Top 7 List of Frameworks in Java For Developers
Java has remained the single most popular language for enterprise application development for more than two decades since its initial release. As a simple, flexible, and highly robust programming language it's been used to underpin large-scale applications in a range of industries that includes IT, finance, e-commerce, and cloud computing amongst others. In this article, we take a look at a list of frameworks in Java that enable developers to create dependable applications for their clients.
Our top-ranked Java development companies regularly help businesses take their Java projects to the next level with the kind of robust and reliable engineering that allows applications to perform long into the future. Working across industries from banking and healthcare to gaming and lifestyle, these teams are used to deploying frameworks to solve diverse and difficult challenges with exceptional solutions in code.
Here, we've listed seven of the most productive and useful Java frameworks regularly used to accelerate the development and deployment of large-scale solutions throughout the industry. To help you decide on a solution for your teams, we've highlighted precisely what makes these frameworks so exceptional and why you should consider each for your next major project.
What Are Java Frameworks?
In any technology or language, a framework is a scaffold of code that solves the challenges of mundane boilerplate code, architecture decisions, and initial structuring and setup that goes into new projects. It provides a helpful foundation for the early stages of a project and provides direction for teams on architecture and design questions to guide software through to completion.
The advantages of deploying a framework extend to enforcing best coding practices while allowing developers to focus on the most complex and critical parts of a development project. However, there are a wide variety of frameworks available to developers to choose from — each one suits different kinds of projects, different levels of development experience, and different practical use cases.
An unopinionated framework, for example, allows developers more freedom for customization and tailoring of a project at the potential cost of additional time and resources spent implementing features that could be easily imported. In contrast, an opinionated framework rigidly enforces strong coding standards and saves a lot of time by providing ready-made database connections, error handling, and more at the cost of some flexibility for developers.
Understanding how to deploy Java well starts with hiring Java teams that can make the technology and design choices to make a significant impact in your firm. With these in place, deploying the right framework and tools to meet your project's demands will be a breeze for your teams.
Top 7 List of Java Frameworks
The most well-known, well-used, and most appreciated framework of Java development undoubtedly has to be Spring. Designed with building enterprise-level applications in mind, Spring has one of the largest ecosystems and most active communities of any Java framework currently available.
One of the most significant advantages of Spring is the many degrees of customization and flexibility the framework allows in setting up and building solutions. The unique advantages of Spring and the flexibility it allows for developers make it ideally suited to building enterprise-level apps in teams of well-established and highly experienced Java engineers.
These advantages, however, do come with drawbacks of their own. A simpler and more opinionated framework might be better suited for small projects and those undertaken by engineers new to Java development. For organizations and teams that can utilize Spring to their advantage, however, the framework provides agility, support, and high degrees of maintainability to its applications.
Grails is a full-stack framework for Java development that is much simpler in design and easier to pick up in practice than many of its more heavyweight competitors. Somewhat unique to Grails is its use of the Groovy programming language, a tool that is fully compatible with the Java platform and ultimately compiles down to Java bytecode before running.
Much of the features and functionality of Grails do come from Spring under the surface. Grails extends Spring with easy-to-use, ready-made features, and extra functionality by adding a highly opinionated framework that requires far less coding and setup from its developers.
The defining features of Grails come from modern software development paradigms that prize convention over configuration, sensible default values on initial deployment, and opinionated APIs enforcing development best practices. To aid this design, Grails comes with exceptional documentation, resources, and a truly remarkable ecosystem to help developers make the most of the platform.
While Hibernate isn't a full-stack framework for Java development, it is a tool that can offer a lot to the way Java developers work with their projects. Technically speaking, Hibernate provides an object-relational mapping between Java objects and database tables.
The primary problem Hibernate is built to solve is a foundational conflict between object-oriented languages such as Java and database management systems. Hibernate solves these challenges by providing an abstraction layer of code for developers to write to. This layer is loosely coupled to the database, performing the necessary CRUD (Create, read, update, and delete) operations without requiring developers to implement every operation themselves.
The advantages of Hibernate are primarily in allowing developers to decouple their code from any single DBMS solution, providing better object-relational mapping, and a suite of tools that make handling data scaling and versioning with surprising ease for Java development projects.
Jakarta Faces (JSF)
Oracle's JSF framework is a remarkably productive technology for producing front-end Java-based web applications. The framework pioneered component-based MVC (model-view-controller) design when it was launched back in 2004 and has since refined its use for developers.
Some of the advantages of the framework come from Facelets, a technology designed specifically for the JSF framework. These allow for view handling to be done using XML alongside Java to allow a greater focus and control over the front-end interface than many web application frameworks allow.
