Kotlin Microservice with Spring Boot

You may find many examples of microservices built with Spring Boot on my blog, but the most of them is written in Java. With the rise in popularity of Kotlin language it is more often used with Spring Boot for building backend services. Starting with version 5 Spring Framework has introduced first-class support for Kotlin. In this article I’m going to show you example of microservice build with Kotlin and Spring Boot 2. I’ll describe some interesting features of Spring Boot, which can treated as a set of good practices when building backend, REST-based microservices.

1. Configuration and dependencies

To use Kotlin in your Maven project you have to include plugin kotlin-maven-plugin, and /src/main/kotlin, /src/test/kotlin directories to the build configuration. We will also set -Xjsr305 compiler flag to strict. This option is responsible for checking support for JSR-305 annotations (for example @NotNull annotation).

<build>
	<sourceDirectory>${project.basedir}/src/main/kotlin</sourceDirectory>
	<testSourceDirectory>${project.basedir}/src/test/kotlin</testSourceDirectory>
	<plugins>
		<plugin>
			<groupId>org.jetbrains.kotlin</groupId>
			<artifactId>kotlin-maven-plugin</artifactId>
			<configuration>
				<args>
					<arg>-Xjsr305=strict</arg>
				</args>
				<compilerPlugins>
					<plugin>spring</plugin>
				</compilerPlugins>
			</configuration>
			<dependencies>
				<dependency>
					<groupId>org.jetbrains.kotlin</groupId>
					<artifactId>kotlin-maven-allopen</artifactId>
					<version>${kotlin.version}</version>
				</dependency>
			</dependencies>
		</plugin>
	</plugins>
</build>

We should also include some core Kotlin libraries like kotlin-stdlib-jdk8 and kotlin-reflect. They are provided by default for a Kotlin project on start.spring.io. For REST-based applications you will also need Jackson library used for JSON serialization/deserialization. Of course, we have to include Spring starters for Web application together with Actuator responsible for providing management endpoints.

<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-web</artifactId>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-actuator</artifactId>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>com.fasterxml.jackson.module</groupId>
	<artifactId>jackson-module-kotlin</artifactId>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>org.jetbrains.kotlin</groupId>
	<artifactId>kotlin-reflect</artifactId>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>org.jetbrains.kotlin</groupId>
	<artifactId>kotlin-stdlib-jdk8</artifactId>
</dependency>

We use the latest stable version of Spring Boot with Kotlin 1.2.71

<parent>
	<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-parent</artifactId>
	<version>2.1.2.RELEASE</version>
</parent>
<properties>
	<java.version>1.8</java.version>
	<kotlin.version>1.2.71</kotlin.version>
</properties>

2. Building application

Let’s begin from the basics. If you are familiar with Spring Boot and Java, the biggest difference is in the main class declaration. You will call runApplication method outside Spring Boot application class. The main class, the same as in Java, is annotated with @SpringBootApplication.

@SpringBootApplication
class SampleSpringKotlinMicroserviceApplication

fun main(args: Array<String>) {
    runApplication<SampleSpringKotlinMicroserviceApplication>(*args)
}

Our sample application is very simple. It exposes some REST endpoints providing CRUD operations for model object. Even at this fragment of code illustrating controller implementation you can see some nice Kotlin features. We may use shortened function declaration with inferred return type. Annotation @PathVariable does not require any arguments. The input parameter name is considered to be the same as variable name. Of course, we are using the same annotations as with Java. In Kotlin, every property declared as having non-null type must be initialized in the constructor. So, if you are initializing it using dependency injection it has to declared as lateinit. Here’s the implementation of PersonController.

