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spring vs java EE

Java EE vs Spring: Java Frameworks Comparison (2024)

Picture of Stefan Joseph
Stefan Joseph
Stefan Joseph is a seasoned Development and Testing and Data & Analytics, expert with 15 years' experience. He is proficient in Development, Testing and Analytical excellence, dedicated to driving data-driven insights and innovation.

In the bustling realm of software development, choosing the right framework can be a game-changer. It’s like picking the perfect toolset for building your masterpiece. In the world of Java, Spring and Java EE (Jakarta EE) stand tall as prominent choices for building full-stack applications. Both frameworks bring their own set of strengths to the table, catering to diverse developer needs.

To understand these frameworks, you can take up our certification training course, which is designed with a deep understanding and keeps you updated as per industry trends. Let’s discuss the features and differences between Spring and Java EE frameworks. Software engineers and full-stack web developers often go for stack development using either of these.


Spring: Empowering Development with Elegance

Let’s begin our journey by peering into the vibrant world of the Spring framework. With a rich ecosystem and a history of evolution, Spring has garnered a massive following for its elegance and versatility. Known for its dependency injection prowess, Spring makes your codebase cleaner, modular, and easier to manage.

Spring MVC (Model-View-Controller) is a part of the larger Spring Framework that focuses on providing a comprehensive architecture for building web applications. It follows the Model-View-Controller design pattern, which separates an application into three main components: Model, View, and Controller. This separation enhances modularity, maintainability, and reusability in web development.

Here’s a breakdown of each component in the Spring MVC framework

  1. Model– The Model represents the application’s data and business logic. It encapsulates the application’s state and behavior. In Spring MVC, the Model can be represented by Java objects, often known as “model objects.” These objects store and manage the data that the application manipulates.

  2. View– The View is responsible for rendering the data from the Model to the user interface. It presents the data in a format that users can understand, such as HTML, XML, JSON, or other view technologies. In Spring MVC, the View is often represented by templates or views that are responsible for generating the user interface.

  3. Controller– The Controller acts as an intermediary between the Model and the View. It receives user input, processes it, interacts with the Model to retrieve or modify data, and then selects the appropriate View to render the response. Controllers in Spring MVC are responsible for handling requests, performing required actions, and routing data to the appropriate views.

The Spring MVC framework provides several key features

  1. DispatcherServlet- This servlet acts as the front controller, receiving all incoming requests and directing them to the appropriate controller for processing.

  2. HandlerMapping– Maps incoming requests to the appropriate controller based on configuration or URL patterns.

  3. ViewResolver– Determines which view to render based on the outcome of the controller’s processing.

  4. ModelAndView– An object that contains both the model data and the view name to be rendered. It provides a way for controllers to pass data to views.

  5. Form Handling– Spring MVC includes mechanisms to bind form data to Java objects, making it easy to process and validate user input.

  6. Interceptors– Interceptors allow you to perform pre-processing and post-processing tasks for requests and responses, such as logging, authentication, or modifying the response.

  7. Data Binding– Spring MVC simplifies the process of mapping HTTP request parameters to Java objects and vice versa.

  8. Internationalization and Localization– Spring MVC provides features for handling internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n) of messages and resources.

Pros of Spring Framework

  1. Modularity and Dependency Injection– Spring’s core strength lies in its powerful Dependency Injection (DI) mechanism, promoting loose coupling and easier unit testing. This modular approach simplifies code maintenance and promotes reusability.

  2. Rich Ecosystem– Spring offers a wide range of modules and extensions that cater to various application needs, including Spring Boot for rapid application development, Spring Data for data access, and Spring Security for authentication and authorization.

  3. Microservices Ready– With Spring Boot, developing microservices becomes a breeze. It provides embedded servers, simplified configuration, and a plethora of tools for creating stand-alone, production-grade microservices.
  4. Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP)– Spring’s AOP support allows developers to encapsulate cross-cutting concerns, such as logging and security, separately from the main business logic, improving code maintainability.

  5. Community and Documentation- Spring boasts a vibrant community with extensive documentation, tutorials, and resources. This supportive community aids developers in solving problems and staying updated with best practices.

  6. Testing Capabilities– Spring’s test-driven development (TDD) support, along with its ease of mocking dependencies, contributes to higher code quality and better testing practices.

  7. Flexibility– Spring’s flexibility allows developers to choose specific components and modules, enabling tailored solutions that suit project requirements.

Cons of Spring Framework

  1. Learning Curve– Spring’s feature-rich nature can be overwhelming for newcomers. The initial learning curve may be steep due to the multitude of concepts and modules to understand.

  2. XML Configuration– Historically, Spring relied heavily on XML-based configuration, which can become verbose and difficult to manage in large projects. Although XML configuration has been largely replaced by annotation-based and Java-based configuration in recent versions, legacy projects might still use XML.

  3. Overhead– While Spring provides a comprehensive set of tools and features, some applications might not require all the components it offers. This can lead to unnecessary overhead and complexity.

  4. Runtime Performance– Although Spring’s performance has improved over the years, it might introduce some runtime performance overhead due to the dynamic nature of DI and AOP.

  5. Heavy Initial Setup– Despite Spring Boot’s convenience, setting up a Spring project with all the necessary configurations might initially feel heavy compared to more lightweight frameworks.

  6. Version Compatibility– Different Spring modules might have different version requirements, which can complicate integration and upgrades in larger projects.

  7. Annotation Overuse- While annotations simplify configuration, they can be overused, leading to cluttered code. Developers should strike a balance between concise code and maintainability.


