Robert Johns | 15 Jan, 2024
Fact checked by Jim Markus

Want To Level Up In Java? Use These Java Frameworks!

In this article, I'll break down the 20 best Java frameworks in 2024.

Whether you’re looking to land a job as a Java developer or enhance your portfolio, one thing's for sure: modern Java development would not be where it is today without Java frameworks.

But what is a Java framework anyway?

If you're new to the idea, don't worry. I'll introduce the idea of a Java framework before diving into our list of the top 20 Java frameworks.

If you're in a hurry, here's the TL-DR: Java frameworks are a collection of pre-written Java code that provides a ready-made structure for a Java application while simplifying and standardizing development with reusable components, libraries, and best practices.

Put simply, they're kind of awesome and ideal for Java developers.

Plus, when you consider that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average salary of more than $130K for software developers, learning to use Java frameworks can be lucrative.

Now, if you're ready, let's dive in to explore these Java frameworks!

What Is A Java Framework?

Let's tackle a fundamental question: What is a Java framework?

Imagine you're embarking on a Java project. You've got the basics of Java under your belt, but as you step into the vast world of software development, you'll quickly encounter this term.

A Java framework is essentially a pre-built collection of code that provides a structure for building Java applications.

It's like having a blueprint for constructing a building – the framework lays out the foundation, supporting pillars, and commonly used components, allowing you to focus on designing the unique aspects of your structure.

Sure, you can take a Java course and learn vanilla Java syntax, but you'll quickly discover that Java frameworks are a subset of software frameworks tailored specifically for the Java programming language.

They come in various flavors, each designed for different types of applications. Whether it’s web applications, database operations, network services, or enterprise-level solutions, there’s a Java framework out there to suit the task.

What makes these frameworks so invaluable is their provision of built-in functionalities and best practices for Java programming.

They offer a way to organize your code systematically and come packed with tools for common tasks like database connectivity, data handling, and web services. This means less time sweating over boilerplate code and more time refining the unique features of your project.

In a nutshell, Java frameworks are the scaffolding that supports and streamlines the development process, ensuring more efficient, robust, and maintainable Java applications. Pretty handy, right?

The 20 Best Java Frameworks

Okay, let's dive in and look at the 20 best JavaScript frameworks available in 2024.

Now, depending on your own experience with Java frameworks, you might have a favorite that you'd like to see higher up, but really, they're all pretty great!

That said, let us know in the comments if you'd like to see something switched out!

Also, it's important to remember that while Java frameworks are incredible at streamlining the coding process, you still need to have knowledge of the Java platform to use them.

So, be sure to have your favorite Java cheat sheet ready!

1. Spring & Spring Boot

Spring

I have to start my list with the Spring Framework! It's probably one of the most popular Java frameworks out there, so it's no wonder there are so many great Spring courses.

First off, Spring isn't your run-of-the-mill framework. It's a masterclass in simplifying the complex, thanks to its focus on plain old Java objects (POJOs).

This means you can say goodbye to the heavyweight approaches of traditional Java EE (now Jakarta EE) and embrace a more streamlined, intuitive style of coding.

What I really like about Spring is its rich feature set. It's like the Swiss Army knife of Java frameworks. Dependency Injection, aspect-oriented programming, transaction management – you name it, Spring's got it.

These aren't just buzzwords; they're the tools that have transformed my Java apps, making them modular, maintainable, and, frankly, fun to work on.

Spring also plays nicely with other Java libraries and frameworks, making it ideal for most development scenarios. Its modular architecture is also really cool, as this lets you pick and choose the components you need without the bloat of unused features.

Now, let's talk about Spring Boot. This is where Spring really flexes its muscles.

It's like the turbocharger for your Spring applications, streamlining the setup and development process. Whether you're building a quick standalone web app or a heavyweight enterprise system, Spring Boot gets you up and running in no time.

Whether you're a Java newbie or a seasoned pro in web application development, Spring has something to offer – and it might just become your favorite framework, too.

Features

  • Spring Boot: Simplifies the bootstrapping and development of new Spring applications.
  • Spring Cloud: Offers resources to construct frequently used designs in distributed systems efficiently.
  • Data Access: Offers support for integrating with relational and non-relational databases, transaction management, and ORM frameworks like Hibernate.
  • Security: A customizable and robust authentication and access-control framework.
  • Batch Processing: Comprehensive support for batch processing, a vital feature in enterprise systems.
  • Web Framework: A web application framework with rich functionality for building web applications.
  • Spring Test: Provides testing support for Spring components with JUnit or TestNG. 
Pros Cons
Comprehensive Dependency Injection. Steep learning curve for beginners.
Supports Aspect-Oriented Programming. Extensive configuration can be complex.
Strong transaction management and security features. Requires understanding of Spring's approach to reap full benefits.
Robust ecosystem and community support. Sometimes perceived as too feature-rich for simple applications.

2. Hibernate

Hibernate

Hibernate isn't just another ORM framework. It's a game-changer for handling database operations in Java. Imagine writing less code but doing more with your database – that's Hibernate.

