Hands-On Full Stack Development with Spring Boot 2 and React - Second Edition

4.7 (6 reviews total)
By Juha Hinkula
    Advance your knowledge in tech with a Packt subscription

  • Instant online access to over 7,500+ books and videos
  • Constantly updated with 100+ new titles each month
  • Breadth and depth in over 1,000+ technologies
  1. Setting Up the Environment and Tools - Backend

About this book

React Hooks have changed the way React components are coded. They enable you to write components in a more intuitive way without using classes, which makes your code easier to read and maintain. Building on from the previous edition, this book is updated with React Hooks and the latest changes introduced in create-react-app and Spring Boot 2.1.

This book starts with a brief introduction to Spring Boot. You’ll understand how to use dependency injection and work with the data access layer of Spring using Hibernate as the ORM tool. You’ll then learn how to build your own RESTful API endpoints for web applications. As you advance, the book introduces you to other Spring components, such as Spring Security to help you secure the backend. Moving on, you’ll explore React and its app development environment and components for building your frontend. Finally, you’ll create a Docker container for your application by implementing the best practices that underpin professional full stack web development.

By the end of this book, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge you need to build modern full stack applications with Spring Boot for the backend and React for the frontend.

Publication date:
May 2019


Chapter 1. Setting Up the Environment and Tools - Backend

In this chapter, we will set up the environment and tools needed for backend programming with Spring Boot. Spring Boot is a modern Java-based backend framework that makes development faster than traditional Java-based frameworks. With Spring Boot, you can make a standalone web application that has an embedded application server.

In this chapter, we will look into the following topics:

  • Building an environment for Spring Boot development
  • The basics of the Eclipse IDE and Maven 
  • Creating and running Spring Boot projects
  • Problem solving when running Spring Boot applications

Technical requirements

The Java SDK, version 8 or higher, is necessary to use the Eclipse IDE. In this book, we are using the Windows operating system, but all tools are available for Linux and macOS as well.

Download the code for this chapter from GitHub: https://github.com/PacktPublishing/Hands-On-Full-Stack-Development-with-Spring-Boot-2-and-React-Second-Edition/tree/master/Chapter01.


Setting up the environment and tools

There are a lot of different integrated development environment (IDE) tools that you can use to develop Spring Boot applications. In this book, we are using Eclipse, which is an open source IDE for multiple programming languages. We will create our first Spring Boot project by using the Spring Initializr project starter page. The project is then imported into Eclipse and executed. Reading the console log is a crucial skill when developing Spring Boot applications.

Installing Eclipse

Eclipse is an open source programming IDE developed by the Eclipse Foundation. An installation package can be downloaded from https://www.eclipse.org/downloads. Eclipse is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. You should download the latest version of the Eclipse IDE for Java EE developers.

You can either download a ZIP package of Eclipse or an installer package that executes the installation wizard. If using the ZIP package, you just have to extract the package to your local disk and it will contain an executable Eclipse.exe file that you can run by double-clicking on the file.

The basics of Eclipse and Maven

Eclipse is an IDE for multiple programming languages, such as Java, C++, and Python. Eclipse contains different perspectives for your needs. A perspective is a set of views and editors in the Eclipse workbench. The following screenshot shows common perspectives for Java development:

On the left-hand side, we have Project Explorer, where we can see our project structure and resources. Project Explorer is also used to open files by double-clicking on them. The files will be opened in the editor, which is located in the middle of the workbench. The Console view can be found in the lower section of the workbench. The Consoleview is really important because it shows application logging messages.

You can get Spring Tool Suite (STS) for Eclipse if you want, but we are not going to use it in this book, because the plain Eclipse installation is enough for our purposes. STS is a set of plugins that makes Spring application development simpler (https://spring.io/tools).

Apache Maven is a software project management tool. The basis of Maven is the Project Object Model (POM). Maven makes the software development process simpler and it also unifies the development process. You can also use another project management tool, called Gradle, with Spring Boot, but in this book, we will focus on using Maven.

The POM is a pom.xml file that contains basic information about the project. There are also all the dependencies that Maven should download to be able to build the project.

Basic information about the project can be found at the beginning of the pom.xml file, which defines, for example, the version of the application, packaging format, and so on.

The minimum version of the pom.xml file should contain the project root, modelVersion, groupId, artifactId, and version.

