Comparison of Java Web Application Frameworks


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Comparison of Java Web Application Frameworks

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  • Versions under consideration for this research report are:
    Spring MVC 3.2.3, Grails 2.2.2, Vaadin v7.1.1, Play 2.1.2
  • Comparison of Java Web Application Frameworks

    1. 1. Comparison of Java Web Application Frameworks By Angelin
    2. 2. ©ardentlearner Agenda Top Java Web Application Frameworks Frameworks - Comparison Criteria Frameworks - Comparison Results Summary
    3. 3. ©ardentlearner Top Java Web Application Frameworks • SPRING MVC • GRAILS • VAADIN • PLAY A Web Application Framework (WAF) is a software framework that is designed to support the development of dynamic websites, web applications, web services and web resources. Currently the top 4 Java based Web Application frameworks are :
    4. 4. ©ardentlearner Frameworks Comparison
    5. 5. ©ardentlearner Frameworks - Comparison Criteria Following are the categories of data used to compare these Java Web Application Frameworks: • Framework Complexity • Ease of Use • Rapid application prototyping • Throughput/Scalability • Code Maintenance/Updates • UX (User Experience), Look and feel • Documentation & Community • Framework Ecosystem
    6. 6. ©ardentlearner # 1 - Framework Complexity Framework Details Complexity Spring MVC • Spring framework has over 30 subprojects that range from fully functional MVC to Spring .NET and Spring for Android. • Spring MVC architecture is relatively simple, but still there are many layers and abstractions that are sometimes hard to debug if something goes wrong. And it is highly dependent on Spring Core. • Spring MVC is an old and mature framework that has numerous amount of ways to extend and configure it - and this actually makes it fairly complex. Complex GRAILS • Grails’ MVC functionality is covered by Spring MVC; GORM (Grails' Object Relational Mapping) is actually a facade for Hibernate. Everything is glued together with core Spring. • All of these frameworks are mature, but heavyweight and Grails adds another layer of abstraction on top of it. • Grails has all of the complexity associated with Spring and Hibernate, and adds another layer of abstraction to that. Fairly Complex Vaadin • The Vaadin Framework currently builds upon a flavor of GWT (lightly altered), which is a mature framework. • Developing a Vaadin project is similar to GWT, but learning GWT is not a prerequisite to be competent at using Vaadin. • Vaadin is slightly more complex than GWT, as it embeds a version of it. Simple Play • Play is quite a complex framework given how robust of an ecosystem the Play framework provides. • The framework comes with Netty, SBT, Akka, a Scala templating engine, and several other modules built in. • Play emphasizes convention over configuration, so the framework is responsible for scaffolding much of the glue and configuration between the modules, which does cut down on the complexity experienced by the developer. Very Complex
    7. 7. ©ardentlearner # 2 - Ease of Use Framework Details Ease of Use Spring MVC • Spring knowledge as a whole is needed. • Plain JSP & Controllers do not provide usable, out-of-the-box components and widgets. Very Poor Usability GRAILS • Designed to be a rapid development framework, easy to use without any complex configuration; • Extensibility is very simple when using Plugins Very easy to use Vaadin • The design view allows us to drag and drop components onto a canvas, also creating their code in the background. We only need to provide the logic code behind each component. • There are also many videos and documentation pages set up for new users to ease the new user learning curve. Very easy to use Play • While simple to get started, the two things that really keep Play from being really easy to use are the complete backward incompatibility between versions and the requiring Scala to use templates. Moderately easy to use
    8. 8. ©ardentlearner # 3 - Rapid Application Development Framework Details Complexity Spring MVC • Much preexisting Spring knowledge is needed. • Plain JSP & Controllers do not provide out-of -the-box components and widgets that can be used. • Spring Roo, a subproject of Spring that supports Spring Framework, Spring Security and Spring Web Flow, is Spring’s convention-over-configuration solution for rapidly building applications. It focuses on Java platform productivity, usability, runtime avoidance, lock-in avoidance, and extensibility via add-ons. It’s in the process of being expanded and has a lot of potential. Very Poor Support GRAILS • Grails setup is very fast and scaffolding (code generation) saves a lot of time. • Convention