Overview of This Lesson

Refresh this page because I am probably still making changes to it.

In the previous lesson we reviewed what you've learned about databases and talked about in-memory databases like H2. You also wrote a very basic application that connected to the H2 database engine and allowed you to use the H2-Console to browse your database. You also added a schema.sql and data.sql file to your project to create tables and populate those tables with default data.

In this lesson, we'll write code that performs database queries on your database and then in the next couple of lessons we'll talk about CRUD operations.


Make sure you've completed the lessons on Dependency Injection & Inversion of Control and In-Memory Databases

Resources Used in this Lesson

Overview of a JDBC Application

When adding the classes necessary to perform database operations, you generally use a .database or .databases package. Some developers might use a .repositories package, since databases to model a kind of data repository, however we prefer to save .respositories for classes that model collections of data (such as lists or enumerations). Your database classes model the objects that manage the database connection and perform database queries.

We use a couple of different classes to work with databases:

  1. A database configuration class
    • Annotated with @Configuration
    • Contains variables and methods that set up or configure our database connection.
    • Contains methods annotated with @Bean
  2. A database access class
    • Annotated with @Repository
    • A Pojo that models a data access object
    • Contains methods that perform database queries and retrieve the results of those queries.

We keep these 2 classes separate to comply with SOLID principles:

Above, a few new annotations were mentioned:

Let's start up a new project so that we can see how to write these classes and how they work together: Start a new project and add the Spring Web, DevTools, Thymeleaf, Lombok, H2 Database, and Spring Data JDBC dependencies.

  1. Copy over your schema.sql file from the previous lesson's project to this new project: we only need the code that creates the Teams table.
  2. Add the SQL code to schema.sql that creates a Players table according to the following specs:
    Table Name: players
    Column Name Type Notes
    id int Primary Key, required, auto-increment
    firstName varchar(255) required
    lastName varchar(255) required
    number int  
    team varchar(3)  
    • The team column will contain a string value that corresponds to the 3-character primary key in the teams table (this is a foreign key but you have not have learned about those in your database class, yet).
  3. Copy the Player bean over to your new project, but we're going to modify Player yet again: this time, set the team member to a String value.
    private String team;
  4. Copy the data.sql file over from the previous project to this new project: you only need the code that populates the teams table with rows.
  5. Edit the project's application.properties file to configure your database (you can just copy the code over from the previous project in the previous lesson).

Database Configuration Class

The Database Configuration class is annotated with @Configuration because it's a configuration component: it's job is to configure one or more @Bean objects that we want to inject inside other clasess/methods. Specifically, the database config class will create beans that we will use to perform database operations.

Recall that we use dependency injection in order to decrease the level of coupling between classes. For example, if we only had one class to perform all the database setup and operations, we'd have to rewrite this class when we decide to change the database storage engine. If we decided to switch from H2 to MySQL, we wouldn't be able to use the same class because it would have code and objects that worked specifically with the H2 database engine and its drivers, so we'd have to waste time writing a whole new one for MySQL

By using dependency injection and keeping database config as a separate class, we can change from H2 to MySQL simply by creating a new database config class, and leave our database access class alone. This saves us lots of time, because the database access class is generally the class with the most code in it.

In a more complex program, or in older versions of Spring Boot, your database config class will be a lot more complicated than the one you're about to see, but that's one of the nice things about using Spring Boot today: a lot of the work we would have had to code in the past is now done automatically:

import javax.sql.DataSource;

import org.springframework.context.annotation.Bean;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Configuration;
import org.springframework.jdbc.core.namedparam.NamedParameterJdbcTemplate;

public class DatabaseConfig {

    public NamedParameterJdbcTemplate namedParameterJdbcTemplate(DataSource dataSource) {
        return new NamedParameterJdbcTemplate(dataSource);

Notice that we have several new classes:

The method namedParameterJdbcTemplate() has to have this name. If you give it any other name, it won't work.

What's really cool is that when your application starts up, Spring will find the @Bean in your DataBaseConfig and it will go ahead and execute that method for you. The DataSource parameter is injected automatically, and it already contains the database configuration information from your application.properties file. It takes that DataSource and uses it to create the new NamedParameterJdbcTemplate object. The method returns that object, and it is stored in the Inversion of Control container, ready and waiting for the moment your code calls upon it.

JDBC Templates

A JDBC Template is a class that contains the most common tasks you would need to perform on a database using Java. For example, it includes methods to create and destroy a database connection (you must have an open connection in order to perform other operations), perform SQL queries and retrieve the results of those queries.

