Spring Framework Versions: Feature list by version

In this guide, we will explore the feature list for Spring Framework versions and look into the version history of this popular Java framework. As we explore the different versions, we will highlight the key features that have made the Spring Framework a preferred choice for Java development. From dependency injection to web frameworks, integration capabilities, and support for languages like Kotlin and Groovy, the Spring Framework has consistently provided developers with a powerful toolkit.

Additionally, we will discuss the evolution of the Spring Framework, from its inception to the present day. We will examine how it has adapted to changes in the application development landscape, including the introduction of Spring Boot and the expansion of its project ecosystem.

If you need more information about the Spring Framework, read our blog post about it, which includes useful links and information.

Spring Framework Versions - Spring Logo

Spring Framework Versions

The Spring Framework has a rich history of releases, each introducing new features and improvements. Let's take a look at some of the notable versions that have shaped the framework's evolution.

Spring Framework Version

Release Year

Key Features

Spring 1.0


Introduced Dependency Injection (DI) and Inversion of Control (IoC).
Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP) support.
Built-in infrastructure for data access and transaction management.

Spring 2.0


Enhanced AOP support with AspectJ integration.
Introduction of new XML schema-based configuration.
Support for various Java EE technologies including JPA, JMS, and Web Services.
Enhanced support for testing and mock objects.

Spring 3.0


Comprehensive REST support.
Introduction of Spring Expression Language (SpEL).
Enhanced annotation-driven configuration.
Improved integration with Java EE 6 features.
Support for Java 5+ features and conventions.

Spring 4.0


Full support for Java 8, including lambda expressions and the Streams API.
Introduction of WebSocket and SockJS support for real-time communication.
General improvements to REST, caching, and scheduling.
Enhanced Groovy support for scripting.

Spring 5.0


Full support for Java 8, Java 9, and Java EE 7.
Introduction of the reactive programming model with Spring WebFlux.
Kotlin language support.
Enhanced support for functional programming.
Improvements to testing and container integration.

Spring 5.1


Full compatibility with Java 11.
Optimizations and performance improvements.
Improved support for GraalVM native images.
Additional reactive programming enhancements.

Spring 5.2


Support for JDK 13.
Enhanced observability and monitoring.
Further improvements in reactive programming and WebFlux.
Continuous improvements to the core container and integration facilities.

Spring 6.0


Planned to fully embrace Java 17 and Jakarta EE 9+.
Continued focus on reactive programming and cloud-native development.
Enhanced support for modern deployment environments and infrastructure.

First Release: 1.0

The journey of the Spring Framework began with its first release in 2004. This initial version provided a comprehensive solution for simplifying Java development, offering features like dependency injection, aspect-oriented programming, and a lightweight container. Spring 1.0 laid the foundation for the framework's success and popularity among developers.

Notable Spring Framework Versions: Spring 2.0, 4.0, 5, and 6

As the Spring Framework progressed, subsequent versions brought significant advancements. Spring 2.0, released in 2006, introduced support for Java SE 6, Groovy 2, and the WebSocket API. Spring 4.0, launched in 2013, added support for Java SE 8 and enhancements for Java EE 7. Spring 5, announced in 2016, adopted a Reactive Streams-compatible approach, enabling developers to build reactive applications with ease.

The latest version, Spring 6, was released in 2022. It is built upon a Java 17+ baseline and offers support for Jakarta EE 9+. Spring 6 focuses on embracing the Jakarta EE 10 APIs and ensuring compatibility with the latest technologies and frameworks.

Key Features

The Spring Framework provides a rich set of features that make it a popular choice for Java application development. Let's explore some of the key features that make the Spring Framework stand out:

Key Features of the Spring Framework - Bluebird
  1. 1
    Dependency Injection: One of the most significant features of Spring is its support for dependency injection. With dependency injection, the framework takes care of managing and injecting dependencies into objects, reducing the need for manual wiring. This promotes loose coupling between components and facilitates easier testing and maintenance of the codebase.
  2. 2
    Testing Support: The Spring Framework offers comprehensive support for testing Spring applications. It includes features like mock objects, which allow developers to simulate dependencies and control their behavior during testing. The TestContext framework provides utilities for setting up and tearing down the test environment, and the Spring MVC Test module enables efficient testing of Spring MVC web applications.
  3. 3
    Data Access: Spring provides robust support for data access, making it easy to work with databases and other data sources. It offers integration with popular Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) frameworks like Hibernate and JPA, enabling developers to easily manage database operations. Additionally, Spring provides support for JDBC, Transactions, and XML marshalling, offering flexibility and choice in data access strategies.
  4. 4
    Web Frameworks: Spring Framework offers two web frameworks: Spring MVC and Spring WebFlux. Spring MVC is a traditional, servlet-based framework that provides a model-view-controller architecture for building web applications. Spring WebFlux, on the other hand, is a reactive web framework that leverages non-blocking I/O and reactive programming to handle high levels of concurrency. These web frameworks provide a solid foundation for developing modern, scalable web applications with ease.
  5. 5
    Integration Capabilities: The Spring Framework excels at integrating with various technologies and systems. It provides extensive support for remoting, JMS (Java Message Service), JCA (Java Connector Architecture), JMX (Java Management Extensions), email, tasks, scheduling, caching, and observability. These integration capabilities enable developers to build robust, distributed systems that can seamlessly communicate with other components and external systems.
  6. 6
    Language Support: The Spring Framework supports multiple programming languages, including Kotlin and Groovy, alongside Java. This multi-language support allows developers to write Spring applications in their language of choice, leveraging the unique features and advantages of each language. Kotlin and Groovy, in particular, offer concise syntax and advanced language features that can enhance productivity and code readability.