over configuration principle helps you to forget almost all of the configuration hassle. • Grails comes with a reloading mechanism out of the box, but it has some limitations (like it can only reload Groovy classes). Very fast and easy setup Vaadin • The Vaadin directory is a component repository which provides existing components that users have implemented and contributed for others to use. • Also, the design mode provides a drag and drop mechanism to add components and the code is generated for you, providing you with the exact layout you want, without even having to use the keyboard! Good Support Play • Play has a binary component similar to the Rails component of RoR, which is used for scaffolding and makes Play a little unconventional as a Java web framework. • Play has great documentation and the scaffolding works wonderfully. Excellent Support
    9. 9. ©ardentlearner # 4 - Throughput/Scalability Framework Details Scalability Spring MVC • It contains necessary components for parallel processing and solutions like EhCache can be attached easily to scale memory. Spring Batch enables to build multi-threaded apps, partition applications and do bulk processing. • Spring apps can be modularized and different modules can be set up on different hosts. These components can talk with each other using JMS (Java Message Service) for example. Good GRAILS • Grails is an abstraction over Spring and Hibernate making it more scalable. Good Vaadin • Takes the scaling value from GWT and doesn’t add any additional scaling complexity. Very Good Play • Play uses Akka actors to be incredibly scalable and allow for high throughput. It does require learning how to use Akka. Excellent
    10. 10. ©ardentlearner # 5 - Code Maintenance/Updates Framework Details Ease of maintenance Spring MVC • Spring MVC is heavy and dense despite taking advantage of the Model-View-Controller paradigm. • Server side logic is easy to maintain but if it comes to managing layouts and complex UIs, it will be hard. • But annotations enable to access all kinds of data in a declarative manner. Fair GRAILS • Grails follows the convention-over configuration principle, which makes maintenance easier. It enforces the project structure, thus most Grails projects look very similar. • Groovy is less verbose than Java, thus less code need to be written. Very good Vaadin • Very good code reuse and component class hierarchy model, as well as switchable themes. Good Play • The convention over configuration aspect of Play leads to readable code. • The reliance on Scala does limit the readability to Java-specific developers. • Play also has reloading of components and code built in which definitely helps cut down on time during the development phase of your applications. Good
    11. 11. ©ardentlearner # 6 - UX, Look and feel Framework Details Support Spring MVC • Spring MVC has a very rich feature set to develop and maintain code on the server side, but despite its extensibility it still does not provide any rich framework for building awesome interfaces. • No re-usable and nice components. But templates are easy to manage and create. Very Poor GRAILS • The auto-generated project skeleton has some basic view templates and CSS to start with. • Plugins provide integrations with popular JS frameworks like Query and Twitter Bootstrap, and include many rich UI AJAX components Very Good Vaadin • Vaadin themes are collections of layouts for components, custom images and CSS. • Vaadin gives the ability to switch themes without changing the logic. • A theme follows a specific directory layout, and with them you can specify the CSS for the default Vaadin components or create custom components. Excellent Play • Play applications usually leverage LESS CSS and CoffeeScript mixed with templates instead of the CSS and JavaScript leveraged by traditional Java web application Fair
    12. 12. ©ardentlearner # 7 - Documentation & Community Framework Details Availability of documentation & community Spring MVC • The Spring website itself provides numerous tutorials both in video and written format, and it’s useful for beginners to the most advanced developer. • There is a link to a GitHub repository with the Petclinic sample application - the go-to for a Spring MVC tutorial. • Spring also hosts a blog on their website with articles written by the public as well as Spring team members. • The community is strong with this one. The Spring team actively encourages forking the Spring project repositories in order to make changes, fix bugs and add new features. They allow public access to their JIRA tracker in order to facilitate this. • There are numerous Spring User Groups and Java User Groups that discuss Spring topics. • Spring even holds an annual conference called SpringOne/2GX. Very Good GRAILS • Documentation section is actually a wiki, which can be modified by any logged in user • It has an official manual, tutorials, screencasts, a • sample app and more. Excellent Vaadin • Top class documentation, both online and in The Book of Vaadin. • Video tutorials and demos are also impressive. • Vibrant community. Excellent Play • Lots of great documentation from TypeSafe (Play) and external sources. • Play’s full API is well documented and there are great tutorials that show off the scaffolding features of Play. Very Good
