It seems to me, that although the java-code becomes slimmer and more easy to read, it goes the opposite way with the amount of configuration files used for setting up the framework. Is this observation correct?
I have to say that, in my mind, this talk of configuration bloat is almost irrelevant. The amount of time you spending coding configuration in Spring compared to actual coding is negligible.
The configuration files allow you to express the metadata of your application in a very intuitive manner and they benefit from being easier to read than write.
There are a couple of areas where we are going to provide 'shortcuts' in the config file for 1.2 or 1.3, but there is very little else we can do to reduce the amount of code if we want to keep the flexibility.
If you are not looking for all that flexibility, then you can use properties files instead of XML as shown in Pro Spring.