I really like how it transforms complex database interactions into simple, object-oriented operations. Say you're working with Java objects; Hibernate seamlessly maps them to database tables. No more wrestling with SQL queries and database intricacies!

What stands out to me about the Hibernate framework is its clever use of lazy loading and caching. These aren't just fancy features; they're real time-savers. They mean your app isn't wasting resources fetching unnecessary data or repeatedly hitting the database.

Hibernate's HQL (Hibernate Query Language) is also a highlight, as it lets you write database-independent queries in an object-oriented fashion. This means you're not tied down to one database vendor – freedom! This is such a joy to use whenever I'm inside my Java IDE.

But it's not all roses. Hibernate can be a bit of a maze for beginners. There's a learning curve to mastering its ins and outs. And if you're not careful with how you use it, performance might take a hit, especially in complex scenarios.

Features:

  • ORM Capabilities: Enables developers to write applications whose data outlives the application process more easily.
  • HQL: Hibernate Query Language is an object-oriented query language that's independent of your DB.
  • Caching: Improves application performance by reducing database access with internal and external caching.
  • Lazy Loading: Enhances performance by loading only the data needed.
  • Automatic Schema Generation: Automates database schema creation and update processes.
  • Data Filtering: Offers the ability to apply filters at the Hibernate Session level.
     
Pros Cons
Simplifies complex database operations. Steep learning curve for those unfamiliar with ORM principles.
Reduces boilerplate JDBC code. Performance overhead in some complex scenarios.
Highly portable across databases. Sometimes criticized for its "black box" nature.
Strong community and extensive documentation. Can be complex to configure and optimize for specific use cases.

3. Apache Struts

Struts

Apache Struts is like the seasoned pro of Java web frameworks  – it's been around, and it knows its stuff!

Here's the scoop: Apache Struts isn't just another web framework. It's a robust environment for developing Java EE web applications. It's like that reliable tool in your kit that consistently gets the job done.

What I like about Struts is how it champions the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern. This means your app's data, user interface, and control logic are neatly separated, making maintenance and development a smoother ride.

Struts also stands out with its form beans, custom tags, and declarative exception handling. These features are not just about getting things done; they're about getting them done efficiently and cleanly. Form handling and data validation? Struts makes these typically tedious tasks a breeze.

And let's talk about Struts Tiles, a templating framework that's part of the Struts family. It brings in a level of reusability and layout management that's a godsend for consistent UI development.

But it's not without its challenges. Struts, being one of the older frameworks, can feel a bit cumbersome compared to newer, more streamlined frameworks. And if you're not on top of your game with its configurations, things can get tricky.

If any of this seems tricky, it's always great to grab a Java book to plug any knowledge gaps you might have.

Features:

  • MVC Framework: Promotes separation of concerns for easier manageability and clarity.
  • Form Beans: Simplifies form handling and data validation in web applications.
  • Custom Tags: Provides a way to create reusable components in JSPs.
  • Declarative Exception Handling: Streamlines error handling in web applications.
  • Struts Tiles: Offers a templating solution for consistent and reusable UI components.
Pros Cons
Encourages good design practices with MVC architecture. Steep learning curve for beginners.
Streamlines form handling and data validation. Can feel heavyweight compared to newer frameworks.
Reusable UI components with Struts Tiles. Requires careful configuration and management.
Strong legacy and wide adoption in enterprise applications. Potentially less agile in rapidly evolving web scenarios.

4. JavaServer Faces (JSF)

JSFHere’s the thing: JSF isn’t your typical framework for web app development. It’s actually a unique blend of a user interface framework for Java-based web applications built right on top of Java EE standards.

What really grabbed my attention about JSF is its component-based approach. Imagine building UIs like you're assembling a puzzle – each piece, or component, comes with its own functionality and can be reused across different parts of your application.

This makes developing and maintaining complex interfaces much more manageable.

JSF also stands out with its powerful Facelets templating engine. Gone are the days of juggling multiple JSP files. Facelets lets you build views using XHTML - it’s like having a cleaner, more organized workspace.

But what truly sets JSF apart is its integration with other Java EE features. It plays incredibly well with other standards like EJB and JPA, making it a full-stack solution in the Java EE ecosystem.

However, JSF isn't without its quirks. Navigating its learning curve can feel like a steep climb, especially if you're new to the Java EE world. Plus, its component-based nature, while powerful, can be a bit of a double-edged sword – it's easy to get lost in the myriad of components and their interactions.

Features:

  • Component-Based UI Development: Streamlines the creation and maintenance of complex web interfaces.
  • Facelets Templating Engine: Simplifies page layouts with reusable templates using XHTML.
  • Integration with Java EE: Seamlessly works with other Java EE technologies for a comprehensive web solution.
  • AJAX Support: JSF 2.x brings built-in Ajax support, enhancing dynamic web applications.
  • Validation and Conversion Framework: Provides built-in mechanisms for input validation and data conversion.
Pros Cons
Streamlined UI development with reusable components. Steep learning curve, especially for newcomers.
Clean and organized templating with Facelets. Can be complex and overwhelming with extensive component libraries.
Strong integration within the Java EE ecosystem. Sometimes perceived as less agile than other frameworks.
Enhanced user experiences with AJAX support. Might feel bulky for simpler web applications. 

