Gaining Access to the Spring Context in Non Spring Managed Classes

There are times where it’s not practical (or possible) to wire up your entire application into the Spring framework, but you still need a Spring loaded bean in order to perform a task.  JSP tags and legacy code are two such examples.   Here is a quick and easy way to get access to the application context.

First we create a class that has a dependency on the spring context.  The magic here is a combination of implementing ApplicationContextAware and defining the ApplicatonContext object as static.

package com.objectpartners.util;

import org.springframework.beans.BeansException;
import org.springframework.context.ApplicationContext;
import org.springframework.context.ApplicationContextAware;

public class SpringContext implements ApplicationContextAware {
  private static ApplicationContext context;

  public void setApplicationContext(ApplicationContext context) throws BeansException {
    this.context = context;
  public static ApplicationContext getApplicationContext() {
    return context;

Next,  we wire SpringContext into our spring container by defining it in our application-context.xml:

<bean id="springContext" class="com.objectpartners.util.SpringContext />

Now,  anywhere we need access to the spring context we can import SpringContext and call the getApplicationContext method like so:

import com.objectpartners.util.SpringContext;
class LegacyCode {

  SpringBean bean = (SpringBean)SpringContext.getApplicationContext.getBean("springBean");

Keep in mind that if there are multiple spring containers running on the JVM the static ApplicationContext object will be overwritten by the last container loaded so this approach may not work for you.

One thought on “Gaining Access to the Spring Context in Non Spring Managed Classes

  1. Andy H. says:

    Nicely written. I wasn’t aware of the multiple spring containers tip. Thanks!

  2. Pablo Karlsson says:

    Hi thanks for a good article. Im thinking about acessing a spring bean trough a Jruby script do you think this would be possible?

  3. Janarthan Sathiamurthy says:

    Super Article, exactly what I was looking for !

  4. Javid says:

    Simplest way of doing this.Thanks

  5. Daniel says:

    I’ve done this just for this scope

  6. Dave says:

    Great! That was exactly what I need !

  7. Gregory Bishop says:

    This is OK, but how can I avoid the XML?

    1. jbaso says:

      I haven’t tested this, but as long as you have component scanning enabled in your @Configuration file, you should be able to simply annotate the SpringContext bean with @Component

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