15 Best Java frameworks to use in 2020

15 Best Java Frameworks
15 Best Java Frameworks

Java frameworks are used to create web-based applications and software. They are templates of pre-written code that is specific to the Java programming language and allow a developer to add their own code to it as needed to develop the desired application. Think of it as the three pieces of puzzles to a four puzzle board. You add your code as the fourth puzzle and the final product is the application that you intended to develop. Now that we know what a Java framework is, it’s time to know why we use it.

Why use Java frameworks?

The simple answer is to make the developer’s work easy. It takes days to develop an
application and developers don’t want to spend hours writing the same chunk of code again and again. Additionally, extensive frameworks provide a secure application and if there’s any kind of security gap, one can easily resolve it in the framework’s websites. Let’s crack open some popular frameworks to help you get started.

Spring

Despite being released almost a decade ago, Spring hasn’t given in to its competitors. It’s a lightweight, open-source framework that provides support for developing a robust application in ease. Being a modular framework, it can be used at any level of your application development. Dependency injection in Spring allows the creation of objects outside the class and supplies those objects to other classes in different ways. Spring also paves the way for the programmer to continue using JDBC while abstracting all other strenuous details by providing various data access APIs.


Struts

It is an open-source framework that was developed by Apache software foundation and extends JSP API and is a collaboration between several technologies such as JSP, Servlets, and HTML in one unit. It follows the standard MVC (model-view-controller) pattern which divides a large application into specific sections that have their own purposes.  Struts let you bring in what you’ve already been working with and extend capabilities already in Struts. To top it all, it is flexible and there’s almost no maintenance required. The only requirement is that the programmer must be comfortable with using Java Servlets and JSP.


Hibernate

Also known as Hibernate ORM is a Java framework that simplifies database programming. It acts as an object-related mapping tool for the Java programming language and this is done by mapping the objects with the database and Java datatypes with the SQL datatypes.  A layer of abstraction lets it handle the implementation internally for technologies such as Servlet and JDBC. By providing an optimal and efficient solution, any programmer who opts for the framework can have the liberty of sitting back while Hibernate does all the heavy lifting with the databases.

Apache Wicket

More commonly known as Wicket, this is a server-side, Java-based web application framework which focuses on making it easy to write reusable code. It is open-source, meaning anyone can access and modify it and has ample forums online for support. Wicket’s biggest strength is its focus on components. It appeals to people who love object-oriented programming. With only one day of learning this framework, you’d be able to write Wicket components.  Since it supports POJO, it can be used to develop web applications with the ease of Java and XHTML, which is compliant with HTML. Yes, it eliminates the need for XML or JavaScript!  The only catch here is that programmers with MVC background might find it hard to keep up with Wicket.

JSF (Java Server Faces)

Oftentimes it is an immense amount of work for the backend developers to get the complex
front-end right and this is where JSF can prove to be very useful. Developed by Oracle, JSF is a component-based framework for building the user interface for web applications. Despite the similarities, the contrast to JSP is that JSF is an XML document that represents formal
components in a logical tree.  The framework encapsulates the entire front-end development technologies like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, making it easier to develop client-side without much interaction with these technologies. Yet again, JSF is another framework that implements MVC pattern, aiding to faster development processes. 


Dropwizard

Dropwizard is a framework containing a set of tools for building RESTful web services. The key
goal is to supply reliable implementations of everything that a web application needs. With
Dropwizard, the packages of your application can be easily deployed in a production
environment as a standalone service. The biggest advantage of this framework is probably that it offers extremely fast bootstrap of your project. To sum it up, Dropwizard is easy to set up, easy to develop, and yet a robust and high-performance REST framework.

Grails

The phrase “coding by convention” means that a lot of explicit code is replaced by simple
naming and directory structure conventions and the best example for this kind is the Grails
framework, previously known as Groovey on Grails.  If you have some Java code, reusing it in Grails is no problem. If you’re familiar with Java, you’ll be able to effortlessly learn Groovy in a day or two. Furthermore, the Grails’ Object Relational Mapping (GORM) with Hibernate takes care of creating the database for you.

ATG

According to its developers, the ATG web commerce platform is highly customisable,
a configurable framework for building and supporting web sites, particularly those built for e-commerce. The three layers of the framework include the Dynamo Application Framework (DAF) which provides component development environment made up of JavaBeans and JavaServer Pages (JSPs), the Personalisation module through which you create and maintain user profiles(DPS) and the Scenarios module (DSS) extends the content targeting capabilities of the Personalisation module. 


Play

Yet another framework that follows the MVC pattern, Play is based on a lightweight, stateless and web-friendly architecture. It is a high-productivity web application framework compiled
and run on JVM and mainly using Java and Scala. Featuring the “just-hit-refresh” flow enables fast and efficient development cycles. Debugging can be a nightmare to developers but with Play, you can know exactly where the error occurred, down to the file, line, and column. Play is also compatible with multiple technology stacks such as JSON, ORM, SQL and NoSQL.

Apache Hadoop

Hadoop is a popular framework dedicated to store and analyze large sets of unstructured data. But what makes Hadoop stand out from the rest of the gang? Firstly, it allows multiple
concurrent tasks to run from single to thousands of servers without any delay. It also follows a distributed file system, called Hadoop Distributed File System or HDFS, which enables fast transfer of data between nodes. Another core component, called Hadoop MapReduce, executes tasks in a parallel fashion by distributing the data as small blocks. This
makes it favourable for BigData Analysis.

GWT (Google Web Toolkit)

Developed by Google, GWT is a set of tools that can be used for developing and maintaining
Ajax web applications powered by Java. It acts as a translator and converts code written in Java to HTML and JavaScript by a compiler, essentially providing the developer with the option to develop the front-end in Java. GWT provides two modes, the development mode, which allows you to debug Java code directly and the web mode, which provides the translated HTML and JavaScript code. Altogether, the GWT framework is used to build large scale and high-performance web applications while keeping them easy to maintain.

Vaadin

Like any other Java framework, Vaadin has features to simplify and speed up web application development but what makes it unique is that it features a server-side architecture. It lets the programmers store the UI code on the webserver along with business logic and data. Just like GTW, developers can write user interfaces in Java without having to use client-side web technologies such as HTML and JavaScript, allowing them to build robust web applications.

Spark

Another offering from Apache, Spark has become one of the fastest-growing key cluster computing frameworks in the world. The main concern with Hadoop was its ability to maintain speed in computing large datasets, which is when Spark was introduced.
Spark starts evaluating only when it is absolutely needed, which plays an important role in
contributing to its speed. Thanks to its support for multiple languages such as R, Scala and Java, it can be easily deployed in various technologies such as machine learning, data streaming and graph processing. 

OpenXava

If you feel you’re restricted by the limited coding knowledge you have in Java, OpenXava, a low-code framework, might be the right choice for rapidly developing enterprise applications. Knowing how to write simple Java classes in OpenXava is enough to develop an entire application.  Some of the other features OpenXava provides are: getting a mobile user interface for your application from the same code, automatic production of the user interface leading to the elimination of Client-side technologies, and much more.

Vert.X

Dubbed as the fastest framework today, Vert.X is a polyglot web framework that shares
common functionalities among its supported languages: Java, Kotlin, Scala, Ruby and
JavaScript. Mainly focusing on asynchronous programming, Vert.X makes the application non-blocking.  Modular and lightweight, it is aimed towards the development of microservices. If you have a sound knowledge of NodeJS, Vert.X should be a piece of cake for you.

And, there you go! With this extensive overview of each of the frameworks, you should be able to choose the right one for yourself and get started on making the most out of your Java programming capabilities.