Saturday, April 30, 2022

Calling Google Cloud Services in Java

If you want to call Google Cloud Services using a Java based codebase, then broadly there are two approaches to incorporating the client libraries in your code — the first, let’s call it a “direct” approach is to use the Google Cloud Client libraries available here, the second approach is to use a “wrapper”, Spring Cloud GCP libraries available here.

So given both these libraries which one should you use. My take is simple — if you have a Spring Boot based app likely Spring Cloud GCP should be the preferred approach else the “direct” libraries.

Using Pub/Sub Client libraries

The best way to see the two approaches in action is to use it for making a call — in this case to publish a message to Cloud Pubsub.
The kind of contract I am expecting to implement looks like this:

The “message” is a simple type and looks like this, represented as a Java record:

Given this, let’s start with the “direct” approach.

Direct Approach

The best way that I have found to get to the libraries is using this page —, which in turn links to the client libraries for the specific GCP services, the cloud pub/sub one is here — I use gradle for my builds and to pull in pub/sub libs with gradle is done this way:

implementation platform('')
With the library pulled in, the code to publish a message looks like this:

The message is converted to a raw json and published to Cloud Pub/Sub which returns a ApiFuture type. I have previously covered how such a type can be converted to reactive types which is finally returned from the publishing code.

The “publisher” is created using a helper method:

Publisher publisher = Publisher.newBuilder("sampletopic").build();

Spring Cloud GCP Approach

The documentation for Spring Cloud GCP project is available here, first to pull in the dependencies, for a Gradle based project it looks like this:

dependencies {
   implementation ''

dependencyManagement {
   imports {
      mavenBom "${springCloudGcpVersion}"
      mavenBom "${springCloudVersion}"

With the right dependencies pulled in Spring Boot Auto-configuration comes into play and automatically creates a type called the PubSubTemplate with properties that can tweak configuration A code to publish a message to a topic using a PubSubTemplate looks like this:


Given these two code snippets, these are some of the differences:
  • Spring Cloud GCP has taken care of a bunch of boiler plate around how to create a Publisher (and subscriber if listening to messages)
  • The PubSubTemplate provides simpler helper methods for publishing messages and for listening to messages, the return type which is ListenableFuture with PubSubTemplate can easily be transformed to reactive types unlike the ApiFuture return type
  • Testing with Spring Cloud GCP is much simpler as the Publisher needs to be tweaked extensively to work with an emulator and Spring Cloud GCP handles this complication under the covers


The conclusion for me is that Spring Cloud GCP is compelling, if a project is Spring Boot based then Spring Cloud GCP will fit in great and provides just the right level of abstraction in dealing with the Google Cloud API’s.
The snippets in this blog post doesn’t do justice to some of the complexities of the codebase, my github repo may help with a complete working codebase with both “direct” and Spring cloud GCP based code —