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Spring Boot – File Handling

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  • Last Updated : 23 Nov, 2022
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Spring Boot is a popular, open-source spring-based framework used to develop robust web applications and microservices. As it is built on top of Spring Framework it not only has all the features of spring but also includes certain special features such as auto-configuration, health checks, etc. which makes it easier for the developers to set up Spring-based applications with minimal configuration thus facilitating Rapid Application Development. This article illustrates a step-by-step guideline to implement restful web services that can be used to upload and download a file using spring boot.

Initial Setup

A Spring Boot Project needs to be created with Spring Web dependency as mentioned below using Spring Initializer. Please refer to this article to complete the setup.


Now let’s start developing the Spring Boot App. It will provide restful web services for:

  1. Uploading a file 
  2. Downloading a file
  3. Getting the list of filenames uploaded


Step 1: Setting up the Application.Properties file with configurations required for multipart file upload.


These configurations can be explained as follows:

spring.servlet.multipart.enabled -> determines whether multipart has to be enabled or not
spring.servlet.multipart.max-file -> specifies the maximum size of the file allowed for uploading.
spring.servlet.multipart.max-request-size -> specifies the maximum size allowed for multipart/form-data requests.

Step 2: Create a RestController FileController that handles the following REST APIs:

Upload API

Usage: It can be used to upload a file. It consumes Multipart requests.
URL: /upload
HttpMethod: POST

Implementation Details:

For developing this API, we are using MultipartFile as a Request Parameter. The uploaded file is sent as form data which is then retrieved in the Rest controller as a Multipart file. So, MultipartFile is nothing but a representation of an uploaded file received in a multipart request.

getFiles API

Usage: It can be used to get a list of filenames that have been uploaded.
URL: /getFIles
HttpMethod: GET

Implementation Details:

It can be implemented by simply using the list() method of which returns an array of strings naming the files and directories in the directory denoted by the given abstract pathname.

Download API

It can be used to download a previously uploaded file.
URL: /download/{filename}
HttpMethod: POST

Implementation Details:

To Implement this API, we first check whether the requested file for download exists or not in the uploaded folder. If the file exists, we use InputStreamResource to download the file. It is also required to set Content-Disposition in the response header as an attachment and MediaType as application/octet-stream

The Content-Disposition response header as an attachment indicates that the content is to be downloaded. contentType is set as application/octet-stream so that when an attempt is made to download a file with a missing extension or unknown format, it will be recognized as an octet-stream file by the system. The implementation of FileController is as shown below: 


// Java Program to Create Rest Controller
// that Defines various API for file handling
package com.SpringBootFileHandling.controller;
// Importing required classes
import java.util.Arrays;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired;
import org.springframework.http.HttpHeaders;
import org.springframework.http.HttpStatus;
import org.springframework.http.MediaType;
import org.springframework.http.ResponseEntity;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.PathVariable;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMethod;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestParam;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RestController;
import org.springframework.web.multipart.MultipartFile;
// Annotation
public class FileController {
    // Uploading a file
    @RequestMapping(value = "/upload", method = RequestMethod.POST)
    public String uploadFile(@RequestParam("file") MultipartFile file){
        // Setting up the path of the file
        String filePath = System.getProperty("user.dir") + "/Uploads" + File.separator + file.getOriginalFilename();
        String fileUploadStatus;
        // Try block to check exceptions
        try {
            // Creating an object of FileOutputStream class 
            FileOutputStream fout = new FileOutputStream(filePath);
            // Closing the connection
            fileUploadStatus = "File Uploaded Successfully";
        // Catch block to handle exceptions
        catch (Exception e) {
            fileUploadStatus =  "Error in uploading file: " + e;
        return fileUploadStatus;
    // Getting list of filenames that have been uploaded
    @RequestMapping(value = "/getFiles", method = RequestMethod.GET)
    public String[] getFiles()
        String folderPath = System.getProperty("user.dir") +"/Uploads";
          // Creating a new File instance
        File directory= new File(folderPath);
        // list() method returns an array of strings
          // naming the files and directories
          // in the directory denoted by this abstract pathname
        String[] filenames = directory.list();
        // returning the list of filenames
        return filenames;
    // Downloading a file
    @RequestMapping(value = "/download/{path:.+}", method = RequestMethod.GET)
    public ResponseEntity downloadFile(@PathVariable("path") String filename) throws FileNotFoundException {
        // Checking whether the file requested for download exists or not
        String fileUploadpath = System.getProperty("user.dir") +"/Uploads";
        String[] filenames = this.getFiles();
        boolean contains = Arrays.asList(filenames).contains(filename);
        if(!contains) {
            return new ResponseEntity("FIle Not Found",HttpStatus.NOT_FOUND);
        // Setting up the filepath
        String filePath = fileUploadpath+File.separator+filename;
        // Creating new file instance
        File file= new File(filePath);
        // Creating a new InputStreamResource object
        InputStreamResource resource = new InputStreamResource(new FileInputStream(file));
        // Creating a new instance of HttpHeaders Object
        HttpHeaders headers = new HttpHeaders();
        // Setting up values for contentType and headerValue
        String contentType = "application/octet-stream";
        String headerValue = "attachment; filename=\"" + resource.getFilename() + "\"";
        return ResponseEntity.ok()
                .header(HttpHeaders.CONTENT_DISPOSITION, headerValue)

Step 3: Running the Spring Boot Application and testing the APIs using postman as follows.

Upload API

In order to upload a file we need to hit http://localhost:8080/upload in Postman with form data as shown below:

Upload API in Postman


On Successful upload of the file, we can see the file in the Uploads folder as below:

File Uploaded in Uploads Folder

File Uploaded in Uploads Folder

getFiles API

We need to hit http://localhost:8080/getFiles in postman to get a list of filenames that have been uploaded.

getFiles API in Postman


Download API

In order to download a file we need to hit http://localhost:8080/download/{filename} in postman as shown below.

Download API in Postman


The Response received in postman can be downloaded as a file by clicking on Save Response -> Save to a File. The download URL can also be hit on the browser to get the file downloaded directly. If we attempt to download a file that doesn’t exist then we get “File Not Found” in the response along with HttpStatus as NOT_FOUND.


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