Spring Boot basic annotations

last modified August 2, 2023

In this article we show how to use basic Spring Boot annotations including @Bean, @Service, @Configuration, @Controller, @RequestMapping, @Repository, @Autowired, and @SpringBootApplication.

Spring is a popular Java application framework for creating enterprise applications. Spring Boot is the next step in evolution of Spring framework. It helps create stand-alone, production-grade Spring based applications with minimal effort. It does not use XML configurations anymore and implements the convention over configuration principle.

Annotation is a form of metadata which provides data about a program that is not part of the program itself. Annotations do not have direct effect on the operation of the code they annotate.

Spring Boot basic annotations

In the example application, we have these Spring Boot annotations:

@Component is a generic stereotype for a Spring managed component. It turns the class into a Spring bean at the auto-scan time. Classes decorated with this annotation are considered as candidates for auto-detection when using annotation-based configuration and classpath scanning. @Repository, @Service, and @Controller are specializations of @Component for more specific use cases.

There are also Hibernate @Entity, @Table, @Id, and @GeneratedValue annotations in the example.

Spring Boot basic annotations example

The following application is a Spring Boot application which returns data from an H2 database using Spring Data JPA. The application uses FreeMarker as a template engine.

├── main
│   ├── java
│   │   └── com
│   │       └── zetcode
│   │           ├── Application.java
│   │           ├── controller
│   │           │   └── MyController.java
│   │           ├── model
│   │           │   └── City.java
│   │           ├── repository
│   │           │   └── CityRepository.java
│   │           └── service
│   │               ├── CityService.java
│   │               └── ICityService.java
│   └── resources
│       ├── application.yml
│       ├── import.sql
│       ├── static
│       │   └── css
│       │       └── style.css
│       └── templates
│           ├── index.ftlh
│           └── showCities.ftlh
└── test
    ├── java
    └── resources

This is the project structure.

plugins {
    id 'org.springframework.boot' version '3.1.1'
    id 'io.spring.dependency-management' version '1.1.0'
    id 'java'

group = 'com.zetcode'
version = '0.0.1-SNAPSHOT'
sourceCompatibility = '17'

repositories {

dependencies {
    implementation 'org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-web'
    implementation 'org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-freemarker'
    implementation 'org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-data-jpa'
    runtimeOnly 'com.h2database:h2'

This is the Gradle build file. It contains dependencies for Freemaker, Spring Data JPA, and H2 database. When Spring Boot finds Freemaker and H2 in the build file, it automatically configures them. We can use them right away.

    context-path: /myapp

    banner-mode: "off"
    platform: h2

In the application.yml file we write various configuration settings of a Spring Boot application.

package com.zetcode.model;

import java.util.Objects;
import jakarta.persistence.Entity;
import jakarta.persistence.GeneratedValue;
import jakarta.persistence.GenerationType;
import jakarta.persistence.Id;
import jakarta.persistence.Table;

@Table(name = "cities")
public class City {

    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.AUTO)
    private Long id;

    private String name;
    private int population;

    public City() {

    public City(Long id, String name, int population) {

        this.id = id;
        this.name = name;
        this.population = population;

    public Long getId() {
        return id;

    public String getName() {
        return name;

    public void setName(String name) {
        this.name = name;

    public int getPopulation() {
        return population;

    public void setPopulation(int population) {
        this.population = population;

    public int hashCode() {
        int hash = 7;
        hash = 79 * hash + Objects.hashCode(this.id);
        hash = 79 * hash + Objects.hashCode(this.name);
        hash = 79 * hash + this.population;
        return hash;

    public boolean equals(Object obj) {
        if (this == obj) {
            return true;
        if (obj == null) {
            return false;
        if (getClass() != obj.getClass()) {
            return false;
        final City other = (City) obj;
        if (this.population != other.population) {
            return false;
        if (!Objects.equals(this.name, other.name)) {
            return false;
        return Objects.equals(this.id, other.id);

    public String toString() {
        final StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder("City{");
        sb.append(", name='").append(name).append('\'');
        sb.append(", population=").append(population);
        return sb.toString();

This is the City entity. Each entity must have at least two annotations defined: @Entity and @Id. The @Entity annotation specifies that the class is an entity and is mapped to a database table. The @Table annotation specifies the name of the database table to be used for mapping. The @Id annotation specifies the primary key of an entity and the @GeneratedValue provides for the specification of generation strategies for the values of primary keys.

