Difference between Spring Boot vs Spring Cloud in Java

Hello guys, if you are wondering, what is difference between Spring Boot and Spring Cloud then you re not alone. Many Java developer are not familiar with various spring boot projects like Spring Security, Spring Data JPA, Spring Batch, Spring Boot, Spring Cloud etc and this lack of knowledge prevent them from taking full advantage of Spring Framework.  In last article, I have explained difference between Spring framework and Spring Boot and in this article we are going to discuss the difference between Spring Boot and Spring Cloud. Before we dive into the difference between the two terms. Let us take a look at different terms like Spring, Spring Boot, and Spring Cloud.

What is Spring Framework in Java?

Spring is an open-source Java framework used for the development of scalable enterprise applications. This framework is widely appreciated for managing the business object (also called beans) dependencies. 

Furthermore, Spring framework eases the development of web applications compared to classic Java APIs and technologies such as Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) connectivity, Java Servlet, and Java Server Pages (JSP). The framework also provides functionalities like 

  • Spring MVC (Model View Controller)
  • Spring ORM (Object Relational Mapper)
  • Spring Test
  • Spring AOP (Aspect Oriented Programming)
  • Spring Security

These modules can be used separately in a web application or can be grouped to achieve better functionalities.

What is Spring Framework in Java?

What is Spring Boot in Java? What Problem does it Solve?

Recognizes as a Rapid Application Development (RAD) platform. It builds on top of the Spring framework therefore it uses various components from it. Unlike the spring framework, this framework follows a loosely coupled architecture hence, can easily be plugged in with modern UI frameworks like React, Angular, etc. 

The framework also addresses the pitfall of the spring framework which requires a lot configuration and doesn't use sensible default. 

Spring Boot can quickly develop production-ready standalone web applications. Framework widely used to create RESTful APIs and Microservices. It auto-configures the spring functionality when needed. 

Here beans are initialized, configure, and auto-wired by the framework itself. Spring Boot comes with its embedded server, hence reducing the complexity of deployment.

Here is a nice diagram which shows what Spring Boot does and how it makes Java application development using Spring Framework even easier:

What is Spring Boot in Java? What Problem does it Solve?

What is Spring Cloud in Java world? How it helps?

To take advantage of cloud services in our application we make use of the Spring Cloud framework. As discussed Spring Boot is used to create production-ready stand-alone web applications. Here comes a question in mind. 

What if my application has to make calls to other APIs in a distributed environment? What happens if an API call fails? Will there be a load balancing mechanism to distribute the load equally between the instance of a single server? 

The answer to these questions lies in the use of the Spring Cloud framework. It packs the following functionalities that are crucial for a modern distributed system.

Load balancing

Circuit breakers

Service-to-Service call

Service discovery

Distributed configuration and distributed messaging

Spring Cloud Security

Here is a nice diagram which shows a couple of Spring Cloud features which can be used in Microservice development in Java:

What is Spring Cloud in Java world? How it helps?

Difference between Spring Boot and Spring Cloud in Java

And here are the key differences between Spring Cloud and Spring Boot

Both are part of the same framework i.e. Spring Framework. The former works for microservices to manage configuration whereas the latter creates the microservices.

Spring Boot is comparatively a lightweight framework. On the other hand, Spring Cloud requires numerous dependencies.

Spring Boot is a stand-alone framework where as Spring Cloud is part of Spring Boot.

Spring Boot focuses on the developer’s productivity and reduces the development time, whereas Spring Cloud maintains the network traffic.

Difference between Spring Boot and Spring Cloud in Java

In order to understand it more clearly let’s compare them based on their characteristics as seen below.

1. Based on Library

Both the libraries are open source, hence anyone can download the source code and tweak it according to their business need. Let’s take a deep look at how to set up both projects.

1.1) How to setup Spring Boot App

Setting up a Spring Boot project is straightforward. All you need to go to https://start.spring.io and choose a project type (Maven, Kotlin, or Groovy), programming language (Java, Kotlin, or Groovy), insert project metadata, and finally choose your project dependencies. The below image shows how to set up the Spring Boot application.

How to setup Spring Boot App

1.2. Setting Up Spring Cloud
As mentioned earlier, like other modules Spring Cloud can be plugged into the Spring Boot application. Simply you need to add the following dependency in your pom.xml file

1) Add Cloud-Config dependency


2) Create a local git repo

$ mkdir git-local-repo
$ cd git-local-repo/

3) Setup application properties


2. Microservices

Spring Boot plays its role in the creation of microservices whereas Spring Cloud manages the configuration.

In cloud-based applications, one major problem is maintaining and distributing configuration to the services. None of us want to spend time configuring it according to each environment whenever there is a need for scaling the resources.

Here comes Spring Cloud into the picture. To solve this we will link a single Git repository that controls the configuration of all of our applications, which will house all of our settings, that’s how we put up a rather straightforward implementation.

Here is an example of Microservice architecture using Spring Cloud and Spring Boot

example of Microservice architecture using Spring Cloud and Spring Boot

3. Based on Features

Now, let's compare Spring Boot and Spring Cloud based upon their features:

Spring Boot

 Spring Applications: Manage all the beans residing in the IoC container.

 Web Applications: Embedded servers can be used to establish an HTTP server. The application is responsible for the deployment of war files.

 Security: It ensures that every HTTP endpoint is secure with basic authentication.

Spring Cloud

 Load Balancing: It tries to distribute the load equally among the resources or its instances.

 Service-to-Service call: Here, services may find one another and interact.

 Locking Mechanism: It allows threads to access the shared resource in a mutually exclusive fashion.

 Circuit Breaker: When an API request to another microservice or system fails, circuit breakers are utilized as a backup plan.

4. Usage of Annotations

Here is the list of a few annotations that are used by Spring Boot and Spring Cloud.

Spring Boot

1. @SpringBootApplication
One must have seen this annotation on top of every Spring Boot project. This denotes the starting point of an application. It comprises three annotations i.e. @EnableAutoConfiguration, @Configuration, and @ComponentScan.

2. @ContextConfiguration
This annotation helps to configure and load ApplicationContext for integration testing. You can further see this list of 5 essential Spring Boot annotations to learn more about them and how to use them in real world. 

Spring Cloud

1. @EnableConfigServer
This annotation enables an application to act like a config server. A config server is a service, that helps in the effective management of frequently changed configurations.

2. @EnableEurekaServer
This annotation makes the service to act as a Eureka Server, which mean it holds the information related to all client-service that got registered with it. You can further see this list of 5 essential Spring Cloud annotations to learn more about them. 

EurekaServer Example

Fig-02, Depict @EnableEurekaServer annotation. 

You can see that here DiscoveryServerForMovie acts as a EurekaServer and how Spring Cloud annotations can make Java Microservice development easier. 

That's all about difference between Spring Framework, Spring Boot, and Spring Cloud for Java developers. In this article, we try to learn the difference between Spring Boot and Spring Cloud. What’s their purpose and how to use them in our application? We also compared them based on the library, annotation, and features they offer. 

Using microservices to build an application is becoming more and more common today. We need to create tiny services and integrate them to manage lengthy and complicated applications. Using Spring Boot, a little microservice is created. To manage their configuration and deploy them in a cloud environment, spring cloud plays a vital role.

Other Java and Spring Articles, Resources and Tutorials you may like to explore

Thanks for reading this article so far. If you like my explanation of difference between Spring Boot and Spring cloud and then please share them with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or feedback, then please drop a note.

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