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Spring • Intro To Prototype Scope



In this article, we’ll dive into one of the less explored yet highly valuable concepts in the Spring Framework - the Prototype scope. While many developers are familiar with the more common scopes like @Singleton and @Request, understanding the nuances of Prototype can give you more control over the lifecycle of your Spring beans. We’ll explore what Prototype scope is, when and why you should use it, and how it differs from other scopes.

Image: Spring • Intro To Prototype Scope

What is @Prototype Scope?

In the Spring Framework, the Prototype scope is a less commonly used but powerful way to define the lifecycle of a bean. Unlike the more prevalent scopes like @Singleton and @Request, which create and manage single instances of a bean throughout the application or request lifecycle, Prototype takes a different approach.

How it Differs from Other Scopes

The key distinction lies in the creation and management of bean instances. When you define a bean with Prototype scope, Spring Container doesn’t maintain a single instance to be shared across the application. Instead, it creates a new instance of the bean every time it’s requested by a Spring component or another bean. This behavior ensures that every interaction with a Prototype bean gives you a fresh, isolated instance.

Spring’s Management of @Prototype Beans

With Prototype scoped beans, Spring creates a new instance whenever it is requested from the application context. These instances are not shared or cached. Once the bean is no longer in use or no references exist, it becomes eligible for garbage collection.

This behavior is particularly useful when dealing with stateful components, such as user sessions or database connections, where you want each client or interaction to have its distinct instance. It’s important to note that since Spring doesn’t manage the lifecycle of Prototype beans beyond creation, you need to be mindful of resource management and disposal if necessary.

In the next sections, we’ll explore when and why you should use Prototype scope and delve deeper into its benefits and drawbacks to help you make informed decisions in your Spring applicaw instance of a bean every time it’s requested. Here are some use cases where this scope can be advantageous: tions.

When to Use @Prototype Scope

The Prototype scope in Spring is particularly beneficial in scenarios where you require a ne

  1. Stateful Components: When dealing with stateful components such as shopping carts, user sessions, or wizards, you often want a dedicated instance for each user or session to prevent data interference.

  2. Database Operations: If you’re working with database connections or transactions, using Prototype ensures that each request or transaction gets its own database-related bean instance, minimizing resource contention.

  3. Parallel Processing: In multi-threaded or concurrent applications, Prototype can be useful to create independent instances for parallel threads, avoiding synchronization issues.

  4. Customization: When you need to customize or configure beans differently based on specific use cases, Prototype allows you to create unique instances with their configurations.

By using Prototype scope in these situations, you gain control over the lifecycle of your beans, ensuring that each interaction or request receives a fresh instance tailored to its needs. This flexibility can significantly enhance the performance and reliability of your Spring applications.

Benefits of @Prototype Scope

Using the Prototype scope in your Spring applications offers several key advantages:

  1. Improved Resource Management: With Prototype, you ensure that resources associated with a bean are only allocated when needed. Unlike singleton beans that are created once and remain in memory throughout the application’s lifecycle, Prototype beans are instantiated only when requested. This efficient resource management can lead to significant performance improvements.

  2. Reduced Memory Footprint: Since Prototype creates a new instance for each request, it helps reduce memory consumption, especially in applications with a large number of stateful or dynamic components. Unnecessary memory overhead is minimized, contributing to better scalability.

  3. Increased Flexibility: Prototype scope gives you greater flexibility in managing bean instances. You can tailor each instance to specific requirements or customize them based on user sessions or dynamic parameters. This level of granularity allows for more fine-tuned control in your application.

  4. Isolation and Thread Safety: Prototype beans offer isolation and thread safety by design. Each instance is independent of others, making it suitable for use cases where multiple threads or clients interact concurrently. This isolation helps prevent data conflicts and synchronization issues.

  5. Enhanced Testing: When writing unit tests, Prototype beans simplify testing by providing fresh instances for each test case. This isolation ensures that changes made in one test do not affect others, leading to more reliable and predictable testing.

By leveraging the Prototype scope, you can optimize resource utilization, reduce memory overhead, and gain the flexibility needed to create robust and efficient Spring applications. In the following sections, we’ll explore practical examples of using Prototype scope and address any considerations or drawbacks associated with this approach.

Example Usage

Let’s dive into practical examples of using the Prototype scope in Spring. We’ll demonstrate how to configure and utilize this scope in your Spring projects using Java.

1. Creating a Prototype-Scoped Bean

First, define a bean with Prototype scope in your Spring configuration class. Here’s an example:

import org.springframework.context.annotation.Bean;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Configuration;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Scope;

public class AppConfig {

    public MyPrototypeBean myPrototypeBean() {
        return new MyPrototypeBean();

In this example, MyPrototypeBean is a custom class that you want to configure as a prototype-scoped bean.

2. Using the Prototype-Scoped Bean

Now, let’s see how to use this prototype-scoped bean in your application. Inject it into another component or class:

import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired;
import org.springframework.stereotype.Component;

public class MyService {

    private final MyPrototypeBean prototypeBean;

    public MyService(MyPrototypeBean prototypeBean) {
        this.prototypeBean = prototypeBean;

    public void doSomething() {
        // Use the prototype-scoped bean here

Here, MyService depends on MyPrototypeBean, and Spring will provide a new instance of MyPrototypeBean whenever MyService is created.

