Create a rest-api with the Spring Boot Java framework

Here is an example on how to write a simple rest-api using the Spring Boot Java framework. This first post will get you up and running with a simple hello spring page. The next post will go into detail on how to add endpoints and code to access the database, parse the result and return it as json.

The source code is available on my github-page with a tiny description which assumes how to assemble the parts.

Lately we have seen some pretty awesome Java frameworks like Jooby and SparkJava that gets you up and running in a few minutes. This is great since Java thus becomes a viable alternative to web frameworks written in javascript, ruby, php etc.

Spring Boot is almost as easy to get started with as Jooby and SparkJava. And being such a capable framework it’s remarkable how easy Pivotal, the company behind the Spring projects, have made the process that gets you there.

I’ll outline the steps I took to put together this simple rest-api. It can search for cities/locations within a radius specified by latitude and longitude. I found many good examples in Spring Boots getting-started guides and the web and Stackoverflow is a great help when issues arises.

The guides show how to create the folders and the file pom.xml. This is the build-file maven use. You can also go to Springs starter page where you can select database, functionality etc. Download and unzip and start coding.

For this project I’ll show mostly the latter and also show how to edit pom.xml to add extra functions I forgot to select rest-functionality so this will show how to add it to pom.xml. And that is nowhere near fatal if some desired functionality is left out in the beginning.

Hab kein angst. Nur viel spaß.


First head over to Springs starter page.



Click at the link at the bottom to expand to the full version.



Select Cache and DevTools. The latter is nice during development since it reloads your code on changes. This way you don’t have to stop and start your web-server on changes.



Then select JPA, JDBC and Postgresql.



Then click on Generate Project and your file is being downloaded.



I use Eclipse as my IDE. It has it’s quirks but I like the way it tries not to be too helpful while still give some good advice when I make mistakes. Other nice IDE’s are IntelliJ and Netbeans. You decide.

You can also edit the files using an editor and run the maven project from the command line.

Import the folder into Eclipse from File->Open Projects from File System.



After import the main-function is ready to run.



From now on you can either start the program from the command line using “mvn spring-boot:run” or add a run-configuration to Eclipse.

From the menu select Run->Run As->Maven build… and enter “spring-boot:run” in Goals. Just remember to select Maven build with the three dots (…).



Then select the Source tab and click Add…



Select the project worldcities and click OK.



When you get back to the previous windows mark the Default folder and click remove so we are left with the worldcities folder. Then click Run and the program starts. It may need to download some files the first time it is being run.



To show a message from Spring Boot create the Java class CityController in Eclipse. Make sure the package name is the same. In this case no.gnome.

Add @RestController shown on line 6. Usually Eclipse will automatically import the necessary functions when annotations like this is added to the code. This annotation add functionality to the Spring Boot environment so your program can handle rest-request.

On line 9 add @RequestMapping(“/”) and create the function on line 10-12.

public String index() {
    return "Hello from Spring Boot!";



When you save the file Spring Boot will automatically reload to include the changes. Open a browser and go to localhost:8080 and you are greeted with the hello message.



In the next episode I will show how to add the parts to query and filter locations. Until then take care.