The pdf reference doc has a note on p. 29 that says:
XML-based metadata is by far the most commonly used form of configuration metadata. It is not
however the only form of configuration metadata that is allowed. The Spring IoC container itself is
totally decoupled from the format in which this configuration metadata is actually written. At the
time of writing, you can supply this configuration metadata using either XML, the Java properties
format, or programmatically (using Spring's public API).
So apperantly, if I can express the metadata in a way other than the XML, I can still use the Spring API to configure the container and the rest of it is just the same. But I can't figure out how to do it simply by looking at the source code. Can someone help me out?