Implications on portability:
If the specified path is already a file URL (either explicitly, or implicitly because the base ResourceLoader is a filesystem one, then wildcarding is guaranteed to work in a completely poratable fashion.
If the specified path is a classpath location, then the resolver must obtain the last non-wildcard path segment URL via a Classloader.getResource() call. Since this is just a node of the path (not the file at the end) it is actually undefined (in the ClassLoader Javadocs) exactly what sort of a URL is returned in this case. In practice, it is always a java.io.File representing the directory, where the classpath resource resolves to a filesystem location, or a jar URL of some sort, where the classpath resource resolves to a jar location. Still, there is a portability concern on this operation.
If a jar URL is obtained for the last non-wildcard segment, the resolver must be able to get a java.net.JarURLConnection from it, or manually parse the jar URL, to be able to walk the contents of the jar, and resolve the wildcard. This will work in most environments, but will fail in others, and it is strongly recommended that the wildcard resolution of resources coming from jars be thoroughly tested in your specific environment before you rely on it.
There is special support for retrieving multiple class path resources with the same name, via the "classpath*:" prefix. For example, "classpath*:META-INF/beans.xml" will find all "beans.xml" files in the class path, be it in "classes" directories or in JAR files. This is particularly useful for autodetecting config files of the same name at the same location within each jar file. Internally, this happens via a ClassLoader.getResources() call, and is completely portable.
The "classpath*:" prefix can also be combined with a PathMatcher pattern in the rest of the location path, for example "classpath*:META-INF/*-beans.xml". In this case, the resolution strategy is fairly simple: a ClassLoader.getResources() call is used on the last non-wildcard path segment to get all the matching resources in the class loader hierarchy, and then off each resource the same PathMatcher resoltion strategy described above is used for the wildcard subpath.
WARNING: Note that "classpath*:" when combined with Ant-style patterns will only work reliably with at least one root directory before the pattern starts, unless the actual target files reside in the file system. This means that a pattern like "classpath*:*.xml" will not
retrieve files from the root of jar files but rather only from the root of expanded directories. This originates from a limitation in the JDK's ClassLoader.getResources() method which only returns file system locations for a passed-in empty String (indicating potential roots to search).
WARNING: Ant-style patterns with "classpath:" resources are not guaranteed to find matching resources if the root package to search is available in multiple class path locations. This is because a resource such as
may be in only one location, but when a path such as classpath:com/mycompany/**/service-context.xml
is used to try to resolve it, the resolver will work off the (first) URL returned by getResource("com/mycompany");. If this base package node exists in multiple classloader locations, the actual end resource may not be underneath. Therefore, preferably, use "classpath*:" with the same Ant-style pattern in such a case, which will search all
class path locations that contain the root package.