@RestController
@RequestMapping("/persons")
class PersonController {

    @Autowired
    lateinit var repository: PersonRepository

    @GetMapping("/{id}")
    fun findById(@PathVariable id: Int): Person? = repository.findById(id)

    @GetMapping
    fun findAll(): List<Person> = repository.findAll()

    @PostMapping
    fun add(@RequestBody person: Person): Person = repository.save(person)

    @PutMapping
    fun update(@RequestBody person: Person): Person = repository.update(person)

    @DeleteMapping("/{id}")
    fun remove(@PathVariable id: Int): Boolean = repository.removeById(id)

}

Kotlin automatically generates getters and setters for class properties declared as var. Also if you declare model as a data class it generate equals, hashCode, and toString methods. The declaration of our model class Person is very concise as shown below.

data class Person(var id: Int?, var name: String, var age: Int, var gender: Gender)

I have implemented my own in-memory repository class. I use Kotlin extensions for manipulating list of elements. This built-in Kotlin feature is similar to Java streams, with the difference that you don’t have to perform any conversion between Collection and Stream.

@Repository
class PersonRepository {
    val persons: MutableList<Person> = ArrayList()

    fun findById(id: Int): Person? {
        return persons.singleOrNull { it.id == id }
    }

    fun findAll(): List<Person> {
        return persons
    }

    fun save(person: Person): Person {
        person.id = (persons.maxBy { it.id!! }?.id ?: 0) + 1
        persons.add(person)
        return person
    }

    fun update(person: Person): Person {
        val index = persons.indexOfFirst { it.id == person.id }
        if (index >= 0) {
            persons[index] = person
        }
        return person
    }

    fun removeById(id: Int): Boolean {
        return persons.removeIf { it.id == id }
    }

}

The sample application source code is available on GitHub in repository https://github.com/piomin/sample-spring-kotlin-microservice.git.

3. Enabling Actuator endpoints

Since we have already included Spring Boot starter with Actuator into the application code, we can take advantage of its production-ready features. Spring Boot Actuator gives you very powerful tools for monitoring and managing your apps. You can provide advanced healthchecks, info endpoints or send metrics to numerous monitoring systems like InfluxDB. After including Actuator artifacts the only thing we have to do is to enable all its endpoint for our application via HTTP.

management.endpoints.web.exposure.include: '*'

We can customize Actuator endpoints to provide more details about our app. A good practice is to expose information about version and git commit to info endpoint. As usual Spring Boot provides auto-configuration for such features, so the only thing we need to do is to include some Maven plugins to build configuration in pom.xml. The goal build-info set for spring-boot-maven-plugin forces it to generate properties file with basic information about version. The file is located in directory META-INF/build-info.properties. Plugin git-commit-id-plugin will generate git.properties file in the root directory.

<plugin>
	<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-boot-maven-plugin</artifactId>
	<executions>
		<execution>
			<goals>
				<goal>build-info</goal>
			</goals>
		</execution>
	</executions>
</plugin>
<plugin>
	<groupId>pl.project13.maven</groupId>
	<artifactId>git-commit-id-plugin</artifactId>
	<configuration>
		<failOnNoGitDirectory>false</failOnNoGitDirectory>
	</configuration>
</plugin>

Now you should just build your application using mvn clean install command and then run it.

$ java -jar target\sample-spring-kotlin-microservice-1.0-SNAPSHOT.jar

The info endpoint is available under address http://localhost:8080/actuator/info. It exposes all interesting information for us.

{
	"git":{
		"commit":{
			"time":"2019-01-14T16:20:31Z",
			"id":"f7cb437"
		},
		"branch":"master"
	},
	"build":{
		"version":"1.0-SNAPSHOT",
		"artifact":"sample-spring-kotlin-microservice",
		"name":"sample-spring-kotlin-microservice",
		"group":"pl.piomin.services",
		"time":"2019-01-15T09:18:48.836Z"
	}
}

4. Enabling API documentation

Build info and git properties may be easily injected into the application code. It can be useful in some cases. One of that case is if you have enabled auto-generated API documentation. The most popular tools using for it is Swagger. You can easily integrate Swagger2 with Spring Boot using SpringFox Swagger project. First, you need to include the following dependencies to your pom.xml.

