Spring Listeners

ApplicationContext instances can be created declaratively using for example a ContextLoader.

The ContextLoader mechanism comes in two flavors: the ContextLoaderListener and the ContextLoaderServlet. They both have the same functionality but differ in that the listener version cannot be reliably used in Servlet 2.3 containers. Since the Servlet 2.4 specification, servlet context listeners are required to execute immediately after the servlet context for the web application has been created and is available to service the first request (and also when the servlet context is about to be shut down): as such a servlet context listener is an ideal place to initialize the Spring ApplicationContext. It is up to you as to which one you use, but all things being equal you should probably prefer ContextLoaderListener; for more information on compatibility, have a look at the Javadoc for the ContextLoaderServlet. Can register an ApplicationContext using the ContextLoaderListener as follows:

<param-value>/WEB-INF/daoContext.xml /WEB-INF/applicationContext.xml</param-value>
<!-- or use the ContextLoaderServlet instead of the above listener

The listener inspects the ‘contextConfigLocation’ parameter. If the parameter does not exist, the listener will use /WEB-INF/applicationContext.xml as a default. When it does exist, it will separate the String using predefined delimiters (comma, semicolon and whitespace) and use the values as locations where application contexts will be searched for. Ant-style path patterns are supported as well: e.g. /WEB-INF/*Context.xml (for all files whose name ends with “Context.xml”, residing in the “WEB-INF” directory) or /WEB-INF/**/*Context.xml (for all such files in any subdirectory of “WEB-INF”). The ContextLoaderServlet can be used instead of the ContextLoaderListener. The servlet will use the ‘contextConfigLocation’ parameter just as the listener does. 

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