The Spring Framework is an application framework and inversion of control container for the Java platform. The framework's core features can be used by any Java application, but there are extensions for building web applications on top of the Java EE platform.Although the framework does not impose any specific programming model, it has become popular in the Java community as an addition to, or even replacement for the Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) model.

The Spring Framework is open source.The first version was written by Rod Johnson, who released the framework with the publication of his book Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development in October 2002. The framework was first released under the Apache 2.0 license in June 2003. The first milestone release, 1.0, was released in March 2004 with further milestone releases in September 2004 and March 2005.

The Spring 1.2.6 framework won a Jolt productivity award and a JAX (Java API for XML) Innovation Award in 2006. Spring 2.0 was released in October 2006, Spring 2.5 in November 2007, Spring 3.0 in December 2009, Spring 3.1 in December 2011, and Spring 3.2.5 in November 2013. Spring Framework 4.0 was released in December 2013.

Notable improvements in Spring 4.0 included support for Java SE (Standard Edition) 8, Groovy 2, some aspects of Java EE 7, and WebSocket. Spring Framework 4.2.0 was released on 31 July 2015 and was immediately upgraded to version 4.2.1, which was released on 01 Sept 2015. It is "compatible with Java 6, 7 and 8, with a focus on core refinements and modern web capabilities".