Java Frameworks

Why Java Frameworks and Libraries Are Great for Building Enterprise Applications

20 Jul 2020

Developmentdigital transformation

Java is one of the most popular and trusted programming languages. It's earned its reputation due to constant updates that bring improvements and new functionalities. Today Java can be used to create enterprise web level applications and entire systems. This is made easier by available frameworks. These, however, often vary in quality.

You probably already know that, but a framework is the spinal column of many new applications. It's a previously written code that supports a new program. Picking up a framework means that you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Instead of building everything from scratch, you can save time and money by developing upon a tried and tested foundation. Frameworks can also serve as templates for making an app similar to an existing one, but with unique quirks and twists.

Below we'll review some of the available frameworks. All of them have their pros and cons and were created to serve a specific purpose. This fact makes it impossible to simply pick the best one. It all depends on what kind of application you want to make.

Why take it from us?

Being effective at Java isn't about being different. Our team at fireup.pro uses the tools that the entire industry knows and loves. This is actually Java's great advantage: it already has an array of tried and tested solutions. What makes us stand out is the fact that we know how to squeeze 110% out of the latest frameworks. It's about the knowledge of the environment, but also about organization and management. We've been doing this for 10+ years and we want to share our know-how.

1. Building the Basis

The development always starts from the basis, or something that the entire application will be built around. For creating this 'foundation' we usually use one of the following.

Spring Boot

A framework that took the programming industry by storm. Spring Boot is a lightweight, transparent open source platform used for enterprise level applications. It's based around the idea of Dependency Injection and aspect-oriented programming. Spring software development enables creating loosely connected modules, where dependencies are processed by the framework, and don't rely on the libraries used in the code.

The structure of Spring Boot is extensive and incorporates a number of easy-to-learn functions—including security and configuration. It also manages the life cycle of application objects and can be used for transaction management. Properly configuring Spring results in a nice and clear code. Error management is also made easier with an exception hierarchy within the JBDC abstraction layer.

Since Spring is the most popular online framework, it's easy to find extensive documentation and get help from the community.

The key element of Spring Boot is application-level infrastructural support. The framework takes care of the 'hydraulics' of enterprise applications, allowing development teams to focus their efforts on the business logic of their apps. This is done without requiring a specific implementation platform—with Spring, any platform will do.

Quarkus

Quarkus is an alternative for Spring. It's quite different from most frameworks, because most of them are unlike any other and come with a learning curve. Quarkus was designed by Java experts, who made it compatible with the Spring API. These are the same designers who made Spring run in the Red Hat Runtimes environment, so they definitely know what they're doing.

Quarkus is lighter than Spring and offers a different approach to application development. It offers better memory management and a shorter startup time. It's a full stack native Java environment created for Java Virtual Machines and native compilation. It's designed to optimize Java for containers and turning it into a great platform for cloud, serverless and Kubernetes environments.

Despite Quarkus having a different framework, it uses libraries similar to the ones found in Spring. It's a rock solid base grounded in such ecosystems like Hibernate ORM, Eclipse Vert.x, Netty or RESTEasy. There are also different advantages of choosing Quarkus over Spring Boot.

Function-as-a-Service executable environment. After compiling to a native binary file, apps start in less than 0,0015 s. Quarkus enables combining Spring knowledge with Java API and the features of FaaS.

Real time coding. You can start with a simple app and develop it into a complex microservice without the need to restart the application. Simply save it and refresh the browser to see the changes. Real time coding just works – regardless of the IDE.

Support for reactive and traditional imperative models. Quarkus's reactive core can support any of those – or both together – within the same application.

Early detection of dependency injection errors. Quarkus fishes them out during compilation instead of execution.

Combining the best frameworks and standards. Quarkus is compatible with Spring API, Eclipse Vert.x and Microprofile. It supports reactive streams, messaging and much more – within a single application.

2. Data Processing

Data processing is one of the most common features in enterprise level website applications. For Java enterprise development, we recommend the following frameworks.

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Apache Spark

An open source unified analytics engine for big data and machine learning. It's fast and easy to use, with support for SQL queries, streaming data and graph processing. The best proof of Spark's quality is the fact that it's used by the giants: Netflix, eBay and Yahoo.

Apache Flink

Another open source framework, this time specifically for big data analytics. A community-driven project designed to improve performance through better in-memory processing, data streaming and iteration operators. Among others, Flink has a custom memory manager, supports native iteration execution and allows cyclic dataflows.

Apache Kafka and Kafka Connect

A distributed streaming platform for publishing and subscribing to streams of records, processing them in real time, and storing them in a durable way. It's used in Java enterprise development for building real-time streaming data pipelines and applications that react to streams of data. Kafka connect, on the other hand, is a tool for streaming data between Kafka and other systems.

ksqlDB

This is an event streaming database that makes it easier to develop stream processing apps using Kafka. With it, it's possible to query, read, write and process data in real time. Perhaps the topmost advantage of ksqlDB is the fact that it's lightweight and simple, and doesn't require installing an external cluster processing solution.

3. Advanced Development

There are specialized tools that let us take care of specific aspects of app development.

Vaadin

We use this full stack framework in FireTMS for creating the UI. In its latest version, Vaadin comes with a set of responsive mobile-first components which adapt to the size of the viewport. It's an accessible, neatly designed solution that allows building web applications without actually dealing with JavaScript or HTML. However, we should also point out that we often choose to create the UI outside Java, in ReactJS or Angular.

Hibernate

Hibernate is an open source ORM tool. We use it to access relational databases due to its data persistence. Hibernate implements the specifications of Java Persistence API. It's also fast, it supports automatic table creation, grants access to a variety of statistics, among many other advantages.

Java proves itself again and again

As a software house, we have to choose our tools carefully. We decided to focus on Java due to its reliability. We can use frameworks that make it easier to centre our efforts on the business logic of the app. There are tools for pretty much everything. Frameworks for solving the difficulties of enterprise application development. Solutions that increase developer productivity and help cut costs. Tools that make testing much easier. We work in Java because it's an environment full of stable, reliable, and widely acclaimed solutions.

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