State of Spring 2021

I got a chance to look at this year's State of Spring Report from VMware Tanzu, and I've summarized what I've found interesting so my readers can get the TL;DR (from my opinionated position).

Spring clearly continues to go from strength to strength. I started using it back in about 2005, which seems crazy because that's now over 15 years ago (in fact, one of my very earliest blog posts was about Spring). Spring is still not only super popular, but also feels really modern. I'm really impressed at how they've managed to evolve while maintaining this legacy.

Something that contributes to this is that Spring has been modular (i.e. it's made up of many individual projects) since forever. That allows each area to evolve independently, and also gives a mechanism to provide support for new technologies to be added in the form of new projects. This certainly seems to be the opinion of those who answered the survey:

Stakeholders trust Spring Projects

I'm always curious about which projects people are actually using, since I've only got experience with a handful of them and I need to keep an eye out in case there's something new I need to learn! This year's report states that Spring Data, Spring Security, and Spring WebMVC are the most popular. Which makes me happy, as those are the ones I have the most experience with.

Percentage of users of each Spring Module

The other area I'm particularly interested in diving into is Spring Data. This is entirely a leftover from when I worked at MongoDB, and I was doing a lot of answering StackOverflow questions on how to work with Spring Data and MongoDB.

Spring Data subprojects popularity

I have to say I'm not super surprised by any of this. I really like the way Spring Data JPA and MongoDB work. This year Helen, Dalia and I created a simple Microservices application using these technologies (here's the Spring Data JPA project and the Spring Data MongoDB project) and it really did save us a lot of talking-to-database code.

I was a little surprised that REST counted as a Spring Data project, I didn't know that. We read this stuff to learn, right?

One final thing I found interesting - the report contains a call-to-action to get involved in the Spring community. Of course, Spring has its roots in open source, but it's not just code that can be contributed - it's also documentation, answering questions on StackOverflow, and so on. I'm a firm believer in contributing to the technologies we use, not least of all because it gives us a public portfolio that we can use to "prove" our skills. That's never going to be a bad thing.

Full report here:


  • Trisha Gee

    Trisha is a software engineer, Java Champion and author. Trisha has developed Java applications for finance, manufacturing and non-profit organisations, and she's a lead developer advocate at Gradle.

2 Replies to “State of Spring 2021”

    1. The Spring Data REST project is exactly what is referred to by the survey stats. So, in fact, it is a Spring Data project. A special one, admittedly. But that’s why it’s listed in the results as such.

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