Spring Framework – XML vs. Annotations

This question has been around for many years since Spring started to move heavily towards Annotation based configurations (if i recall right it’s called configuration by convention). Annotations based configurations was like a jungle fire which spread across the industry and very soon it was a norm. But, this question “XML vs. Annotation” always existed.

I for one have been around in Spring world since it’s version 1.1 when annotations weren’t a thing and I know what’s it about to write those XML and the power to configure an application to suit my needs. Since then whenever I have went about writing an application in Spring I have asked myself this question and I never really had a good answer until recently. While you will find tons of post around in google,  when you search for this, only a few really give you an unbiased opinion.

I started to work on an application that needs some very flexible configuration options and before I dive into that I had to yet again make this decision and this time I wanted to keep things simple and my rationale was…

Use Annotations to anything is is core to the application and defines the core structure of the application. Anything that would need a code change is okay to sit as an annotation.

Use XML based configurations when you know you may have a need to alter the behavior of an application without the need of compiling and deploying the code all over again.

This is how simple i kept it for my team. Once this principle is defined, job is only halve done. But we will get there soon.

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