Spring Security login form integration example with XML configuration

This tutorial will show you how to integrate Spring Security into a Spring MVC application. The application won’t use a database, the user credentials are just defined as plain text in the configuration file for simplicity.

We will show you almost all of the files needed for the working application, but will only describe the parts that are strictly connected to the Spring Security integration and not just there to have a basic webapp up and running.

At the end of the tutorial you can download the whole working Maven project.

Tools used:

  • Spring Tool Suite 3.7.1.RELEASE
  • Apache Maven 3.3.9
  • Java 8
  • Tomcat 8.0.32

The project structure

Here you can see the structure of the finished project.



Aside from Spring that we are using to build our webapp, we need two Spring Security related dependencies.

<project xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/xsd/maven-4.0.0.xsd">



        <!-- Dependency versions -->



        <!-- Plugin versions -->


        <!-- Misc versions -->












The important things to note here:

  • spring-security-web: Contains filters and related web-security infrastructure code. You’ll need it if you require Spring Security web authentication services and URL-based access-control. This also pulls in the spring-security-core dependency.
  • spring-security-config: Contains the security namespace parsing code. You need it if you are using the Spring Security XML namespace for configuration.

The springSecurityFilterChain filter

One of the core elements of Spring Security is a chain of filters that determine if the user has access to a given resource. We define this filter in our web xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<web-app xmlns="http://xmlns.jcp.org/xml/ns/javaee" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://xmlns.jcp.org/xml/ns/javaee http://xmlns.jcp.org/xml/ns/javaee/web-app_3_1.xsd" version="3.1">

    <display-name>JTuts Spring Security integration tutorial with XML configuration</display-name>





    <!-- Spring Security -->




Configuring Spring Security via XML

We put the XML configuration for Spring Security in spring-security.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<beans:beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/security" xmlns:beans="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
        http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans-4.2.xsd
        http://www.springframework.org/schema/security http://www.springframework.org/schema/security/spring-security-4.0.xsd">

    <http use-expressions="true">
        <intercept-url pattern="/login" access="permitAll" />
        <intercept-url pattern="/**" access="hasRole('ROLE_USER')" />

        <form-login default-target-url="/home" login-page="/login" authentication-failure-url="/login?error=true" />

        <logout logout-success-url="/login" />

                <user name="admin" password="Secret123" authorities="ROLE_USER" />


Here a little more explanation is needed.

  • In the http element, we define the rules and settings for our security purposes:
    • The use-expressions="true" attribute means that we can provide the access rules as expressions (like permitAll), instead of the traditional set of attributes.
    • Each intercept-url element describes one rule for our security. The first rule means that we should allow everyone to access the login page, the second rule means that all other pages are protected and need the ROLE_USER role to have access.
    • In the form-login element we specify some URLs to use for the login form.
      • default-target-url: After successful login, the user will be redirected here.
      • login-page: The URL of the login page.
      • authentication-failure-url: The URL to redirect to when authentication fails.
    • In the logout element we specify the URL to redirect to when the logout is successful.
  • In the authentication-manager element in this simple example we define the valid user credentials as plain text. There are alternative configurations available for cases when for example you would like to get user details from a database.

The XML is imported in the main application context (application-context.xml):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
    xmlns:mvc="http://www.springframework.org/schema/mvc" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
        http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans-4.2.xsd 
        http://www.springframework.org/schema/context http://www.springframework.org/schema/context/spring-context-4.2.xsd 
        http://www.springframework.org/schema/mvc http://www.springframework.org/schema/mvc/spring-mvc-4.2.xsd">
 	<import resource="classpath:spring/spring-security.xml"/>

The login form

The view file for the login form is login.jsp:

<%@ page language="java" contentType="text/html; charset=UTF-8"%>
<!DOCTYPE html>
<meta charset="utf-8">
<title>JTuts Spring Security integration tutorial with XML configuration</title>

    <form action="${pageContext.request.contextPath}/login" method="POST">
                <td><label for="username">Username:</label></td>
                <td><input type="text" name="username"></td>
                <td><label for="password">Password:</label></td>
                <td><input type="password" name="password" /></td>
                <td><input type="submit" value="Login" /></td>
        <input type="hidden" name="${_csrf.parameterName}" value="${_csrf.token}"/> 

The important things to note here are the following:

  • The URL where we post the form (/login) is the default URL in Spring Security 4.
  • The names of the fields (username, password) are also the default names expected by Spring Security.
  • The hidden field is there because CSRF protection is enabled by default and we need a token to be able to submit the form.

Warning: In earlier versions of Spring Security the defaults mentioned could be different, so please pay attention to that if you are on an older version.

Other files

Other then the code I showed you, we have a very simple view file for the home page. And also two very simple controllers for the home and login. Also we have a dispatcher-servlet.xml where we configure the view resolver and the some other things.


When you run the project, you get a simple login form and when you log in with the right credentials it redirects you the the home page.



You can download the working project from here.