What is a java web application?

A web application is a dynamic extension of a web or application server. Web applications are distributed applications, meaning that they are programs that run on more than one computer and communicate through a network or server. Web Server is a software that can process the client request and send the response back to the client. A web client is a software that helps in communicating with the server. A web application can be as simple as a page that shows the current date and time or as complex as a set of pages on which you search to purchase something. Web applications are accessed with a web browser and are popular because of the ease of using the browser as a user client.  Web applications commonly need an additional markup or scripting language, such as HTML, CSS, or JavaScript programming language. Also, many applications use only the Java programming language, which is ideal because of its flexibility.

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A Java web application is a collection of dynamic resources (such as Servlets, JavaServer Pages, Java classes and jars) and static resources (HTML pages and pictures). A servlet is a Java class which extends “HttpServlet” and answers an HTTP request within a web container. JavaServer Pages (JSP) are files which contain HTML and Java code. The web container compiles the JSP into a servlet for the first time the JSP is accessed. Web servers are good for static contents HTML pages but they don’t know how to create dynamic content or how to save data into databases, therefore we need another tool that we can use to create dynamic content. There are several programming languages for dynamic content like PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails, Java Servlets and JSPs. Java Servlet and JSPs are server-side technologies to extend the capability of web servers by providing support for dynamic response and data persistence.

What are the top listed Java frameworks?

The Java programming language and its frameworks allow you great flexibility and productivity for your web application development. A Web Framework is a program that allows you to develop web applications. The framework aspect represents a system or structure that you can adjust to easily develop new applications for a specific piece of software. Using frameworks ease the process of coding, so instead of having to make a number of lengthy and complex alterations to the entire software, you can simply use the framework to make specific changes, without having to rewrite all of the code. It helps to save both the time and the cost of developing a web application. Here are some of the top Java frameworks used in web application development.

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JavaServer Face Framework

JavaServer Face technology is a server-side component framework for building Java technology-based web applications that comes with some very in-depth, complex documentation. This framework which is supported by Oracle consists of an API for representing components and managing their state, handling events, server-side validation, and data conversion, defining page navigation, supporting internationalization and accessibility, and providing extensibility for all these features. It also involves tag libraries for adding components to web pages and for connecting components to server-side objects.

Struts Framework

Struts is an open-source MVC framework that allows you to create elegant Java application. The Struts framework is owned by the Apache Software Foundation. The framework comes bundled with multiple plugins, many of which let you integrate Struts 2 with other Java frameworks such as Spring, JavaServer Faces, JUnit, and others. It is a stable and well-tested framework that works well with REST, SOAP, and AJAX. However, its documentation is hard to navigate, and it is not suitable for small applications. The framework isn’t very flexible and using it means that you need to become accustomed to a set of rules regarding the coding and designing of web applications.

Spring MVC Framework

One of the most popular Java frameworks is Spring MVC. Besides Java, the Spring Framework supports two other programming languages running on the Java Virtual Machine: Kotlin and Groovy. As a software engineer of any kind, using this framework offers a truly amazing toolkit for developing web applications and configuring these applications, as well as developing the security features that go with them. It is truly a broad and expansive Web Framework that is more than capable of taking on any potential task or project you wish to work on. It is a flexible framework that supports modularity with lots of packages and classes that helps you write very clean and accessible code. However, it is a complex Web Framework that requires a lot of knowledge and time to start working with.

Play Framework

Another framework you can use to create web applications is Play Framework. Play is built on the Akka toolkit, which is a very popular open-source toolkit that runs on the Java Virtual Machine, and it comes equipped with the same basic features and tools, but executed in a far more user-friendly manner that enables you to easily write, design, and test the applications that you are developing, all while maintaining a productive and unified workflow. The Play Framework is written in Scala and follows the MVC architectural pattern. The Play framework puts developer productivity first by offering features like hot code reloading, convention over configuration, and error messages in the browser.

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Vaadin Framework

The Vaadin framework is an open-source Apache-licensed Java framework that can be used to build web applications. The Vaadin framework is a good framework for the development of complex and dynamic internet applications. And in contrast to browser-plugin and JavaScript libraries based solution; it features a server-side architecture that empowers developers to create and deploy rich, dynamic and interactive interfaces for the web. All of this means that it allows you to build web applications of customizable components that focus on performance, UX, and accessibility.

Web frameworks are an important part of web development since they can save you a lot of time by providing functionalities for common tasks. They also come with other benefits as well, such as plugins, add-ons, pre-built UI elements, or integrations with third-party tools. You have to find your web application requirements and all aspects of development such as time, cost, knowledge, etc. and then try to choose the most suitable framework for your development process.

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