Friday, 21 April 2017

Spring Expression Language (SpEL)

Spring Expression Language (SpEL)

The Spring Expression Language (SpEL) is a powerful expression language that supports querying and manipulating an object graph at runtime. The language syntax is similar to Unified EL but offers additional features, most notably method invocation and basic string templating functionality.
The Spring Expression Language was created to provide the Spring community with a single well supported expression language that can be used across all the products in the Spring portfolio. SpEL is based on an technology agnostic API allowing other expression language implementations to be integrated should the need arise.
While SpEL serves as the foundation for expression evaluation within the Spring portfolio, it is not directly tied to Spring and can be used independently.
The expression language supports the following functionality
  • Literal expressions
  • Boolean and relational operators
  • Regular expressions
  • Class expressions
  • Accessing properties, arrays, lists, maps
  • Method invocation
  • Relational operators
  • Assignment
  • Calling constructors
  • Ternary operator
  • Variables
  • User defined functions
  • Collection projection
  • Collection selection
  • Templated expressions

The EvaluationContext interface

The interface EvaluationContext is used when evaluating an expression to resolve properties, methods, fields, and to help perform type conversion. The StandardEvaluationContext is where you specify the root object to evaluate against via the method setRootObject or passing the root object into the constructor. . You can also specify variables and functions that will be used in the expression using the methods setVariable and registerFunction. The StandardEvaluationContext is also where you can register custom ConstructorResolvers, MethodResolvers, and PropertyAccessors to extend how SpEL evaluates expressions.

Type Conversion

By default SpEL uses the conversion service available in Spring core (org.springframework.core.convert.ConversionService). This conversion service comes with many converters built in for common conversions but is also fully extensible so custom conversions between types can be added. Additionally it has the capability that it is generics aware. This means that when working with generic types in expressions, SpEL will attempt conversions to maintain type correctness for any objects it encounters.

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