Spring - Understanding the correct use of Declarative Transaction

[Updated: Nov 16, 2018, Created: Nov 16, 2018]

To use Spring declarative transaction we need to use @EnableTransactionManagement on the configuration class and @Transactional annotation on the classes/methods where we want to enable the transaction, but that is not enough to enable Spring's declarative transactions correctly.

Spring's declarative transaction is enabled with AOP proxies so when calling a bean method we have to make sure that the call goes through the proxy. Assuming we are using a Spring managed bean which is not annotated with @Transactional itself, calling its method (say A) which is also not annotated with @Transactional will not be in a transaction. Now if this method calls another method B (in the same bean class) which is annotated with @Transactional, will still not enable transaction in B, that's because bean first call is not made via its transactional AOP proxy.



public class AppConfig {

  public DataSource h2DataSource() {
      return new EmbeddedDatabaseBuilder()

  public PlatformTransactionManager transactionManager() {
      DataSourceTransactionManager transactionManager = new DataSourceTransactionManager();
      return transactionManager;

Example Service bean

In following bean we are going to use TransactionAspectSupport which is a way to know whether transaction within a method is enabled or not.

public class MyServiceBean {

  public void doSomething(){

  public void doSomething2(){

  public void doSomething3() {
      TransactionStatus status=null;
      try {
         status = TransactionAspectSupport.currentTransactionStatus();
      } catch (NoTransactionException e) {
      System.out.println(status!=null? "active transaction": "no transaction");


Main class

public class ExampleMain {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
      AnnotationConfigApplicationContext context =
              new AnnotationConfigApplicationContext(AppConfig.class);

      MyServiceBean bean = context.getBean(MyServiceBean.class);
      System.out.println("-- calling doSomething() --");
      System.out.println("-- calling doSomething2() --");
      System.out.println("-- calling doSomething3() --");
-- calling doSomething() --
no transaction
-- calling doSomething2() --
active transaction
-- calling doSomething3() --
active transaction

Example Project

Dependencies and Technologies Used:

  • spring-context 5.1.2.RELEASE: Spring Context.
  • spring-jdbc 5.1.2.RELEASE: Spring JDBC.
  • h2 1.4.197: H2 Database Engine.
  • JDK 1.8
  • Maven 3.5.4

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