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Refcard #187

Spring Batch

A Lightweight, Open Source Java Framework for Batch Processing

Written by

Chris Schaefer Consultant, VMWare/SpringSource

Covers the core framework and additional components that provides developers to build robust batch applications that are used in everyday enterprise environments.

Free PDF
Section 1

About Spring Batch

Spring Batch is a lightweight, open-source Java framework for batch processing built on top of the popular Spring Framework. In addition to the core framework, Spring Batch also provides developers with components to build robust batch applications that are used in everyday enterprise environments. The most current project documentation can be found at:


And the source code can be found on GitHub at:


Section 2

Core Components

Spring Batch is built upon common architecture and patterns that batch applications have been using for decades. The following components are central to the Spring Batch architecture:

Component Purpose
Job A Job encapsulates all the Steps and associated configuration that belong to the batch job.
JobInstance A Job may be run one or more times and each execution of a JobInstance may result in multiple JobExecutions. JobInstances are distinguished from each other by their identifying JobParameters.
JobParameters JobParameters are input values to the Job and can be used as reference data during Job execution. By default a JobParameter contributes to the identity of the JobInstance. JobParameters are key/value pairs and can be of type String, Date, Double, Long or a JobParameter.
JobExecution A JobExecution refers to a single attempt to run a Job. A JobExecution may result in a completion or failure. A JobInstance will not be considered completed unless the JobExecution completes successfully.
Step A Step encapsulates all the necessary information needed to define and control the batch processing for that phase of the batch job. Steps are independent of each other and can participate in “chunk oriented processing” or execute a custom Tasklet implementation.
StepExecution A StepExecution represents an attempt to execute a Step. A StepExecution is created when a specific Step is started and contains reference information to its corresponding Step and JobExecution. StepExecution metadata includes various counters such as the status, start and end times as well as an ExecutionContext allowing a developer to persist user data between executions.
ExecutionContext An ExecutionContext is a collection of key/value pairs that are persisted by the framework and provide a place to store persistent data that is scoped to a StepExecution or JobExecution. This storage is useful for example in stateful ItemReaders where the current row being read from needs to be recorded.
JobRepository The JobRepository provides the CRUD persistence operations for all Job related metadata.
JobLauncher A JobLauncher provides the ability to run a Job with a provided set of JobParameters.
Section 3

Jobs and Steps

A Job encapsulates one or more Steps. Steps contain the necessary configuration that is used to execute the batch job. Steps can use custom or out of the box Spring Batch components. Spring Batch provides a large number of infrastructure components, making it possible to create a Job with little to no custom code needed.

Section 4

Batch Namespace

As with most projects in the Spring Portfolio, Spring Batch provides XML namespace support providing a rich configuration interface. To use the Spring Batch namespace support, create an XML configuration file similar to the template below. This will serve as your Job configuration file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<beans:beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/batch"

  <!-- Job configuration goes here -->



A Job in Spring Batch is composed of a list of Steps and transitions that make up the batch job. The first Step in the Job definition is always the first Step to be executed.

Type: Attribute
Tag Purpose
id The required identifier of the Job.
incrementer An optional reference to a custom JobParametersIncrementer implementation used to provide new parameters to a JobInstance. Using an incrementer will always allow the framework to start a new instance of a Job without having to explicitly change the provided JobParameters. This is valuable when for example a failed Job that needs to be started over from the beginning. An out of the box incrementer provided by Spring Batch is the RunIdIncrementer.
restartable An optional boolean value used to determine if the Job should be marked as restartable. By default jobs are restartable.
jobrepository The optional JobRepository bean to use. Only needed if the JobRepository to use does not have a bean name of "jobRepository".
parent The optional name of a parent Job this Job should inherit from.
abstract Optionally marks this Job as being abstract. By default a Job is not abstract.
Type: Child Element
Tag Purpose
decision Provides the optional ability to use a custom JobExecutionDecider implementation that will be used to programmatically determine the transition state from one Step to another.
flow Optionally configures a Flow that is composed of Steps that can be executed in parallel.
split Optionally configures a Split encapsulating one or more Flow elements.
description An optional Job description.
listeners An optional list of JobExecutionListener implementations used to intercept Job execution events.
validator An optional JobParametersValidator to use when validating JobParameters.