Evolution of Spring

The Spring Framework has undergone a significant evolution since its inception. In the early days, it was primarily focused on simplifying J2EE development by providing integration with various Java EE specifications. However, with the changing landscape of application development, the framework has adapted to embrace new technologies and approaches.

1. Java EE to Jakarta EE

One of the notable changes in the evolution of the Spring Framework is the transition from Java EE to Jakarta EE. Jakarta EE represents the evolution of Java EE, with a new governance model and a community-driven process. The Spring Framework has embraced this change, ensuring compatibility with Jakarta EE 9 and its APIs.

2. Introduction of Spring Boot

Another significant milestone in the evolution of the Spring Framework is the introduction of Spring Boot. Spring Boot revolutionized the way Spring applications are developed and deployed. It provided a streamlined and opinionated approach to application development, allowing developers to quickly create standalone, production-ready applications. Spring Boot also introduced an embedded Servlet container, making it easier to change the deployment environment.

3. Expansion with Spring Projects

Over time, the Spring Framework has expanded beyond its core features. The Spring ecosystem now includes various projects that cater to specific development needs. Some of the popular Spring projects include Spring Security for authentication and authorization, Spring Data for data access, Spring Cloud for building cloud-native applications, and Spring Batch for batch processing. Each project has its own repository, issue tracker, and release cycle, adding to the overall growth and versatility of the Spring Framework.

Evolution Milestone


Java EE to Jakarta EE

The transition from Java EE to Jakarta EE, with compatibility and support for Jakarta EE 9 and its APIs.

Introduction of Spring Boot

The introduction of Spring Boot, revolutionized application development and deployment.

Expansion with Spring Projects

The expansion of the Spring Framework with various projects catering to specific development needs.

Spring Framework Modules

The Spring Framework consists of various modules that provide different functionalities to developers. These modules, when combined, enable the creation of robust and scalable applications. Let's take a closer look at some of the key modules offered by the Spring Framework:

1. Core Container

The Core Container module forms the foundation of the Spring Framework. It includes features such as dependency injection and inversion of control, which allow for loose coupling and modular design. The BeanFactory and ApplicationContext interfaces are key components of this module, providing a lightweight and flexible container for managing objects (beans) and their dependencies.

2. AOP (Aspect-Oriented Programming)

The AOP module in the Spring Framework enables developers to implement cross-cutting concerns in a modular and reusable way. It allows the separation of business logic from cross-cutting concerns, such as logging, security, and transaction management. With AOP, developers can write reusable aspects that can be applied to multiple parts of the application without modifying the core codebase.

3. Security

The Security module in the Spring Framework provides comprehensive support for building secure applications. It offers features such as authentication, authorization, access control, and encryption. Developers can easily integrate security measures into their applications using Spring Security, ensuring that sensitive data and resources are protected against unauthorized access.

4. Data Access

The Data Access module in the Spring Framework simplifies the development of database-related operations. It provides support for various data access technologies, including JDBC (Java Database Connectivity), JPA (Java Persistence API), and ORM (Object-Relational Mapping). Developers can leverage these features to interact with databases effectively and efficiently, abstracting away the complexities of low-level database operations.

Inversion of Control in Spring Framework

The Spring Framework implements the concept of Inversion of Control (IoC), which is a fundamental principle in software development. IoC refers to the process of externalizing the creation and management of objects, allowing the framework to take control of object instantiation and dependency management. In the context of the Spring Framework, IoC is achieved through mechanisms like dependency injection and dependency lookup.

Dependency injection is a key aspect of IoC in the Spring Framework. It involves the container passing objects to other objects via constructors, properties, or factory methods. This allows for loose coupling and enables better testability, maintainability, and flexibility in application development. Spring also provides autowiring, which allows the container to automatically satisfy dependencies by matching them with available beans based on type or name.

Dependency lookup, on the other hand, involves requesting objects from the container based on their name or type. This can be useful in certain scenarios where explicit control over the object retrieval process is required. The Spring Framework offers strong mechanisms, such as dependency injection and dependency lookup, to simplify the management of object dependencies and encourage modular and reusable code.


What is the Spring Framework?

The Spring Framework is a Java-based framework that was created in 2003 to simplify J2EE development. It integrates with various Java EE specifications and provides features like dependency injection, testing, data access, web frameworks, and integration capabilities.

What are the key features of the Spring Framework?

The Spring Framework offers a wide range of features, including dependency injection, testing features, data access support, web frameworks, integration capabilities, and support for languages like Kotlin and Groovy.

How has the Spring Framework evolved over time?

The Spring Framework has evolved to adapt to changing trends in application development. It has expanded beyond its core, with various projects like Spring Security, Spring Data, and Spring Cloud. The introduction of Spring Boot enabled devops- and cloud-friendly development.

What are some notable versions of the Spring Framework?

Notable versions of the Spring Framework include Spring 2.0, which added support for Java SE 6 and WebSocket. Spring 4.0 introduced support for Java SE 8 and improvements for Java EE 7. Spring 5 brought significant changes and innovations, and the latest version, Spring 6, features a Java 17+ baseline and compatibility with Jakarta EE 9+.

What are the modules in the Spring Framework?

The Spring Framework consists of several modules that provide different functionalities, including the core container module, AOP module, security module, data access modules, MVC module, remote access framework, testing module, and WebFlux support.

What is Inversion of Control (IoC) in the Spring Framework?

Inversion of Control is a core concept in the Spring Framework. It is implemented through mechanisms like dependency injection and dependency lookup. Dependency injection involves the container passing objects to other objects, while dependency lookup involves requesting objects from the container.

What is the future outlook for the Spring Framework?

The Spring Framework will continue to innovate and evolve, keeping up with advancements in Jakarta EE and other technologies. Its community and ecosystem ensure its continued growth and relevance in the software development landscape.

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