JDBC template classes also handle any database errors or exceptions that might occur; they also wrap those exceptions into Java exceptions so you can handle them. For example, if a query is incorrect or an SQL statement's result would violate your database's integrity rules, an error would typically occur. The template class will wrap those errors into exceptions, such as DataAccessException.

JDBC Templates are thread-safe, so it's safe to use in applications where more than one user could be trying to access the same data at the same time.

NamedParameterJdbcTemplate is a specific kind of JDBC Template that allows you to perform parameterized queries with named parameters. We'll study those in the next lesson.

Add a new database configuration class to your project: Create a new .database package in your project and add the DatabaseConfig class to it.

  1. Make sure you add the @Configuration annotation to your class
  2. Add a @Bean method that returns a new NamedParameterJdbcTemplate for a specific DataSource.

You can use the code example up above if you need a reference for writing your own database configuration class.

Database Access Class

A typical Data Access class must be annotated with @Repository and it contains methods that perform SQL queries such as SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE queries. The class needs some way to access the Database Configuration class so that it has access to the connection/template on which to perform these operations.

public class DatabaseAccess {

    protected NamedParameterJdbcTemplate jdbc;  // the jdbc template connected to the db

    public void insertPlayer(Player player) throws Exception {
        // inserts this player as a new row to the players table using the jdbc template

    public List<Player> getPlayerList() {
        // select all players from the players table and return it
        // all the rows as a List of Player objects


Notice in this class we have @Autowired the NamedParameterJdbcTemplate. The template was injected from the Database Configuration class when the application started up. So now we have access to it and can use it to perform database operations in our database access class.

The methods inside this class will depend on what you're doing with your database. For example, here we have a method to add a new player to players table, and a method that retrieves all the players from the players table.

Each method uses the JDBC template by calling a method to perform a query, for example:

String sql = "DELETE * FROM players;";

Add a new class DatabaseAccess to your .database package.

  1. Add the @Repository annotation to your class.
  2. Autowire the JDBC template from the config class as a protected data member.
  3. Add a void method with no parameters called addPlayer()

Your addPlayer() method should define a String that contains an SQL query to add a new player to your players table.

The next statement should invoke the update() method of the JDBC template object.

The update method performs any kind of DML query (INSERT, DELETE, UPDATE). It accepts 2 arguments:

  1. A string containing the DML SQL query to execute
  2. A map of parameters to use for the query. We will cover this in the next lesson, so for now we'll just pass it an empty HashMap(), which is fine because we don't have any parameters right now, anyway.

The method returns an int representing the "number of rows affected" but we're not worried about that right now, either, so just ignore it today.

So now you should have a method like this one:

public void addPlayer() {

    String sql = "INSERT INTO players (firstName, lastName, number, team)"
            + " VALUES ('Carey', 'Price', 31, 'MTL');";

    jdbc.update(sql, new HashMap());

Now obviously we'd rather pass a Player object into the method and then build the query using the player's data e.g. player.getFirstName() etc. This would require a parameterized query, and we won't cover those until the next lesson. So this hard-coded query is fine for now.

Running the Application

There's one last thing we need to do: we need a handler method in the controller to use the data access class to run our query!

Add a controller to your project:

public class MainController {

    private DatabaseAccess da;

    public String test() {
        return "index.html";

Now run your project, and then browse to localhost:8080/dbtest (if you changed the mapping in your handler method, use that instead).

You'll see the HTML page you quickly added, which is great, but tells us only that things appear to have worked.

Now go to the H2-Console and check out your database: you should see the players table with your new player row added to it!

the h2 console showing the players table and its columns, and a single record
Expand your Players table to see the columns, click it to view the record you added.

Now that you've got the basics, we can begin to write real MVC applications that perform CRUD operations. CRUD stands for "Create, Read, Update, Delete" and refers to the standard operations we might perform on the data in our database.

For example, we can use our new player form to enter new player data, have the controller call upon our database access class to add that new player to the players table in our database, and then have it call a different database access method to retrieve an updated list of Player records, which we can then view on a Thymeleaf template.

We'll be able to do this in the next lesson!


This exercise is really just for practice and so you can get used to working with the database configuration and database access classes.

Create a new project and copy over the Book bean into it.

Add everything you need to add a single record to your book class. Don't forget to include schema.sql (to create both the books table and the genres table) and data.sql to populate the genres table with rows).

Your project should follow the same structure and logic as the demonstration we did with the players/teams tables.