A Step represents the current stage of processing in the batch job. Steps can inherit from a parent; provide transitional direction and define restartability settings.

Tag Purpose
id The required ID of this Step.
parent The optional parent Step of this Step.
allow-start-ifcomplete Optional boolean value to indicate this Step may be started again even if complete. By default this attribute is false.
next The next Step ID to execute after this Step completes successfully, otherwise fail.

Step Components

A Step is made up of various components that define how that specific Step will execute.

Tag Purpose
description The optional description of this Step.
listeners An optional list of StepListener implementations used to intercept Step execution events during the lifecycle of the Step.
job An optional reference to an existing Job that will be launched as a separate JobExecution.
next Configures this Step to transition "to" the next Step ID configured based "on" the value of the ExitStatus of the Step. Both "to" and "on" are attributes of this element.
end Configures this Step to end the Job based "on" the resulting ExitStatus marking the job as BatchStatus.COMPLETED. The "on" value is configured as an attribute of this element.
fail Configures this Step to fail the Job based "on" the resulting ExitStatus marking the job as BatchStatus.FAILED. The "on" value is configured as an attribute of this element.
stop Configures this Step to stop the job based "on" the resulting ExitStatus and which Step to "restart" on when the Job is restarted. Both "on" and "restart" are attributes of this element.
tasklet Configures the Tasklet type of this Step to perform "chunk oriented processing" or delegate to a custom Tasklet implementation.
partition Optional configuration for Step partitioning.


A Tasklet defines the implementation strategy that will be used for this Step.

Type: Attribute
Tag Purpose
allow-startif-complete Optional boolean value to indicate this Tasklet may be started again even if complete. By default this attribute is false.
method Optional attribute used when you would like to call a method on an existing POJO bean reference for processing. The bean will be adapted to the Tasklet interface and the specified method should return a compatible type of boolean, void or RepeatStatus.
ref An optional reference to another Tasklet implementing bean to use for processing.
start-limit Optional attribute declaring the maximum number of times a Step may be started.
taskexecutor An optional TaskExecutor to be used when executing this Tasklet.
throttlelimit Optional attribute for setting the maximum number of tasks to be queued for concurrent processing. By default the limit is 4.
transactionmanager The transaction manager to use if the desired transaction manager does not have a bean name of 'transactionManager'.
Type: Child Element
Tag Purpose
listeners An optional list of StepListener implementations used to intercept Step execution events during the lifecycle of the Step.
norollbackexceptionclasses An optional list of exception classes that should not cause a rollback to occur if possible.
transactionattributes Optional transaction propagation attributes to apply to this Step. The propagation attribute values are the standard Propagation enumeration values from Spring transaction support.
chunk Optionally defines this Step as participating in chunk oriented processing.


A chunk is a child element of the Tasklet definition and declares the current Step as being one that performs chunk oriented processing. At the minimum, an ItemReader, ItemWriter and commit-interval are specified. An ItemProcessor is an optional component. Once the chunk CompletionPolicy is satisfied, the transaction is committed.

