Creating a RESTful Web Service with Spring Boot

Author Hadi Hariri, Edoardo Vacchi
Last Updated 31 October 2015
Source On GitHub
This tutorial walks us through the process of creating a simple REST controller with Spring Boot

Kotlin works quite smoothly with Spring Boot and many of the steps found on the Spring Guides for creating a RESTful service can be followed verbatim for Kotlin. There are some minor differences however when it comes to defining the Gradle configuration and the project layout structure, as well as the initialization code.

In this tutorial we'll walk through the steps required. For a more thorough explanation of Spring Boot and RESTful services, please see Building a RESTful Web Service.

Note that all classes in this tutorial are in the kotlin.demo package.

Defining the project and dependencies

In this tutorial we're going to be using Gradle but the same can be accomplished using either IntelliJ IDEA project structure or Maven. For details on setting up Gradle to work with Kotlin, see Using Gradle.

The Gradle file is pretty much standard for Spring Boot. The only difference is the structure layout for source folders for Kotlin, and the required Kotlin dependencies

buildscript {
    ext.kotlin_version = '1.0.0' // Required for Kotlin integration
    ext.spring_boot_version = '1.3.0.RELEASE'
    repositories {
    dependencies {
        classpath "org.jetbrains.kotlin:kotlin-gradle-plugin:$kotlin_version" // Required for Kotlin integration
        classpath "org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-gradle-plugin:$spring_boot_version"

apply plugin: 'eclipse'
apply plugin: 'idea'
apply plugin: 'kotlin' // Required for Kotlin integration
apply plugin: 'spring-boot'
apply plugin: 'application'

jar {
    baseName = 'gs-rest-service'
    version = '0.1.0'

repositories {

dependencies {
    compile "org.jetbrains.kotlin:kotlin-stdlib:$kotlin_version" // Required for Kotlin integration
    compile 'org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-web'
    testCompile 'junit:junit'

task wrapper(type: Wrapper) {
    gradleVersion = '2.9'

Creating a Greeting Data Class and Controller

The next step is to create Greeting Data class that has two properties: id and a content

data class Greeting(val id: Long, val content: String)

We now define the GreetingController which serves requests of the form /greeting?name={value} and returns a JSON object representing an instance of Greeting

class GreetingController {

        val counter = AtomicLong()

        fun greeting(@RequestParam(value = "name", defaultValue = "World") name: String): Greeting {
                return Greeting(counter.incrementAndGet(), "Hello, $name")

As can be seen, this is again pretty much a one-to-one translation of Java to Kotlin, with nothing special required for Kotlin.

Creating the Application class

Finally we need to define an Application class. As Spring Boot looks for a public static main method, we need to define this in Kotlin using the @JvmStatic annotation. For this, we create a standard Application class and define a companion object inside where we can then create a function annotated with @JvmStatic

Note: JvmStatic is an annotation in Kotlin which is used for interoperability with Java, so that the resulting method is defined as static when called from Java.

The other change needed for Spring Boot is to mark the class as open. Spring boot @Configuration classes cannot be final. Classes in Kotlin are final by default without the open modifier.

open class Application {
        companion object {
                @JvmStatic fun main(args: Array<String>) {
                        SpringApplication.run(Application::class.java, *args)

Alternative Application class definition

In Java, the main() method of a Spring Boot application is conventionally defined within the annotated application class. This is because Java does not support top-level methods. In Kotlin, however, we do have top-level functions. Thus, we can make the Spring main entry point much simpler:

open class Application

fun main(args: Array<String>) {
	SpringApplication.run(Application::class.java, *args)

The only requirement for this variant to work is to declare in your build.gradle file to look for this main function. This is done through the mainClass property of the springBoot section:

springBoot {
    mainClass = 'my.package.YourMainClass'

In Kotlin, top-level functions are compiled into static members of an automatically-generated class. The name of this class is derived from the name of the source file. For instance, a top-level function in the Application.kt file would be defined in a class named ApplicationKt. You may add the following lines to your build.gradle:

springBoot {
    mainClass = 'kotlin.demo.ApplicationKt'

Running the application

We can now use the any of the standard Gradle tasks for Spring Boot to run the application. As such, running

    gradle bootRun

the application is compiled, resources bundled and launched, allowing us to access is via the browser (default port is 8080)

Running App

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