ReST service with Authentication, Spring Data and MongoDB

June 25, 2015

This post shows how to build a very simple ReST service secured by basic authentication. It is backed by MongoDB and uses Spring Data for database access.

The test program exposes a ReST service to maintain Person data. It can do CRUD as well as some specific search operations. We’re going to use the following technologies for that:

  • Gradle for building
  • Docker to run MongoDB
  • Spring Boot to make things very simple
  • Spring Web to expose ReST service
  • Spring Security to secure the same using basic authentication
  • Spring Data for database access

Build script

First things first, the build script.

group 'mr.f'
version '1.0'

buildscript {
    repositories { mavenCentral() }
    dependencies {
        classpath 'org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-gradle-plugin:1.2.4.RELEASE'

apply plugin: 'groovy'
apply plugin: 'spring-boot'

repositories {

dependencies {
    compile 'org.codehaus.groovy:groovy-all:2.3.11'
    compile 'org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-web'
    compile 'org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-security'
    compile 'org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-data-mongodb'

    testCompile group: 'junit', name: 'junit', version: '4.11'

task wrapper(type: Wrapper) {
    gradleVersion = '2.4'

Nothing spectacular here. It’s the basic setup of a spring-boot build script with some dependencies.


Now let’s get our database up and running. Thanks to Docker that’s a piece of cake.

docker run -p 27017:27017 mongo

Official MongoDB image is started and default port is exposed. I’m running Docker on a Mac with boot2docker. The host is therefore not localhost and Spring Boot needs to know that. An application.yml file is required with following content

Replace the IP with whatever your boot2docker IP is. If MongoDB is accessible using localhost, then you don’t need this file.

Domain objects

As mentioned in the introduction, the service should manage Person objects. To make things a little more interesting, a reference to an Address object is added. I used it to test how MongoDB and Spring Data handle references.

@ToString(includeNames = true)
class Person {
    String id

    String firstName
    String lastName

    Address address
@ToString(includeNames = true)
class Address {
    String planet

Having only planet in Address seems to be a very broad scope, but to cite my favorite author

Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space. (Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

So why add a city or even a street.

Database Layer

As mentioned earlier, Spring Boot is used for database access. The concept is simple and great: define an interface and follow naming conventions for method names. Spring Boot takes care of the rest.

interface PersonRepository extends MongoRepository<Person, String> {
    Person findByFirstName(String firstName)
    List<Person> findByLastName(String lastName)
    List<Person> findByAddressPlanet(String planet)

PersonRepository interface extends MongoRepository which adds all CRUD methods. We just have to add methods for specific search operations. Last part of findByFirstName and findByLastName refer to properties in Person class. Spring Boot also determines if we want a single Person object or a list of it.

Method findByAddressPlanet adds some more magic. It looks into the address property of Person and uses its planet property for comparison. Yes, Spring Boot even follows references to other objects and you still only use method naming conventions.

Adding security

All ReST service methods should require authentication. A new configuration class is required for that, extending WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter and with annotations @EnableWebSecurity and @EnableGlobalMethodSecurity(prePostEnabled = true).

@EnableGlobalMethodSecurity(prePostEnabled = true)
class SecurityConfig extends WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter {
    protected void configure(HttpSecurity http) throws Exception {

    public void configureGlobal(AuthenticationManagerBuilder auth) throws Exception {
                .withUser("admin").password("pwd").roles("ADMIN", "USER")

Method configure ensures that all requests are secured and that basic authentication is used.

Valid users and password are kept in memory and are configured in configureGlobal method. In a real-world application you would of course use something else here like database, LDAP or OAuth.

ReST service

Next step is to encapsulate PersonRepository by a ReST service.

class PersonController {
    private PersonRepository repository

    @RequestMapping(value = "/{id}", method = RequestMethod.GET)
    Person getPersonById(@PathVariable String id) {"getPersonById with parameter $id")

    @RequestMapping(method = RequestMethod.GET)
    List<Person> getAllPersons() {"getAllPersons()")

    @RequestMapping(method = RequestMethod.POST)
    Person createPerson(@RequestBody Person newPerson) {"createPerson with parameter $newPerson") = null

    @RequestMapping(value = "/{id}", method = RequestMethod.PUT)
    Person updatePerson(@PathVariable String id, @RequestBody Person updatedPerson) {"updatePerson with parameter $id and $updatedPerson") = id

    @RequestMapping(value = "/{id}", method = RequestMethod.DELETE)
    Person removePerson(@PathVariable String id) {"removePerson with parameter $id")

    @RequestMapping(value = "/search/byFirstName/{firstName}", method = RequestMethod.GET)
    Person getPersonByFirstName(@PathVariable String firstName) {"getPersonByFirstName with parameter $firstName")

Looks like much, but it really isn’t. There’s one small wrapper per CRUD operation. Depending on the request method, we either list, find, create, update or delete Person objects and forward the call to PersonRepository.

Method getPersonByFirstName is a wrapper for one of our search operations.

Note how we are using @PreAuthorize annotation to require ADMIN roles for write operations, but also allow USER role to call read methods.

Application entry point

Enough talk. Let’s run the application. Only two things left, main method and test data. And here it is…

class Application {
    private PersonRepository repository

    static void main(String[] args) {, args)

    void init() {

        Person arthur = new Person(firstName: 'Arthur', lastName: 'Dent', address: new Address(planet: 'Earth'))
        Person trillian = new Person(firstName: 'Trillian', lastName: 'McMillan', address: new Address(planet: 'Earth'))
        Person ford = new Person(firstName: 'Ford', lastName: 'Prefect', address: new Address(planet: 'Betelgeuse 5'))"Setting up test data")

        println "### findAll() ###"
        repository.findAll().each { println it }
        println ""

        println "### findByFirstName(Arthur) ###"
        println repository.findByFirstName("Arthur")
        println ""

        println "### findByAddressPlanet(Earth) ###"
        repository.findByAddressPlanet("Earth").each { println it }
        println ""

If you’ve seen a Spring Boot application before, then main method will look familiar. Note that PersonRepository can be autowired, though we haven’t added any special annotation to it. Another piece of Spring Boot magic.

The init method first resets test database, adds some test data and runs a few queries.

Test run

The application is started with

gradle bootRun

and listens then on port 8080. To get a list of all person objects in database, following curl command can be used

curl admin:pwd@localhost:8080/persons

Let’s say, id of one object is 558883595ca419a113ee1440, then you get the specific person with

curl admin:pwd@localhost:8080/persons/558883595ca419a113ee1440

And so on…


We created a CRUD ReST service that is backed by a database in only a few lines of code. Thanks to Spring Boot and Docker, we could really concentrate on logic and glue code was not required.

With Spring Boot and MongoDB, we did not even have to configure an OR-mapping.

The only class where some reusable componant seems to be possible is PersonController, because same set of operations could be resued for several domain objects. On the other hand, real-world applications are usually not just delegating to Respository objects, but instead start some kind of object-specific workflow.


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