Type: Attribute
Tag Purpose
reader The required bean name of the ItemReader implementation used for reading.
writer The required bean name of the ItemWriter implementation used for writing.
processor The optional bean name of the ItemProcessor implementation used to process objects as they are read from the ItemReader.
cachecapacity The optional capacity of the RetryContextCache used in the RetryPolicy.
chunkcompletionpolicy The optional CompletionPolicy implementation to be used to determine when a transaction is complete. By default a transaction is committed when the chunk size is equal to the commit-interval attribute. The default implementation is the SimpleCompletionPolicy.
commitinterval Defines the number of items that will be processed before a transaction is committed. This attribute should only be set when using the default chunk-completion-policy.
processortransactional Optional Boolean value to indicate whether or not the ItemProcessor is transactional or not. By default this is set to 'true'.
readertransactionalqueue Optional boolean value to indicate whether or not the ItemReader is a transactional queue. By default this is set to 'false'.
retry-limit Optional value indicating the maximum number of times processing of an item will be retried.
retry-policy Optional RetryPolicy implementation to use when determining how to handle items needing to be retried. When set, any existing retry-limit and retryable-exceptionclasses settings will be ignored.
skip-limit Optional maximum number of items that can be skipped. By default no items will be skipped.
skip-policy Optional SkipPolicy implementation to use when determining whether or not processing should be skipped. When set, any existing skippable-exception-classes settings will be ignored.
Type: Child Element
Tag Purpose
listeners An optional list of StepListener implementations used to intercept Step execution events during the lifecycle of the Step.
skippableexceptionclasses An optional list of exception classes in which are skippable when thrown.
streams An optional list of ItemStream implementations that should be registered for this step. By default any ItemReader, ItemProcessor or ItemWriter that implements ItemStream is automatically registered. Any additional streams that are, for example, indirect dependencies such as delegates injected into the reader or writer need to be registered.
retry-listeners An optional list of RetryListener implementations used to intercept Retry events.
retryableexceptionclasses An optional list of exception classes in which are retryable when thrown.
Section 5


The Tasklet interface represents a strategy for processing in a Step. To create a custom Tasklet, implement the Tasklet interface, and use the bean as the tasklet reference:

public class MyTasklet implements Tasklet {
    public RepeatStatus execute(StepContribution contribution, ChunkContext chunkContext) throws Exception {
        // Custom processing logic here
        return RepeatStatus.FINISHED;

<beans:bean id="myTasklet" class="com.example.MyTasklet"/>

<tasklet ref="myTasklet" .../>

Spring Batch provides the following Tasklet implementations:

Tasklet Implementation Purpose
ChunkOrientedTasklet The Tasklet implementation that handles chunk oriented processing handling and is the backing Tasklet implementation when configuring a chunk through the batch namespace.
MethodInvokingTaskletAdapter A Tasklet implementation that wraps an existing POJO method for processing. This Tasklet implementation is used when the “method” attribute of the tasklet namespace configuration is set.
SystemCommandTasklet A Tasklet implementation used to execute a system command.
CallableTaskletAdapter A Tasklet implementation that adapts a java.util.concurrent.Callable implementation to the Tasklet interface.
Section 6


ItemReader is a strategy interface for providing data in a chunk oriented processing Step. Custom ItemReader's are created by implementing this interface and have their read method called to obtain more data until exhausted at which point null is returned.

To create a custom ItemReader, implement the ItemReader interface, wire it as a standard Spring bean and provide a reference to it as the reader attribute in your Tasklet chunk configuration:

public class MyItemReader implements ItemReader<Person> {
    public Person read() throws Exception {
        // read item, then return null when results are exhausted

<beans:bean id="myItemReader" class="com.example.MyItemReader"/>

<tasklet ...>
    <chunk reader="myItemReader" .../>

Spring Batch provides the following ItemReader implementations:

ItemReader Implementation Purpose
AbstractItemCountingItemStreamItemReader Abstract base class providing basic restart capabilities, counting the number of items returned from an ItemReader.
AmqpItemReader Reads messages from an AMQP queue.
FlatFileItemReader Reads from a flat file.
HibernateCursorItemReader Reads from a cursor using a Hibernate HQL query.
HibernatePagingItemReader Reads from a paginated Hibernate HQL query.
IbatisPagingItemReader Reads from a paginated iBATIS query.
ItemReaderAdapter Adapts any class to the ItemReader interface.
JdbcCursorItemReader Reads from a cursor using JDBC.
JdbcPagingItemReader Reads from a paginated JDBC query.
JmsItemReaderf Reads messages from a JMS queue.
JpaPagingItemReader Reads from a paginated JPA query.
ListItemReader Reads items from a List one item at a time.
MongoItemReader Reads from a JSON based MongoDB query.
Neo4jItemReader Reads from a Neo4j Cypher query.
RepositoryItemReader Reads items provided by a Spring Data repository implementation.
StoredProcedureItemReader Reads from a database cursor as the result of executing a stored procedure.
StaxEventItemReader Reads XML input based on based on StAX.
Section 7


The ItemProcessor interface provides an interception point for custom logic to transform an item in a chunk oriented processing Step between the reading and writing. An ItemProcessor implementation can return the same or different object that it has received. Returning null from the process method in the implementation indicates to the framework that no processing should occur on the current item.

