The Spring Web model-view-controller (MVC) framework is designed around a DispatcherServlet that dispatches requests to handlers, with configurable handler mappings, view resolution, locale, time zone and theme resolution as well as support for uploading files. The default handler is based on the @Controller and @RequestMapping annotations, offering a wide range of flexible handling methods. With the introduction of Spring 3.0, the @Controller mechanism also allows you to create RESTful Web sites and applications, through the @PathVariable annotation and other features.

Spring’s web MVC framework is, like many other web MVC frameworks, request-driven, designed around a central Servlet that dispatches requests to controllers and offers other functionality that facilitates the development of web applications. Spring’s DispatcherServlet however, does more than just that. It is completely integrated with the Spring IoC container and as such allows you to use every other feature that Spring has.

The DispatcherServlet is an actual Servlet (it inherits from the HttpServlet base class), and as such is declared in the web.xml of your web application. You need to map requests that you want the DispatcherServlet to handle, by using a URL mapping in the same web.xml file. This is standard Java EE Servlet configuration; the following example shows such a DispatcherServlet declaration and mapping:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<web-app xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee" xsi:schemaLocation="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee/web-app_3_0.xsd" version="3.0">
   
  <servlet>
        <servlet-name>rest</servlet-name>
        <servlet-class>org.springframework.web.servlet.DispatcherServlet</servlet-class>
        <load-on-startup>1</load-on-startup>
    </servlet>

    <servlet-mapping>
        <servlet-name>rest</servlet-name>
        <url-pattern>/rest/*</url-pattern>
    </servlet-mapping>
</web-app>

Upon initialization of a DispatcherServlet, Spring MVC looks for a file named [servlet-name]-servlet.xml in the WEB-INF directory of your web application and creates the beans defined there, overriding the definitions of any beans defined with the same name in the global scope.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
	xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
	xmlns:context="http://www.springframework.org/schema/context"
	xmlns:mvc="http://www.springframework.org/schema/mvc"
	xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.springframework.org/schema/mvc http://www.springframework.org/schema/mvc/spring-mvc-4.1.xsd
		http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans.xsd
		http://www.springframework.org/schema/context http://www.springframework.org/schema/context/spring-context-4.1.xsd">


	<mvc:annotation-driven/>
	
	<context:component-scan base-package="my.package.rest"/>
	
</beans>

Controllers provide access to the application behavior that you typically define through a service interface. Controllers interpret user input and transform it into a model that is represented to the user by the view. Spring implements a controller in a very abstract way, which enables you to create a wide variety of controllers.

package my.package.rest;

@Controller
public class HelloController {
	
	@RequestMapping(value="/hello", method=RequestMethod.GET)
	@ResponseBody
	public String sayHello() {
		return "Hello";
	}
}

Test

http://host:port/rest/hello

References