Microservices Marvel: Spring Boot

Spring boot is an open-source framework and project within the Spring ecosystem that simplifies the process of building stand-alone, production-grade Spring-based applications. It provides a set of conventions, defaults, and tools that streamline application setup, configuration, and development. Spring Boot aims to remove much of the complexity associated with configuring and deploying Spring applications, allowing developers to focus on writing business logic rather than dealing with infrastructure and boilerplate code. Hang tight because in the later part of the blog, we’ll discuss more about Spring Boot vs. Java EE.

When it comes to microservices software architecture, Spring Boot steals the show. It simplifies the creation of stand-alone, production-grade Spring-based applications. Spring Boot is an excellent choice for developers who want to quickly bootstrap Spring-based applications without spending excessive time on configuration and setup. It’s particularly well-suited for building microservices, web applications, RESTful APIs, and other types of Java applications.


Java EE (Jakarta EE): Embracing Enterprise Excellence

Now, let’s shift our focus to Java EE, now known as Jakarta EE, which targets enterprise-level applications with gusto. Jakarta EE is a testament to the community’s dedication to developing a cutting-edge platform for robust, scalable, and secure applications.

Java EE (Java Platform, Enterprise Edition), now known as Jakarta EE, is one of the majorly used programming languages that is a set of specifications, APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), and runtime environments that provide a standardized platform for building enterprise-level Java applications. Jakarta EE extends the capabilities of the Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE) to address the challenges of developing large-scale, distributed, and robust applications.

Key features and components of Java EE (Jakarta EE) include servlets, JavaServer Pages (JSP), Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), Java Persistence API (JPA), Java Messaging Service (JMS), Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI), security features, Enterprise java, and more. These specifications offer tools and services for building web applications, transactional systems, messaging systems, and other enterprise-level solutions.


Pros of Java EE (Jakarta EE)

  1. Standardization– Jakarta EE provides a standardized platform, ensuring that applications developed using the specifications are portable across different Jakarta EE-compliant application servers.

  2. Enterprise-Level Features– Jakarta EE offers a comprehensive set of features for building enterprise applications, including support for distributed computing, transactions, security, messaging, and more.

  3. Scalability and Performance- Jakarta EE applications are designed to be scalable and performant, making them suitable for high-traffic and mission-critical systems.

  4. Robustness– Jakarta EE’s transaction management and error-handling mechanisms contribute to the robustness and reliability of applications.

  5. Ecosystem and Tooling- Jakarta EE has a rich ecosystem of libraries, tools, and frameworks that can be used to enhance development productivity and efficiency.

  6. Compatibility and Legacy– Jakarta EE provides a pathway for migrating and modernizing legacy Java EE applications while maintaining compatibility with existing systems.

  7. Community and Support– Jakarta EE is backed by a strong open-source community and various organizations, ensuring ongoing development, updates, and support developer skills.

Cons of Java EE (Jakarta EE)

  1. Complexity- The extensive set of specifications and features in Jakarta EE can make it complex, especially for smaller projects that don’t require all the provided functionality.

  2. Learning Curve– Developing Jakarta EE applications may require a learning curve due to the multitude of specifications, configuration options, and design patterns.

  3. Boilerplate Code– Jakarta EE applications can sometimes involve writing a fair amount of boilerplate code, especially for setting up configurations and adhering to certain patterns.

  4. Resource Intensive– Jakarta EE applications might consume more memory and resources compared to simpler frameworks, potentially impacting application startup times.

  5. Performance Overhead- The extensive features and abstractions provided by Jakarta EE can introduce a performance overhead compared to lightweight frameworks, especially in scenarios with high throughput.

  6. Containerization Complexity– Deploying Jakarta EE applications in containerized environments might require additional configurations and considerations.


Choosing Your Champion: Spring or Jakarta EE?

So, here we are at the crossroads of our exploration. Choosing between Spring and Jakarta EE depends on your project’s requirements. Spring shines with its lightweight approach and microservices magic. On the other hand, Jakarta EE is the powerhouse of enterprise applications, delivering scalability and robustness. Now that we have already discussed what are the pros and cons of Spring and Java EE, let’s now explore the advantages and considerations of using each.


Spring or Jakarta EE

  1. Choose Spring if your project requires rapid development, microservices architecture, and flexibility to select specific components. Spring is also a strong choice if you’re looking for a vibrant community and a broad ecosystem of tools.

  2. Choose Jakarta EE if your project demands enterprise-grade features, standardization, and compatibility across different application servers. It’s suitable for projects that require robustness, scalability, and adherence to established enterprise standards.

Spring

  1. Spring is slow as compared to JavaEE.
  2. Spring is used to create a template for an application. 
  3. Spring is licensed under an open-source agreement.
  4. The Spring framework is composed of approximately 20 modules. 
  5. It does not have any kind of programming language. 
  6. It is a layered, module-based architecture with many modules. 


JavaEE

  1. Java is a widely used programming language for the development of websites.
  2. It comes with an Oracle-based license.
  3. JavaEE can be used on the web or off the web.
  4. JavaEE offers a high degree of scalability.
  5. It’s based on 3D architectural systems. 
  6. It is based on an object-relational programming language that is characterized by a specific style and syntax.

In both cases, consider the experience and expertise of your development team, as familiarity with the chosen framework can significantly impact development speed and code quality. Remember, the best choice is the one that aligns with your project’s goals and challenges while leveraging the strengths of the chosen framework to achieve successful outcomes.


Conclusion

In the ever-evolving landscape of software development, we’re blessed with choices like Spring and Jakarta EE. Whether you’re crafting elegant microservices with Spring or building an enterprise empire with Jakarta EE, the Java ecosystem empowers you to create technological marvels. As we wrap up our journey, remember that the choice between Spring and Jakarta EE is a win-win. It’s like having two incredible tools in your developer toolbox, each ready to help you build something extraordinary.

Stay tuned for more tech explorations. Happy coding!

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