It’s 2023, and still, Java has the largest developer community across the world. Also, it is always securing a spot on many of the most popular programming language lists. There are more than 9 million Java developers who are contributing their skills and knowledge to its further development.
Moreover, Java frameworks have helped Java reach new heights of success. With these frameworks, Java developers do not need to create a complete website or web application from scratch. But what exactly is a Java framework?
Let's find out.
What are Web Frameworks?
There are lots of definitions of a framework available on the internet, but most of those are confusing and have jargon that could make it difficult for a beginner to understand what actually a Java framework is.
In simple terms, web frameworks are defined as collections of libraries (predefined code) and APIs ( Application Program Interfaces ), which call your code and perform the task. Web frameworks facilitate the creation of web applications and websites.
Java has a wide array of frameworks. A Java framework only accepts Java code and syntax. Generally, frameworks are used to create web apps, websites, and mobile applications. Developers usually prefer Java frameworks for backend web development.
Here in this article, we will discuss ten of the most popular Java web frameworks.
Best Java Frameworks for Web Development
Following is our list of the best ten web frameworks in Java to use in 2023:
- JSF - JAVA Server Faces
- GWT Google Web Toolkit
- Play Framework
- Apache Wicket
Let's know about them one by one.
It is an open-source Java web application framework. Released back in 2004, it is probably one of the oldest Java frameworks. Developed by Oracle (the owner of Java), JSF is designed to build an interface between the user and the web application (Java-based).
Based on the MVC ( Model-View-Controller ) architecture, JSF has component-based architecture. As JSF was released a long time ago, it now has a large and active community. Although it is a powerful Java framework, its execution speed is not that fast.
Moreover, it uses complex Java syntax, which makes it difficult to learn, especially for beginners.
- It is developed and maintained by Oracle.
- JSF facilitates industry-standard UI development.
- It features well-organized and very helpful documentation.
- Java Server Faces connects the user component to the data source.
- It offers event handlers on the server side.
- It has a rich set of libraries.
- It has reusable UI components.
- Java Server Faces provides a clear separation between the logic and the presentation layer.
- It provides a rich architecture for managing component states, handling events, and processing component data.
- JSF has a high learning curve.
- It uses complex Java syntax.
- It is slow.
Spring is one of the most popular and powerful Java EE application frameworks. Developed by Pivotal Software, the first release of Spring Framework came out on 1st October 2002. Since then, this Java framework has gained much popularity. When it comes to developing enterprise Java applications with high security, Spring comes out as a top option.
Unfortunately, it has a high learning curve. Thus, for a naïve Java developer, it would not be a good choice to opt for this Java framework. Spring follows the MVC architecture, and it has detailed documentation along with a prospering and active community.
- Spring supports relational databases.
- It can connect with everything.
- The Java framework has a good set of libraries and APIs.
- It supports processing data in real-time streams and batches.
- It features excellent documentation.
- Spring enjoys good community support.
- The Java framework is highly portable and secure.
- It ensures high performance.
- It has a steep learning curve.
- Developers often get confused about which feature to use since it provides a variety of features.
- The Java framework does not care about cross-site scripting.
- It requires a lot of XML.
It is a micro-framework by Apache that can work with Java and Kotlin . Being a microframework makes it faster and more efficient. It has a low learning curve that makes it an ideal framework for a beginner Java developer. Apache Spark mainly focuses on backend development. Although it does not follow the MVC architecture, you can structure your program as you wish. A terrific speed and lightweight build are its key features.
Important Features of Spark
- It supports MapReduce, machine learning , SQL queries, and graph algorithms.
- Spark is lightweight.
- In addition to Java, it can also work with Groovy and Kotlin.
- Spark handles real-time stream processing.
- It performs in-memory computation.
Pros of Spark
- It is powerful and easy to use.
- Spark is dynamic in nature.
- It has high speed and performance.
- It has a low learning curve.
Cons of Spark
- No automatic optimization process.
- Spark is not ideal for a multi-user environment.
- It does not come with its own file management system.
It is an open-source Java EE (Enterprise Edition) web framework that is developed and maintained by Apache Software Foundation. Apache has released two versions of Struts, 1st in 2000 and 2 nd in 2006. Both of them offer cross-platform ( Java Virtual Machine ) support.
Like other Java frameworks, developers prefer it for creating Java-based web applications. Moreover, it follows the MVC architectural design pattern.
Struts has its own syntax to follow, which necessitates Java developers first to get acquainted with the same. Nonetheless, the fast development process makes it worth learning.
With its complex syntax and methodology, it's not an ideal framework for a beginner Java developer. However, with Struts, you can plug in many third-party packages and front-end interfaces.
- Apache Struts provides support for third-party plugins.
- It has POJO-based actions.
- The Java framework provides support to AJAX technology.
- It comes with built-in testing tools.
- Struts provides three types of theme support, namely XHTML, simple and css_xhtml.
- It is easy to use and facilitates fast development.
- Struts is open-source.
- It is reliable and maintainable.
- The Java framework allows modular development.
- It offers easy integration with Hibernate, Spring, and other frameworks.
- It follows a complex methodology, and hence, it is not flexible.
- The learning curve is steep.
- It is not suitable for small applications.
