Introducing Spring Application Advisor: Revolutionizing Application Management

May 29, 2024 Michelle Sebek

In the fast-paced and dynamic sphere of software development, the one constant is change. Yet, each new stride in technology presents a unique set of challenges, and one of the most critical facets of this change cycle is the technical debt associated with modernization and application upgrades. Upgrading applications to newer versions, especially when they are pivotal to enterprise ecosystems, is both an art and a science that demands precision, foresight, and continuous effort.

Tanzu Spring, VMware's extensive platform for modernizing applications, has stepped forward with a ground-breaking offering to streamline this task. Spring Application Advisor is not just a feature; it's a philosophy that empowers enterprises to cultivate an organic, continuous upgrade culture. In this in-depth exploration of Spring Application Advisor, we'll unravel its multifaceted approach and underscore what makes it the keystone of integrated, Agile-influenced development in today’s digital landscape.

Interested in evaluating Spring Application Advisor, now available in BETA? Follow our detailed instructions to install and upgrade your Spring Applications seamlessly. 

Spring Application Advisor Unmasked

Central to the Spring Application Advisor's appeal is its blend of automation, scalability, and insight. It is a proactive companion, designed to guide enterprises in navigating the complexities that arise when updating their Spring projects and harmonizing with Tanzu and cloud environments. Spring Application Advisor extends a helping hand from the beginning of the portfolio assessment, leading the way through each step of the upgrade process.

But how does it function in the context of real-world application portfolios? It does so by merging with the day-to-day workflow, offering upgrade advisories of static code analysis and a pathway to follow, one pull request at a time.

The Spring Application Advisor simplifies the once cumbersome task of application upgrades. This tool smartly integrates with developers' workflows, providing detailed upgrade advice through static code analysis. Imagine having a roadmap that not only directs you through each update but does so with precision, avoiding CI/CD build errors, reducing the guesswork and manual labor traditionally involved. The provision of pull requests for the Spring projects that need to be upgraded together is a testament to the tool's commitment to making developers' lives easier. By tackling the daunting challenge of dependency management head-on, Spring Application Advisor ensures a smoother, more harmonious upgrade process, effectively minimizing the common hurdles of dependency conflicts. This approach not only enhances the efficiency of software development but also contributes to the creation of more robust and reliable applications.

The Art and Science of Continuous Upgrades

Spring Application Advisor recognizes the risks of leaving applications in outdated versions, posing a dual threat.— they compromise security by falling out of the support window and render enterprises inflexible when seeking to harness new technology.

To address this, Spring Application Advisor's continuous upgrade functionality is twofold. It shepherds applications through the incremental upgrade of its Spring repositories, guiding enterprises to maintain a portfolio that is not only compliant with open-source software and long-term support timelines but also infused with the latest enhancements in Spring tech and security protocols.

A Closer Look at Spring Application Advisor

Spring Application Advisor aims to minimize the complexities involved in application migration, particularly while moving to Spring Boot 3+ and integrating with Tanzu and cloud infrastructures. It offers automated guidance throughout the upgrade process, beginning with portfolio assessment and continuing through each upgrade step.

By integrating directly into daily workflows, Spring Application Advisor provides actionable advice through static code analysis and outlines clear steps for improvement, one pull request at a time.

Addressing Upgrade Challenges Head-On

One significant challenge in software development is managing the lifecycle of applications to avoid security vulnerabilities and adapt to new technologies. Spring Application Advisor tackles this by promoting gradual, consistent updates across Spring repositories. This approach helps organizations keep their application portfolios secure and up-to-date, aligning with open-source software standards and long-term support commitments while incorporating the latest Spring technology advancements.

​​Bridging the Gap Between Dependabot and OpenRewrite

One of the most frequently asked questions we encounter is, "How does Spring Application Advisor differ from Dependabot or OpenRewrite?" To address this, it's crucial to understand that Spring Application Advisor embodies the best of both worlds, yet goes a step further to serve an even more comprehensive solution.

