A Custom Property in Spring

(Please note there as a postscript to this post: A Simpler Custom Property in Spring)

<context:property-placeholder> is a really easy way to provide property replacements in Spring configurations with values from a standard Java Properties file. But what if you don’t want a property hard coded into a file – a clear text password for instance? Spring provides all the bits and pieces to write your own property replacement. Let me introduce my CustomPropertyConfigurer.

I’ll demonstrate using a variation on the theme of the Spring JDBC Template. MyQuery is a simple extension of org.springframework.jdbc.core.JDBCTemplate that gets the current timestamp from a MySQL database. Here’s the, hopefully familiar, configuration:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
  xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:context="http://www.springframework.org/schema/context"
        http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans-3.0.xsd
        http://www.springframework.org/schema/context http://www.springframework.org/schema/context/spring-context-3.0.xsd">

  <context:property-placeholder location="classpath:jdbc.properties" />

  <bean id="myQuery" class="rob.MyQuery">
    <property name="dataSource" ref="dataSource" />

  <bean id="dataSource" class="org.apache.commons.dbcp.BasicDataSource"
    <property name="driverClassName" value="${jdbc.driverClassName}" />
    <property name="url" value="${jdbc.url}" />
    <property name="username" value="${jdbc.username}" />
    <property name="password" value="${jdbc.password}" />


Except the jdbc.properties file does not contain the password:


I will set the jdbc.password property myself from what is entered on the command line.

	public static void main(String... args) {

		char[] password = System.console().readPassword("Password: ");

		Properties properties = new Properties();
		properties.setProperty("jdbc.password", new String(password));

		ConfigurableApplicationContext context =
			new ClassPathXmlApplicationContext(
				new String[] {

				new CustomPropertyConfigurer(properties));

		MyQuery myQuery = context.getBean(MyQuery.class);



Where the CustomPropertyConfigurer is:

import java.util.Properties;

import org.springframework.beans.BeansException;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.BeanDefinitionStoreException;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.config.BeanDefinition;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.config.BeanDefinitionVisitor;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.config.BeanFactoryPostProcessor;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.config.ConfigurableListableBeanFactory;
import org.springframework.util.PropertyPlaceholderHelper;
import org.springframework.util.StringValueResolver;

public class CustomPropertyConfigurer implements BeanFactoryPostProcessor {

	private final Properties properties;

	public CustomPropertyConfigurer(Properties properties) {
		this.properties = properties;

	public void postProcessBeanFactory(
			ConfigurableListableBeanFactory beanFactoryToProcess)
	throws BeansException {

		BeanDefinitionVisitor visitor = new BeanDefinitionVisitor(
				new BeanDirectoryResolver());

		String[] beanNames =
		for (int i = 0; i < beanNames.length; i++) {

			BeanDefinition bd = beanFactoryToProcess.getBeanDefinition(
			try {
			catch (BeanDefinitionStoreException ex) {
				throw new BeanDefinitionStoreException(
						bd.getResourceDescription(), beanNames[i],

	class BeanDirectoryResolver implements StringValueResolver {

		private final PropertyPlaceholderHelper helper; 

		public BeanDirectoryResolver() {
			helper = new PropertyPlaceholderHelper("${", "}");

		public String resolveStringValue(String strVal) {
			return helper.replacePlaceholders(strVal, properties);

The CustomPropertyConfigurer gets applied first. It leaves any properties it can’t resolve (all but the password) for the standard <context:property-configurer> to resolve. Unit tests running against a different jdbc.propeties file can continue to provide the password as before.

Here it is running:

Cusom Propery Configurer RunningThere are many other examples of configuration values that might only be discovered at runtime – file names, schedule dates, form values etc. So long as the value can be a String, a CustomPropertyConfigurer provides a simple way of passing these values to Spring.

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