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Using Default Values for Properties in Spring

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I was looking through the Spring Greenhouse application and discovered an existing feature that I was unaware of. We can set a default value when configuring PropertyPlaceholderConfigurer.

1. Set the default value separator in config

<bean class="org.springframework.beans.factory.config.PropertyPlaceholderConfigurer">
<property name="location" value="classpath:application.properties" />
<property name="ignoreResourceNotFound" value="true" /> <-- Ignore file not found -->
<property name="ignoreUnresolvablePlaceholders" value="true" /> <-- Ignore when tokens are not found -->

<!-- Token that separates default values on a placeholder-by-placeholder basis e.g. ${server.name?localhost} -->
<property name="valueSeparator" value="?" />

2. Set the default values for your properties

<bean id="myServer" class="com.gordondickens.myapp.MyServerConfig">
<property name="serverName" value="${server.name?localhost}" />
<property name="serverPort" value="${server.port?25}" />


  • If unspecified, the default separator is a colon “:”
  • This option is not available when using the “context” namespace – (submitted Jira ticket: SPR-7794)

From http://gordondickens.com/wordpress/2010/12/06/using-default-values-for-properties-in-spring/

Published at DZone with permission of Gordon Dickens, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)



Danny Wong replied on Thu, 2010/12/30 - 4:23am

Great post. Really miss out such useful feature! Thanks!

Aleksandar Vidakovic replied on Thu, 2010/12/30 - 9:12am

Excellent... thanks.

Cristian Vasile... replied on Thu, 2010/12/30 - 1:52pm

I do something different:

    <bean id="my_propertyPlaceholderConfigurer"
        <property name="ignoreResourceNotFound" value="true" />

        <property name="locations">

This way, I can keep my defaults in one place instead of having to look for them in all the files.

Aravind Yarram replied on Thu, 2010/12/30 - 4:59pm

And here is another way http://thiamteck.blogspot.com/2008/04/spring-propertyplaceholderconfigurer.html

Julio Argüello replied on Wed, 2011/01/05 - 3:20am

I play with PropertyPlaceholderConfigurers priority value. This make hard knowing which is the value currently being applied, so I wrote a simple class described here: Bluebell and PropertyPlaceholderConfigurer

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