5. Google Web Toolkit (GWT)

GWTGWT isn’t your everyday web toolkit. It’s something different altogether, as it lets you write front-end applications in Java before compiling your Java code into JavaScript.

It’s like speaking one language and being understood in another – seamlessly.

What I really like about GWT is its cross-compilation capability. You're essentially writing robust, type-safe Java code, and GWT takes care of turning it into efficient, browser-friendly JavaScript.

This means fewer headaches dealing with browser quirks and JavaScript’s eccentricities.

Another standout feature is its strong emphasis on performance and optimization. GWT comes with a suite of tools that help optimize your code, ensuring your applications are not just powerful, but also lightning fast.

But GWT is not just about writing and compiling code. It offers a rich set of widgets and panels, making UI development a breeze. And if you're into building complex interfaces, GWT's UI binding and internationalization features are incredibly handy.

However, GWT does come with its challenges. Its learning curve can be steep, especially if you're not familiar with Java or advanced client-side development. And while it does a lot of heavy lifting, it can feel a bit cumbersome for smaller, simpler projects.

Features:

  1. Cross-Compilation: Converts Java code into optimized JavaScript.
  2. Performance Optimization: Tools and techniques for creating fast web applications.
  3. Rich UI Widgets and Panels: A comprehensive set of components for building interactive UIs.
  4. UI Binding: Simplifies the connection between UI components and the application logic.
  5. Internationalization: Supports building applications for a global audience with different languages and locales.
Pros Cons
Write in Java, deploy in JavaScript: The best of both worlds. Steep learning curve for Java and client-side development.
Robust performance optimization tools. Might feel overkill for small-scale web projects.
Comprehensive UI component library. Requires a good grasp of Java for effective use.
Ideal for complex, large-scale web applications. Can involve a more complex build and debugging process.

6. Vaadin

Vaadin Vaadin is another impressive web framework that blends simplicity and power to help you build modern web applications using Java.

What's remarkable about Vaadin is its server-side approach. You write all your UI logic in Java, and Vaadin takes care of rendering it in the browser.

This means you can focus on writing clean, type-safe Java code without getting bogged down by HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Vaadin shines with its extensive collection of built-in components. These aren't your basic buttons and text fields; we're talking about sophisticated elements like grids, charts, and combo boxes, all ready to be integrated into your application with minimal fuss.

But Vaadin isn't just about components. It's also about productivity. Its intuitive API, combined with a drag-and-drop visual designer, makes UI development not just efficient but also enjoyable.

That said, Vaadin does have its complexities. While it abstracts away the frontend technologies, a strong understanding of Java is essential to leverage its full potential. And because it's doing a lot of heavy lifting behind the scenes, getting to grips with its inner workings can take some time.

Features:

  • Server-Side Development: Write your UI logic entirely in Java.
  • Rich Component Set: Extensive library of high-quality, pre-built UI components.
  • Drag-and-Drop Visual Designer: Simplify UI development with a user-friendly interface.
  • Data Binding: Easily connect UI components to your data model.
  • Mobile Support: Build responsive applications that work across devices.
Pros Cons
Simplifies web development with a Java-centric approach. Requires solid Java knowledge for effective usage.
Comprehensive and sophisticated UI component library. Understanding the behind-the-scenes magic can be challenging.
Enhances productivity with intuitive design tools. May not be ideal for projects requiring deep client-side customization.
Great for building responsive, cross-platform web applications. Heavier server-side processing compared to client-side frameworks.

7. Grails

GrailsHere's the lowdown: Grails isn’t your average Java framework. It’s a dynamic, convention-over-configuration, high-productivity framework that leverages the Groovy language, bringing a bit of the Ruby on Rails magic into the Java world.

What I like most about Grails is its radical simplicity. It's designed to get you up and running in no time, with features like scaffolding, which automatically generates the basic CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) interfaces for your domain classes.

Grails is all about smart defaults and convention over configuration. This means less time fussing over setup and more time coding. Plus, with its Groovy foundation, you can write more expressive and concise code compared to standard Java.

The framework also excels in its seamless integration with the Java ecosystem. You can easily plug in existing Java libraries and frameworks, making it a flexible and powerful choice for a wide range of applications.

But Grails isn't just about speed and ease. It's also robust. With features like GORM (Grails Object-Relational Mapping), which is a Groovy-flavored take on Hibernate, you get powerful database mapping capabilities with minimal configuration.

However, Grails isn't without its nuances. While it's straightforward for simple applications, the convention-over-configuration approach can be a double-edged sword, especially in complex scenarios where you need more control.

