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7 Java frameworks all web developers should learn

As all developers know by now, the fast times we live in force them to come up with quality work in the shortest time possible. Businesses have grown accustomed to a rapid pace that needs software to be developed and marketed as quickly as possible—and that’s what they are asking from their developers. That’s the main reason why so many professionals are investing time and effort to learn how to work with different frameworks.

This is especially true for Java developers. Be it because they work in-house and their team leaders requests it or because they work in a Java development company that has to meet tight deadlines, knowledge of the most popular frameworks is expected from them. That knowledge guarantees that developers can come up with new solutions without investing that much time working on them. 

Now, seasoned developers already know this and have surely learned the top Java frameworks. But what about newbies or people that got stuck in the same repetitive tasks? How can they know which Java frameworks to learn, given the huge amount available in the market? Don’t worry. If you are among them, there’s a list of essential frameworks related to the language that you, as a Java developer, need to know—and here it is!

1 – Google Web Toolkit

This open-source tool has Google’s seal of approval, so rest assured that it’ll get its job done in an efficient way. And what kind of job is that? It allows Java developers to design and modify front-end Java applications of all complexity levels as well as develop responsive web applications that balance the load on both server and client-side systems.

One of the best things about Google Web Toolkit is that it allows Java development outsourcing and in-house teams to write client-side Java code that can be later deployed as JavaScript for the browser. That, coupled with its ease of use that allows writing complex browser-based apps without that much knowledge about front-end and advanced features like cross-browser portability, UI abstraction, and history management makes it a must-know for Java web developers.

2 – Spring MVC

Being one of the oldest Java web frameworks in the market has to account for something, and Spring MVC certainly lives up to that expectation by being one of the best. That’s because it comes with a complete toolkit to develop and configure all kinds of apps and the security features that go with them. And thanks to the molecularity of its tools, developers can write clean and accessible code that’s easy to maintain.

As its name implies, Spring MVC uses the Model-View-Controller design pattern that separates each role which then can be fulfilled by a specialized object. This allows for rapid development, as Spring MVC facilitates parallel development, a great feature for development teams that work with various hands on a particular project. Finally, this framework is very easy to test through data injection based on setter methods.

3 – Grail’s

Grails is a Groovy-based web application framework. Groovy is an object-oriented programming language for Java that increases productivity by providing a syntax that’s compatible with Java and compiled to the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) code. One of the great things about Grails is that it gets along great with other Java technologies, such as the Java Development Kit and Java EE containers, extending the possibilities of what web developers can do.

Though this frameworks need developers to code using Groovy, the language itself makes it easier to get to the final product, as much less code is needed to perform the same functions as anyone would get with other languages. Additionally, Grails has a very detailed documentation that includes step-by-step guides to help newbies kickstart their projects. Finally, its extensive plugin library and the possibility to build new ones will surely delight web developers.

4 – JavaServer Faces

Developed by Oracle to build user interfaces for Java web applications, Java Server Faces allows developers to design user interfaces of reusable components, manage their states, connect them to data sources, and bind events to event handlers on the server-side. This framework follows the MVC design pattern and uses a component-based architecture.

One of the greatest things about JavaServer Faces is that the applications that are created with it are portable across different Java EE application servers. Besides, it comes with very detailed and insightful documentation about everything developers can do with it, so the complexities of its use are eased and the learning curve is gentler than anyone can think.

5 – Play

This is probably the simplest and easiest web framework on this list. That’s because Play’s main goal is for developers to make all the changes they want with minimal effort and in no time. To ensure that this framework combines an intuitive UI with features that use only the minimum computational resources for optimal performance.

Play’s environment lets developers write, design, and test applications in a very cohesive workflow. That’s why so many developers are using this framework to build lightweight and web-friendly Java applications. Besides, Play uses a fully asynchronous model to ensure better scalability, the main reason why it follows the statelessness principle. 

6 – Vert.X

Someone could point out that this web framework isn’t precisely a Java exclusive, as it can support several languages (like Ruby or Groovy). However, Vert.X is optimized for Java, so Java developers will feel right at home with it. One of the main reasons why that can happen is that the framework has different components, each one being modular. This allows for development teams to use what they need to write web applications and discard the rest.


Additionally, Vert.X is very easy to set up, thanks to its flexibility, which lets developers choose the components and libraries they’ll need for work. The framework runs on the JVM, which lets the team test the code and scale it as needed and without complications.

7 – JHipster 

Though this is a somewhat newer Java framework than the rest, the fact that it combines the power of Spring Boot with Angular and React into an application generator more than makes up for it. That allows JHipster to generate Java-based web apps and micro services with ease and that requires minimal configuration.

JHipster integrates several tools into its environment while also offering a lot of features and options for client-side and server-side programming. Java developers will also prize the NoSQL databases and websockets support, database migrations with Liquibase and the automatic deployment to services like AWS and CloudFoundry.

To sum it up

Java developers working in in-house teams or being part of Java outsourcing teams can really bring their skills to a whole new level by learning any of these web frameworks. Of course, they’ll come in handy in different projects and different times, which is a good reason to learn to use more than just one of them.

Naturally, the developers’ own experience with Java will define which web framework is more suitable to be learned first. One thing’s for sure though—regardless of where they start, developers will find amazing allies in these frameworks that will allow them to better respond to the demands of the current development world.

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