Difference between applicationContext.xml and spring-servlet.xml in Spring?

Are applicationContext.xml and spring-servlet.xml related anyhow in spring framework? Will the properties files declared in applicationContext.xml be available to DispatcherServlet? On a related note, why do I need a *-servlet.xml at all ? Why is applicationContext.xml alone insufficient?

Spring lets you define multiple contexts in a parent-child hierarchy.


The applicationContext.xml defines the beans for the "root webapp context", i.e. the context associated with the webapp.


The spring-servlet.xml (or whatever else you call it) defines the beans for one servlet's app context. There can be many of these in a webapp, one per Spring servlet (e.g. spring1-servlet.xml for servlet spring1, spring2-servlet.xml for servlet spring2).


Beans in spring-servlet.xml can reference beans in applicationContext.xml, but not vice versa.


All Spring MVC controllers must go in the spring-servlet.xml context.


In most simple cases, the applicationContext.xml context is unnecessary. It is generally used to contain beans that are shared between all servlets in a webapp. If you only have one servlet, then there's not really much point, unless you have a specific use for it.