Spring - Lookup method Injection using @Lookup

[Last Updated: Aug 28, 2018]

Spring lookup method injection is the process of dynamically overriding a registered bean method.

The bean method should be annotated with @Lookup.

Spring returns the lookup result matched by the method's return type.

public class MySingletonBean {

    public void showMessage(){
        MyPrototypeBean bean = getPrototypeBean();
        //each time getPrototypeBean() call
        //will return new instance

    public MyPrototypeBean getPrototypeBean(){
        //spring will override this method
        return null;

In above example the method getPrototypeBean is returning null. That doesn't matter, because this method will actually be overridden by spring dynamically. Spring uses CGLIB library to do so.

The dynamically generated code will look for the target bean in the application context. Something like this:


    public MyPrototypeBean getPrototypeBean(){
      return applicationContext.getBean(MyPrototypeBean.class);

This is the one of the solution for a prototype bean being injected in singleton bean, as described in the previous topics.

For dynamic code generation to work, we have to follow these conditions on the bean class :

  1. The bean class cannot be final.
  2. The method annotated with @Lookup, cannot be private , static or final
  3. The factory approach of JavaConfig doesn't work i.e. a factory method annotated with @Bean and returning a manually created instance of the bean doesn't work. Since the container is not in charge of creating the instance, therefore it cannot create a runtime-generated subclass on the fly. So we have to use component scanning approach as described here


We are going to modify the previous example to demonstrate the method look up approach.

Dependencies and Technologies Used:

  • Spring Context 4.2.4.RELEASE: Spring Context.
  • JDK 1.8
  • Maven 3.0.4

Lookup Method Example Select All Download
  • lookup-method-example
    • src
      • main
        • java
          • com
            • logicbig
              • example

    See Also