Features:

  • Scaffolding: Rapidly generates basic CRUD interfaces for domain classes.
  • Convention-over-Configuration: Minimal configuration is needed to get started.
  • GORM: A powerful, Groovy-based data access framework built on top of Hibernate.
  • Plugin Ecosystem: Rich selection of plugins for extending functionality.
  • Groovy Integration: Leverages the Groovy language for more concise and expressive code.
Pros Cons
Quick to develop with and easy to learn Convention-over-configuration might be limiting in complex cases.
Less boilerplate code thanks to Groovy. Might require a shift in mindset for traditional Java developers.
Seamless integration with Java libraries. Understanding Groovy nuances is essential for full effectiveness.
 GORM features for database interaction. Larger applications may face scalability challenges.

8. Play Framework

PlayPlay Framework is like the sleek, high-performance sports car in the Java and Scala web development world!

It's a reactive framework that offers an asynchronous, non-blocking approach to handling requests, making it incredibly efficient for building scalable web applications.

What really impresses me about Play is its simplicity and developer-friendly nature. It's designed to be non-invasive, allowing you to build applications in a more intuitive and less restrictive manner. You write less, but you do more.

Play stands out with its stateless, web-friendly architecture. This means it's inherently suited for modern web applications, where scalability and performance are key. It's like having a framework that's already tuned for the high demands of today’s web traffic.

Another great aspect of Play is its support for both Java and Scala. This flexibility lets you choose the language that best fits your project or team, all while benefiting from Play’s robust features.

But Play isn’t just about handling requests efficiently. It also focuses heavily on developer productivity. Features like hot-reloading, where changes in code are immediately reflected in the running application, make the development process a breeze.

However, Play does have its intricacies. It requires a shift from the traditional servlet-based Java web development, and understanding its asynchronous model can take some time. Plus, if you're heavily invested in the Java EE ecosystem, integrating with Play might require some adjustments.

Features:

  • Asynchronous and Non-blocking: Optimized for handling a large number of simultaneous connections.
  • Stateless Architecture: Makes it inherently scalable and suitable for modern web applications.
  • Hot-Reload: Changes in code are reflected in real-time, enhancing development speed.
  • Support for Java and Scala: Offers flexibility in choosing the programming language.
  • Built-in Testing Tools: Facilitates thorough testing of applications
Pros Cons
Highly scalable and efficient for web applications. Learning curve for asynchronous programming model.
Enhances developer productivity with hot-reloading. May require adjustments for those used to Java EE.
Flexible language support for both Java and Scala. Different approach to handling requests than traditional servlets.
Strong focus on building stateless, reactive applications. Integrating with existing Java EE components can be challenging.

9. Apache Wicket

Apache WicketApache Wicket is a component-based web framework that brings a unique perspective to building web applications with Java. It’s like constructing a building with pre-fabricated blocks – efficient and robust.

What attracted me to Wicket is its component-based architecture. You create web pages and components in Java and HTML, and Wicket seamlessly ties them together.

This means you can keep your development within Java's type-safe environment while still crafting rich, interactive web interfaces.

Wicket excels in its simplicity and ease of use. Unlike some frameworks that require you to learn extensive new concepts, Wicket sticks close to the core Java principles. This makes it a comfortable and familiar choice for Java developers.

But it’s not just about easy coding. Wicket is designed for secure web applications. It automatically handles many security concerns, like Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF), making your development journey a bit less worrisome.

However, Wicket has its nuances. Its stateful nature, while offering several benefits, means it handles server resources differently from stateless frameworks, which can be a consideration for scalability.

Features:

  • Component-Based: Build web UIs with reusable Java components.
  • HTML and Java Link: Easily link Java code with corresponding HTML templates.
  • Stateful: Maintains component state across requests, simplifying data management.
  • Built-in Security: Handles common web application vulnerabilities.
  • Ajax Support: Provides straightforward integration of Ajax into components.
Pros Cons
Intuitive for Java developers with component-based approach. Stateful nature may pose scalability challenges.
Clean separation of HTML and Java code. Different from the typical MVC frameworks, requiring a mindset shift.
Strong focus on security within the framework. May not be as widely adopted as some other frameworks, affecting community support.
Supports rich, dynamic web applications with Ajax. Learning curve for managing component lifecycle and state. 

10. Dropwizard

DropwizardDropwizard is like the efficient, no-nonsense craftsman in the world of Java web service development!

Here’s the rundown: Dropwizard isn't your typical, bloated enterprise framework. It’s a sleek, lightweight framework that focuses on getting RESTful web services up and running quickly and efficiently.

What I like about Dropwizard is its minimalist yet powerful approach. It combines just the right amount of tools and libraries you need to build high-performance web services. Think of it as having a well-organized toolbox where every tool has a clear purpose.

Dropwizard stands out with its out-of-the-box support for everything you need to create a production-ready web service. This includes an embedded Jetty server, Jersey for RESTful web services, Jackson for JSON, and Metrics for real-time monitoring.

But it’s not just about the tools; it’s about the philosophy. Dropwizard embraces the concept of microservices before it was even a buzzword. It’s designed to help you create standalone applications that can be deployed and scaled independently.

