Top Java Frameworks in 2019 – Backend Frameworks For Web App Development

Yana Troianska

June 27, 2018

In today’s article, we want to discuss top Java frameworks for web development.

In a disrupted business world, the technical component plays a crucial role. Picking the right technology is half of the work done. Believe us! Especially now, the world is about mobile, user experience, and security.

Frequently, we come across non-technical entrepreneurs trying to choose programming languages or technologies independently. We want to stop you there if you are this kind of founder. The best solution here is to find a partner with a technical background who will be responsible for software-related errands. Delegating technical staff to the technical person will pay off as it allows you to focus on the business side while your co-founder cares about effective development.

top java frameworks

This peace won’t make you a technical guru. It rather aims to grasp the basics and illustrate framework implementation on the real project’s example. Based on our experience, we have chosen the best four Java frameworks.  

At first, we’d like to cover server-side frameworks, which make writing, maintaining, and scaling web applications easy. And then slowly move to the frameworks that handle database connection. We often use Spring Boot and Play frameworks for server-side development. Those two are proved to be effective tools in web development.

Best Java Frameworks that Tech Companies Use

Spring Boot

Spring Boot is a framework for quick web application development based on Spring Framework. The framework contains configurated components, which reduce the time developers spend on application configuration. For example, manually setting up a new application takes over 4 hours, whereas Spring Boot takes up to 1 hour. Generally speaking, Spring Boot performs major configuration and dependency management independently. Thus, allowing developers to focus on application development. Additionally, Spring Boot provides a jar file with an embedded server. This means you can start to work on the application without installing a web server.


  1. Quickstart on standalone applications and microservices
  2. The application is packaged into a single executable file, which is easy to distribute
  3. No old-style XML-based configurations, resulting in much easier and more flexible configurations
  4. Open source enables one to track how everything works under the hood


  1. There are no significant drawbacks, and Spring Boot has become the number one framework

Play Framework

Play is an open-source framework written in Scala and Java. Alike Spring Boot Play aims at the convention over configuration. The framework utilizes features from Ruby on Rails and Java. It is a combination of Java type safety features and the simplicity and speed of RoR development. Also, the framework abandons the traditional Java Web Application API (servlets) and provides a modern one. Play serves for high-volume websites, enabling to write scalable services with simple and readable code.

The world’s biggest professional network Linkedin works on Play framework. Linkedin faced challenges using traditional Java frameworks and in 2013 switched to Play. The challenges were associated with time-consuming on processing changes and scaling issues. The combination of RoR and Java languages in Play enabled it to solve critical issues and keep it simple for developers to adapt quickly.


  1. “Hot” reload of developer-made changes increases developer productivity
  2. Easy and inexpensive to make remote calls in parallel. This is important for high-performance apps in a service-oriented architecture
  3. Open-source with all benefits described above


  1. Play 2.x is a new framework (unlike Play 1.x) that is not as popular as Spring Boot, and its community is smaller than its competitors and is not growing fast
  2. No built-in support for automated quality assurance tools
  3. Play replaces a well-known environment called Maven with its own less popular called SBT. It may be challenging for some developers and thus hamper development time
  4. It recommends following contradictory software development practices, like many public static fields. which may also hamper developer productivity when given to a large developer team.

top java frameworks

When handling database connections, Spring Data JPA (with Hibernate under the hood) or Spring JDBC is the most optimal solution. For example, the first framework fits small applications or projects at the initial stages. While the second one is better in big applications development since it provides more control. Yet, it makes sense to combine these two to achieve the combination of productivity, control, and performance.

Spring Data JPA (with Hibernate)

Hibernate is an open-source Object-Relational Mapping framework written in Java. This is a powerful tool mapping database tables (living on the database side) to Java classes (living on the application side) and vice versa. Thereby relieving programmers from routine work, where it is easy to make but hard to detect mistakes. Java is an object-oriented language, so it is easier to work with objects rather than with databases directly. Hibernate acts as an intermediary here. It translates database tables into objects and maps from Java to SQL data types.

To reinforce Hibernate functionality, we use the Spring module called Data JPA. The module is used in the server-side Data Access Layer to lessen all the boilerplate coding. The framework simplifies the usage of Hibernate by removing all the configuration and low-level APIs applications.


  1. It simplifies mapping between the database side and server-side thus increasing development speed
  2. Hibernate is a mature framework. Thus, most problems your developers will encounter were already discussed and solved online
  3. It’s a good fit for layered architecture, which increases the maintainability and modifiability of the system
  4. Open-source


  1. For complex data, mapping from objects to tables and vice versa reduces performance and increases the time of conversion
  2. Lots of API to learn
  3. The lower performance of database-to-application communication

Spring JDBC

Spring JDBC is a framework that also handles communication between applications and databases. The framework performs all low-level queries, like opening and closing the connections. Unlike plain JDBC, where all those actions are performed manually, Spring JDBC simplifies the development process. Yet, it requires writing and maintaining more boilerplate code than Spring Data JPA (with Hibernate).

So what could be the reasons for using Spring JDBC? Its advantage is coarse-grained control over each column and table in the database. It increases the performance of application-database communication by using precise database queries. 

For example, the web development platform Wix was initially building its base using Hibernate. As the platform grew, the development team found it difficult to work with Hibernate. So, they started migrating a Hibernate-based solution to a more performant and controllable one.

top java frameworks


  1. Spring JDBC is closer to SQL, which results in more control and performance
  2. Compared to Spring Data JPA (with Hibernate), it allows for handling errors more accurate
  3. Simple processing of SQL, which is more common for application and database experts
  4. Good for big applications with complex database structures where Spring Data JPA cannot offer enough control
  5. Open-source with all benefits described above


  1. Slower development speed compared to Spring Data JPA
  2. More boilerplate code if developed by less experienced developers

To sum up

With this article, we intend to cover the most current frameworks used in Java development. We hope it sheds some light on the project’s technical side. If you still have questions about Java development, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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