    13. 13. ©ardentlearner # 8 - Framework Ecosystem Framework Details Ecosystem support Spring MVC • Spring MVC’s ecosystem is well-developed. As it is based and dependent on the Spring Framework itself, it can benefit from tools like Spring Roo and Spring Tool Suite IDE. • There are no problems with Maven dependencies as everything is available in a public Maven repository and also from SpringSource’s own Maven repository. • There are 3rd-party solutions like MyEclipse for Spring, which includes scaffolding capability for Spring MVC. • Still some very useful parts of the ecosystem are commercially available and this makes it not available for everyone. Good support GRAILS • Grails is a full-stack web framework, not just MVC. It contains a lot of stuff out of the box, but it doesn’t enforce it. The provided parts can be replaced, and there is a big library of plugins. Very Good Support Vaadin • Vaadin doesn’t really provide an ecosystem as such. But does allow for it within the Vaadin Directory. • Because the ecosystem doesn’t exist out the box, expanding application will lead to increase in complexity as the application starts to support different technologies and their integration. Poor Support Play • Play framework is an all-encompassing ecosystem that provides everything you need to develop, run, and test your applications. The only real downside is Play’s reliance on Scala for templating and SBT. • Play is bundled with SBT (Simple Build Tool) for building, Netty for a non-blocking networking I/O, Scala is used as a templating engine, and Akka is included for asynchronous operations. • Play, unlike many Java web frameworks, includes a binary that is used for scaffolding of applications. Very Good Support
    14. 14. ©ardentlearner Frameworks Comparison Results
    15. 15. ©ardentlearner Frameworks - Comparison Results 15 Framework / Criteria Framework Complexity Ease of Use Rapid application prototyping Throughput or Scalability Code Maintenance or Updates UX, Look & feel Documentation & Community Framework Ecosystem Spring MVC Complex Very Poor Usability Very Poor Support Good Fair Very Poor Very Good Good support GRAILS Fairly Complex Very easy to use Very fast and easy setup Good Very good Very Good Excellent Very Good Support Vaadin Simple Very easy to use Good Support Very Good Good Excelle nt Excellent Poor Support Play Very Complex Moderatel y easy to use Excellent Support Excellent Good Fair Very Good Very Good Support Grails1 Vaadin2 Play3 Spring MVC4
    16. 16. ©ardentlearner Summary Framework Complexity Vaadin proves to be the simplest of frameworks with fewest dependencies, while Play struggles, particularly with its reliance on Scala knowledge and SBT. Ease of Use Grails and Vaadin did well when it came down to the ease of use, particularly due to the configuration, and design mode. Spring suffered, due to the amount of knowledge required to use and the amount of configuration required. Rapid application prototyping Grails and Play coming out on top, due to the mostly to the scaffolding support. Vaadin was close behind and the Vaadin Directory of plugins is worth a mention. Spring struggled here, with few out of the box components. Throughput/Scalability Play was easily the winner here as it’s features are so suited to scaling and throughput, supporting async applications with Akka actors. Vaadin also did well as its model is based around client side execution.
    17. 17. ©ardentlearner Summary Code Maintenance/Updates Grails did particularly well with most configuration relying on default convention. UX, Look and feel Vaadin excelled here, with neat usage of customizable themes and the ability to inherit from existing themes. Presentation wise, this is very easy on the eye. Spring MVC suffered here, because clearly this is not one of the goals of the framework. Documentation & Community Grails and Vaadin again took top spot with their vibrant communities and extensive docs. Framework Ecosystem Grails and Play both have good ecosystems, including build support all the way to tools and plugins. Spring MVC also has a good ecosystem, although some of which is commercial.
    18. 18. ©ardentlearner Thank You