To create a custom ItemProcessor, implement the ItemProcessor interface, wire it as a standard Spring bean and provide a reference to it as the processor attribute in your Tasklet chunk configuration:

public class MyItemProcessor 
             implements ItemProcessor<Person, Person> {
    public Person process(Person item) throws Exception {
        // process the current item and return it or return null 
        // to indicate no processing should be performed

<beans:bean id="myItemProcessor"

<tasklet ...>
    <chunk processor="myItemProcessor" .../>

Spring Batch provides the following ItemProcessor implementations:

ItemProcessor Implemtation Purpose
ValidatingItemProcessor Validates an input item and returns it without modification. If the provided item fails validation, this ItemProcessor implementation will re-throw the validation exception indicating the item should be skipped. It can also configured to return null and the item would be filtered instead.
PassThroughItemProcessor Simply acts as a pass-through ItemProcessor returning the item back to the caller.
ItemProcessorAdapter Provides the ability to invoke a custom method on a POJO to perform processing on the item.
CompositeItemProcessor Passes the current item through an injected list of delegates that are chained together.
Section 8


The ItemWriter interface provides a basic interface for writing a list of items. Items are generally expected to be batch processed as a chunk and delivered to the implementing method as a List of items.

To create a custom ItemWriter, implement the ItemWriter interface, wire it as a standard Spring bean and provide a reference to it as the writer attribute in your Tasklet chunk configuration:

public class MyItemWriter implements ItemWriter<Person> {
    public void write(List<? extends Person> items) 
                                       throws Exception {
        // write items

<beans:bean id="myItemWriter" class="com.example.MyItemWriter"/>

<tasklet ...>
    <chunk writer="myItemWriter" .../>

Spring Batch provides the following ItemWriter implementations:

ItemWriter Implemtation Purpose
AbstractItemStreamItemWriter Abstract base class that provides subclasses default functionality of the ItemSteam and ItemWriter interfaces.
AmqpItemWriter Writes items to the configured AMQP exchange.
CompositeItemWriter Similar to the CompositeItemProcessor but provides the ability to pass an item through an injected list of ItemWriters
FlatFileItemWriter Writes items to a flat file.
GemfireItemWriter Writes or removes items from Gemfire.
HibernateItemWriter Writes to a database using Hibernate.
IbatisBatchItemWriter Writes items in batch via IBatis.
ItemWriterAdapter Adapts any class to the ItemWriter interface.
JdbcBatchItemWriter Writes to a database via JDBC using batching features from a PreparedStatement.
JmsItemWriter Writes items to a JMS queue.
JpaItemWriter Writes items to a database via JPA.
MimeMessageItemWriter Sends items of type MimeMessage as mail messages.
MongoItemWriter Writes items to a MongoDB instance.
Neo4jItemWriter Writes or deletes items from Neo4j.
PropertyExtractingDelegatingItemWriter ItemWriter that delegates to a custom method, extracting property values from the current item object invoking the custom method with the extracted property values as arguments.
RepositoryItemWriter Writes items to the provided Spring Data repository.
StaxEventItemWriter Uses a provided ObjectToXmlSerializer implementation to convert each item to XML then writes the XML to a file via StAX
Section 9

Starting Jobs

The Job configuration is an important part of your batch application, but it needs to be started to do anything meaningful. A Job can be started in a variety of ways: most commonly programmatically, manually from the command line, through scripts, or even from an HTTP controller in a web container.


