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Top Java Frameworks to Use For Your Software Development Projects

Victoria Puzhevich
Published: July 5, 2022

Java is a mature, long-standing programming language that is widely used for the development of ERP systems, banking and finance systems, blockchain solutions and cryptocurrency exchanges, healthcare, and energy solutions as well as for the creation of mobile applications across multiple domains.

The most significant benefit of the Java language is that it is open-source and has a big and strong community of developers. Thus, many great frameworks were built on the basis of Java for the development of web applications, network applications, ORM, etc.

In this article we’ll look at the most popular Java frameworks that are widely used by software developers across the globe.

What Are Java Frameworks?

When forming their tech stacks for the next app-building project, software developers pay much attention to choosing the right framework. In the case of Java, there is a wide range of frameworks each used for a particular type of software. For example, there are frameworks for building web, mobile, desktop, and network applications, IoT solutions, microservices, REST APIs, and many others.

Java frameworks have a set of libraries that include a ready-made code frame, templates for a certain app type, classes, components, and various structures. Using these libraries, software developers can quickly create the basis for any Java app. Moreover, with the help of frameworks, Java developers don’t have to manage hardware and software infrastructure. Many frameworks have quick configurations that allow to set up the infrastructure within minutes and get down to code writing much faster.

Top 10 Java Frameworks

The choice of a Java framework for a software development project depends on many factors – the type of the requested software, a programmer’s skill level, languages and tools that are included in the tech stack alongside Java, personal software developer’s preferences, and much more. Therefore, it’s impossible to say which Java framework is the best.

Yet, there are frameworks that are more and less popular in the Java community. Here are the most used, time-tested, and robust Java frameworks for various software projects.

1. Spring Framework

Spring is an open-source framework mainly used for the development of enterprise applications both web and mobile. It includes different components like the Spring Core, Spring Web MVC, Spring AOP, Spring DAO, Spring context, Spring ORM, and Spring Web Flow. It can also be used with Kotlin and Groovy.

Such companies as Netflix and eBay are using Spring for the development of their apps and systems.

The main advantages of Spring:

  • allows to write clean and accessible code;
  • lightweight and easy-to-deploy;
  • has XML and annotation-style configuration compatibility;
  • supports dependency injection.

The only drawback of the Spring framework is its complexity for beginners with no knowledge in Java programming. Some basic knowledge of Java is required to work with this framework.

2. Apache Struts

Struts is a free, open-source Java framework for developing compelling web applications. Struts can be easily integrated with other Java frameworks. For example, it can be used as a Spring plugin for dependency injection or as a Hibernate plugin for object-relational mapping.

The main benefits of Struts:

  • has a plugin-based architecture;
  • easy to set up;
  • flexible and easy to use;
  • faster time to develop.

However, in order to use Struts, the developer should know Java Servlet API as well as JSP (Java Server Pages). Otherwise, it might require some time to get familiar with the framework. The framework is not suitable for the development of small applications.

3. Grails

Grails is an open-source framework for Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It is built on top of Spring Boot and runs with Groovy programming language. It is compatible with JDK, Java EE containers, Hibernate, Spring, and Quartz.

Grails can be used for the development of all kinds of applications.  Such companies as Oracle, IBM, Netflix, Cisco, and Google are using Grails for application development.

The main benefits of Grails:

  • easy to set up and get started;
  • integrates easily with already written Java code;
  • has a huge number of plugins.

Grails is a good choice for time-sensitive projects as well as for startup projects. So if it is a small or medium-size project then Grails is a good fit. Grails’ simplicity also allows RAD development in real-time.

4. Hibernate

Hibernate – an object-relational mapping (ORM) Java framework mainly used for dealing with databases. Hibernate easily communicates with any database and is incredibly convenient when working with multiple databases.

The main advantages of Hibernate:

  • easy to scale;
  • simple to modify and configure;
  • alleviates converting data for multiple databases.

Hibernate simplifies application development and the way it interacts with the database. It is perfect for OOP-type projects that require high productivity and portability at the same time.

5. JSF (JavaServer Faces)

JSF is a Java-based web application framework developed and maintained by Oracle. Mainly used for the development of server-based applications and to simplify the development integration of web-based user interfaces. JSF is quite similar to Struts.

The main benefits of JSF:

  • has reusable UI components;
  • rich libraries;
  • helps improve productivity and consistency.

JSF is a great choice for web application development, however, a deep understanding of Java is required, otherwise, it would be too complex to use it due to the complexity of this framework.

