1. Overview

In this quick tutorial, we're going to have a look at the @Value Spring annotation.

This annotation can be used for injecting values into fields in Spring-managed beans, and it can be applied at the field or constructor/method parameter level.

Further reading:

What is a Spring Bean?

A quick and practical explanation of what a Spring Bean is.

Using Spring @Value with Defaults

A quick and practical guide to setting default values when using the @Value annotation in Spring.

2. Setting Up the Application

To describe different kinds of usage for this annotation, we need to configure a simple Spring application configuration class.

Naturally, we'll need a properties file to define the values we want to inject with the @Value annotation. And so, we'll first need to define a @PropertySource in our configuration class — with the properties file name.

Let's define the properties file:

value.from.file=Value got from the file
priority=high
listOfValues=A,B,C

3. Usage Examples

As a basic and mostly useless example, we can only inject “string value” from the annotation to the field:

@Value("string value")
private String stringValue;

Using the @PropertySource annotation allows us to work with values from properties files with the @Value annotation.

In the following example, we get Value got from the file assigned to the field:

@Value("${value.from.file}")
private String valueFromFile;

We can also set the value from system properties with the same syntax.

Let's assume that we have defined a system property named systemValue:

@Value("${systemValue}")
private String systemValue;

Default values can be provided for properties that might not be defined. Here, the value some default will be injected:

@Value("${unknown.param:some default}")
private String someDefault;

If the same property is defined as a system property and in the properties file, then the system property would be applied.

Suppose we had a property priority defined as a system property with the value System property and defined as something else in the properties file. The value would be System property:

@Value("${priority}")
private String prioritySystemProperty;

Sometimes, we need to inject a bunch of values. It would be convenient to define them as comma-separated values for the single property in the properties file or as a system property and to inject into an array.

In the first section, we defined comma-separated values in the listOfValues of the properties file, so the array values would be [“A”, “B”, “C”]:

@Value("${listOfValues}")
private String[] valuesArray;

4. Advanced Examples With SpEL

We can also use SpEL expressions to get the value.

If we have a system property named priority, then its value will be applied to the field:

@Value("#{systemProperties['priority']}")
private String spelValue;

If we have not defined the system property, then the null value will be assigned.

To prevent this, we can provide a default value in the SpEL expression. We get some default value for the field if the system property is not defined:

@Value("#{systemProperties['unknown'] ?: 'some default'}")
private String spelSomeDefault;

Furthermore, we can use a field value from other beans. Suppose we have a bean named someBean with a field someValue equal to 10. Then, 10 will be assigned to the field:

@Value("#{someBean.someValue}")
private Integer someBeanValue;

We can manipulate properties to get a List of values, here, a list of string values A, B, and C:

@Value("#{'${listOfValues}'.split(',')}")
private List<String> valuesList;

5. Using @Value With Maps

We can also use the @Value annotation to inject a Map property.

First, we'll need to define the property in the {key: ‘value' } form in our properties file:

valuesMap={key1: '1', key2: '2', key3: '3'}

Note that the values in the Map must be in single quotes.

Now we can inject this value from the property file as a Map:

@Value("#{${valuesMap}}")
private Map<String, Integer> valuesMap;

If we need to get the value of a specific key in the Map, all we have to do is add the key's name in the expression:

@Value("#{${valuesMap}.key1}")
private Integer valuesMapKey1;

If we're not sure whether the Map contains a certain key, we should choose a safer expression that will not throw an exception but set the value to null when the key is not found:

@Value("#{${valuesMap}['unknownKey']}")
private Integer unknownMapKey;

We can also set default values for the properties or keys that might not exist:

@Value("#{${unknownMap : {key1: '1', key2: '2'}}}")
private Map<String, Integer> unknownMap;

@Value("#{${valuesMap}['unknownKey'] ?: 5}")
private Integer unknownMapKeyWithDefaultValue;

Map entries can also be filtered before injection.

Let's assume we need to get only those entries whose values are greater than one:

@Value("#{${valuesMap}.?[value>'1']}")
private Map<String, Integer> valuesMapFiltered;

We can also use the @Value annotation to inject all current system properties:

@Value("#{systemProperties}")
private Map<String, String> systemPropertiesMap;

6. Using @Value With Constructor Injection

When we use the @Value annotation, we're not limited to a field injection. We can also use it together with constructor injection.

Let's see this in practice:

@Component
@PropertySource("classpath:values.properties")
public class PriorityProvider {

    private String priority;

    @Autowired
    public PriorityProvider(@Value("${priority:normal}") String priority) {
        this.priority = priority;
    }

    // standard getter
}

In the above example, we inject a priority directly into our PriorityProvider‘s constructor.

Note that we also provide a default value in case the property isn't found.

7. Using @Value With Setter Injection

Analogous to the constructor injection, we can also use @Value with setter injection.

Let's take a look:

@Component
@PropertySource("classpath:values.properties")
public class CollectionProvider {

    private List<String> values = new ArrayList<>();

    @Autowired
    public void setValues(@Value("#{'${listOfValues}'.split(',')}") List<String> values) {
        this.values.addAll(values);
    }

    // standard getter
}

We use the SpEL expression to inject a list of values into the setValues method.

8. Conclusion

In this article, we examined the various possibilities of using the @Value annotation with simple properties defined in the file, with system properties, and with properties calculated with SpEL expressions.

As always, the example application is available on the GitHub project.