Configuration with Apache Commons

The Commons Configuration software library provides a generic configuration interface which enables a Java application to read configuration data from a variety of sources. Go here for more information about Apache Commons

In this post I will show you how to read a properties file using Apache commons. First we need to create a Java basic project this time using lazybones.

lazybones create java-basic properties-apache-commons

Previous command will create this structure

      +- src
          +- main
          |     |
          |     +- java
          +- test
          |   |
          |   +- java

Edit your build.gradle file to create a make a Jar task and add Apache commons dependencies.

apply plugin: "java"
apply plugin: "application"

version = '0.0.1'

task buildJar(type: Jar) {
  manifest {
    attributes 'Implementation-Title': 'Reading properties files with Apache Configuration',
    'Implementation-Version': version,
    'Main-Class': 'example.ConfigurationLauncher'
  baseName = project.name + '-all'
  from { configurations.compile.collect { it.isDirectory() ? it : zipTree(it) } }
  with jar

repositories {

dependencies {
  compile 'org.apache.commons:commons-configuration2:2.0'
  compile 'commons-beanutils:commons-beanutils:1.9.3'

Then define Java classes under project-dir/src/main/java/example/

The easiest way to read configuration is via the Configurations helper class. This class offers a bunch of convenience methods for creating configuration objects from different sources. For reading a properties file the code looks as follows:


package example;

import java.io.File;

import org.apache.commons.configuration2.Configuration;
import org.apache.commons.configuration2.builder.fluent.Configurations;
import org.apache.commons.configuration2.ex.ConfigurationException;

public class ConfigurationLauncher {

  private void readProperties(){
    Configurations configs = new Configurations();
      Configuration config = configs.properties(new File("configuration.properties"));
      String username = config.getString("username");
      String password = config.getString("password");
      System.out.println("{username:" + username + ",password:"+ password + "}");
    catch (ConfigurationException cex) {
      System.out.println("Error: " + cex.getMessage());

  public static void main(String[] args){
    new ConfigurationLauncher().readProperties();


Configuration information is frequently stored in properties files. Consider the following simple file that defines some properties related to storing user’s credentials.


That’s it configs.properties will read our configuration.properties file from the class path.

To build the project type:

gradle buildJar

To run the project go to <Project>/build/libs and type:

java -jar properties-apache-commons-all-0.0.1.jar

To download the code:

git clone https://github.com/josdem/java-topics.git
cd properties-apache-commons

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