How do I inject collections using map element in Spring?

In this example you will see how to wire map collections. For this purpose we can use the <map> element in the Spring configuration file. This element declares the java.util.Map. We will reuse the bean that we use in the previous example How do I inject collections using list element in Spring?.

The <map> element can have many <entry> element with the key and value-ref attribute.

Here is the configuration example:

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

    <bean id="song1" class="org.kodejava.example.spring.collection.Song">
        <property name="title" value="I Saw Her Standing There" />
        <property name="writer" value="Beatles" />

    <bean id="song2" class="org.kodejava.example.spring.collection.Song">
        <property name="title" value="Misery" />
        <property name="writer" value="Beatles" />

    <bean id="song3" class="org.kodejava.example.spring.collection.Song">
        <property name="title" value="Anna (Go to Him)" />
        <property name="writer" value="Beatles" />

    <bean id="publisher" class="org.kodejava.example.spring.collection.Publisher">
        <property name="name" value="EMI Studios"/>

    <bean id="album" class="org.kodejava.example.spring.collection.Album">
        <property name="title" value="Please Please Me"/>
        <property name="year" value="1963"/>
        <property name="publisher">
                <entry key="publisher" value-ref="publisher"/>


The <map> element can have many <entry> elements. We can use the key attribute to use a string as its key. If you want the key to be a reference to other bean in the Spring context you can use the key-ref instead.

The value-ref is used to set the value to refer to another bean. If the value is a simple value such as string you can use the value attribute.

To run it create the following program:

package org.kodejava.example.spring.collection;

import org.springframework.context.ApplicationContext;

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

        Album album = (Album) context.getBean("album");
        System.out.println("Album = " + album);

And here what you’ll get on the console:

Album = Album{title='Please Please Me', year=1963, songs=[], publisher={publisher=Publisher{name=EMI Studios}}, props={}}

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