Spring Basics - What Is A Dependency?

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author Ranga Karanam April 10, 2019 3 minutes

Most important feature of Spring Framework is Dependency Injection. To understand Dependency Injection, you need to understand the concept of a Dependency.

You will learn

  • What is a Dependency?
  • How are applications built? How is one layer dependent on another?
  • How is a class dependent on another?
  • How does the Spring Framework do Dependency Injection?

In this article, we have a look at what a dependency is in general terms, and then in the context of the Spring framework.

Spring Framework

This is the second article in a series of articles on Spring Framework:

Dependencies At A High Level

We build enterprise applications in multiple layers: image info

A typical Java application will have three layers in its architecture: web, business and data.

  • The web layer
  • The business layer
  • The data layer

In the above scenario:

  • Web Layer depends on Business Layer. The business layer is a dependency for the web layer.
  • Business layer depends on Data Layer. The data layer is a dependency for the business layer.

Dependencies At Class Level

Let’s look at an example:

	public class ClientBOImpl implemented ClientBO {
		ProductDO productDO;
		ClientDO clientDo;

		public Amount getClientProductsSum(long cliendId) {

		public void saveChangedProducts(long clientId,
										List<Product> userEnteredProducts) {


ClientBOImpl is the business class, and it makes use of two data layer classes - ProductDO and ClientDO.

Let’s now have a look at the business logic within ````ClientBOImpl```:

  • getClientProductsSum() : This returns the sum of all products for a given client.
  • saveChangedProducts() : When products are modified on the application page, this method is called.

Both methods in ClientBOImpl need either ProductDO or ClientDO. ProductDO and ClientDO are dependencies of ClientBOImpl.

Inputs/Outputs Are Not Dependencies

If you look at public Amount getClientProductsSum(long clientId), clientId is merely an input, not a dependency. Similarly, the total calculated amount returned by getClientProductsSum is an output, not a dependency.

A Few More Examples Of Dependencies


Have a look at the following code:

	public class ComplexAlgorithmImpl {
		private SortAlgorithm sortAlgorithm;	

	public interface SortAlgorithm {
		public int[] sort(int[] numbers);

	public class QuickSortAlgorithm implements SortAlogrithm {

ComplexAlgorithmImpl performs a lot of complex logic, and sorting is one of the steps.

The SortAlgorithm is a dependency of ComplexAlgorithmImpl.

Since SortAlgorithm is an interface, you can easily change the actual sort algorithm used by ComplexAlgorithmImpl, without changing its code.


Consider the following code:

	import java.sql.ResultSet;

	public class PersonJdbcDao {
		JdbcTemplate jdbcTemplate;

		class PersonRowMapper implements RowMapper<Person> {
			public Person mapRow(ResultSet rs, int rowNum) throws SQLException {

To execute a query on the database, PersonJdbcDao needs JdbcTemplate. Therefore, JdbcTemplate is a dependency of PersonJdbcDao.

Let’s look at a simple method:

	public Person findById(int id) {
		return jdbcTemplate.queryForObject(//...);

id is the input for this method, and the output returned is of type Person.

In the above method, we are making use of a dependeny jdbcTemplate . The inputs and outputs are not dependencies.

Do check out our video on the same topic:

image info


In this article, we focused on the most important concept in Spring Framework - a dependency.

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