Spring MVC: Database MessageSource fall back to properties file

For an high dynamic application I need to allow users (admin users) to update some translation messages without having to redeploy application any time (for example, some messages about operation to accomplished change almost any week). To allow this with the framework I'm using (Spring MVC) I decided to change the Message Resource politics, adding a database driven in priority to the "standard" properties file messages.

In your application context (i.e. root-context.xml) you have to configure the two message resource beans:

<bean id="propertiesMessageSource" class="org.springframework.context.support.ReloadableResourceBundleMessageSource">
        <property name="basename" value="/WEB-INF/messages/messages"/>
        <property name="defaultEncoding" value="UTF-8"/>
        <property name="cacheSeconds" value="0"/>
        <property name="fallbackToSystemLocale" value="false"/>

    <bean id="messageSource" class="net.mornati.DatabaseDrivenMessageSource">
        <constructor-arg ref="messageResourceService"/>
        <property name="parentMessageSource" ref="propertiesMessageSource"/>

The propertiesMessageSource is the one using the properties file with translated message, the messageSource (the one used by default for the Spring MVC framework) just inject the service to load messages from database and set the propertiesMessageSource has a parent (the fallback message source).

package net.mornati.configuration;

import net.mornati.model.MessageResource; import net.mornati.service.MessageResourceService; import org.apache.log4j.Logger; import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired; import org.springframework.context.ResourceLoaderAware; import org.springframework.context.support.AbstractMessageSource; import org.springframework.core.io.DefaultResourceLoader; import org.springframework.core.io.ResourceLoader;

import java.text.MessageFormat; import java.util.HashMap; import java.util.List; import java.util.Locale; import java.util.Map;

public class DatabaseDrivenMessageSource extends AbstractMessageSource implements ResourceLoaderAware {

private Logger log = Logger.getLogger(getClass());
private ResourceLoader resourceLoader;

private final Map<String, Map<String, String>> properties = new HashMap<String, Map<String, String>>();

private MessageResourceService messageResourceService;

public DatabaseDrivenMessageSource() {

public DatabaseDrivenMessageSource(MessageResourceService messageResourceService) {
    this.messageResourceService = messageResourceService;

protected MessageFormat resolveCode(String code, Locale locale) {
    String msg = getText(code, locale);
    MessageFormat result = createMessageFormat(msg, locale);
    return result;

protected String resolveCodeWithoutArguments(String code, Locale locale) {
    return getText(code, locale);

private String getText(String code, Locale locale) {
    Map&lt;String, String&gt; localized = properties.get(code);
    String textForCurrentLanguage = null;
    if (localized != null) {
        textForCurrentLanguage = localized.get(locale.getLanguage());
        if (textForCurrentLanguage == null) {
            textForCurrentLanguage = localized.get(Locale.FRANCE.getLanguage());
    if (textForCurrentLanguage==null) {
        //Check parent message
        logger.debug("Fallback to properties message");
        try {
            textForCurrentLanguage = getParentMessageSource().getMessage(code, null, locale);
        } catch (Exception e) {
            logger.error("Cannot find message with code: " + code);
    return textForCurrentLanguage != null ? textForCurrentLanguage : code;

public void reload() {

protected Map&lt;String, Map&lt;String, String&gt;&gt; loadTexts() {
    Map&lt;String, Map&lt;String, String&gt;&gt; m = new HashMap&lt;String, Map&lt;String, String&gt;&gt;();
    List&lt;MessageResource&gt; texts = messageResourceService.loadAllMessages();
    for (MessageResource text : texts) {
        Map&lt;String, String&gt; v = new HashMap&lt;String, String&gt;();
        v.put("en", text.getEnglish());
        v.put("de", text.getGerman());
        v.put("fr", text.getFrench());
        v.put("en_US", text.getAmerican());
        m.put(text.getMessageKey(), v);
    return m;

public void setResourceLoader(ResourceLoader resourceLoader) {
    this.resourceLoader = (resourceLoader != null ? resourceLoader : new DefaultResourceLoader());


In this class you will load all messages from database during the class instantiation (with the reload method) and then you can simply access to your cached messages.

If user changes/adds messages to database with the application started, you can simply invoke the reload method, with something like this:

private void reloadDatabaseMessages() {
        //Reload Messages
        if (messageSource instanceof DatabaseDrivenMessageSource) {
        } else if (messageSource instanceof DelegatingMessageSource) {
            DelegatingMessageSource myMessage = ((DelegatingMessageSource)messageSource);
            if (myMessage.getParentMessageSource()!=null && myMessage.getParentMessageSource() instanceof DatabaseDrivenMessageSource) {
                ((DatabaseDrivenMessageSource) myMessage.getParentMessageSource()).reload();
In the end, you can configure your database model as you prefer (depends about the information you need to store). In my exampe I created a simple class with the message code (the same you have in the properties files) and messages for any supported language.

package net.mornati.model;

import org.hibernate.envers.Audited; import org.hibernate.envers.RelationTargetAuditMode;

import javax.persistence.*; import java.io.Serializable;


  • MessageResource for DatabaseDriven Messages */ @Entity @Table(name = "message_resource") @Audited(targetAuditMode = RelationTargetAuditMode.NOT_AUDITED) public class MessageResource implements Serializable {

    private Long id; private String messageKey; private String french; private String english; private String german; private String american;

    public MessageResource() { }

    @Id @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.AUTO) @Column(name = "id") public Long getId() {

     return id;


    public void setId(Long id) {

     this.id = id;


    @Column(name = "messageKey", nullable = false) public String getMessageKey() {

     return messageKey;


    public void setMessageKey(String messageKey) {

     this.messageKey = messageKey;


    @Column(name = "fr", nullable = true) public String getFrench() {

     return french;


    public void setFrench(String french) {

     this.french = french;


    @Column(name = "en", nullable = true) public String getEnglish() {

     return english;


    public void setEnglish(String english) {

     this.english = english;


    @Column(name = "de", nullable = true) public String getGerman() {

     return german;


    public void setGerman(String german) {

     this.german = german;


    @Column(name = "us", nullable = true) public String getAmerican() {

     return american;


    public void setAmerican(String american) {

     this.american = american;


    @Override public boolean equals(Object o) {

     if (this == o) return true;
     if (o == null || getClass() != o.getClass()) return false;
     MessageResource that = (MessageResource) o;
     if (messageKey != null ? !messageKey.equals(that.messageKey) : that.messageKey != null) return false;
     return true;


    @Override public int hashCode() {

     return messageKey != null ? messageKey.hashCode() : 0;

    } }

That's all. You should have now an application that will try to load messages using the database message resource (not executing a query anytime, but reading the cached messages) and if message is not found in db it will try to look for it into property file. In this way you ca create a page that allow you to override messages without restarting the application/web server.