However, Dropwizard has its particularities. While it’s fantastic for quickly setting up and deploying services, its opinionated setup means less flexibility compared to more extensive frameworks. And, if you need to step outside its boundaries, you might find yourself doing a bit more legwork.

Features:

  • Lightweight and Fast: Focused on quickly building and deploying web services.
  • Jetty, Jersey, Jackson: A solid stack for creating RESTful services and handling JSON.
  • Metrics: Built-in support for real-time monitoring of your application’s performance.
  • Standalone Service: Ideal for building microservices that are easy to deploy and scale.
  • Minimal Configuration: Start fast without spending hours on setup.
Pros Cons
Rapid development and deployment. Less flexibility for non-standard requirements.
Integrated stack of tried and tested libraries. Opinionated architecture may not suit all projects.
Emphasizes on creating efficient, scalable microservices. Stepping outside its comfort zone can require extra effort.
Great for building reliable, monitorable web services. Might not be ideal for very large or complex applications. 

11. JHipster

JHipster

JHipster isn't just a framework, as it's more of a development platform that brings together the best of both the front-end and back-end worlds.

Think of it as a bridge that seamlessly connects enterprise-grade Java back-ends with cutting-edge JavaScript front-ends.

What I like about JHipster is its generator-based approach. It’s like having a smart assistant that sets up your project, choosing from a plethora of technologies like Spring Boot for the back-end and Angular or React for the front-end.

This means you can kickstart a full-fledged application in minutes, not hours. If any of these ideas seem a little alien to you, though, you can always take something like a React course to broaden your front-end knowledge.

JHipster shines with its ability to blend different technologies harmoniously. It's not just about using Java and JavaScript together; it’s about integrating them in a way that leverages the strengths of each. The result? Robust, scalable, and modern web applications.

But it’s not all about the tech stack. JHipster is also about best practices. It comes pre-packaged with tools for testing, building, and deploying your application, adhering to industry standards at every step.

However, JHipster has its complexities. With its vast array of options and integrations, the learning curve can be steep. It's like having a powerful sports car; you need to know how to handle it to make the most of its capabilities.

Features:

  • Application Generator: Automatically sets up a complete application stack.
  • Spring Boot Backend: Robust and scalable Java framework for the server side.
  • Angular or React Frontend: Modern JavaScript frameworks for the client side.
  • Best Practices: Comes with pre-configured development, testing, and deployment tools.
  • Microservice Support: Ideal for building and deploying microservice architectures.
Pros Cons
Rapidly generates full-fledged applications. Steep learning curve due to its extensive feature set.
Integrates cutting-edge front-end and back-end technologies. Complexity can be overwhelming for beginners.
Enforces best development practices. Tailoring the generated setup can be challenging.
Supports both monolithic and microservice architectures. Requires familiarity with a wide range of technologies.

12. Apache Camel

Apache Camel

Apache Camel isn’t just a library or a framework; it’s an integration engine designed to make complex routing and mediation rules a breeze. Think of it as the Rosetta Stone for application integration, allowing different systems to communicate effortlessly.

What's really impressive about Camel is its routing and mediation rules engine. It lets you define routing logic in a variety of Domain Specific Languages (DSLs), including a Java-based DSL.

This means you can easily integrate different systems without getting lost in the complexities of their APIs and protocols.

Camel excels in its support for a multitude of protocols and data formats. Whether you’re dealing with HTTP, JMS, WebSockets, or something more esoteric, Camel likely has a component for it. It’s like having a universal adapter for your integration challenges.

But Camel is not just about connecting systems; it’s about simplifying these integrations. Its components and patterns abstract the underlying complexities so you can focus on what’s important – your business logic.

However, Camel's strength in versatility can also be a challenge. The sheer number of components and configurations available can be daunting. And, while it simplifies integration, understanding how to use Camel best requires a solid grasp of integration patterns and practices.

Features:

  • Wide Range of Components: Supports various protocols and data formats for integration.
  • Flexible Routing and Mediation Rules: Define rules using Java and other DSLs.
  • Abstraction Over Integration Complexity: Simplifies integration of different systems.
  • Enterprise Integration Patterns: Implements numerous EIPs out of the box.
  • Extensible Architecture: Easily extend and customize to fit specific needs.
Pros Cons
Simplifies complex integration tasks. Can be overwhelming due to its range of components and configurations.
Supports a vast array of protocols and data formats. Requires understanding of enterprise integration patterns.
Flexible and powerful routing capabilities. Not necessarily beginner-friendly; steep learning curve for some.
Ideal for enterprise-level applications and systems. Initial setup and configuration can be complex.

13. Quarkus

Quarkus

Let's get into it. Quarkus isn't just another player in the Java universe. It’s a revolutionary framework designed for building efficient and effective microservices and serverless applications.

Think of it as a framework that’s tailor-made for the cloud and container era.

What stood out to me about Quarkus is its focus on runtime efficiency. It's built to work with popular Java standards and frameworks but with significantly reduced memory footprint and faster startup times.

It's like having a lightweight yet powerful engine under the hood.