Here, MyService depends on MyPrototypeBean, and Spring will provide a new instance of MyPrototypeBean whenever MyService is created.

However, it’s important to note that in a web environment, such as when using Spring MVC, where the controller is typically not a prototype-scoped bean, the behavior changes. In this scenario, the MyPrototypeBean injected into the controller will indeed be the same instance throughout the duration of a single HTTP request. This is due to the default behavior of Spring MVC, where controllers are often singleton-scoped by default. If you require a new instance of MyPrototypeBean for each HTTP request, you may need to consider alternative approaches or explicitly configure the controller as a prototype bean.

An option would be is to use the @Scope(“prototype”) annotation at the controller class level to explicitly configure the controller as a prototype bean. This approach ensures that a new instance of the controller is created for each HTTP request, and consequently, any dependencies, such as MyPrototypeBean, injected into the controller will also be new instances per request.

Here’s how you can apply the @Scope annotation to the controller class:

import org.springframework.context.annotation.Scope;
import org.springframework.stereotype.ReController;

public class MyController {
    private final MyPrototypeBean prototypeBean;

    public MyService(MyPrototypeBean prototypeBean) {
        this.prototypeBean = prototypeBean;

    // Controller logic and dependencies here

By adding @Scope(“prototype”) to the controller class, you explicitly specify its scope as prototype, ensuring that it behaves as expected in a web environment where a new instance is created for each HTTP request.

3. Testing with Prototype Beans

Testing prototype-scoped beans is straightforward. In your JUnit test class, you can use the @Autowired annotation to inject the prototype bean, and Spring will provide a fresh instance for each test method:

import org.junit.jupiter.api.Test;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired;
import org.springframework.boot.test.context.SpringBootTest;

public class MyServiceTest {

    private MyService myService;

    public void testWithPrototypeBean() {
        // Perform your test with the prototype bean

Each test method will receive a new instance of MyPrototypeBean, ensuring isolation between test cases.

These examples demonstrate how to configure and use Prototype scoped beans in Spring, allowing you to harness the benefits of improved resource management and flexibility in your applications. Keep in mind that with Prototype, you have control over the bean’s lifecycle, but you’re responsible for managing resources and cleanup if needed.

Drawbacks and Considerations

While the Prototype scope in Spring offers significant benefits, it’s essential to be aware of its limitations and considerations when incorporating it into your projects. Let’s explore these potential drawbacks to help you make informed decisions:

1. Resource Cleanup Responsibility

One of the primary considerations when using Prototype scoped beans is that Spring does not manage the lifecycle beyond creation. This means that you are responsible for cleaning up resources if necessary. If your prototype-scoped beans hold resources like open files, database connections, or other non-memory resources, it’s crucial to implement proper resource management and disposal to prevent resource leaks.

2. Increased Object Creation Overhead

Creating a new instance for each request or interaction can introduce overhead, especially in scenarios with high request rates or resource-intensive beans. While this can lead to improved isolation and resource management, it may also impact application performance. Be cautious when using Prototype for beans that are frequently requested.

3. Complexity in Testing

While testing with prototype-scoped beans is straightforward, managing dependencies with prototype beans can introduce complexity. Ensuring that each test case receives the expected fresh instances of prototype beans can require careful setup and teardown procedures in your tests.

4. Controller Scope Considerations

As discussed earlier, in a web environment where controllers are typically singleton-scoped by default, using Prototype scoped beans as dependencies in controllers may lead to unexpected behavior. If you require a new instance of a bean, such as MyPrototypeBean, for each HTTP request within your controller, you’ll need to explicitly configure the controller as a prototype bean using @Scope(“prototype”), as mentioned previously.

5. Memory Usage

Although Prototype can reduce memory usage compared to singleton-scoped beans, it can also lead to increased memory consumption if not managed carefully. Creating numerous instances of prototype beans could exhaust memory resources, especially in long-running applications.

In a scenario where a controller is scoped as a prototype and dependent on another prototype bean, the memory consumption increase is proportional to the longest request processing time. This means that if certain requests take longer to process or if there’s a sudden influx of concurrent requests, the memory usage can accumulate over the lifespan of those requests, potentially leading to memory concerns in long-running applications or under high request rates. Additionally, long processing time can mean that the application holds on to the memory longer, which may impact the overall memory management strategy and resource allocation.

In brief, Prototype scoped beans in Spring provide valuable features like improved resource management and flexibility. However, it’s essential to weigh the benefits against the considerations and be prepared to address potential challenges, such as resource cleanup and performance implications. Understanding these limitations allows you to make informed decisions about when and where to use Prototype scope effectively in your projects.


In conclusion, understanding and utilizing the Prototype scope in Spring is crucial for optimizing your application’s performance and resource management. By configuring beans with Prototype scope, you can ensure that each interaction or request receives a fresh and isolated instance, enhancing resource efficiency and flexibility. Keep in mind the considerations and drawbacks discussed earlier to make informed decisions when incorporating Prototype scope into your Spring projects. Properly managed, Prototype scope can significantly contribute to the robustness and efficiency of your Spring applications.

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