At the most basic level, Spring Batch provides the JobLauncher interface with a run method as a way to programmatically launch a Job. The run method accepts a Job instance representing the Job to launch and the JobParameters that are used to define the instance of the Job that is to be launched. The implementation of the JobLauncher provided by Spring Batch is the SimpleJobLauncher and by default a Job is launched synchronously. With your Job configuration ready to go, a programmatic invocation of the Job via a simple main method could look something like:

public class JobRunner {
  private static final String CONFIG 
                        = "classpath:launch-context.xml";

  public static void main(final String[] args) throws Exception {
        ApplicationContext ctx = new   

        Job job = ctx.getBean("personJob", Job.class);

        JobLauncher jobLauncher = 
                      ctx.getBean("jobLauncher", JobLauncher.class);

        JobParameters jobParameters = new JobParametersBuilder()

        jobLauncher.run(job, jobParameters);

Command line execution

Jobs can be launched manually via the command line or kicked off via a scheduler of your choice such as a Cron, Quartz, etc. Spring Batch does not provide nor dictate any specific scheduler. Out of the box, Spring Batch provides a CommandLineJobRunner class with a main method that can be executed from a script or manually on the command line. The CommandLineJobRunner arguments are as follows:

Argument Purpose
jobPath The required XML file location that will be used to create the Spring ApplicationContext and all collaborating configuration required to run the Job.
jobName The required name of the Job to run (typically the ID attribute on the Job configuration you would like to execute).
jobParameters Any trailing arguments will be considered as JobParameters. JobParameters are specified in a key/value format. Values of date, string, long or double can be appended to the key to indicate the key’s value type. For example to indicate that the value of the run.date key is a Date, use: run.date(date)=2013/05/01.

It is also worth noting that the CommandLineJobRunner provides support for optionally passing Job control options.

Argument Purpose
-restart Optional flag to restart the last failed execution.
-stop Optional flag to stop a running execution.
-abandon Optional flag to mark a stopped execution as abandoned.
-next Optional flag to start a Job using the configuredJobParametersIncrementer.
jobPath The required XML file location that will be used to create the Spring ApplicationContext with the Job definition and related configuration.
jobName The required name of the Job to run.
Any trailing arguments will be considered as JobParameters. JobParameters are specified in a key/value format. Values of date, string, long or double can be appended to the key
to indicate the key's value type. For example to indicate that the value of the run.date key is a Date, use: run. date(date)=2013/05/01.

Hot Tip

As of Spring Batch 2.2, JobParameter's can now be optionally configured to contribute to the identity of a JobInstance. Previously, all JobParameters contributed to its identity. Prefixing a key with a hyphen will tell the framework not to consider this parameter as identifying.

Execution in a Web Container

Jobs can also be started within a web container using the same programmatic method of calling the run method of the JobLauncher. A simple SpringMVC controller used to launch a Job could look like the following:

public class JobController {
    private Job job;
    private JobLauncher jobLauncher;

    public JobController(Job job, JobLauncher jobLauncher) {
        this.job = job;
        this.jobLauncher = jobLauncher;

    public void runJob() throws Exception {
        JobParameters jobParameters = new JobParametersBuilder()
                      .addString("lastName", "Smith")

        jobLauncher.run(job, jobParameters);

One key difference when running in a web container is that launching a Job should most likely be executed in an asynchronous fashion to avoid having the HTTP request wait until the batch job is complete. This can be accomplished by providing a TaskExecutor implementation of your choice to the configured JobLauncher bean that will be used to execute the job.

Section 10

Stopping Jobs

The JobOperator interface provides methods to inspect and control jobs. To stop a job, the stop method can be called with the provided JobExecution ID of the running job. The JobExecution ID must be known and can be retrieved by obtaining the running executions of the Job:

Set<Long> executions =

As this method returns back a Set of JobExecution IDs, it's up to the developer to obtain the proper JobExecution ID to stop:


Stopping a Job might not be immediate, as the job may be processing user-defined code. Once execution is returned back to the framework, the Job will be stopped and the current StepExecution and corresponding JobExecution status will be marked as BatchStatus.STOPPED.

