How to use Spring Boot for Serverless Computing

Serverless Computing is a relative new technology which allows developers to build event driven code which scales and for which you only pay the time it’s running. OpenWhisk is IBM’s serverless computing offering hosted on Bluemix.

With OpenWhisk developers can implement actions via JavaScript, Swift and Docker. Via Docker other programming languages like Java can be used. This article describes how you can use Spring Boot to develop an action, how to build a Docker image and how to register and trigger the serverless action.

As starting point I’m using the simple REST sample from the Spring website Building a RESTful Web Service. Follow the tutorial to set up this sample in less than 15 minutes.

In order to read the input parameters that are passed in to the action I created a class OpenWhiskRequestBody.

public class OpenWhiskRequestBody {
   private String authKey;
   private Greeting value;
   public String getAuthKey() {
      return authKey;
   public void setAuthKey(String authKey) {
      this.authKey = authKey;
   public Greeting getValue() {
      return value;
   public void setValue(Greeting value) {
      this.value = value;

Next I modified slightly. I changed the path to ‘run’ and added some code to read and return data.

public class GreetingController {
   private static final String template = "Hello, %s!";
   private final AtomicLong counter = new AtomicLong();
   @RequestMapping(method=RequestMethod.POST, path="/run", produces={"application/json"})
   public Greeting greeting(@RequestBody OpenWhiskRequestBody request) {
      return new Greeting(counter.incrementAndGet(), 
         String.format(template, request.getValue().getContent()));
   @RequestMapping(method=RequestMethod.POST, path="/init", produces={"application/json"})
   public ResponseEntity init() {
      return ResponseEntity.ok("{}");

Here is the Dockerfile.

FROM java:8
ADD target/gs-rest-service-0.1.0.jar app.jar
RUN bash -c 'touch /app.jar'
ENTRYPOINT ["java","","-jar","/app.jar"]

Invoke these commands to run the code. At this point images need to be pushed to DockerHub.

mvn package
docker build -t nheidloff/open-whisk-docker-spring .
docker push nheidloff/open-whisk-docker-spring
wsk action create --docker docker-spring nheidloff/open-whisk-docker-spring
wsk action invoke --blocking --result docker-spring --param name niklas

Here is the output of the action in the dashboard.