Quarkus really shines with its live coding feature. This means you can make changes to your code and instantly see the results without restarting your application. It’s a massive time-saver and makes development a lot more fun.

But Quarkus isn’t just about speedy development. It's also about creating applications that are optimized for modern cloud-native environments. With its container-first approach, building applications that are ready for Kubernetes and serverless environments becomes a straightforward task.

However, Quarkus does require some adaptation, especially if you're used to traditional Java EE development. Its paradigm shift towards compile-time boot and dependency injection may take some getting used to.

Features:

  • Live Coding: Change your code and see the results immediately without restarts.
  • Container-First Philosophy: Optimized for low memory usage and fast startup times in containerized environments.
  • Standards-Based: Works with familiar Java standards and frameworks.
  • Kubernetes and Serverless Ready: Simplifies deployment in cloud-native environments.
  • Reactive and Imperative Programming: Supports both programming models for flexibility.
Pros Cons
Enhances productivity with live coding. Requires a shift from traditional Java EE models.
Ideal for cloud-native applications with its container-first approach. Learning curve for understanding its compile-time optimization.
Reduced resource consumption, perfect for microservices. May need adaptation for existing applications.
Supports a mix of reactive and imperative programming. Still evolving, which might bring changes and updates.

14. Micronaut

Micronaut

Here's the lowdown: Micronaut is like the agile, ultra-modern athlete in the Java framework lineup!

It's designed for building modular, easily testable microservice and serverless applications, so I like to think of it as the framework that’s been fine-tuned for the era of cloud and microservices.

What's really cool about Micronaut is its emphasis on minimal memory footprint and fast startup times. It's built from the ground up to be lightweight yet powerful, ensuring that your applications are efficient and scalable.

This is like having a sports car that’s fast, yet surprisingly fuel-efficient.

Micronaut also stands out for its ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation. This feature reduces the runtime overhead, making your applications not just lightweight but also incredibly responsive. It’s like streamlining your application to its essential elements for maximum performance.

But there’s more to Micronaut than just speed and efficiency. It's designed for developer productivity. Features like fast startup, quick CLI, and instant reload capabilities make the development process smoother and more enjoyable.

However, as with any advanced tool, Micronaut comes with its intricacies. Its different approach to dependency injection and AOT compilation might require a learning curve for developers accustomed to traditional Java frameworks.

Features:

  • Minimal Memory Footprint: Optimized for low resource consumption.
  • Fast Startup Times: Designed for quick application startup.
  • Ahead-of-Time (AOT) Compilation: Reduces runtime overhead for better performance.
  • Built-in Microservice Features: Comes with tools necessary for building microservices.
  • Developer-Friendly: Fast CLI and instant reload for a better development experience.
Pros Cons
Highly efficient for microservices and serverless applications. Different approach to dependency injection may require learning.
Lightweight, leading to reduced resource costs. AOT compilation approach differs from traditional Java frameworks.
Enhances developer productivity with quick startup and reload. May have a smaller community compared to established frameworks.
Optimized for building scalable, cloud-native applications. Evolving features and updates require keeping pace with changes.

15. Vert.x

Vert.XVert.x is a versatile, high-energy performer in the world of reactive programming for the Java virtual machine!

Rather than thinking of Vert.x as just a framework, it's better to think of it as a toolkit for building reactive applications on the JVM.

It’s designed to handle the challenges of modern, high-performance, and scalable web applications. Think of it as a toolkit that gives you the freedom to build applications the way you want, whether they're simple or complex.

What I like about Vert.x is its event-driven, non-blocking nature. This approach is key in handling a large number of concurrent connections with minimal resources. It’s like having a team of efficient multitaskers handling requests simultaneously.

Vert.x also stands out for not being limited to Java; you can use languages like JavaScript, Groovy, Ruby, and Kotlin. This flexibility allows you to leverage the strengths of each language and choose the one that best suits your project or skill set.

But Vert.x isn't just about asynchronous programming and language versatility. It also excels in creating microservices. With its distributed event bus, different parts of your application can communicate smoothly, regardless of where they are deployed.

However, Vert.x’s strengths can also pose challenges. The asynchronous programming model can be a paradigm shift for developers used to a synchronous style of coding. And, managing the flow of asynchronous operations requires a solid grasp of its concepts and best practices.

Features:

  • Event-Driven and Non-Blocking: Optimized for handling numerous simultaneous connections.
  • Multi-language Programming: Supports multiple languages on the JVM.
  • Distributed Event Bus: Facilitates communication between different parts of an application.
  • Microservice-Ready: Ideal for building and deploying microservices.
  • Modular and Lightweight: You can use only what you need, reducing application bloat.
Pros Cons
Highly efficient for concurrent processing. Asynchronous model may be challenging for newcomers.
Flexibility in language choice enhances creativity. Managing asynchronous logic can be complex.
Strong support for building scalable microservices. Requires a good understanding of reactive programming.
Lightweight and modular for building tailored applications. Different from traditional Java EE models, requiring a mindset shift.