Section 11

Restarting Jobs

Restarting a Job provides the ability to pick up where the Job last left off, for example in a situation where a Step failed or stopped. A Job that already has an existing non-COMPLETED JobInstance is a candidate for being restarted. By default, all Jobs are restartable and will restart on the next Step to be executed. A Job can be restarted programmatically by way of the restart method provided by the JobOperator interface, for example:


The Job will be restarted or an exception will be thrown if the provided JobExecution ID does not exist or it has already completed successfully.

Section 12


When your Job needs to have the ability to scale out, Spring Batch makes it easy and, out of the box, provides two modes of parallel processing: Single Process (multi-threaded), and Multi-Process.

Processing Method Processing Type
Multi-Threaded Step Single process
Parallel Steps Single process
Step Remote Chunking Multi process
Step Partitioning Multi process
Section 13

Multi-Threaded Step

Using a Multi-Threaded Step in Spring Batch is a simple way to add parallel processing to your Job. Adding this capability only requires the addition of a TaskExecutor reference as an attribute on the intended Step's Tasklet, for example:

<step id="multiThreadedStep">
    <tasklet task-executor="taskExecutor" …>

<beans:bean id="taskExecutor" class="org.springframework.core.task.SimpleAsyncTaskExecutor"/>

Any TaskExecutor implementation can be used and the Spring Framework itself provides many out of the box implementations. In a chunk oriented processing mode, a Multi-threaded Step will result in reading, processing, and writing each chunk of items in a separate thread. All components must be thread safe and limited by any configuration applied to the TaskExecutor as well as the Tasklet concurrency configuration options (notably the throttle-limit attribute).

Section 14

Parallel Steps

Parallel Steps allow you to configure your Job to allow multiple Steps to execute in Parallel with another Step. Parallel Steps are composed in a Split element along with a TaskExecutor and the Flow definition. The Flow definitions encapsulate the Steps that will be parallelized.

<job id="personJob">
    <split id="splitFlow1" task-executor="taskExecutor" 
            <step id="step1" next="step2">
            <step id="step2">
            <step id="step3">
    <step id="step4">

<beans:bean id="taskExecutor" class="org.springframework.core.task.SimpleAsyncTaskExecutor"/>

In the above configuration, "step1" and "step2" will be executed in parallel with "step3", then after every flow in the split has completed the Job will transition to "step4".

Section 15

Remote Chunking

Remote Chunking allows Step processing to be split across multiple processes via durable and guaranteed delivery middleware. In Remote Chunking, the master is a single process and slaves are remote processes. This pattern is typically used when reading of the items is less expensive than processing of the items. Reading is performed on the "master", processing is done on the "slave" nodes.

To achieve a Remote Chunking setup, Spring Batch can be used in conjunction with Spring Integration for middleware integration and the Spring Batch Integration module of Spring Batch Admin for chunk handling and writing. See the API documentation of Spring Batch Admin for more details, specifically the RemoteChunkHandlerFactoryBean and ChunkMessageChannelItemWriter classes.

Section 16


Spring Batch provides another scalability option, which is "partitioning" a Step and executing it remotely or in local threads. Unlike Remote Chunking, slaves do not need to be durable nor provide guaranteed delivery. Partitioning divides responsibilities of data partitioning and StepExecution handling. A simple example of configuring partitioning would be similar to the following.

<job id="partitionJob">
    <step id="partitionedStep">
        <partition step="readWriteStep" partitioner="partitioner">
            <handler grid-size="2" task-executor="taskExecutor" />

<step id="readWriteStep">
        <chunk reader="personReader" writer="personWriter" 

With this configuration a Partitioner implementation that dictates how data will be partitioned is required. The Partitioner has access to the ExecutionContext and can be used to store information that will be used by the reader to determine what data to process, for example a range of database ID's that can be injected into the reader via late binding.

Hot Tip

JSR-352 is the JSR specification for "Batch Applications for the Java Platform". JSR-352 is largely influenced by Spring Batch and will be part of JEE 7. A primary focus of Spring Batch 3.0 will be providing a JSR-352 compliant implementation.


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