Competition is high in 2023, and companies need to keep up with the latest technology trends for today and the future. Therefore, developers are constantly looking for the most popular Java frameworks that can keep them ahead of the curve.

Therefore, it is essential to choose a Java framework to help you stay ahead. With so many options available, selecting the right one is not always easy.

What is a Java framework?

Frameworks are like sets of tools that make it easier for developers to create software applications. They provide a set of pre-built components and functionality so developers don’t have to start from scratch.

Java frameworks are designed specifically for creating applications using the Java programming language. They simplify development tasks and follow best practices, making the creation of Java-based projects faster and more efficient. Basically, Java frameworks are handy helpers for Java developers to get things done faster.

10 Best Java Frameworks this 2023

Web applications are not all built equal. Each one is unique and requires different characteristics. That is why it is important to choose the best framework that suits your specific needs.

Here is a list of the 10 best Java frameworks for web applications:

1. Spring Framework

The Spring framework is a highly versatile Java framework that simplifies the web app development company of enterprise-grade applications. It was first released in March 2004 and has gained immense popularity since then, earning the reputation of being the “framework of frameworks.” Spring is an open source, lightweight, loosely coupled Java application framework.

Developers prefer Spring for its speed, simplicity, and productivity, making it easy to create enterprise-grade web applications. Spring MVC and Spring Boot have modernised Java, making it responsive and cloud-ready, enabling the development of complex, high-performance web applications.

Big tech giants like Netflix, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft use Spring for their projects.

Main features:

Supports JDBC (Java Database Connectivity), which improves productivity and reduces errors.

It supports modularity and both XML- and annotation-based configuration.

In the Spring framework, dependency injection (also known as investment of control) and beans simplify web app development services.

2. Google Web Toolkit (GWT)

Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is a popular open source Java framework widely used by developers around the world to create and optimise complex browser-based applications. It enables productive development of high-performance web applications without requiring experience in front-end technologies such as JavaScript or responsive design.

Developed by Google, GWT (pronounced “gwit”) is used to create sophisticated Java-based web applications. Its ability to transform Java code into custom JavaScript code sets it apart from other popular Java frameworks.

Numerous Google products, such as AdSense, Google Wallet, and Blogger, have been developed using GWT, demonstrating its use and effectiveness in real-world applications. On the project website you will find a guide to creating a basic GWT application: How to start creating a GWT application .

Main features:

  • GWT simplifies the use of Google APIs
  • Java code reuse
  • It facilitates internationalisation and localization, including features such as user interface abstraction and cross-browser compatibility.

3. Apache Struts

Apache Struts, an open source Java framework under the Apache Software Foundation, has been a trusted choice for over 20 years. It simplifies the development of Java Platform Enterprise Edition (Java EE) web applications by adopting the Model-View-Control (MVC) architecture and taking advantage of the properties of the Java Servlet API. With XML-based configuration files, Java developers can centralise configuration, reducing web application development  time.

Following the principle of “more convention than configuration”, Apache Struts provides reasonable defaults and standardised practices, improving development efficiency and maintaining code readability. Therefore, it is a valuable framework for creating enterprise-grade Java web applications.

Main features:

  • Includes REST, AJAX and JSON compatible plugins.
  • It can easily integrate with other popular Java frameworks like Spring and Hibernate.
  • Includes POJO-based actions and offers centralised configuration.

4. Hibernate

Hibernate is a widely used object-relational mapping (ORM) tool for Java. It offers a framework that maps an object-oriented domain model to a relational database, making it easier to work with databases in Java applications.

What sets Hibernate apart is its powerful Hibernate Query Language, which facilitates the mapping process between the ORM and the relative database. This feature has contributed to the popularity of Hibernate among developers.

The Hibernate framework is trusted by large companies such as Platform, DAILY HOTEL, IBM and Dell, which incorporate it into their technology stacks to effectively manage interactions with databases in their applications.

Main features:

It includes the functions necessary for an ORM, making it a lightweight Java framework.

Supports lazy loading and two levels of caching.

