Spring Boot Entity Scan

How to add entities outside of your main package to the component scan

I had a question from a student come up that a lot of new Spring developers come across. It has to do with creating components and in this case more specifically, entities. Let’s take a look at the question and then dive into the solution. 

Spring Boot Entity Scan

The Problem

Hey, I’m trying to get JPA to create the post and author tables and view them in the H2 console.  I copied every step in the video and tried the suggestions to change the JDBC url to :testdb.  I’ve also tried changing spring.datasource.name: to both test and testdb, all with no luck.  When the console comes up, there are no tables.  Any help would be most appreciated!!  Here is the code in a repo, if that helps!

The Solution

I had to dive into the student’s code to figure out what was going on but usually, there is a pretty good explanation as to why something like this is happening. When entities aren’t being picked up and database tables aren’t being created there are a few places to look.

The first thing I do is make sure we are connecting to the correct database and in this case, we were. Next, I like to take a look at the entities and make sure there are no issues with those. We could have issues with the code or it simply could be an issue with Spring not finding the entity based on its location. 

Create a new Spring Boot Project

To demonstrate the issue at hand we are going to create a brand new Spring Boot project. This will give us a chance to see what the problem is in a simplified version. Create a new project using the Spring Initializr and select the Web, JPA, and H2 dependencies. 


When you are creating the project you will be asked to give your main package a name. I named mine com.therealdanvega and as you can see from the image below it created the main application class under that package. 








Create an Entity

In the project, I asked the student to create a package named domain and create a new entity there. The student did just that and here is what that class look likes. 

If you know what you’re looking for you can probably see the issue on line 1 of that code. The student created the domain package under the java folder and not inside of the main com.therealdanvega package. The student started the application and the table wasn’t being created and as we will see this is expected behavior. 

@EntityScan Annotation

The easy fix is to move the package and class under the main package and this will work as expected. Another way we can solve this problem is by telling Spring where to find our entities. We can do so by using the @EntityScan annotation. We can use the base packages attribute and point to one or many packages to include when scanning for entities. We will add this annotation to our main application class. 

Now if you start up the application and go to your H2 console you should see that the tweet table was created for you. 


As you can see this is a pretty easy mistake to make. If you would like to check out this project you can find the source code for it on Github. I hope you found this tutorial helpful and with that, I will leave you with a question. 

Question: What is a common mistake you made in your first few Spring Boot projects? 

Hi, I’m Dan Vega. I am a Software Engineer living just outside of one of my favorite places in the world, Cleveland, Ohio. I am a self-taught programmer who firmly believes that you can accomplish anything in this life if you put your mind to it, roll up your sleeves and are willing to put in the work.

I have been writing software for over 18+ years now and I use my knowledge, passion, and influence to help other developers achieve their goals. I teach online and currently, have over 30,000 students.

When I am not writing software, I have a number of things that really keep me busy. I love to read books, listen to podcasts and watch online courses. I have a real thirst for knowledge and it consumes me every single day of the week. I also love to run & lift heavy weights which keep me balanced throughout the week.

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