener may receive multiple instances of the same type of application event.

To allow your listener to distinguish between an event for its context and an event for a descendant context, it should request that its application context is injected and then compare the injected context with the context of the event. The context can be injected by implementing ApplicationContextAware or, if the listener is a bean, by using @Autowired.

23.6 Web Environment

A SpringApplication attempts to create the right type of ApplicationContext on your behalf. The algorithm used to determine a WebApplicationType is fairly simple:

  • If Spring MVC is present, an AnnotationConfigServletWebServerApplicationContext is used
  • If Spring MVC is not present and Spring WebFlux is present, an AnnotationConfigReactiveWebServerApplicationContext is used
  • Otherwise, AnnotationConfigApplicationContext is used

This means that if you are using Spring MVC and the new WebClient from Spring WebFlux in the same application, Spring MVC will be used by default. You can override that easily by calling setWebApplicationType(WebApplicationType).

It is also possible to take complete control of the ApplicationContext type that is used by calling setApplicationContextClass(…​).


It is often desirable to call setWebApplicationType(WebApplicationType.NONE) when using SpringApplication within a JUnit test.

23.7 Accessing Application Arguments

If you need to access the application arguments that were passed to SpringApplication.run(…​), you can inject a org.springframework.boot.ApplicationArguments bean. The ApplicationArguments interface provides access to both the raw String[] arguments as well as parsed option and non-option arguments, as shown in the following example:

import org.springframework.boot.*;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.*;
import org.springframework.stereotype.*;

public class MyBean {

	public MyBean(ApplicationArguments args) {
		boolean debug = args.containsOption("debug");
		List<String> files = args.getNonOptionArgs();
		// if run with "--debug logfile.txt" debug=true, files=["logfile.txt"]


Spring Boot also registers a CommandLinePropertySource with the Spring Environment. This lets you also inject single application arguments by using the @Value annotation.

23.8 Using the ApplicationRunner or CommandLineRunner

If you need to run some specific code once the SpringApplication has started, you can implement the ApplicationRunner or CommandLineRunner interfaces. Both interfaces work in the same way and offer a single run method, which is called just before SpringApplication.run(…​) completes.

The CommandLineRunner interfaces provides access to application arguments as a simple string array, whereas the ApplicationRunner uses the ApplicationArguments interface discussed earlier. The following example shows a CommandLineRunner with a run method:

import org.springframework.boot.*;
import org.springframework.stereotype.*;

public class MyBean implements CommandLineRunner {

	public void run(String... args) {
		// Do something...


If several CommandLineRunner or ApplicationRunner beans are defined that must be called in a specific order, you can additionally implement the org.springframework.core.Ordered interface or use the org.springframework.core.annotation.Order annotation.

23.9 Application Exit

Each SpringApplication registers a shutdown hook with the JVM to ensure that the ApplicationContext closes gracefully on exit. All the standard Spring lifecycle callbacks (such as the DisposableBean interface or the @PreDestroy annotation) can be used.

In addition, beans may implement the org.springframework.boot.ExitCodeGenerator interface if they wish to return a specific exit code when SpringApplication.exit() is called. This exit code can then be passed to System.exit() to return it as a status code, as shown in the following example:

public class ExitCodeApplication {

	public ExitCodeGenerator exitCodeGenerator() {
		return () -> 42;

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


Also, the ExitCodeGenerator interface may be implemented by exceptions. When such an exception is encountered, Spring Boot returns the exit code provided by the implemented getExitCode() method.

23.10 Admin Features

It is possible to enable admin-related features for the application by specifying the spring.application.admin.enabled property. This exposes the SpringApplicationAdminMXBean on the platform MBeanServer. You could use this feature to administer your Spring Boot application remotely. This feature could also be useful for any service wrapper implementation.


If you want to know on which HTTP port the application is running, get the property with a key of local.server.port.


Take care when enabling this feature, as the MBean exposes a method to shutdown the application.