While Dependabot focuses on continuous and incremental dependency updates and OpenRewrite offers code-modification capabilities, Spring Application Advisor integrates these functionalities seamlessly. But what sets it apart is how it simplifies the complex nature of OpenRewrite for the end-user. Developers do not need to discover, integrate and test OpenRewrite recipes, they just need to focus on reviewing pull requests. By automating not just the detection of outdated dependencies but also the updating of Java APIs, we ensure that the migration process isn’t just about changing version numbers. It's a holistic upgrade that touches every layer of the application code.

This method not only simplifies the complexities but also ensures accuracy in outcomes. Going further, the Spring Application Advisor presents carefully prepared pull requests.  These are complete, actionable strategies that address dependency management and code alignment with the latest Java APIs.

Fostering an Environment for Continuous Improvement

While the idea of a "culture" of continuous improvement might seem abstract in a tech context, it's vital for sustaining innovation and efficiency. Spring Application Advisor demystifies the upgrade process, breaking it into manageable parts. This enables developers at all levels to contribute to and benefit from a practice of regular updates, supporting an environment where continuous improvement is not just possible but encouraged.

In a technology landscape where the pace of innovation can easily dwarf an enterprise's efforts, Spring Application Advisor stands out as a mentor, encouraging every team member to maintain the application repository's health in an ongoing, collective spirit.

The Developer Journey with Spring Application Advisor

Developers are at the forefront of the application modernization battle, and Spring Application Advisor has been crafted with the developer experience firmly in focus. It not only assists in the static code analysis and upgrade advisories but also serves as a facilitator in deploying the best practices and latest advancements that Spring has to offer.

The onboarding process for developers is designed to integrate with existing workflows and tools, ensuring that the Spring Application Advisor quickly becomes a seamless aspect of the development lifecycle. An intuitive CLI integration and detailed analytics in the Tanzu platform will provide developers with a 360-degree view of their repositories, fostering an environment of continual learning, improvement, and alignment with enterprise strategies.

Platform Engineers at the Helm

For platform engineers, overseeing the maintenance and upliftment of application repositories has perennially been a balancing act between stability and innovation. Spring Application Advisor guides this delicate dance, arming platform engineers with holistic and granular insights.

The platform engineer gains a real-time understanding of the upgrade status across all repositories through sophisticated integrations and comprehensive dashboards. This visibility is not just valuable; it is a catalyst for informed decision-making, ensuring that the portfolio upgrades align with the enterprise's broader goals and timelines.

Cultural Shifts and Technological Growth

The integration of Spring Application Advisor into an organization's technology adoption life cycle represents more than a digital transformation; it embodies a cultural shift toward continuous improvement. Enterprises are at a crossroads where stagnation poses a greater risk than bold, iterative modernization initiatives.

By championing a culture underpinned by Agile development, security, and cloud-native growth principles, Spring Application Advisor becomes more than a feature; it becomes the symbol of a new era in software development — an era punctuated by empowerment and controlled evolution.

Insider’s Perspective

The true measure of any technological advancement lies in the narratives of those who have experienced it firsthand. Real-world stories, shared by the community, stand as testimonies to the value that Spring Application Advisor can inject into an organization's digital fabric.

From diverse deployments across industry verticals to the unique transformation journeys it has catalyzed, the community's reception will serve as the ultimate litmus test for Spring Application Advisor. User feedback and expertise converge to refine and reinforce the platform's functionality, steering it toward a future of even greater utility and innovation.


Tanzu Spring Application Advisor is not merely a tool for application management; it bridges the gap between technological novelty and operational challenge, equipping enterprises to evolve with grace, resilience, and agility.

In a world where adaptability is key, Spring Application Advisor is a valuable companion. It navigates the tech landscape, guides through the cloud, and leads the way through change. It embodies innovation, progress, and community - the core values of Tanzu Spring and helps to supercharge our Tanzu Platform.


About the Author

Michelle Sebek

Michelle is a global product line marketing engineer for all things Spring. An accidental technologist who started with selling caller ID, she has worked in and around marketing and sales for a few decades launching new products, working with B2C, B2D, and B2B. Her first line of code was a few years back and she has been working with developers ever since. Michelle lives in the Pittsburgh region with her husband and two children. She loves to cook, entertain, lodge, travel, and binge-watch really bad TV. If you make her laugh, she will be your number one fan.

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