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Difference between Spring and Spring Boot with Comparison Chart

Updated Dec 20, 2019

In what follows below, we’re going to help you take a look at the primary differences between Spring and Spring Boot frameworks. The article will also throw light on what is spring boot, what is spring, and the features of both. Before we delve into the main difference between spring boot and spring MVC, read on to know about what Spring MVC and Spring Boot are.

Spring vs. Spring boot

Basis of Differentiation Spring Spring Boot
Configuration To design any Spring-based application, the developer has to take recourse to the annual setup feature on the Hibernate data source. Session Factory, entity Manager, Transaction Management, etc. have to be configured as well. The standard set up and features of Spring Boot do not have to be designed by the developer individually. The Spring Boot Configuration annotation is well-equipped to handle everything at the time of deployment.
XML In Spring MVC applications, some XML definitions are to be managed mandatorily. In the configuration of Spring Boot applications, nothing has to be managed manually. The annotations are capable of handling all that is needed.
Controlling As the configuration can be easily handled manually, Spring or Spring Boot need not load some unwanted default features for specific applications. In Spring Boot, the controls are automatically handled during the default loading part. As such, developers do not have the option of not loading unusable components belonging to the default Spring Boot features.
Use Better to use if characteristics or application types are purely defined. Better to use in cases where the application type of functionality of future use is not adequately defined. As the task of integrating any Spring-specific feature is auto-configured in this case, there is no necessity of any additional configuration.

What is Spring MVC?

In the simplest terms, the Spring framework offers comprehensive infrastructural support for the development of Java applications. Spring comes packaged with helpful features of the likes of Dependency Injection. It also features innovative modules such as Spring JDBC, Spring Security, Spring MVC. Spring AOP, Spring ORM, and Spring Test. These Spring modules are specifically designed to bring about a reduction in the development time of applications.

Spring MVC serves as a Java framework that’s used for building web applications. Spring MVC follows the pattern set by the Model-View-Controller design. It offers practical use of MVC in the Spring framework, courtesy the DispatcherServlet.

The other Spring modules are equally helpful. For instance, plenty of boilerplate codes used to be written in the initial days of Java development for the sake of inserting any record into the data source. Now, the JDBC Template belonging to the Spring JDBC module can be used for writing the same code with just a few configurations.

What is Spring boot?

There were many difficulties faced by Spring programmers in the process of setting up Hibernate Datasource, Session Factory, Entity Manager, and Transaction Management. The Spring framework proved to be slow, cumbersome, and time-consuming for developers to set up any basic project that needed Spring MVC as it provided minimum functionality. Spring Boot is an extension of the popular Spring framework that was launched to eliminate the necessary boilerplate configurations for building Spring applications.

Feature of Spring boot

Spring Boot provides an opinionated view of the overall Spring platform that has laid down the base for a more effective and faster development eco-system. Some important features of Spring Boot are:

  • Spring boot offers opinionated ‘starter’ dependencies for the sake of simplifying the build and application configurations of the Spring framework.
  • It offers an embedded server for avoiding the complexities of application deployment.
  • Spring Boot presents production-ready features of the likes of health check-up, metrics gathering, auditing, HTTP tracing, etc.
  • It presents an automatic configuration for Spring functionality as and when possible. There is absolutely no need for the manual configuration of static resource mappings, dispatcher servlet, message converters, property source loaders, etc.
  • The Dependency Management feature of Spring Boot relates to various versions of commonly used libraries that are categorized and pre-selected in different starter POMs for being included in projects. The selection of any Spring Boot version is akin to the developer selecting dozens of various dependencies that would have to be chosen otherwise and harmonized manually.
  • In Spring Boot, the feature of Advanced Externalized Configuration offers a big list of bean-specific properties that are capable of being configured via the application. Properties file, even without the inclusion of java or xml config.
  • Spring Boot packages applications as a runnable jar that have embedded tomcat features for being presented as self-contained deployment units.

Key difference between Spring MVC and Spring boot

Spring MVC serves as a fully-equipped HTTP oriented MVC framework that’s managed by the popular Spring Framework; it has its base in Servlets. Spring MVC can be equated to JSF in the JavaEE stack. In Spring MVC, the most popular elements are in the form of classes annotated with @Controller. These classes help implement methods that may be accessed using various HTTP requests. Spring MVC has an equivalent in the form of @RestController for the cause of implementing REST-based APIs.

Spring Boot is a vital utility that helps in quick and efficient setting up of applications. It provides out of the box configurations with a view of building different types of Spring-powered applications. Spring MVC is a Spring framework that is used by developers for creating web applications. On the other hand, Spring boot mainly serves as a useful Spring-based, production-ready initialize for projects. This is one of the main differences between spring and spring boot.

The difference between spring boot and spring MVC can also be understood by understanding the applicability and specific features of differentiation of both:


1. The main difference lies in "Test-ability."
2. Spring comes packaged with DI and IOC that automate all the hard work and cut out the need for manual interventions to a huge extent. So, even as Spring app developers define class objects manually, they may want to use Di for annotating with @Service or @Component for matching and managing classes.
3. The @Autowired annotation allows for the mock() function at unit testing time.
4. Unlike in JDBC, where the same code has to be written multiple times for the performance of different types of database operations, Spring goes about the act via Hibernate and ORM.
5. The Spring framework provides efficient integration with structures such as Hibernate, ORM, Junit, and Mockito.

Spring Boot:

1. It allows the creation of Quick Application that includes different microservices complete with their scope and capabilities. This feature of Spring Boot eliminates the need for managing a single, big web application.
2. In the standard Spring framework, there are several configurations of the likes of Component Scan, DispatcherServlet, View Resolver, XMLs, Web Jar, etc. On the other hand, Spring Boot allows for automatic configurations using pre-defined classpaths.
3. Spring Boot presents Default Spring Starters featuring default Spring configuration dependencies of the kinds of Spring Core, Jackson, Web-MVC, Tomcat, Data Binding, Validation, Logging, etc. Developers need not worry about versioning issues in this case.


The Spring framework is a popular Java framework that has made significant contributions and continues to do the same to date. As it presents several features and benefits, the Spring MVC framework has proved to be a good option for developers. However, it is recommended that the Spring framework is used alongside the Spring Boot framework to derive added advantages for the sake of completing projects with minimal efforts. In effect, Spring Boot offers sound solutions to take care of the various problems arising as a result of the Spring Framework.

We hope that you have found the above explanations about spring boot vs. spring MVC helpful. As the topics related to spring and spring boot are quite exhaustive, we would like to know your inputs on the difference between spring and spring MVC as well. In case you have any further contributions with regards to spring MVC vs. spring boot, or in other words, concerning the difference between spring three and spring 4, then do write to us in the Comments section below, we shall wait to hear from you.