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Collection Merging in Spring [Snippets]

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Collection Merging in Spring [Snippets]

This overview of collection merging will help bring different Spring beans' data together with the help of three guidelines.

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The merging of one bean property collection that's dependent on another bean property collection dependent is called a collection merge.

Let's assume that I am purchasing some items through Flipkart. In this example, I've added some items that I want to buy to my cart. Let's see how we add items to my cart in Flipkart with a sample "Flipcart" class.

package com.cm.beans;

import java.util.List;

public class Flipcart {
    private String user;
    private List < String > items;

    public void setUser(String user) {
        this.user = user;

    public void setItems(List < String > items) {
        this.items = items;

    public String toString() {
        return "Flipcart [user=" + user + ", items=" + items + "]";


And here's my Spring bean configuration file — application-context.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans.xsd">
    <bean id="cart1" class="com.cm.beans.Flipcart">
        <property name="user" value="john"></property>
        <property name="items">
            <list value-type="java.lang.String">
    <bean id="cart2" class="com.cm.beans.Flipcart" parent="cart1">
        <property name="items">
            <list value-type="java.lang.String" merge="true">
                <value>Curren Analog Watch</value>
                <value>Nikon Coolpix Camera </value>

And a test class:

package com.cm.test;

import org.springframework.beans.factory.BeanFactory;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.xml.XmlBeanFactory;
import org.springframework.core.io.ClassPathResource;

import com.cm.beans.Flipcart;

public class FlipcartTest {

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        BeanFactory factory = new XmlBeanFactory(new ClassPathResource("com/cm/common/application-context.xml"));
        Flipcart flipcart = factory.getBean("cart2", Flipcart.class);


Here, we're merging the cart1 and cart2 beans to the same bean. If I didn't use merge="true", then the IOC container would overwrite the property, those properties having the same name.

For collection merging, we have to follow three principles:

  1. The beans must and should follow bean inheritance.

  2. The bean collection implementation classes must be the same.

  3. The collection implementation class's generic type must be the same.

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