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Spring is one of the projects we wrote about in “Boomerang Back: The Return of Pivotal Open Source Projects” and the family of Spring Projects are among the most notable to return to the VMware fold. Below, we’ll highlight two Spring Projects – Spring Boot and Spring Framework – but for weekly updates on Spring, follow Josh Long, the Spring Developer Advocate at VMware (Pivotal) and a Java Champion. He’s the host of A Bootiful Podcast and Spring Tips Videos as well as the co-author of 6+ books and an instructor on 8+ Livelessons Training Videos. Keep abreast of everything Spring by following Josh’s This Week in Spring published every Tuesday.

History of Spring Projects

From configuration and security to web apps and big data, Spring Projects can help you build it. That’s why Spring is the most popular open source application development framework for enterprise Java and is used by millions of developers around the world. The open source Java platform was originally created by Rod Johnson and initially released under the Apache 2.0 license in June 2003. The allure of the Spring Framework is that it enables Java developers to create enterprise-class applications using “plain old java objects” (or POJOs) without having to worry about the intricacies of each deployment environment. But, as features increased, so did the complexity, which led the Spring team to develop Spring Boot, which was released by Pivotal in 2014.

Spring Boot

Spring Boot is an open sourced integration framework that extends Spring by adding automated configurations and tools that further simplify the building and testing of applications. Most famously, Spring Boot allows developers to easily create stand-alone, production-grade Spring applications that “just run”. For this reason, Spring Boot also has millions of users around the world.

Spring Boot originated in 2013, shortly after the Pivotal launch. The company focused on the opportunity of the cloud, but soon realized that running a Spring application in the cloud had different implications than running it in a data center. There were concerns unique to that runtime environment that we hadn’t done a good job addressing. Spring Boot was designed to solve that specific issue.

Spring Projects have always been very flexible because you start with basically nothing, then add in the things you want. There was no cookie-cutter Spring application. Soon, there was interest in consuming all of these diverse projects, like supporting data access, security, batch processing, EAI, messaging, web sockets and so on. Users would need to know how to glue them all together to work in harmony across a common application. That required knowing a lot of infrastructure and wiring it together.

With Spring Boot, Pivotal answered with, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do that for them, but allow them to back off from the default position we give them?” Spring Boot embraced all this, and a new project was born. Pivotal released the first version of that on April 1, 2014

Spring Framework

Spring is fast, flexible and secure. Whether you are building secure, reactive, cloud-based microservices for the web, or complex streaming data flows for the enterprise, Spring has the tools to help. Spring’s flexible comprehensive set of extensions and third-party libraries let developers build almost any applications imaginable. The Spring Framework is divided into modules. At the heart are the modules of the core container, including a configuration model and a dependency injection mechanism. Beyond that, the Spring Framework provides foundational support for different application architectures, including messaging, transactional data and persistence, and web.

Next in our “Boomerang series,” we’ll profile Josh Long, a key Spring Developer advocate here at VMware. Stay tuned!

To learn more about open source and stay up-to-date on new open source projects and developments, explore our blog and follow us on Twitter (@vmwopensource).