In this tutorial we will create a simple web application using Spring MVC, Hibernate and JSON. We will use Maven to manage dependencies and IntelliJ IDEA to create, run and debug application on local Tomcat application server.

Make sure that Spring, Maven and Tomcat plugins are enabled in IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate before you perform this tutorial.

1. Create a project


Project Wizard
and select
Spring MVC
Spring section
. If you have already configured application server you can select it in
Application Server
field. With IntelliJ IDEA you can deploy applications to Tomcat, TomEE, Glassfish, JBoss, WebSphere, Jetty, Geronimo, Resin, Cloud Foundry and CloudBees.


Project name
Project location
Base package
if necessary. The IDE will create a
"Hello world"
project with simple controller and view.

The new project comes with Maven's

file. You can manage project dependencies through this file or through the dedicated
tool window.

When you change Maven's dependencies IntelliJ IDEA applies corresponding changes to the project automatically. You can check it in

Project Structure → Modules

Just like dependencies IntelliJ IDEA also imports the artifacts definition from

file. You can check the artifacts settings in
Project Structure → Artifacts

The artifacts define the structure of what is going to be deployed to the application server when you click

Run → Run 'Tomcat 7.0'

2. Create run configuration

If you haven't specified

Application server
Project Wizard
you can do it now via
Run → Edit Configurations...

Don't forget to specify the artifacts to deploy for this run configuration via


If you have configured at least one run configuration for an application server IntelliJ IDEA shows the

Application Servers
tool window to manage state of application on the application server. You can see the list of application servers, start or stop servers, see deployed applications, manage artifacts to deploy and manage application state.

3. Run the application

When the artifacts and run configurations are defined you can deploy the application by simply running your configuration or via a shortcut right from the

Application Servers
tool window.

4. Add dependencies

Since we are going to create a database for our application, we need Spring Data, Hibernate and HSQLDB libraries. In order to implement JSON API for our application we need JSON library. And finally we will need JSTL library to use in application's view.

We have to add define all these dependencies in our

file. The IDE will automatically download the corresponding libraries and add to the artifact.







5. Create persistence.xml

Now let's define

file to initialize Hibernate's entity manager over JPA.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<persistence version="2.0" xmlns="" xmlns:xsi="" xsi:schemaLocation="">
    <persistence-unit name="defaultPersistenceUnit" transaction-type="RESOURCE_LOCAL">
            <property name="hibernate.dialect" value="org.hibernate.dialect.HSQLDialect" />
            <property name="hibernate.connection.url" value="jdbc:hsqldb:mem:spring" />
            <property name="hibernate.connection.driver_class" value="org.hsqldb.jdbcDriver" />
            <property name="hibernate.connection.username" value="sa" />
            <property name="hibernate.connection.password" value="" />
            <property name="" value="create-drop" />

6. Define model classes

Define a model class for user entity using JPA annotations.

package com.springapp.mvc;

import javax.persistence.*;

@Entity(name = "account")
public class User {
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.AUTO)
    private Long id;

    private String firstName;

    private String lastName;

    private String email;

    public Long getId() {
        return id;

    public void setId(Long id) { = id;

    public String getFirstName() {
        return firstName;

    public void setFirstName(String name) {
        this.firstName = name;

    public String getLastName() {
        return lastName;

    public void setLastName(String lastName) {
        this.lastName = lastName;

    public String getEmail() {
        return email;

    public void setEmail(String email) { = email;

Define a Spring repository for the user entity.

package com.springapp.mvc;


public interface UserRepository extends JpaRepository<User, Long> {

7. Register repository, entity manager factory and transaction manager

Now we have to register the user repository, an entity manager factory and a transaction manager in


<jpa:repositories base-package="com.springapp.mvc"/>

<bean id="entityManagerFactory" class="org.springframework.orm.jpa.LocalEntityManagerFactoryBean">
    <property name="persistenceUnitName" value="defaultPersistenceUnit"/>

<bean id="transactionManager" class="org.springframework.orm.jpa.JpaTransactionManager">
    <property name="entityManagerFactory" ref="entityManagerFactory" />

<tx:annotation-driven transaction-manager="transactionManager"/>

The model for our application is ready so we can implement the controller.

8. Define controller

Let's rename

and add the following code:

package com.springapp.mvc;

import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired;
import org.springframework.stereotype.Controller;
import org.springframework.ui.ModelMap;
import org.springframework.validation.BindingResult;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.ModelAttribute;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.PathVariable;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMethod;

public class UserController {
    private UserRepository userRepository;

    @RequestMapping(value = "/", method = RequestMethod.GET)
    public String listUsers(ModelMap model) {
        model.addAttribute("user", new User());
        model.addAttribute("users", userRepository.findAll());
        return "users";

    @RequestMapping(value = "/add", method = RequestMethod.POST)
    public String addUser(@ModelAttribute("user") User user, BindingResult result) {;

        return "redirect:/";

    public String deleteUser(@PathVariable("userId") Long userId) {


        return "redirect:/";

As you see we have defined three methods for listing, adding and deletion user entities. The methods are mapped to the corresponding URLs.

9. Define view

Let's rename

view (and corresponding
file) to
correspondingly). If you rename the view name from usage IntelliJ IDEA applies corresponding changes to JSP files automatically.

<!doctype html>
<%@taglib uri="" prefix="spring" %>
<%@taglib uri="" prefix="form" %>
<%@taglib uri="" prefix="c" %>

    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <title>Spring MVC Application</title>

    <meta content="IE=edge,chrome=1" http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

    <link href="" rel="stylesheet">
    <link href="" rel="stylesheet">


<div class="container">
    <div class="row">
        <div class="span8 offset2">
            <form:form method="post" action="add" commandName="user" class="form-horizontal">
            <div class="control-group">
                <form:label cssClass="control-label" path="firstName">First Name:</form:label>
                <div class="controls">
                    <form:input path="firstName"/>
            <div class="control-group">
                <form:label cssClass="control-label" path="lastName">Last Name:</form:label>
                <div class="controls">
                    <form:input path="lastName"/>
            <div class="control-group">
                <form:label cssClass="control-label" path="email">Email:</form:label>
                <div class="controls">
                    <form:input path="email"/>
            <div class="control-group">
                <div class="controls">
                    <input type="submit" value="Add User" class="btn"/>

            <c:if test="${!empty users}">
                <table class="table table-bordered table-striped">
                    <c:forEach items="${users}" var="user">
                            <td>${user.lastName}, ${user.firstName}</td>
                                <form action="delete/${}" method="post"><input type="submit" class="btn btn-danger btn-mini" value="Delete"/></form>


10. Run the application

The application should be ready now.

11. Debug application

If you need to debug your application just add a breakpoint and re-run the application in debug mode via

Run → Debug 'Tomcat 7.0'...

12. Add JSON API

And finally let's output the created users via JSON by implementing this simple Controller's method:

@RequestMapping(value = "/api/users", method = RequestMethod.GET)
String listUsersJson(ModelMap model) throws JSONException {
    JSONArray userArray = new JSONArray();
    for (User user : userRepository.findAll()) {
        JSONObject userJSON = new JSONObject();
        userJSON.put("id", user.getId());
        userJSON.put("firstName", user.getFirstName());
        userJSON.put("lastName", user.getLastName());
        userJSON.put("email", user.getEmail());
    return userArray.toString();

Run the application and open http://localhost:8080/api/users.