Hibernate is not actually a framework. Instead, it’s an ORM (Object-Relational Mapping) used by Java. Hibernate is used to provide a framework that acts as a bridge between a relational database management system and Java. This ORM is well known for its powerful data accessing feature.
The data handling process of relational databases is different from an object-oriented programming language. When we want Java, which is an object-oriented programming language , to access data from the relational database where data is stored in a tabular form, then there are some issues. Hibernate helps to overcome such issues.
With the increasing demand for data manipulation, more and more Java developers are choosing Hibernate for their projects.
- It is a powerful ORM tool that facilitates the interaction between Java classes and relational databases.
- It comes with a query language called Hibernate Query Language (HQL).
- Hibernate supports first-level and second-level caching.
- The Java framework eliminates the need to write SQL queries.
- It supports various databases, such as Oracle, MySQL, and Sybase.
- It is an open-source tool.
- It is a lightweight framework that promotes fast development.
- Hibernate supports inheritance and polymorphism.
- It is developer-friendly.
- The Java framework has a low learning curve.
- Data security is not sufficient in Hibernate.
- Debugging is pretty challenging.
- It is slower than pure JDBC.
- Hibernate is not suitable for small projects.
Developed by Google, GWT is an open-source tool designed to develop front-end web applications using Java. It comes with well-organized documentation that helps developers to understand it better. It is a very simple but powerful tool, as you can expect from a Google product.
Though it is designed to create a client-side application, it is now able to create both client-side as well as server-side web applications. Its simplicity does not compromise the quality of the application built on it. You can also create complex applications using GWT.
- It provides two modes, namely, development mode and web mode.
- It has a single codebase for clients and servers.
- GWT provides code navigation and refactoring.
- GWT Model View Presenter (MVP) allows shared working.
- It supports faster testing with JUnit.
- GWT offers seamless integration with various Java tools.
- It is an easy-to-use toolkit.
- GWT has a low learning curve.
- It flaunts well-managed documentation.
- The Java framework is ideal for full-stack development.
- The compiling process is very slow.
- Search engines cannot index the web pages developed using GWT.
It is a powerful, open-source, and lightweight Java framework developed by Lightbend back in 2007. Written in Scala, Play is used to create web applications for all platforms. Thus, other than Java developers, Scala developers can also use Play to create web applications.
Play is built by using the Akka toolkit, which makes it run on the Java Virtual Machine. It also follows the MVC design patterns and comes with inbuilt features like code reloading and convention over configuration.
- It shows error messages in the browser.
- It prefers convention over configuration.
- Play improves productivity.
- Code reloading is available.
- The Java framework offers integration with various test frameworks for unit and functional testing.
- It has detailed and excellent documentation.
- Play enjoys huge community support.
- It comes with a collection of various libraries.
- It is cloud-friendly.
- The Java framework is open-source.
- It has a steep learning curve.
- The Java framework can be volatile at times.
‘X’ in Vert.X represents the multi-language support of this framework. It is a very lightweight framework, and its file size is merely about 650 kb. Also, it follows a modular architecture and this modular approach helps to divide the framework program into small modules.
Important Features of Vert.X
- There is no hassle of multi-threaded programming since it follows a simple concurrency model.
- It has a simple and asynchronous programming model for building non-blocking applications.
- Users can reuse and share components through the public repository.
Pros of Vert.X
- It has easy installation.
- Vert.X provides support for multiple languages.
- It follows a modular format.
- It has a rich library.
Cons of Vert.X
- Non-blocking code is difficult to read, write, and debug.
Apache Wicket is a component-based web application framework that accepts Java. It is developed and maintained by Apache Software Foundation, and its 1 st version was released in June 2005.
It follows the MVC design pattern and uses plain XHTML for templating. Wicket is one of the most lightweight web application frameworks for developing simple web applications in Java. The server-side framework written in Java is free to use.
- It uses only pure Java and HTML to develop web applications.
- Pages and components designed using Wicket support encapsulation, inheritance, and events since they are Java objects.
- It has multi-tab and multi-window support.
- It has simple state management.
- Wicket is open-source.
- The Java framework provides support for over 25 languages.
- It has built-in testing tools.
- It is excellent for creating simple applications.
- It has a high learning curve.
- The documentation could be better.
- Wicket cannot dynamically define component trees.
Vaadin is an open-source web development platform developed by Vaadin Ltd. and licensed by Apache Software Foundation. It is a framework for developing web applications using C++ and Java .
This framework is only used for server-side web applications, and it provides a rich interface between the server-side and the user. Moreover, you can extend the functionalities of Vaadin by integrating it with Google Web Toolkit. It does not use any markup file to render content in the browser.
- It has support for plugins.
- It facilitates server-side programming.
- Vaadin has a rich web interface.
- It can be integrated with GWT and Ajax.
- It is supported by Apache.
- It is fully object-oriented.
- Vaadin provides various components, layouts, and listeners.
- It is open-source.
- It is difficult to find skilled personnel for this Java framework.
- Vaadin does not support creating fancy interfaces.
That was the list of the ten best Java frameworks. Each one of them offers a variety of features to facilitate web application development. A Java developer must have knowledge of many Java frameworks so that she can choose the best one as per the requirements. Thus, use these frameworks in Java to become a better Java developer.
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