Modern technology changes have given the JSF framework a significant boost in allowing developers to target cloud-native Java applications that organizations can depend on.
One of the most modern web application frameworks open to Java developers is Vaadin. The platform allows developers to handle HTML5 UI using Java with a set of components and tools that add a lot to productivity and progression.
Vaadin flow has tools to take over client-server communication with ease and provide routing straight out of the box. As a modern framework for web development, Vaadin follows a mobile-first model of development that prioritizes devices and touch accessibility for the majority of users. The framework itself is an exceptional front-end tool for progressive web apps and allows a great deal of theming and customization.
One distinct advantage of Vaadin is its ease of integration with other Java back-end solutions such as Spring to provide a best-of-both-worlds functionality and UI design to your web apps.
Apache Hadoop is a framework designed for distributed data storage and processing. Providing back-end functionality to web applications, Hadoop handles huge volumes of data more rapidly and more efficiently than any other Java back-end technology currently available.
The performance characteristics of Hadoop, combined with the ecosystem and flexibility inherent and Java are some of the primary reasons that the Java language has had a major role in high-performance computing over the last two decades. In previous years, Hadoop was one of the defining technologies of high-performance computing and a must-have skill set for the industry's engineers.
In modern use, cloud technologies that are capable of scaling and provisioning resources for any size of the audience have played an increasingly large role in Hadoop's remarkable capabilities. These more modern technologies, however, rarely come close to matching the cost-effectiveness or resource efficiency of the Hadoop framework.
Another Apache framework that provides invaluable resources to developers is the aptly-named micro framework Spark. Being the most unopinionated framework on our list, Spark allows developers free reign to design, structure, and build their applications in any way.
True to the form of most micro-frameworks, Spark has a small and lightweight codebase, minimal configuration requirements, and treads very lightly on the amount of boilerplate code required to make the technology work. The simplest possible Spark application can be installed in just a few minutes with a sensible configuration that can be built out into a full-scale web app.
One of the most common uses of Spark amongst developers is to create a lightweight RESTful API. Developers shouldn't be fooled by the lightweight credentials of the framework, however. Spark is capable of scaling to serve thousands of users as needed in the right environment.
Java Frameworks for Exceptional Applications
These frameworks represent a broad spectrum of applications and use cases that you might want to deploy Java to in your organization. This list is far from complete, however, with dozens of related tools, technologies, and frameworks available for engineers to choose from.
Whether you're interested in jumping on board with the trends in Microservice Java development or looking to pick up some of the most in-demand Java development skills today — the language and its abundant available frameworks are more than likely to provide everything you need to get started within your organization.
Q1. How many Java frameworks are there?
There are more than one hundred official Java frameworks listed for use across different kinds of apps. This list, however, is likely to be far from complete as it omits some vital resources that technically fall outside of the remit of Java frameworks yet still provide the same resources and assistance to developers.
LibGDX is one example of a framework providing resources and structure that enables game development in Java. The LibGDX framework is one that's been used to produce dozens of popular games in Java yet is often omitted from lists of the most highly-productive Java frameworks. Many Android development frameworks and libraries similarly fall into this category of providing a great deal of developer assistance without being overtly credited as productive Java frameworks
The true answer to how many Java frameworks there are is almost uncountable. New frameworks are constantly being developed while aging ones are routinely retired from use.
Q2. Is Spring a framework?
Yes, Spring is an open-source application framework for building Java web apps. Spring is built with security, flexibility, and scalability at the top of its list of concerns for developers. These advantages of Spring make it a highly productive and reliable tool for Java developers.
Spring is most often deployed for use on large-scale and enterprise applications due to its high degrees of configuration and customization, production-ready environment, and performance-focused architecture. The majority of Spring applications make use of micro-service architecture to rapidly configure an array of components that allow teams to build full-scale services quickly and efficiently.
The capabilities of Spring have led to the technology being used repeatedly in major organizations and companies to great success. Developers first coming to the framework with a limited background in Java development can be put off by its complexity, but it's a solution well worth persevering with for future projects.
Q3. Is Node.js a framework?
There are many more frameworks aside from these five that use the capabilities of Node.js to create remarkable web apps. It's likely that a major source of confusion that mixes up Node.js as a framework or even language on its own is that developers can target Node.js itself to build scalable network applications without any additional framework or tools.
There are more than enough tools, documentation, and resources to allow developers to get started designing and building Node.js apps without a framework. While this results in drawbacks of requiring extra time and effort in writing and testing code typically handled by a framework, the extra freedom and flexibility it allows for developers can be well worth the effort.
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