Dependencies are defined in the dependencies section, as follows:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<project xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
  xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/xsd/maven-4.0.0.xsd">


  <description>Demo project for Spring Boot</description>

    <relativePath/> <!-- lookup parent from repository -->



Maven is normally used from the command line. Eclipse contains embedded Maven, and that handles all the Maven operations we need. Therefore, we are not focusing on Maven command-line usage here. The most important thing is to understand the structure of the pom.xml file and how to add new dependencies to it.

Creating a project with Spring Initializr

We will create our backend project withSpring Initializr, which is a web-based tool that's used to create Spring Boot projects. Spring Initializrcan be found at https://start.spring.io:


We will generate a Maven Project with Java and the latest Spring Boot version. In the Group field, we will define our group ID, which will also become a base package in our Java project. In the Artifact field, we will define the artifact ID, which will also be the name of our project in Eclipse.

In the Dependencies section, we will select the starters and dependencies that are needed in our project. Spring Boot provides starter packages that simplify your Maven configuration. Spring Boot starters are actually a set of dependencies that you can include in your project. You can either type the keyword of the dependency into the search field, or you can see all the available dependencies by clicking on the See all link. We will start our project by selecting two dependencies – Web and DevTools. You can type the dependencies into the search field or switch to the full version and see all the starter packages and dependencies available:

The DevTools dependency provides us with the Spring Boot development tools, which provide automatic restart functionality. It makes development much faster, because the application is automatically restarted when changes have been saved. The web starter pack is a base for full-stack development and provides embedded Tomcat.

Finally, you have to click on the Generate Project button, which generates the project starter ZIP package for us.

How to run the project

Perform the following steps to run a Maven project in the Eclipse IDE:

  1. Extract the project ZIP package that we created in the previous topic and open Eclipse.
  2. We are going to import our project into the Eclipse IDE. To start the import process, select the File | Import menu and the import wizard will be opened. The following screenshot shows the first page of the wizard:

  1. In the first phase, you should select Existing Maven Projects from the list under the Maven folder, and then go to the next phase by pressing the Next button. The following screenshot shows the second step of the import wizard:
  1. In this phase, select the extracted project folder by pressing the Browse... button. Then, Eclipse finds the pom.xml file from the root of your project folder and shows it inside the Projects section of the window.
  2. Press the Finish button to finalize the import. If everything went correctly, you should see the cardatabase project in the Eclipse Project Explorer. It takes a while before the project is ready because all the dependencies will be loaded by Maven after importing. You can see the progress of the dependency download at the bottom-right corner of Eclipse. The following screenshot shows the Eclipse Project Explorer after a successful import:

The Project Explorer also shows the package structure of our project, and now, at the beginning, there is only one package called com.packt.cardatabase. Under that package, is our main application class, calledCardatabaseApplication.java.

  1. Now, we don't have any functionality in our application, but we can run it and see whether everything has started successfully. To run the project, open the main class by double-clicking on it and then pressing the Run button in the Eclipse toolbar, or select the Run menu and press Run as | Java Application:

You can see the Console view open in Eclipse, and that contains important information about the execution of the project. This is the view where all log texts and error messages appear, so it is really important to check the content of the view when something goes wrong.

Now, if the project was executed correctly, you should see the Started CardatabaseApplication in... text at the end of the console. The following screenshot shows the content of the Eclipse console after our Spring Boot project has been started:

In the root of our project, there is the pom.xml file, which is the Maven configuration file for our project. If you look at the dependencies inside the file, you can see that there are now dependencies that we selected on the Spring Initializr page. There is also a test dependency included automatically without any selection. In the following chapters, we are going to add more functionality to our application, and then we will add more dependencies manually to the pom.xml file:


Let's look at the Spring Boot main class more carefully. At the beginning of the class, there is the @SpringBootApplication annotation. It is actually a combination of multiple annotations, such as the following:




This enables Spring Boot automatic configuration. Spring Boot will automatically configure your project based on dependencies. For example, if you have the spring-boot-starter-web dependency, Spring Boot assumes that you are developing a web application and configures your application accordingly.


This enables the Spring Boot component scan to find all the components of your application.


This defines the class that can be used as a source of bean definitions.


The following code shows the Spring Boot application's main class:

import org.springframework.boot.SpringApplication;
import org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.SpringBootApplication;

public class CardatabaseApplication {

  public static void main(String[] args) {
    SpringApplication.run(CardatabaseApplication.class, args);

The execution of the application starts from the main method, as in standard Java applications.


It is recommended that you locate the main application class in the root package above other classes. A common reason for an application to not work correctly is due to Spring Boot being unable to find some critical classes.

