How do I access Map element using Spring EL?

In the previous example, How do I access collections members using Spring EL?, you have seen how to access a member of a collection using Spring EL square-braces [] operator. In this post you will learn how to use the same operator to access an element of a Map object.

For demonstration we will use the same Book class in the previous example to create the bean. The class without the corresponding getters and setters is as follow:

package org.kodejava.example.spring.model;

public class Book {
    private Long id;
    private String title;
    private String author;
    private String type;

    // Getters & Setters

Next, let’s create the spring configuration file. In this configuration file we create a map using the <util:map> with the map id of books and add some key-value pair entries in the map.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns=""

    <util:map id="books">
        <entry key="0-201-61622-X" value="The Pragmatic Programmer"/>
        <entry key="978-1-934356-56-2" value="Hello, Android"/>
        <entry key="978-1-933988-69-6" value="Secret of The JavaScript Ninja"/>
        <entry key="978-1-449-37017-6" value="Java EE 7 Essentials"/>
        <entry key="9781935182962" value="Spring Roo in Action"/>

    <bean id="book1" class="org.kodejava.example.spring.model.Book"
    <bean id="book2" class="org.kodejava.example.spring.model.Book"

After defining the map you can see how we access an element of the map. We use the square-braces operator [], we use the same operator as we are accessing a collection member. But instead of passing the index to the operator we pass the key of the map element that we are going to read.

<bean id="book2" class="org.kodejava.example.spring.model.Book"

Finally to run the configuration you’ll need to create the following class:

package org.kodejava.example.spring;

import org.kodejava.example.spring.model.Book;
import org.springframework.context.ApplicationContext;

public class SpELMapExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        ApplicationContext context =
                new ClassPathXmlApplicationContext("spel-map.xml");

        Book book1 = (Book) context.getBean("book1");
        Book book2 = (Book) context.getBean("book2");

        System.out.println("book1.getTitle() = " + book1.getTitle());
        System.out.println("book2.getTitle() = " + book2.getTitle());

And example of output produced by this code can be seen below:

INFO: Loading XML bean definitions from class path resource [spel-map.xml]
book1.getTitle() = Spring Roo in Action
book2.getTitle() = Secret of The JavaScript Ninja

Wayan Saryada

A programmer, runner, recreational diver, currently living in the island of Bali, Indonesia. Mostly programming in Java, creating web based application with Spring Framework, JPA, etc. If you need help on Java programming you can hire me on Fiverr.

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