Writing web applications in Java from scratch can often seem a great way to go in an enterprise-level environment simply because it may seem that there is no other way to ensure a consistently high level of quality control and design paradigms. There are, however, a number of Java web development frameworks designed to facilitate enterprise-level Java application development- almost too many, in fact, to choose one. Here are our top 5 Java web development frameworks to help you narrow down the choice of which framework is right for you!
1. Apache Struts 2
Apache Struts 2 is, as with all of Apache’s products, a tried and true framework that is also a model for open-source development and integration. Struts 2 is the baby of two other projects, WebWorks, and Struts Ti, and its stated goal has been to streamline development cycles: from building to deploying, each phase of the cycle should be faster and easier than it would be without the framework. It has all of the features you’d expect from a good Java web framework: it can create and implement dynamic responses, and part of its enhanced design means that it comes with clean code for HTTP-independent interfaces. Many of the quirks of Struts have been removed or remedied, including getting rid of ActionForms and replacing them with simple JavaBean actions. Overall a great Java web development framework, and definitely one to consider for your java web development process.
Another Apache framework, Wicket goes in the opposite direction of some of the other Java web development frameworks: it aims to be powerful, reusable, and enjoy convention over configuration (which includes a rather welcome absence of XML). It’s fairly straightforward as far as frameworks go, with mark-up / logic separation as well as a POJO data model. The framework seems especially eager to create a clear divide between page designing and Java developing by allowing designers to insert HTML-based templates that can then be made dynamic by the Java developers. In this sense, Wicket is probably better for Java developers and not for hybrid web developers: it’s far more object-oriented than its counterparts, and just about everything is accomplished in pure Java. That said, however, it can be very powerful in the right hands and definitely worth a look for a team with accomplished developers and designers.
Spring is one of the most popular Java web development frameworks out there, and for good reason: it’s an extremely flexible and powerful web development framework that, used correctly, can vastly improve Java application development. It’s got a host of advantages that can help developers, including the fact that it can integrate with a great deal of view options quite seamlessly, including JSP/JSTL, Velocity, PDF, and Excel- the latter two being very important for many enterprise applications. It has a lifecycle for overriding validation, binding, etc., and its inclusion of Inversion of Control makes applications developed with it extremely easy to test. The fact that it’s so popular means that it has a rather large support community as well, making it a great choice for developing enterprise applications.
JSF is an old-timer here, and it can’t properly be called a new Java web development framework by any means. It does, however, have the advantage of being a Java EE standard which makes it easy to build user interfaces through the process of reusable components on a particular page. JSF is well-known for being easy and quick to develop on, and it has a great deal of components that can be quickly added or reused to capture event-generated actions on the components. JSF is also based on the MVC paradigm- love it or hate it, MVC is well-established and almost require well-designed web applications, meaning that any application you design with JSF is going to be easier to maintain down the line than other frameworks that might allow some spaghetti code to slip through. It’s overall a good choice for anyone looking for a Java web development framework, and its stability and ease of use means that it is a popular choice for enterprise web application developers.
Unique in the list, Seam is interesting for the fact that it actually ties together Java EE standards to make them function together as an integrated solution. Its two core standards are EJB3 and JSF, but it also ties together other components that help for workflows and rule management. Through this method, Seam has been able to eliminate quite a great deal of unnecessary complexity at the API and architecture levels, and it opens a pathway for developers to use annotated Java classes, a varied array of UI components, and scarce amounts of XML to create complex, stable web applications. Seam also has built-in libraries for PDF, Excel, graphs, and email- something that will make it quite handy to an enterprise level developer making enterprise applications.
Each of these web development frameworks brings with it different advantages, and it’s up to you to decide which one fits in with your particular needs, design style, and developer philosophy. No matter which you decide to choose, however, know that all of them are extremely good choices for Java web development frameworks that will help you to write great code while shortening development cycles and creating a quality product that will both satisfy your clients as well as be easy to maintain and enhance!
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