I too came across the problem that the "Spring Explorer" doesn't show me beans for my purely annotation-driven Spring project (... I'm currently playing around with the spring-social-showcase ).
I tried your workaround using a simple configuration file.
In the project's src/main/java folder, I created a file componentscan.xml with the following content
Then I added this xml file to the "Beans Support config file list": Project properties -> Spring -> Beans Support -> Config Files -> Scan... -> select src/main/java/componentscan.xml -> OK -> OK
Now the Spring Explorer view gets a refresh.
To my suprise, this list does not include all beans which are part of the spring-social-showcase (e.g. @Bean beans dataSource, facebook, textEncryptor, etc.). Instead the Spring Explorer's beans list includes a handful of @Controller controllers and @Configuration configurations).
Is it the case that the Spring Explorer view is currently broken with respect to viewing @Bean annotated beans?