[kcdc 2022] diving into debugging spring boot applications

Speaker Mark Heckler @mkheck

For more, see the table of contents


  • Developers don’t believe in magic
  • Most developers are bad at debugging. Or at least not as good as they could be
  • We got sloppy when we get used to thinking we know what’s happening
  • Important to isolate problem and not just symptoms

Code wakthru

  • @SpringBootApplication – meta-annotation. Enables the other scaning annotations
    • @SpringBootConfiguration
    • @EnableAutoConfiguration
    • @ComponentScan
  • Starter parent pom has dpendencies that have been tested together. Provided in dependency management so can choose what need
  • Proved @Component still creates a @Bean
  • SpringApplication.run returns a ConfigurableApplicationContext. We don’t typically use it directly, but can look into it.
  • ApplicationRunner (creates prop object from args) vs CommandLineRunner (has args as array). The later is slightly more efficient.
  • @Value lets you get a property

Overwriting name

  • application.properties with wrong key name. Typo causes code not to use the value
  • application.yaml – ignored; still uses application.properties because higher precedence


  • Can expose a lot of info
  • By default, opens two endpoints, status and one other. If want actual info, allow by privilege.
  • Can expose everything via management.endpoints.webexposure.include=* (don’t do this in prod)
  • loalhost:8080/actuator – see endpoints
  • localhost:8080/actuator/env – see java version, list of beans, etc (so can see order)

Remote debugging

  • In IDE config, set -agentib:jdwp=transport=dt_socket,server.. (missed the end)


  • Can set config in Docker fil.

Key point

You don’t know. You can suspect and hypothesize, but not assume.

My take

I like that Mark showed Spring source code to show what was happening. It took a long time to get to the first thing that went wrong (missing property).. (40 minutes in; another session was already applauding by then). Once he got to that part, I started learning stuff. Mark also seemed rushed for the end and that info went too fast for me. (Combo if it being new and I think he was going faster) Also, the using the audience members as names in the example was fun.

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