6. Wicket

Wicket is a full-stack component-based web application Java framework provided by the Apache Foundation. The framework supports Java starting from its 11th version and Servlet API 3.1 or newer. Based on the recent Java and Servlet API releases, the framework allows building outstanding web solutions and ensures strong data protection with Content Security Policy.

The framework utilizes pure Java and simply integrates with HTML, effectively separating markup and logic layer, and allowing unit testing of the front-end code.

Main Wicket benefits include:

  • implementation of reusable components for consistent and quick web application development;
  • use of POJO data models ensuring that Wicket components are general Java objects;
  • bundling components into reusable packages for adding custom CSS and JavaScript;
  • simple web application internationalization with the support of 25+ languages;
  • Ajax implementation for app updating in real-time;
  • secure URL handling, and more.

7. Dropwizard

This is a lightweight and simple-to-use framework for building web applications and RESTful web servers. Dropwizard works as a great alternative to Spring and Spring WebMVC packages when it comes to REST APIs development. In comparison to Spring, it vastly implements configuration by convention paradigm and is based on the Jetty HTTP library. This allows Dropwizard to quickly package apps for simple deployment as microservices and effectively bootstrap development projects.

Main Dropwizard advantages are:

  • a minimalist framework for quick development of microservices;
  • rapid app prototyping;
  • great support of external libraries – Jetty, Guava, Jersey, Jackson, and Metrics.

With Dropwizard software developers can create simple apps or small web services within several hours. Java developers can quickly grasp the basics of Dropwizard, all they need to do is to set it up in an IDE such as Eclipse and use a basic tutorial from the Dropwizard website.

8. ATG

ATG is a Java framework developed by Oracle which is used for building e-commerce solutions. Due to Oracle’s support, this framework can run on its server – Oracle Weblogic. Above all, it also uses IBM Websphere, and JBoss, or can be implemented on-premises.

ATG platform has everything needed for building powerful and complex B2B and B2C applications:

  • personalization module (DPS) and scenarios module (DSS) for content customization;
  • dynamo application framework – provides a development environment based on JavaBeans and JSP;
  • data anywhere architecture – it adapts to any database due to its use of XML;
  • payment integration support – customization to any payment method;
  • application server support – supports JBOSS, WebLogic, and WebSphere.

The companies that use ATG for their e-commerce websites are Walmart, ASDA, Tesco, BestBuy, Macy’s, Nike, Sephora, and many others.

9. Play

Play is a performant and productive framework for creating web and mobile applications using Java and Scala. The framework is developer-friendly as it allows making changes and refreshing the code just by using a browser and text editor. Play also provides a strong set of tools, e.g. Akka toolkit ensures minimal resource consumption and makes it easy to build highly-scalable applications and built-in testing support.

The main benefits of Play:

  • lightweight, stateless, and non-blocking architecture;
  • uses RESTful APIs by default;
  • supports Eclipse, Netbeans, and Intellij IDEA IDEs.

The companies that use Play in their digital solutions are Coursera, Zalando, Keen, LinkedIn, Samsung, Walmart, and many others.

Play is a great option for those developers who want to switch to Java from other programming languages. The framework doesn’t require much configuring such as WAMP/LAMP server setting, instead, software developers just need to download and it’s ready to run. Moreover, the framework has everything to start building apps right away – a compiler, a web server, an in-memory DB server, distributed cache management, an integrated database manager, a variety of utility libraries, dependency management, and much more.

10. Apache Hadoop

Apache Hadoop is an open-source Java framework that focuses on working with large data sets, processing gigabytes to petabytes of data. It uses simple programming models to distribute data across clusters of computers and can easily scale from a single server to thousands of machines.

Main advantages of Apache Hadoop:

  • effective for processing Big Data;
  • can detect and handle errors ar the application layer;
  • distributed data storage.

The main Apache Hadoop components that allow effectively distribute and process of data include HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System) – a reliable and easy-to-scare file system, YARN (Yet Another Resource Negotiator) – the cluster that manages and coordinates resources, and MapReduce Framework – the framework that supports a distributed computing system in Hadoop.

Bottom line

Today, Java is one of the most popular programming languages with a well-developed toolkit. There is a wide range of Java frameworks that help build any kind of app that can run on any platform. However, when choosing a Java framework, software developers have to consider more than just the app type and the platform it’ll run on. They also have to care about the complexity of the chosen framework, other programming languages and tools included in the tech stack, further app scalability, and much more.

In case you are uncertain which framework works best for your project, or if you want to hire a Java developers with knowledge of several Java frameworks, we are always at hand. We have more than 20+ years of experience in the development of web, desktop, and mobile applications with Java frameworks and have completed more than 600 projects successfully. Feel free to get in touch!