16. RatPack

RatPack

Here's what makes Ratpack worth using: It's designed with a focus on simplicity, speed, and effectiveness, particularly for handling I/O-intensive operations. It’s like a lightweight yet powerful bike streamlined for high-performance racing.

What really stands out with Ratpack is its non-blocking and asynchronous nature. This design is a huge plus for applications that demand high throughput and low latency, allowing you to handle numerous requests efficiently without overburdening the server.

Ratpack also impresses with its straightforward and unopinionated style.

Unlike some frameworks that enforce a particular way of doing things, Ratpack gives you the flexibility to structure your app the way you want. It’s like having a framework that adapts to your style rather than the other way around.

But it’s not just about being lightweight and fast. Ratpack’s functional programming model, inspired by Groovy, makes it a joy to use, especially if you’re into concise, expressive code.

However, Ratpack's minimalistic approach means it comes with fewer out-of-the-box features compared to more heavyweight frameworks. This lean approach is great for seasoned developers who prefer a hands-on style but might be challenging for beginners looking for more guidance.

Features:

  • Non-blocking and Asynchronous: Ideal for applications requiring high throughput.
  • Unopinionated Framework: Offers flexibility in how you structure and build your app.
  • Functional Programming Style: Inspired by Groovy, making it concise and expressive.
  • Lightweight: A minimalistic approach for building efficient applications.
  • Fast and Effective: Optimized for speed, making it a great choice for I/O-intensive tasks.
Pros Cons
Excellent performance for I/O-heavy applications. Less suitable for beginners due to its minimalistic nature.
Offers great flexibility and control to the developer. Fewer built-in features compared to larger frameworks.
Encourages concise and expressive code. Requires a solid understanding of asynchronous programming.
Ideal for applications where performance is critical. Might require additional libraries for more complex functionalities.

17. Thymeleaf

Thymeleaf

Thymeleaf is a modern, server-side Java template engine for both web and standalone environments. Think of it as the bridge between your back-end logic and front-end presentation, enabling you to create elegant and fully HTML5-compliant views.

What I like most about Thymeleaf is its natural templating capability. This means you can use plain HTML files for your templates, which can be viewed and edited in browsers as static files.

It's like having a template that doubles as a prototype, allowing for a smoother workflow between the development and design teams.

Thymeleaf also excels with its Spring integration, so if you're working with Spring applications, Thymeleaf and Spring MVC really complement each other, offering a powerful combination for rendering dynamic content.

But Thymeleaf isn’t just about integration and natural templates. It also shines in terms of flexibility and extensibility. You can easily extend its functionality with your own dialects or integrate it with various template modes, including XML, JavaScript, CSS, and even raw text.

However, Thymeleaf has its nuances. Its expression language and syntax, while powerful, can be a bit more verbose compared to other template engines. And, for those used to JSP or other template engines, there might be a slight learning curve in adapting to Thymeleaf’s way of doing things.

Features:

  • Natural Templating: Use plain HTML for templates, viewable as static files.
  • Seamless Spring Integration: Works beautifully with Spring applications for dynamic web content.
  • Extensible: Easily add custom functionality or integrate with different template modes.
  • Standards Compliance: Produces fully HTML5-compliant templates.
  • Versatility: Suitable for both web and standalone environments.
Pros Cons
Natural templates make collaboration between developers and designers easier. More verbose syntax compared to some other template engines.
Strong integration with Spring Framework. Slight learning curve for those new to its syntax and features.
Highly flexible and extensible for various use cases. May not be as performant as some simpler template engines in certain scenarios.
Produces clean and compliant HTML output. Requires understanding of its expression language for advanced usage.

18. Blade

Blade

Blade is like the swift, no-frills craftsman in the Java web framework arena as it's a lightweight, simple, yet effective MVC framework.

Unlike its heavyweight counterparts, Blade focuses on being minimalistic and easy to use. What I really like about Blade is its simplicity and elegance.

It’s designed for developers who want to jump straight into building applications without wading through layers of complexity. You get what you need to build a web application, and nothing you don’t.

Blade also stands out for its succinct syntax and the speed at which you can develop web applications. It’s based on the Java 8 language specification, making the most of lambda expressions and other modern Java features for a cleaner, more expressive codebase.

But Blade isn’t just about being lightweight and straightforward. It also comes with essential features like CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery) protection and web socket support, enabling you to build secure and interactive web applications.

However, Blade's minimalistic approach means it might not be as feature-rich as some of the larger frameworks. While it's perfect for simpler applications, you might find yourself needing to integrate additional libraries for more complex functionalities.

Features:

  • Lightweight MVC Framework: A simple, easy-to-understand structure for building web apps.
  • Java 8 Integration: Utilizes modern Java features for more concise and expressive code.
  • CSRF Protection: In-built security features to protect web applications.
  • WebSocket Support: Enables building real-time, interactive web applications.
  • Plugin Extension Mechanism: Allows extending the framework's capabilities with plugins.
Pros Cons
Rapid development with a straightforward approach. Might lack some advanced features found in larger frameworks.
Clean and expressive code using Java 8 features. Not ideal for complex applications without additional integrations.
In-built security features for safer web applications. Smaller community and ecosystem compared to major frameworks.
Support for building interactive, real-time applications. Limited to Java 8, which might not suit all development environments.

