Spring Book – Chapter 14 – Spring MVC and Spring Web Flow


DispatcherServlet is at the heart of Spring MVC and explained earlier implements the Front Controller pattern in line with other famous web application framework like Struts and JSF. It handles all the incoming requests and is responsible for coordinating the request-handling activities with the Spring MVC framework.

Figure 14-7 below pictorially represents the working of DispatcherServlet in the context of Spring MVC framework. As you can see from the figure below, DispatcherServlet even though handles all the requests it delegates various tasks to other components and gets the work done.

Working of DispatcherServlet in Spring MVC

Figure 14-7. Working of DispatcherServlet in Spring MVC

The DispatcherServlet is configured in the web deployment descriptor (web.xml) as shown in Listing 14-1 below.

Listing 14-1. Configuring DispatcherServlet in web.xml file

The servlet name is very important as Spring loads the context from /WEB-INF/<servlet-name>-context.xml file, where <servlet-name> in this case is “sample”. That means the Spring context file will be /WEB-INF/sample-context.xml.

It is very important to know in detail as to how the Spring loads the application context file in a web environment. Figure 14-8 below shows the context hierarchy in Spring MVC.

Context hierarchy in Spring MVC

Figure 14-8. Context hierarchy in Spring MVC

The DispatcherServlet when initialized looks for a file name <servlet-name>-context.xml in the WEB-INF directory of your web application and loads all the beans defined there in. Each DispatcherServlet has its own so called WebApplicationContext which is very much similar to ApplicationContext but differs in having some extra features relevant for web applications. The context configuration file in Spring MVC can be configured in multiple ways as shown in Listing 14-2 and Listing 14-3. You also have an option of combing the two options and load the context configuration file. It’s very much important to know the visibility of various beans when loading the context configuration files.

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Tomcy John

Tomcy John

Blogger & Author at javacodebook
He is an Enterprise Java Specialist holding a degree in Engineering (B-Tech) with over 10 years of experience in several industries. He's currently working as Principal Architect at Emirates Group IT since 2005. Prior to this he has worked with Oracle Corporation and Ernst & Young. His main specialization is on various web technologies and acts as chief mentor and Architect to facilitate incorporating Spring as Corporate Standard in the organization.
Tomcy John

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