Changing Spring Boot environment variables in the command line

kinow @ Nov 21, 2016 21:26:03

This week while helping developers and testers to experiment with a backend application, some of them found useful to learn a simple trick to change Spring Boot properties when you can run the application locally (our testers build, compile, change the code, how cool is that?).

Here’s how it works. Say you have the following settings in your application’s


And that you want to change these parameters in order to, for instance, create an application error, so that you can code and test what happens to the frontend application in that situation.

You replace dots by underscores, and put all your words in upper case. So the variables above would be: MY_APPLICATION_DATABASE_USERNAME and MY_APPLICATION_DATABASE_PASSWORD.

Furthermore, you do not need to edit your file, if you are on Linux or Mac OS. You can start the application and override environment variables at the same time with the following syntax.


This way your application will start with the new values.

Happy hacking!


As pointed by Stéphane Nicoll (thanks!), you could change the property values without having to use the upper case syntax.

mvn -Dmy.application.database.username=anotheruser clean spring-boot:run

And he even included a link to docs! ♥ the Internet and Open Source!