19. Spark Framework

SparkHere's the essence of Spark Framework: It's not your bulky, enterprise-level framework.

Instead, Spark offers a microframework for quickly creating web applications in Java with minimal effort.

What really stands out to me about Spark is its sheer simplicity and expressiveness. It allows you to set up a web server and handle routes in an incredibly straightforward manner.

This is a breath of fresh air, especially if you're accustomed to the more complex and verbose web frameworks.

Spark also stands out for its lightweight nature and ease of use. You write minimalistic, readable code, making it an excellent choice for smaller applications or microservices where you want to get things up and running quickly.

But Spark isn’t just about being easy to use. It also supports more advanced features like template engines, WebSocket, and static files, which are essential for building a fully functional web application.

However, Spark's minimalistic approach does come with trade-offs. While it's perfect for simple applications, it might not be the best fit for more complex, large-scale projects where you would require the robustness of full-fledged frameworks.

Features:

  • Easy to Use: Set up routes and start serving web content with minimal fuss.
  • Lightweight: A micro framework that doesn't bog down your application.
  • Expressive: Write clean, concise code that's easy to read and maintain.
  • WebSocket Support: Build real-time, interactive web applications.
  • Template Engine Support: Integrate with popular template engines for dynamic content rendering.
Pros Cons
Quick to set up and ideal for simple web applications. Not suited for complex, large-scale applications.
Clean and concise syntax, enhancing code readability. Lacks some advanced features of comprehensive web frameworks.
Suitable for microservices and lightweight backends. Community and ecosystem not as extensive as larger frameworks.
Supports essential web development features despite its size. Might require additional tools and libraries for more functionality.

20. Apache Hadoop

Apache HadoopApache Hadoop is a powerhouse of big data processing in the world of distributed computing!

Here’s the lowdown on Apache Hadoop: It's far more than just a framework; it's a comprehensive ecosystem designed for storing and processing large datasets across clusters of computers.

Think of it as the heavy-duty machinery capable of handling massive amounts of data with resilience and scalability.

What's really great about Hadoop is its core components: Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) and MapReduce.

HDFS provides high-throughput access to application data, making it ideal for handling large datasets, while MapReduce offers a powerful programming model for processing this data efficiently.

Hadoop also excels in its ability to scale. You can start with a single server and scale to thousands, handling petabytes of data. This scalability is a game-changer for businesses and researchers dealing with enormous data sets.

But Hadoop isn’t just about handling big data. It's also about its ecosystem of related projects like Apache Hive, Apache HBase, and Apache Spark, which extend its capabilities for data processing, querying, and real-time streaming.

However, Hadoop's strengths come with complexities. Setting up and maintaining a Hadoop cluster requires a good understanding of the system's architecture and best practices. Additionally, optimizing MapReduce jobs and managing data across distributed systems can be challenging.

Features:

  • Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS): A distributed file system designed to store data across multiple machines.
  • MapReduce: A programming model with a parallel and distributed algorithm for processing large data sets.
  • Scalability: Can scale from single servers to thousands of machines.
  • Ecosystem: Includes other Apache projects like Hive, HBase, and Spark for extended capabilities.
  • Fault Tolerance: Designed to detect and handle failures at the application layer.
Pros Cons
Excellent for storing and processing large data sets. Requires significant setup and maintenance effort.
Highly scalable and flexible infrastructure. Complex ecosystem can be overwhelming to new users.
Robust ecosystem for diverse data processing needs. Not optimized for small data sets or real-time processing.
Good fault tolerance and reliability. Learning curve for optimizing and managing distributed computing tasks.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it, the 20 best Java frameworks in 2024.

Whether you’re looking to land a job as a software developer, enhance your portfolio, or boost your skills, Java frameworks are one of the best ways to stay ahead of the curve in modern Java development.

Even if you're new to the world of Java frameworks, I hope you now have a better idea of what they are and why they're so useful.

And if anyone asks you what they are, you should be able to say, well, they are like a toolbox filled with pre-made code that helps you build a Java app more quickly.

Which one is your favorite? And are there any others you'd like to see us include on our list of Java frameworks? Let us know in the comments below.

Want to sharpen up your Java development skills? Check out:

Udemy's Top-Rated Course: The Java Programming Masterclass

 

By Robert Johns

Technical Editor for Hackr.io | 15+ Years in Python, Java, SQL, C++, C#, JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, .NET, MATLAB, HTML & CSS, and more... 10+ Years in Networking, Cloud, APIs, Linux | 5+ Years in Data Science | 2x PhDs in Structural & Blast Engineering

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Jason

Or, maybe for 2013? Recommended for use for work you will do between 2009 and 2013.

9 months ago

Jim Markus

What else would you recommend, Jason?

9 months ago