ProxyFactory and ProxyFactoryBean in Spring


Spring provides many easy to use abstractions and you use many of them without even knowing about them. You probably know that in order to have @Transactional or @Cacheable annotation work spring creates proxies for you (sometimes proxies on top of proxies…​), but have you ever wondered how it’s happening under the hood?


Creation of object proxies is a cumbersome task. One has to decide if the proxy should be created using native java mechanisms (JdkProxy available only on interfaces) or using cglib and it’s complicated interfaces. You might be unaware of what’s happening under the hood but sometimes it’s good to know how to do it yourself because you might want to create proxy by yourself or maybe you are just interested :) There is a couple of ways for proxy object creation.

  • Native java proxies with its implementation details (proxy possible on interfaces only not on concrete classes)

  • Cglib proxies with complex creation flow and logic

  • Bytbuddy with much more user-friendly interfaces but not adopted in spring framework

  • Probably many others

Spring is providing many abstractions. As it provides AOP facilities it has abstraction over proxy creation. ProxyFactory allows to create proxies in declarative and user-friendly manner. For simple proxy creation, we can use ProxyFactory and when you want to create bean from it you can use ProxyFactoryBean which is actually BeanFactory which creates proxies using ProxyFactory.


Since ProxyFactoryBean is basically FactoryBean let’s focus on ProxyFactory and how it can be used. First of all defining, all the interfaces proxy should implement.

public void proxy_implements_interfaces() {
    ProxyFactory pf = new ProxyFactory();
    pf.setInterfaces(Interface.class, OtherInterface.class);
    pf.addAdvice((MethodInterceptor) invocation -> null);

    Object result = pf.getProxy();


Now let’s add some handlers that will add behavior to the proxy:

public void handler_does_work() {
    ProxyFactory pf = new ProxyFactory();
    pf.setInterfaces(Interface.class, OtherInterface.class);
    pf.addAdvice((MethodInterceptor) invocation -> {
        switch (invocation.getMethod().getName()) {
            case "doWork":
                return "processed " + invocation.getArguments()[0];
            case "process":
                return (int) invocation.getArguments()[0] + 2;
                return invocation.proceed();

    Object result = pf.getProxy();

    assertThat(((Interface)result).doWork(2)).isEqualTo("processed 2");
    assertThat(((OtherInterface) result).process(2)).isEqualTo(4);


Until now all of the things have been implemented using simple Java-based proxies. If you want to create proxy out of concrete class implementation spring will automatically switch to cglib and objenesis (interesting project). Let’s create a proxy for some concrete class implementation.

public void proxy_of_concrete_class_is_created() {
    ProxyFactory pf = new ProxyFactory();
    pf.addAdvice((MethodInterceptor) invocation -> "concreteWork".equals(invocation.getMethod().getName())
            ? "magic"
            : invocation.proceed());

    Object result = pf.getProxy();

    assertThat(((ConcreteClass) result).concreteWork(123)).isEqualTo("magic");

Once the proxy is created we can easily detect if proxy created using spring abstraction is actually a proxy (can be used for other objects as well) using AopUtils helper class:

public void detects_when_object_is_proxy() {
    ProxyFactory jdkProxyFactory = new ProxyFactory();
    jdkProxyFactory.setInterfaces(Interface.class, OtherInterface.class);
    jdkProxyFactory.addAdvice((MethodInterceptor) invocation -> null);

    ProxyFactory cglibProxyFactory = new ProxyFactory();

    Object jdkProxy = jdkProxyFactory.getProxy();
    Object cglibProxy = cglibProxyFactory.getProxy();

    assertThat(AopUtils.isAopProxy(new Object())).isFalse();




Proxy creation when you have spring on the classpath is a pretty simple task and can be easily achieved. Creating those objects using native mechanism can be a troublesome task and you’ll have to write much more code to achieve things that spring abstractions provide in just a couple of methods and few interfaces. You might not want to use it very often but when you do you’ll know how to do it.

As always sample code can be found on my github.

13 Jun 2019 #spring #java