Spring Boot development tools

Spring Boot development tools make the application development process simpler. Projects will include the developer tools if the following dependency is added to the Maven pom.xml file:

    <artifactId>spring-boot-devtools</artifactId>            <scope>runtime</scope>

Development tools are disabled when you create a fully-packed production version of your application.

The application is automatically restarted when you make changes to your project's classpath files. You can test that by adding one comment line to your main class: 

package com.packt.cardatabase;

import org.springframework.boot.SpringApplication;
import org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.SpringBootApplication;

public class CardatabaseApplication {

  public static void main(String[] args) {
    // After adding this comment the application is restarted
    SpringApplication.run(CardatabaseApplication.class, args);

After saving the file, you can see in the console that the application has restarted.

Logs and problem solving

Spring Boot starter packages provide a logback that we can use for logging without any configuration. The following sample code shows how you can use logging:

import org.slf4j.Logger;
import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory;
import org.springframework.boot.SpringApplication;
import org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.SpringBootApplication;

public class CardatabaseApplication {
  private static final Logger logger = LoggerFactory.getLogger(CardatabaseApplication.class);
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    SpringApplication.run(CardatabaseApplication.class, args);
    logger.info("Hello Spring Boot");

Logging messages can be seen in the console after you run the project:

There are seven different levels of logging—TRACE, DEBUG, INFO, WARN, ERROR, FATAL, and OFF. You can configure the level of logging in your Spring Boot application.properties file. The file can be found in the resources folder inside your project:

If we set the logging level to INFO, we can see log messages from levels that are under INFO (INFO, WARN, ERROR, and FATAL). In the following example, we set the log level for the root, but you can also set it at the package level:


Now, when you run the project, you can't see the TRACE and DEBUG messages anymore. That might be a good setting for a production version of your application:

Spring Boot uses Apache Tomcat (http://tomcat.apache.org/) as an application server by default. As a default, Tomcat is running on port 8080. You can change the port in the application.properties file. The following setting will start Tomcat on port 8081:


If the port is occupied, the application won't start, and you will see the following message in the console:

If this happens, you will have to stop the process that is listening on port 8080 or use another port in your Spring Boot application.

Installing MariaDB

In  Chapter 3Using JPA to Create and Access a Database, we are going to use MariaDB, soyou will need to install it locally on your computer. MariaDB is a widely used open source relational database. MariaDB is available for Windows and Linux, and you can download thelateststable version fromhttps://downloads.mariadb.org/. MariaDB is developedundera GNU GPLv2 license.

For Windows, there is the MSI installer, which we will use here. Download the installer and execute it. Install all features from the installation wizard:

In the next step, you should give the password for the root user. This password is needed in the next chapter, when we'll connect our application to the database:

In the next phase, we can use the default settings:

Now the installation will start, and MariaDB will be installed on your local computer. The installation wizard will install HeidiSQL for us. This is a graphically easy-to-use database client. We will use this to add a new database and make queries to our database. You can also use the Command Prompt included in the installation package:

Now, we have everything that is needed to start the implementation of the backend.



In this chapter, we installed the tools that are needed for backend development with Spring Boot. For Java development, we used the Eclipse IDE, which is a widely used programming IDE. We created a new Spring Boot project by using the Spring Initializr page. After creating the project, it was imported to Eclipse and, finally, executed. We also covered how to solve common problems with Spring Boot and how to find important error and log messages. Finally, we installed a MariaDB database, which we are going to use in the following chapters.

In the next chapter, we will understand what dependency injection is and how it can be used with the Spring Boot framework.



  1. What is Spring Boot?
  2. What is the Eclipse IDE?
  3. What is Maven?
  4. How do we create a Spring Boot project?
  5. How do we run a Spring Boot project?
  6. How do we use logging with Spring Boot?
  7. How do we find error and log messages in Eclipse?

Further reading

Packt has other great resources for learning about Spring Boot:

About the Author

  • Juha Hinkula

    Juha Hinkula is a software development lecturer at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Finland. He received an MSc degree in computer science from the University of Helsinki. He has over 15 years of industry experience in software development. Over the past few years, he has focused on modern full stack development. He is also a passionate mobile developer with Android-native technology, and nowadays also uses React Native.

    Browse publications by this author

Latest Reviews

(6 reviews total)
Absolutely love the book. I've gone through it 3 times since I purchased, a great reference tool. All the content is up to date and relevant.
Very good information and providing what I need to make progress
Hola, me ha parecido un libro muy interesante y una buena forma de empezar a conocer tecnologías de desarrollo software que cada vez se están imponiendo más en las empresas.

Recommended For You

Book Title
Access this book and the full library for FREE
Access now