Automatic table generation

5. JavaServer Faces (JSF)

JavaServer Faces (JSF) is a free web application framework maintained by Oracle. Like Struts, JSF simplifies creating user interfaces for server-side applications using reusable user interface components that can be assembled into a page. It is a component-based MVC framework that focuses on the presentation layer, allowing web developers to create user interfaces using drag and drop with ease.

JSF has been standardised through the Java Community Process as part of Java Enterprise Edition. Thanks to its standardisation, JSF is favoured by development teams seeking greater portability across platforms by adhering to published standards.

Main features:

Java Server Faces allows you to add a web interface using existing backend Java code.

It provides rich libraries and various tools to create elegant user interfaces.

It uses XML instead of Java for view management and provides an API to render and manage user interface components.

6. Play

Play is a unique Java framework that prioritises convention over configuration, making web application development easier. It follows the MVC design pattern and emphasises a stateless, web-friendly and lightweight architecture.

Written in Scala, the Play framework offers mobile and web application development company. It aims to solve the problems that traditional web development in Java often faces, such as slow software development cycles and excessive configurations. It is a powerful framework that shares similarities with architectures such as Django, Ruby on Rails and ASP.NET but does not strictly adhere to J2EE web standards.

Main features:

Allows developers to create simple JAR files

It offers cool features like hot code reloading and error messages in the browser.

Non-blocking input / output supports high-performance applications.

Screenshot of the Grails website

7. Grails

Grails is an open source dynamic framework written in the Groovy programming language that runs on the Java platform. It demonstrates strong compatibility with Java syntax and can seamlessly collaborate with other Java frameworks and technologies, such as Java EE, SiteMesh, Spring, Quartz, and Hibernate containers.

Adhering to modern software development principles, the main goal of the Grails framework is to be a high productivity framework by adopting the “coding by convention” paradigm of programming languages. This approach provides developers with a separate development environment and abstracts away much of the configuration details, simplifying the development process.

Main features:

  • Suitable for rapid development thanks to its feature-packed plugin system
  • Easy-to-use object mapping feature
  • No XML configuration required
  • Offers flexible profiles

8. Dropwizard

Dropwizard is a lightweight Java framework known for its speed and ease of use. It features pre-built libraries such as Jetty, Guava, Jersey, Jackson, and Metrics, making advanced configuration, security, and performance tasks easy. Developers can focus on building their business logic without unnecessary complexities.

The framework is ideal for building microservices and facilitating rapid prototyping. It is easy to use, open source, and supports external libraries, providing flexibility and customization options for Java developers. Even beginners can quickly build high-performance RESTful web applications with Dropwizard.

Main features:

You have a quick start project

Supported by several independent and open source libraries

Supports monitoring using the metrics library

9. Vaadin

With Vaadin, developers can leverage a server-side architecture to create interactive and dynamic web interfaces. This open source Java web framework has an active community that allows developers to create complex and dynamic web applications using pre-built user interface components.

The framework allows direct access to the Document Object Model (DOM) from the Java virtual machine, enabling efficient manipulation of user interface components. Vaadin’s flagship product, Vaadin Platform (formerly known as Vaadin Framework), allows you to implement HTML5 web user interfaces using the Java programming language. The framework also offers a lightweight counterpart called Vaadin Flow, which efficiently handles routing and client-server communication.

Main features:

It can integrate seamlessly with other front-end JavaScript technologies like React, Vue, or plain JavaScript.

Allows using MVC and MVP framework for data binding.

Compatible with Spring integrated framework

10. Wicket

Last but not least, Wicket is a simple Java web framework that you should consider this year. It follows a component-oriented structure, requiring only knowledge of Java and HTML, without the need for XML or configuration files.

The key feature of the framework is its POJO (Plain Old Java Object) model, in which components are simple Java objects that leverage the principles of object-oriented programming. Wicket offers a collection of reusable packages containing components such as images, buttons, forms, links, pages, containers, and behaviours, allowing developers to customise them to their needs.

If you have previous experience with Java server faces, working with Wicket is even easier.

Main features:

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