Field-based Dependency Injection in Spring

Dependency Injection is a design pattern that allows the separation of concerns in an application by removing the hard-coded dependencies between objects. In Dependency Injection, the objects are provided with their dependencies instead of having to hard-code them. This makes the application more flexible, maintainable, and easier to test.

Spring Framework provides several ways to implement Dependency Injection, including field-based Dependency Injection. In this tutorial, we will discuss how to implement field-based Dependency Injection in Spring Framework. To learn which dependency injection is better to use in Spring, read Constructor vs Field-based dependency injection tutorial.

Read the following tutorial to learn how to implement a Constructor-based dependency injection.

What is Field Dependency Injection in Spring?

Field Dependency Injection is a type of Dependency Injection where the dependencies are injected into an object’s fields, either directly or through setter methods. In Spring, this is achieved by using the @Autowired or @Inject annotations. For example:

public class UserServiceImpl implements UserService {
   private UserDto user;

In the example above, an object of UserDto class is injected into an object of UserServiceImpl class using field dependency injection.

@Inject vs @Autowired in Spring

Both @Inject and @Autowired annotations are used for field-based Dependency Injection in Spring. The difference between them is that @Inject is part of the Java Dependency Injection specification (JSR-330), while @Autowired is specific to Spring.

In general, it is recommended to use @Autowired as it is more widely supported and has more features, such as the ability to configure the required flag, which determines whether the field must be injected. However, if you prefer to use JSR-330, you can use @Inject.

When to Use Field Dependency Injection?

Field Dependency Injection is recommended to be used when you want to inject a dependency directly into an object’s field. This approach is often used when the dependency is a singleton or prototype-scoped bean.

Advantages of Field Dependency Injection include:

  • Improved readability and maintainability
  • Improved testability, as the dependencies can be easily mocked
  • Improved modularity, as the dependencies can be easily swapped or updated

What are the Disadvantages?

There are several disadvantages to using field-based dependency injection in Spring:

  1. Tight coupling: Field-based dependency injection can result in tight coupling between components, which can make your application less flexible and harder to modify in the future,
  2. Difficult to test: It can be difficult to write unit tests for classes that use field-based dependency injection, as the dependencies are tightly coupled and cannot easily be substituted for testing purposes. Although it is not impossible to test classes that use field-based dependency injection.
  3. Hidden dependencies: Field-based dependency injection can make it harder to understand the dependencies between components in your application, as the dependencies are not explicitly defined in the constructor or setter methods,
  4. Dependency ordering: With field-based dependency injection, it can be challenging to control the order in which dependencies are injected, as the order is determined by the order in which the fields are declared,
  5. Security concerns: When using field-based dependency injection, you need to be careful to avoid exposing sensitive information or objects that could compromise the security of your application.

Despite these disadvantages, field-based dependency injection can still be a useful tool when used properly, as it can simplify your code and improve the readability of your application.

Implementing field-based Dependency Injection

To implement field-based Dependency Injection in Spring, we need to set up a Spring project, define the beans, annotate the fields with @Autowired or @Inject, and configure the application context. Below is an outline of the steps that we will need to take. The code example is provided a little bit below in this tutorial.

  1. Setting up a Spring Project:
  2. Defining Beans:
    • Create a UserDto class with fields: firstName, lastName, email, and password.
    • Create a UserService interface that defines one method: createUser(UserDto user).
    • Create a UserServiceImpl class that implements the UserService interface. Inject an object of UserDto into UserServiceImpl using field-based Dependency Injection.
  3. Annotating Fields:
    • Annotate the UserDto object in UserServiceImpl with either @Autowired or @Inject.
  4. Configuring the Application Context:
    • Create an ApplicationContext configuration class that scans the components and creates the application context.

UserDto class

public class UserDto {
   private String firstName;
   private String lastName;
   private String email;
   private String password;
   // Getters and Setters

UserService interface

public interface UserService {
   void createUser(UserDto user);

Inject an object of UserDto into UserServiceImpl

Notice how the UserDto object is injected into UserServiceImpl class using field-based dependency injection.

public class UserServiceImpl implements UserService {
   private UserDto user;
   public void createUser(UserDto user) {
      // Implementation for creating a user

ApplicationContext configuration class

public class ApplicationContext {
   public static void main(String[] args) {
      ApplicationContext context = new AnnotationConfigApplicationContext(ApplicationContext.class);
      UserService userService = context.getBean(UserService.class);
      userService.createUser(new UserDto());


In conclusion, field-based Dependency Injection is a powerful feature in Spring Framework that allows you to inject dependencies directly into an object’s fields. It can improve the readability, maintainability, testability, and modularity of your application. By using @Autowired or @Inject annotations, you can easily configure your application context and start using field-based Dependency Injection in your projects.