Spring Bean Scopes

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When defining a <bean> in Spring, you have the option of declaring a scope for that bean. For example, To force Spring to produce a new bean instance each time one is needed, you should declare the bean's scope attribute to be prototype. Similar way if you want Spring to return the same bean instance each time one is needed, you should declare the bean's scope attribute to be singleton.

The Spring Framework supports following five scopes, three of which are available only if you use a web-aware ApplicationContext.

ScopeDescription
singletonThis scopes the bean definition to a single instance per Spring IoC container (default).
prototypeThis scopes a single bean definition to have any number of object instances.
requestThis scopes a bean definition to an HTTP request. Only valid in the context of a web-aware Spring ApplicationContext.
sessionThis scopes a bean definition to an HTTP session. Only valid in the context of a web-aware Spring ApplicationContext.
global-sessionThis scopes a bean definition to a global HTTP session. Only valid in the context of a web-aware Spring ApplicationContext.

This chapter will discuss about first two scopes and remaining three will be discussed when we will discuss about web-aware Spring ApplicationContext.

The singleton scope:

If scope is set to singleton, the Spring IoC container creates exactly one instance of the object defined by that bean definition. This single instance is stored in a cache of such singleton beans, and all subsequent requests and references for that named bean return the cached object.

The default scope is always singleton however, when you need one and only one instance of a bean, you can set the scope property to singleton in the bean configuration file, as shown below:

<!-- A bean definition with singleton scope -->
<bean id="..." class="..." scope="singleton">
    <!-- collaborators and configuration for this bean go here -->
</bean>

Example:

Let us have working Eclipse IDE in place and follow the following steps to create a Spring application:

StepDescription
1Create a project with a name SpringExample and create a package com.tutorialspoint under the src folder in the created project.
2Add required Spring libraries using Add External JARs option as explained in the Spring Hello World Example chapter.
3Create Java classes HelloWorld and MainApp under the com.tutorialspoint package.
4Create Beans configuration file Beans.xml under the src folder.
5The final step is to create the content of all the Java files and Bean Configuration file and run the application as explained below.

Here is the content of HelloWorld.java file:

package com.tutorialspoint;

public class HelloWorld {
   private String message;

   public void setMessage(String message){
      this.message  = message;
   }

   public void getMessage(){
      System.out.println("Your Message : " + message);
   }
}

Following is the content of the MainApp.java file:

package com.tutorialspoint;

import org.springframework.context.ApplicationContext;
import org.springframework.context.support.ClassPathXmlApplicationContext;

public class MainApp {
   public static void main(String[] args) {
      ApplicationContext context = 
             new ClassPathXmlApplicationContext("Beans.xml");

      HelloWorld objA = (HelloWorld) context.getBean("helloWorld");

      objA.setMessage("I'm object A");
      objA.getMessage();

      HelloWorld objB = (HelloWorld) context.getBean("helloWorld");
      objB.getMessage();
   }
}

Following is the configuration file Beans.xml required for singleton scope:

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

<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
    xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans
    http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans-3.0.xsd">

   <bean id="helloWorld" class="com.tutorialspoint.HelloWorld" 
      scope="singleton">
   </bean>

</beans>

Once you are done with creating source and bean configuration files, let us run the application. If everything is fine with your application, this will print the following message:

Your Message : I'm object A
Your Message : I'm object A

The prototype scope:

If scope is set to prototype, the Spring IoC container creates new bean instance of the object every time a request for that specific bean is made. As a rule, use the prototype scope for all state-full beans and the singleton scope for stateless beans.

To define a prototype scope, you can set the scope property to prototype in the bean configuration file, as shown below:

<!-- A bean definition with singleton scope -->
<bean id="..." class="..." scope="prototype">
    <!-- collaborators and configuration for this bean go here -->
</bean>

Example:

Let us have working Eclipse IDE in place and follow the following steps to create a Spring application:

StepDescription
1Create a project with a name SpringExample and create a package com.tutorialspoint under the src folder in the created project.
2Add required Spring libraries using Add External JARs option as explained in the Spring Hello World Example chapter.
3Create Java classes HelloWorld and MainApp under the com.tutorialspoint package.
4Create Beans configuration file Beans.xml under the src folder.
5The final step is to create the content of all the Java files and Bean Configuration file and run the application as explained below.

Here is the content of HelloWorld.java file:

package com.tutorialspoint;

public class HelloWorld {
   private String message;

   public void setMessage(String message){
      this.message  = message;
   }

   public void getMessage(){
      System.out.println("Your Message : " + message);
   }
}

Following is the content of the MainApp.java file:

package com.tutorialspoint;

import org.springframework.context.ApplicationContext;
import org.springframework.context.support.ClassPathXmlApplicationContext;

public class MainApp {
   public static void main(String[] args) {
      ApplicationContext context = 
             new ClassPathXmlApplicationContext("Beans.xml");

      HelloWorld objA = (HelloWorld) context.getBean("helloWorld");

      objA.setMessage("I'm object A");
      objA.getMessage();

      HelloWorld objB = (HelloWorld) context.getBean("helloWorld");
      objB.getMessage();
   }
}

Following is the configuration file Beans.xml required for prototype scope:

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

<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
    xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans
    http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans-3.0.xsd">

   <bean id="helloWorld" class="com.tutorialspoint.HelloWorld" 
      scope="prototype">
   </bean>

</beans>

Once you are done with creating source and bean configuration files, let us run the application. If everything is fine with your application, this will print the following message:

Your Message : I'm object A
Your Message : null


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