TL;DR Did some work with spring batch, pretty easy when you wrap your mind around the sequential processing.

Java Spring offers a suite of frameworks. The most common is their Spring MVC, which is an MVC framework for web programming. Anyways, Spring also offers a batch processing framework called Spring Batch. This is in direct competition to the built in Batch Processing that comes with Java EE 7.0. IMHO, there really is no competition.

Like with many spring projects, everything is a bean. This makes thing really easy as they are basically plugs of functionality overriding defaults, please don’t quote me on that, I’m still learning…

Breaking It Down

I find it helpful to grab some domain knowledge to get you thinking before we get into the meat and potatoes, or tofu for the vegans. Quick and dirty, here are the pieces:

  • Job: Some big functionality, composed of one, or many steps.
  • Step: Composed of a Reader, Processor, and/or Writer, or even a Tasklet, but I don’t know much about those so lets leave those out for now.
  • Reader: Reads from the specified datasource.
  • Processor: Manipulates the data which is read from the datasource.
  • Writer: Writes the processed data (I emphasize writes, because it can write to the datasource, or stdout, or a file, or any/all of the things!).

Listeners can be attached at any level, I know it’s called a StepListener, but if you define the listener in one of each of the Reader, Processor, Writers, it will fire after that work has been done. Another example is a JobListener, this can also be fired after specific jobs.

Why Though

So Batch processing essentially tries to optimize the way large amounts of data are handled. For example, payroll calculations, report generation, and any sort of job that can be fired off multiple times (monthly report, weekly report, end of day, etc). Its main goal is to provide structure for things that happen often, such as database reads, writes, and data manipulation. Hence the Reader, Writer, and Processor terminology. The goal is to essentially implement interfaces at each of these levels, and define steps within a Job.

High Level Example

For a high level example, lets talk about money, Payroll form generation to be specific. You know those forms you get that make you feel terrible about how high income tax is? They have some of your information as well as how many hours you have worked, at what pay rate, vacation pay, etc.

For our example we will talk about a small database table of 2 employees:

Name Pay Rate (Hourly) Week Of Hours Worked
John $10.00 July 18-22 40
Jacob $40.00 July 18-22 20
John $15.00 July 25-29 40
Jacob $40.00 July 25-29 40

Our goal is to run payroll calculations biweekly, and generate a nice little report:

Name Pay Period Hours Worked Total Pay
John July 18-29 80 $1000.00
Jacob July 18-29 60 $2400.00


Reads in a buffered amount of data, in this case we will read all of our data. It’s only 4 rows after all. After each read, the row is converted using a RowMapper, into the desired Domain Object:

Name: String
PayRate: float
WeekOf: Date
HoursWorked: int

Afterward, it is handed off to the Processor for processing.


Our Processor takes our RowMapped Object, WeekRecord, and processes it into a BiWeekRecord, performing the summation calculations needed:

Name: String
PayPeriod: Date
HoursWorked: int
TotalPay: float

After completion of all Mapped rows, a list is sent off to the writer.


During the Writer step, we can loop over all the passed BiWeekRecords, writing them out to our report. In our case, we would just do plain old inserts into the database table for Biweekly reports. However, the possibilities are endless here. One could flush out to a PDF document, Database, excel document, make API calls, I think you get it.


Even though most of the discussed functionality could have been implemented on our own fairly easy, we only need to define small pieces and incorporate them into the framework. Why reinvent the wheel if there’s already a perfectly good solution?