Migrating from Spring Native to Spring Boot 3

Joery Vreijsen

Backend Tech Lead

Springboot 3

History Lesson

It was the year 2021.. wait yes that was just last year.. when Spring announced it would be starting to support compilation to native images (proof). Spring launched the spring-native project in beta-support for everyone that wanted to have a lightning fast spring-boot application compiled with GraalVM that could achieve startup times sub 100 ms!

We are now reaching a new milestone in this journey as Spring announced it will move the support for compilation to native images to its General Availability with Spring Framework 6 and Spring Boot 3 (more proof).

You as hyped as I am? You need a second to catch your breath? Good, because I couldn’t wait either to migrate from the spring-native beta to Spring Boot 3. Since migrating is never an easy task, I’ve listed down the hurdles I came across in the process so you can get a head start on this.

Keep in mind that Spring Boot 3 is to be released in late November 2022, so we are working with a milestone release (3.0.0-M5) here.

Let’s get started

When we try to simply change the Spring Boot version to 3.0.0-M5 in our build.gradle file we get the following error:

					- Plugin Repositories (could not resolve plugin artifact 'org.springframework.boot:org.springframework.boot.gradle.plugin:3.0.0-M5')
  Searched in the following repositories:
    Gradle Central Plugin Repository

As Spring Boot 3.0.0-M5 is a milestone release, we need to include the milestone repository in our repositories section.

					repositories {
  maven { url 'https://repo.spring.io/milestone' }

When you are using any Spring Boot plugins, you should also change the repositories for plugins in the settings.gradle file.

					pluginManagement {
	repositories {
		maven { url 'https://repo.spring.io/milestone' }

So far so good, let’s see what we get when we build our application.

					Plugin [id: 'org.springframework.experimental.aot', version: '0.11.4'] was not found in any of the following sources:


Experimental? No longer! Since it’s now in Spring Boot 3.0.0 we can get rid of this plugin.

Let’s see where that gets us..

					> Task :compileJava FAILED
error: package org.springframework.nativex.hint does not exist

Alright alright, nothing we can’t handle. When building a Java application and compiling it with GraalVM we often need to play around with some GraalVM settings in the form of some CLI options that we need to pass along.

Previously this could’ve been done by using @NativeHint annotations in your codebase, however this is no longer available in the Spring Boot 3 release.

Luckily we can still modify our GraalVM build command depending on which build method your application uses.

  1. We can compile our application with GraalVM directly into a Docker image by using Paketo.
  2. We can use the Native Build Tools to compile our application into a binary.

Either way there is still a way to provide those necessary build options to GraalVM.


When using Paketo we can add the build options using an environment variable that is used during the build process:

					bootBuildImage {
	builder = 'paketobuildpacks/builder:base'
	environment = [
	   'BP_NATIVE_IMAGE': 'true',
	   'BP_NATIVE_IMAGE_BUILD_ARGUMENTS': '--initialize-at-build-time=ch.qos.logback,org.slf4j.impl.StaticLoggerBinder,org.slf4j.LoggerFactory,org.slf4j.MDC --initialize-at-run-time=io.netty.handler.ssl.BouncyCastleAlpnSslUtils' ]

Native Build Tools

When using the Native Build Tools you can add it by using the NativeImageOptions


6 actionable tasks: 6 executed

One down, one to go! Let’s try building our native image with ./gradlew clean bootBuildImage.

					Successfully built image 'docker.io/library/spring-boot-native-image:0.0.1-SNAPSHOT'

6 actionable tasks: 6 executed

Look at that, we’ve got our Spring Boot 3.0.0-M5 project successfully built into a GraalVM native image! 🎉

That’s all folks 🤘 it was actually pretty easy..

Co-creation begins here

Challenge us!