<dependency>
	<groupId>io.springfox</groupId>
	<artifactId>springfox-swagger2</artifactId>
	<version>2.9.2</version>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>io.springfox</groupId>
	<artifactId>springfox-swagger-ui</artifactId>
	<version>2.9.2</version>
</dependency>

Then, you should enable Swagger by annotating configuration class with @EnableSwagger2. Required informations are available inside beans BuildProperties and GitProperties. We just have to inject them into Swagger configuration class as shown below. We set them as optional to prevent from application startup failure in case they are not present on classpath.

@Configuration
@EnableSwagger2
class SwaggerConfig {

    @Autowired
    lateinit var build: Optional<BuildProperties>
    @Autowired
    lateinit var git: Optional<GitProperties>

    @Bean
    fun api(): Docket {
        var version = "1.0"
        if (build.isPresent && git.isPresent) {
            var buildInfo = build.get()
            var gitInfo = git.get()
            version = "${buildInfo.version}-${gitInfo.shortCommitId}-${gitInfo.branch}"
        }
        return Docket(DocumentationType.SWAGGER_2)
                .apiInfo(apiInfo(version))
                .select()
                .apis(RequestHandlerSelectors.any())
                .paths{ it.equals("/persons")}
                .build()
                .useDefaultResponseMessages(false)
                .forCodeGeneration(true)
    }

    @Bean
    fun uiConfig(): UiConfiguration {
        return UiConfiguration(java.lang.Boolean.TRUE, java.lang.Boolean.FALSE, 1, 1, ModelRendering.MODEL, java.lang.Boolean.FALSE, DocExpansion.LIST, java.lang.Boolean.FALSE, null, OperationsSorter.ALPHA, java.lang.Boolean.FALSE, TagsSorter.ALPHA, UiConfiguration.Constants.DEFAULT_SUBMIT_METHODS, null)
    }

    private fun apiInfo(version: String): ApiInfo {
        return ApiInfoBuilder()
                .title("API - Person Service")
                .description("Persons Management")
                .version(version)
                .build()
    }

}

The documentation is available under context path /swagger-ui.html. Besides API documentation is displays the full information about application version, git commit id and branch name.

kotlin-microservices-1.PNG

5. Choosing your app server

Spring Boot Web can be ran on three different embedded servers: Tomcat, Jetty or Undertow. By default it uses Tomcat. To change the default server you just need include the suitable Spring Boot starter and exclude spring-boot-starter-tomcat. The good practice may be to enable switching between servers during application build. You can achieve it by declaring Maven profiles as shown below.

<profiles>
	<profile>
		<id>tomcat</id>
		<activation>
			<activeByDefault>true</activeByDefault>
		</activation>
		<dependencies>
			<dependency>
				<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
				<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-web</artifactId>
			</dependency>
		</dependencies>
	</profile>
	<profile>
		<id>jetty</id>
		<dependencies>
			<dependency>
				<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
				<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-web</artifactId>
				<exclusions>
					<exclusion>
						<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
						<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-tomcat</artifactId>
					</exclusion>
				</exclusions>
			</dependency>
			<dependency>
				<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
				<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-jetty</artifactId>
			</dependency>
		</dependencies>
	</profile>
	<profile>
		<id>undertow</id>
		<dependencies>
			<dependency>
				<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
				<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-web</artifactId>
				<exclusions>
					<exclusion>
						<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
						<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-tomcat</artifactId>
					</exclusion>
				</exclusions>
			</dependency>
			<dependency>
				<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
				<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-undertow</artifactId>
			</dependency>
		</dependencies>
	</profile>
</profiles>

Now, if you would like to enable other server than Tomcat for your application you should activate the appropriate profile during Maven build.

$ mvn clean install -Pjetty

Conclusion

Development of microservices using Kotlin and Spring Boot is nice and simple. Basing on the sample application I have introduces the main Spring Boot features for Kotlin. I also described some good practices you may apply to your microservices when building it using Spring Boot and Kotlin. You can compare described approach with some other micro-frameworks used with Kotlin, for example Ktor described in one of my previous articles Kotlin Microservices with Ktor.

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Author: Piotr Mińkowski

IT Architect, Java Software Developer

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