Most Java developers know about the Spring framework. It’s a powerful framework in your arsenal of tools that’s well worth learning.
However it can be difficult getting started with so many features and Java environments to work with. That’s why I’ve curated the absolute best Spring framework books so you can pick and choose whichever resources might help you learn the most.
If you’re a complete Spring newbie then the best way to learn is through example. That’s why I’d recommend Spring in Action as your first Spring book because it teaches all the features through live examples. You’ll learn as you go and it’s one of the best technical books for newcomers to sink their teeth into Spring.
Java and Spring update frequently so there are constantly new versions being released. The book Getting Started with Spring Framework is currently in its 3rd edition covering the newest versions of everything.
With this book you’ll get a gentle introduction to the Spring framework and everything it offers. This includes basic configuration, dependencies, and the newer Java-based container configuration. By understanding all your options you’ll have a much easier time working with Spring’s many features.
Later chapters teach through bigger examples like messaging systems, email apps, and a RESTful web service app built on top of Spring.
With 600+ pages this book covers absolutely everything that a beginner should know. The writing is easy to follow and it’s one of the sturdiest introductions to Spring you’ll find in print.
If you’re looking for a super short introduction to the Spring development workflow then check out Just Spring. It’s just under 100 pages so it’s a very short book.
However the contents really hit home with Spring offering practical tips and guidelines for getting started. You’ll learn how to install and configure Spring in your Java environment. The lessons are short but dense as they guide you through the fundamentals like Spring beans and bean factories.
The goal of this book is not to help you build apps from scratch. Instead it’s a study guide meant for Java programmers who just want a quick intro to Spring.
And while it is rather short it can also act as a study guide for reference material. I’d recommend this book to programmers on a budget who just want a quick look into the Spring framework.
Spring in Action is the most detailed how-to guide on Spring and it’s currently in its 4th edition. All exercises focus on teaching Spring from the ground up with proper syntax and design patterns.
You’ll be working with the latest version of Spring 4.x along with tools and plugins made for the framework. Each exercise pushes you deeper into the Spring framework starting with beans and moving into concepts like aspect-oriented programming.
By the end of this book you’ll know how to craft & launch a custom app using the Spring framework. You’ll learn how to connect into a NoSQL database, how to handle caching, and how to scale your project as you create new features.
This is a very hands-on introductory book and for that reason I think it’s one of the best. You learn by doing and I think this offers one of the best opportunities to study Spring up close and personal.
If you already know Spring then you’ll have an easier time learning Spring Boot. This is an offshoot framework made to help developers bootstrap new Spring projects.
If you’re interested to learn more I’d recommend Spring Boot in Action. It’s another hands-on learning guide offering real tutorials and workflows to practice Spring development with Spring Boot. The contents cover Spring in detail so there’s good reason to already know how this works.
Much of this book delves into 3rd party tools and frameworks like Groovy and Grails. You’ll learn how to implement other tools into your Spring workflow with the Spring Boot setup.
I would absolutely recommend this book as the very first starting point for anyone interested in Spring Boot. You’ll walk away with a much deeper knowledge of the framework and you’ll feel comfortable applying it to real project work.
Here’s another detailed intro guide to Spring Boot written by software architect Felipe Gutierrez. Pro Spring Boot comes with 360+ pages of theory and practice behind using the Spring Boot setup.
It’s meant to streamline the development process to help programmers get their projects online quicker. This awesome book looks over all the Spring Boot features individually breaking down how they work and how they fit into a Java environment.
You’ll learn how to work with security and embedded servers along with metrics tracking on the server. Many of these features come bundled with Spring Boot so you can just launch and not worry about the minor details.
I’d say this guide is fantastic for Spring developers who want a book covering theory+practice. There are plenty of exercises but they don’t get as detailed as Spring Boot in Action.
Either way this is an incredible intro to Spring Boot and it’s a handy resource for any Spring developers who wanna launch their projects quicker and easier.
Behind every great framework is a workflow and toolset powering the whole operation. Spring is in the same situation and you can learn all these foundational workflows with Professional Java Development with the Spring Framework.
The book was written by multiple developers and comes with just under 700 pages. This is one hell of an intro guide to Spring development teaching the how’s and why’s of every feature.
Each chapter covers different exercises followed by best practices and how to get them working properly on your own.
I would absolutely recommend this to beginners with little Spring experience, although the writing style is not super friendly to non-technical people.
It helps if you’ve already developed Java apps and maybe know another framework like Play or Struts. But if you have the tenacity to work through these exercises you’ll pick up design patterns and best practices that’ll make you a Spring pro in no time.
Here’s a much more specific guide covering the basics of REST API development on Spring. Author Ludovic Dewailly is a software engineer with over 12 years experience building webapps and cloud systems.
Building a RESTful Web Service with Spring teaches you how to build a sample RESTful webapp using the Spring framework. You’ll learn the principles of REST and the common CRUD actions. Each chapter builds upon the last so by the end of the book you’ll have a fully functioning webapp.
It does help to have a bit of Spring experience before reading this book. You can pick it up as a newbie but you’ll really need to know your way through MVC and REST development.
But if you’re at least a beginner-to-intermediate Spring user then this book will teach you everything needed to start building RESTful applications.
To fully master Spring you’ll need to build lots of practice projects and work from the right study guides. If you’re trying to move beyond the basics then Mastering Spring MVC 4 is the perfect book to get.
This covers everything from Spring Boot to 3rd party plugins and complex web forms with validation models. The author Geoffroy Warin is a professional developer with over a decade’s worth of Java experience. His writing style is technical yet easy to follow.
Each chapter moves you through a different concept with exercises and sample codes. You’ll learn about scaling Spring projects and how to run unit tests over your code. This book teaches you a full workflow from start to finish building on top of the Spring framework.
And since this is a newer Spring books you’ll be working with the latest codebase.
I’d recommend this for intermediate-level Spring devs who feel prepared to move onto the next level.
There aren’t any great cookbooks for Spring but there is a nice step-by-step recipe guide published by Apress. Spring Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach looks at different recipes for solving common problems with the Spring framework.
This is a huge book totaling 828 pages. It offers practical solutions for many features like the Spring IoC container and aspect-oriented programming in your applications. These recipes are easy to customize and they can be applied directly to any project.
I definitely recommend this as a resource for any intermediate-to-professional Spring developers. These recipes can help you scale smaller projects and add popular features to existing projects. You might be surprised how many solutions are in this book and how easy they are to implement.
If you’re working extensively in Spring building real-world projects then this book can offer solutions and best practices for anything you can imagine.
But I would recommend having experience in Spring first before picking this up.
Java developers always want to move into new tools whether Scala or Play or Spring or something else. They’re all great choices and they can all improve your typical workflow and your programming skills. But Spring is a great option because it’s popular with an active community.
If you’re looking for a hands-on practical intro to Spring I’d recommend a copy of Spring in Action. The exercises are very detailed and they’ll quickly take you from a complete novice to a confident pro.
But all the other books in this post are also fantastic and they’re all tailored for aspiring Java/Spring developers. Take another peek over the list and if you see anything that catches your eye be sure to check it out.