It is my pleasure to announce that the first Spring Framework 3.1 release candidate has - finally - been released this week! We have been working on this release for several months, completing our milestone work and recently adding support for Java SE 7 and for Hibernate 4.0 to the feature list.
Spring Framework 3.1 RC1 completes the 3.1 feature set:
The environment abstraction and the environment profile mechanism for bean definitions.
Comprehensive Java-based application configuration based on @Enable* annotations on @Configuration classes.
An overhaul of the TestContext framework with first-class support for @Configuration classes and for environment profiles.
Our new "c:" namespace for conveniently specifying constructor arguments by name in a concise inline style.
The cache abstraction with our declarative caching solution (@Cacheable etc) on top.
The Servlet 3.0 based WebApplicationInitializer mechanism for bootstrapping a Spring web application without web.xml!
Revised MVC processing with flash attribute support, a new @RequestPart annotation, and REST support refinements.
Refined JPA support: package scanning without persistence.xml; consistent configuration based on persistence unit names.
Support for Hibernate 4.0 (CR4 at this time) as well as for Quartz 2.0, while preserving compatibility with older versions.
Last but not least: a Java 7 theme, with JDBC 4.1 getting autodetected and with basic support for ForkJoinPool setup.
Note that we eventually dropped conversation support from the 3.1 feature set since there was stronger demand for other themes of the above. We will reconsider conversation support for Spring 3.2, based on further feedback and on concrete solutions demanded for the next-generation web application architectures that are being built today.
We are preparing for the 3.1 GA release in late November now, with an RC2 planned in between. Let us know how RC1 works for you in the meantime!