Top Java Frameworks for Building Small to Enterprise Applications

If you are a Java developer, you already know that it has tons of frameworks (for newcomers: they are bodies of pre-written code through which you can add your own code). That’s why I have put together these best Java frameworks that’ll enable you to build more complex, secure, and well-rounded web and mobile applications faster than ever before.

Spring Framework

Spring is a powerful Java EE application framework and one of the most popular application frameworks in the world of Java developers.

Any Java application can be developed by utilizing the core features of this framework. It is especially a good choice for developing enterprise applications as it comes with almost all of the infrastructural software components (such as a component container, aspect-oriented programming support for building cross-cutting concerns, web application framework, security framework, and so forth) required by a java enterprise application.

Although the java framework comes with many tools, you don’t need to use all of them. The Spring Developers smartly made it modular. To put it simply, different tools or components in Spring are provided as independent Java archives that you can utilize when you need them. Also, the modularity of the tools allows developers to write code that is very clean and accessible.

This complete modular framework is backed by great documentation and a strong community that’s always there if you run into any issues.

JSF (Java Server Faces)

Developed by Oracle, Java Server Faces (JSF) is a standard Java framework for building web apps. It is component-based, allowing it to be expanded with additional components. The JSF components are backed by Java objects, independent of the HTML, and have the full range of Java abilities, including accessing remote APIs and databases.

It’s perfect for all sorts of Java/Web developers; if you are a corporate developer or a web designer, you will find that JSF development can be as simple as dragging and dropping UI components, and if you are a systems developer, you’ll find that the rich and robust JSF API offers you greater power and programming flexibility.

Also, based on the MVC software design pattern, this framework ensures that applications are well designed with greater maintainability.


Hibernate is not actually a framework, and it’s an essential object-relation mapping device used by Java. It makes better communication possible between Java and the relational database.

When you work with an OO language like Java, you’ll encounter a problem called Object-Relational Impedance Mismatch. This is because the data handling process of relational databases is different from an object-oriented programming language, which can lead to severe mismatch problems. So, this Hibernate provides you with a framework that overcomes the mismatch problems of Java.

Furthermore, the java framework is easily modifiable, configurable, and you can do almost anything with it. All you have to do is a small modification or two with the general code of your web application, and you’ll be able to communicate with any database you have. This is incredibly convenient and useful if you tend to work with multiple databases that would otherwise be incompatible or difficult to use.


While talking about the best java frameworks, Struts can’t be ignored. Maintained by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), this open-source framework extends the Java Servlet API & employs the MVC architecture. Apache has released two versions of struts, Struts 1 in 2000 and Struts 2 in 2006.

A combination of the webwork framework of OpenSymphony and Struts 1, Struts 2 is mostly preferred for enterprise web development because it’s the upgraded version of Apache Struts. Some of the most notable features of Struts 2 are POJO (plain old Java Objects)-based actions, plug-in support for REST, AJAX, Hibernate, Spring, and so forth, support of various view-layer technologies, convention over configuration and ease of profiling, and debugging.

Google Web Toolkit (GWT)

As you can tell from its name, this open-source java framework is developed by Google. It enables you to write client-side Java code and deploy it as JavaScript.

Since it’s developed by Google, and as such, it has a lot of support, strong documentation, and everything feels professional, well developed, and complete in its execution. AdSense, Google Wallet, Blogger, etc., have all been written using this framework.

Using Google Web Toolkit, you can easily and quickly develop complex browser apps. It also allows developers to build and debug Ajax applications in Java. Do you know what’s great about this framework? Well, it’s that you can write complex browser-based apps without being an expert in front-end technologies like JavaScript optimization or responsive design.

Its other important features include cross-browser portability, internationalization, UI abstraction, and history and management.


Grails is a dynamic framework popular among Java developers for Enterprise Java Beans support based on Groovy and Java. Because of it, Grails does not need to configure the XML, so developers can quickly start developing a robust and scalable application.

It assimilates smoothly with Java Virtual Machine and provides various power tools, including asynchronous programming, Compile-time meta-programming, run-time, and domain-specific languages. You can transparently and seamlessly interoperate and integrate with Java, Java EE containers, and JVM.

What’s awesome about Grails is that it works for any size project and has an advanced plugin system featuring hundreds of plug-ins to make your job simple.


Licensed by Apache software foundation, Vaadin focuses on UX accessibility. It features a server-side architecture that empowers you to build and deploy rich, dynamic, and interactive interfaces for the web. The result is user-friendly apps.

Furthermore, you can choose to extend this java framework with Google Web Tools and Ajax and the techniques and methods that Ajax offers. The best part of Vaadin is the UI, which is exceptional because of its simplicity and ease of use. In less time, you can develop and deploy a variety of great web applications.


Vert.x is a framework to build distributed reactive systems on the top of the JVM using an asynchronous, event-driven, non-blocking development model. Developers can use it as a standalone application or embedded in a Spring application.

Compatible with many languages (such as Java, JavaScript, Groovy, Ruby, and Ceylon), Vert.X is a very lightweight Java framework and follows a modular architecture. It has many different components; you can pick any of these to build your distributed systems. The richness of the ecosystem makes Vert.x incredibly flexible – whether it’s simple network utilities, sophisticated modern web applications, HTTP/REST microservices, high volume event processing, or a full-blown back-end message-bus application, Vert.x fits.

Apart from its flexibility and functionality, you can easily configure it, and also it helps your app scale with negligible hardware easily.


Often compared with powerful frameworks of other languages (such as Ruby on Rails for Ruby or Django for Python), Play is an easy-to-use java framework to build web applications with Scala and Java. It is built using the Akka toolkit (a popular open-source toolkit that runs on the Java virtual machine). It provides minimal and predictable resource consumption (threads, memory, and CPU) for highly scalable applications.

What makes it unique is that it doesn’t rely on the Java EE standards; instead, it intends to remove all the inconveniences of traditional Java web development like a lot of configuration, slow development cycles, and so forth. Also, it follows the MVC design pattern and comes with inbuilt features like code reloading, convention over configuration, and lots more.


Also known as Apache Wicket, it has rapidly grown to be a favorite among many developers. It allows you to create powerful, reusable components and offers an object-oriented methodology to web development while requiring only Java code and XHTML compliant HTML pages (no need for JavaScript or XML configuration files).

This Java server-side web component-oriented framework also contains a huge amount of power and convenience when testing the applications you are building. You can use Wicket to test the specific components you are building with it.

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