INSERT INTO cities(name, population) VALUES('Bratislava', 432000);
INSERT INTO cities(name, population) VALUES('Budapest', 1759000);
INSERT INTO cities(name, population) VALUES('Prague', 1280000);
INSERT INTO cities(name, population) VALUES('Warsaw', 1748000);
INSERT INTO cities(name, population) VALUES('Los Angeles', 3971000);
INSERT INTO cities(name, population) VALUES('New York', 8550000);
INSERT INTO cities(name, population) VALUES('Edinburgh', 464000);
INSERT INTO cities(name, population) VALUES('Berlin', 3671000);

The schema is automatically created by Hibernate; later, the import.sql file is executed to fill the table with data.

package com.zetcode.repository;

import com.zetcode.model.City;
import org.springframework.data.repository.CrudRepository;
import org.springframework.stereotype.Repository;

public interface CityRepository extends CrudRepository<City, Long> {


The @Repository annotation is used to define a repository.

package com.zetcode.service;

import com.zetcode.model.City;
import java.util.List;

public interface ICityService {

    List<City> findAll();

ICityService provides a contract method to get all cities.

package com.zetcode.service;

import com.zetcode.model.City;
import com.zetcode.repository.CityRepository;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired;
import org.springframework.stereotype.Service;

import java.util.List;

public class CityService implements ICityService {

    private final CityRepository cityRepository;

    public CityService(CityRepository cityRepository) {
        this.cityRepository = cityRepository;

    public List<City> findAll() {

        return (List<City>) cityRepository.findAll();

The @Service annotation declares CityService to be a service class: a class that provides business services. The optional @Autowired annotation marks cityRepository field to be injected with CityRepository.

package com.zetcode.controller;

import com.zetcode.service.ICityService;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired;
import org.springframework.stereotype.Controller;
import org.springframework.ui.Model;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMapping;
import org.springframework.web.servlet.ModelAndView;

import java.util.HashMap;
import java.util.Map;

public class MyController {

    private final ICityService cityService;

    public MyController(ICityService cityService) {
        this.cityService = cityService;

    public String index(Model model) {

        return "index";

    public ModelAndView showCities() {

        var cities = cityService.findAll();

        Map<String, Object> params = new HashMap<>();
        params.put("cities", cities);

        return new ModelAndView("showCities", params);

The @Controller annotation marks a class as a web controller. The @RequestMapping maps HTTP request with a path to a controller method. In the second case, it maps the /cities URL to the showCities method.

<!DOCTYPE html>
        <title>Home page</title>
        <meta charset="UTF-8">
        <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
        <a href="cities">Show cities</a>

This is the index.ftlh template file. It contains a link to create a request to show all cities.

<!DOCTYPE html>
        <meta charset="UTF-8">
        <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
        <link rel="stylesheet" href="css/style.css">
        <h2>List of cities</h2>


            <#list cities as city>

This is the showCities.ftlh template file. It uses FreeMarker #list macro to display all city objects.

h2 {color: blue}

td:nth-child(3) {
    text-align: right;

This is the style.css template file.

package com.zetcode;

import org.springframework.boot.SpringApplication;
import org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.SpringBootApplication;

public class Application {

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

The @SpringBootApplication enables auto-configuration and component scanning.

$ ./gradlew bootRun

We run the application and locate to the localhost:8080/myapp address.

In this article we have covered a few basic Spring Boot annotations.


My name is Jan Bodnar and I am a passionate programmer with many years of programming experience. I have been writing programming articles since 2007. So far, I have written over 1400 articles and 8 e-books. I have over eight years of experience in teaching programming.

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