A quick look into Reactive Streams with Spring Data and MongoDB

springjavaspring bootspring datamongomongodbspring data mongodb

This is a short post looking into Reactive Streams and how they can be used with MongoDB and Spring Data. This post won’t go into the depths of what Reactive Programming and Reactive Streams are as there have been plenty of posts covering that recently, such as What are Reactive Streams in Java and Reactive Spring 5 and Application Design Impact. Instead it will simply demonstrate how to use the newer versions (at the time of writing) of Spring Data which come equipped with the features necessary to use Reactive Streams. In this post we will be using MongoDB due to it being one of the few currently available databases with a reactive implementation with Spring Data, the others include (at the time of writing) Cassandra and Redis.

In terms of getting everything setup not much is different to using the non reactive version of MongoDB with Spring Data. The main differences that you will see is the word “reactive” popup into loads of class names such as ReactiveMongoRepository instead of MongoRepository, hopefully… helping you distinguish between them. The other main difference is that instead of returning a document or a list of documents you will now receive a some slightly different objects. In this post we will use Reactor as our Reactive Streaming library meaning that the returned objects are Mono<T> for a singular document and a Flux<T> when multiple documents are being returned. For more information on Flux and Mono from Project Reactor have a look at Intro into Reactor Core.

So lets get started. First things first are the including the relevant projects as dependencies in our code. Below are the maven dependencies required.



    <name>Spring Snapshot Repository</name>

For this tutorial Spring was kind enough to have the spring-boot-starter-data-mongodb-reactive dependency ready made for us that contains everything we need to get going. This includes dependencies such as spring-data-mongodb and reactor-core at the correct versions to allow us to use Reactive Streams. While we’re talking about versioning it is also important to use the newer version of spring-boot-starter-parent which needs to be 2.0.0 or above to include the reactive libraries. As the dependency for this is currently a snapshot the repository need to be defined to retrieve it.

@EnableReactiveMongoRepositories(basePackageClasses = PersonRepository.class)
public class MongoConfig extends AbstractReactiveMongoConfiguration {

  public MongoClient mongoClient() {
    return MongoClients.create();

  protected String getDatabaseName() {
    return "test";

  public ReactiveMongoTemplate reactiveMongoTemplate() {
    return new ReactiveMongoTemplate(mongoClient(), getDatabaseName());

Here we have a @Configuration class that extends AbsractReactiveMongoConfiguration to provide some beans to setup the application to use reactive MongoDB. This class is not required if non reactive spring-data-mongodb code was being used. @EnableReactiveMongoRepositories goes back to what I said earlier in the post, it has taken an existing annotation @EnableMongoRepositories and added the word “reactive” into it. Through the use of this annotation implementations of ReactiveCrudRepository can be used, the above example specifies the PersonRepository (which we will look at later) as it is found in a different package to this configuration class. If you wish to still use a mix and match of reactive and non-reactive repositories you will still need to include the @EnableMongoRepositories annotation. The bean mongoClient calls MongoClients.create() to instantiate a MongoClient with the default connection of mongodb://localhost, settings or a different connection string could be passed in if desired. This client is used along with the database name to create the ReactiveMongoTemplate bean.

public interface PersonRepository extends ReactiveMongoRepository<Person, String> {

  Flux<Person> findByFirstName(final String firstName);

  Mono<Person> findOneByFirstName(final String firstName);

As described in one of my earlier posts Getting started with Spring Data and MongoDB the implementation of PersonRepository is not required as the executed code is inferred from the name of the methods specified on the interface. Again this another example of where the reactive version closely resembles it’s original (MongoRepository in case your wondering). ReactiveMongoRepository inherits from ReactiveCrudRepository allowing the @EnableReactiveMongoRepositories to include it when setting up. As mentioned earlier in this post Mono<Person> and Flux<Person> are returned instead of Person and List<Person> respectively.

Finally to put it all together we need to create the main application and using the CommandLineRunner we can give the code a quick trial run.

public class Application implements CommandLineRunner {

  @Autowired private PersonRepository personRepository;

  public static void main(String args[]) {

  public void run(String args[]) {

    final Person johnAoe = new Person("john", "aoe", LocalDateTime.now(), "loser", 0);
    final Person johnBoe = new Person("john", "boe", LocalDateTime.now(), "a bit of a loser", 10);
    final Person johnCoe = new Person("john", "coe", LocalDateTime.now(), "average", 100);
    final Person johnDoe = new Person("john", "doe", LocalDateTime.now(), "winner", 1000);

    personRepository.saveAll(Flux.just(johnAoe, johnBoe, johnCoe, johnDoe)).subscribe();



Running this piece of code creates some initial data and then retrieves it. log is called to demonstrate what is going on inside the reactive streams and the output of the streams are printed to the console using the subscribe method along with the Method Reference of System.out::println.

2017-07-16 16:44:09.201 INFO 13476 --- [ main] reactor.Flux.OnErrorResume.1 : onSubscribe(FluxOnErrorResume.ResumeSubscriber)
2017-07-16 16:44:09.208 INFO 13476 --- [ main] reactor.Flux.OnErrorResume.1 : request(unbounded)
2017-07-16 16:44:09.242 INFO 13476 --- [ Thread-4] reactor.Flux.OnErrorResume.1 : onNext(Person(firstName=john, secondName=aoe, profession=loser, salary=0))
2017-07-16 16:44:09.243 INFO 13476 --- [ Thread-4] reactor.Flux.OnErrorResume.1 : onNext(Person(firstName=john, secondName=boe, profession=a bit of a loser, salary=10))
2017-07-16 16:44:09.244 INFO 13476 --- [ Thread-4] reactor.Flux.OnErrorResume.1 : onNext(Person(firstName=john, secondName=coe, profession=average, salary=100))
2017-07-16 16:44:09.245 INFO 13476 --- [ Thread-4] reactor.Flux.OnErrorResume.1 : onNext(Person(firstName=john, secondName=doe, profession=winner, salary=1000))
2017-07-16 16:44:09.247 INFO 13476 --- [ Thread-4] reactor.Flux.OnErrorResume.1 : onComplete()
2017-07-16 16:44:09.254 INFO 13476 --- [ main] reactor.Mono.OnErrorResume.2 : onSubscribe(FluxOnErrorResume.ResumeSubscriber)
2017-07-16 16:44:09.255 INFO 13476 --- [ main] reactor.Mono.OnErrorResume.2 : request(unbounded)
2017-07-16 16:44:09.260 INFO 13476 --- [ Thread-4] reactor.Mono.OnErrorResume.2 : onNext(Person(firstName=john, secondName=aoe, profession=loser, salary=0))
2017-07-16 16:44:09.260 INFO 13476 --- [ Thread-4] reactor.Mono.OnErrorResume.2 : onComplete()

Hopefully you can get the gist of what is going on by looking in the console output, although if you reading this from my personal blog it might look like gibberish and I cannot for the life of me get it to display properly… In case you cannot read it or simply want clarification, onSubscribe is output due to calling subscribe onto one of the Reactive Streams triggering a request to retrieve elements from the stream and for each element onNext is called, finally after the last element is received onComplete is called. Stuck in between these log messages are the print lines that were output from the subscribe method.

In conclusion getting up a running using Reactive Streams with Spring Data and MongoDB is no harder than using their non reactive counterparts. All we need to do is add a small amount of extra configuration and insert the word “reactive” into a few class and interface names and use the Flux and Mono types (from Reactor) instead of directly returning a list or object.

The code used in this post can be found on my GitHub.

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Written by Dan Newton