Client-side JavaScript frameworks are hugely popular right now, but they might not always be the best choice if you want to deliver a web-based experience to browser-based clients. If you are looking to get away from JavaScript frameworks and into something else, check out the best Java frameworks for web application development and delivery in 2020.

Spring MVC:

This is a very elegant, yet simple Java-based server-side web development framework that’s able to manage application states and backend resources via Java component coding. Spring MVC also allows the HTML and other markups that are sent to clients to be generated through popular templating engines like Mustache, Thymeleaf, and FreeMarker. If you’re already using Spring Boot or Spring IoC container, this is a logical choice of Java-based, server-side rendering engine.

Java’s MVC Web Framework:

Java’s MVC specification came into existence when JSR-371 was ratified in December 2019 and is a very simple Java web framework that uses the well-established model-view-controller pattern in order to develop web applications, while building heavily on JAX-RS REST APIs at the same time. It’s different from many other Java web frameworks that have JSP API and Servlet at the core foundation of building.

Microservices and container-based applications built in Java are the sweet spot here; most microservices will need some form of UI – either as a maintenance dashboard for administrators or for interacting with clients. Since most Java-based microservices are already using JAX-RS, the new MVC web framework from Java is a natural fit for any developer looking to complement microservices with a UI too.


With bases in Finland, San Jose, and Germany, Vaadin is often a more familiar name in European development circles. This open-source framework sets itself apart from the competition by allowing developers to write completely Java-based user interfaces. In order to successfully work in Vaadin, the developer does not need to have extensive knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Instead, the framework automatically translates the Java code into the markup to be delivered to the client. Vaadin is ideal for anybody who wants a purely Java-based development environment that can create browser-based experiences to rival frameworks like React or Angular.

JavaServer Faces:

JSF has been a part of the Java EE specification since JSF 1.2 was released in 2006. It separates itself from other Java-based web application frameworks by offering a component-based approach to UI development. Developers are encouraged to write independent, self-contained components that can be reused and easily applied to web pages, sites, and apps where they interact with other components. It also includes a powerful, easy-to-use templating engine called Facelets, which simplifies the development of Ajax-based page templates.

Because of this push towards interoperability, modularity, and componentisation, there are many popular JSF-based libraries including PrimeFaces, ICEfaces, and RichFaces. No developer should use JSF on its own; instead, they should build from one of the existing libraries in order to make JSF development as easy as possible and avoid many of the drawbacks of using it from the start. And, while JSF does define itself as a component-based framework, it does also implement a front-end controller, allowing it to be used in a similar manner to many other MVC-based Java web frameworks.

Servlets and JSPs:

Sometimes, things don’t have to be any more complicated than necessary; Java-based server-side rendering is possible for developers because the Servlet and JSP API exists. They are very simple ways to handle incoming requests and develop HTML that is displayed inside a client’s web browser.

All options for Java-based web frameworks will build on top of the Servlet and JSP API. In fact, everything that you can do with JSF, Spring MVC or any of the other options, you would also be able to do on your own with the Servlet and JSP API and some programming time invested into it. If you’re looking for the simplest option, this is the best choice.

For Clients:

If you are currently looking for a web or app developer and want to have as seamless as an experience as possible, it may be worth speaking to them about which application they use for front-or back-end development, and how it will interact with your web browser. Appetiser is an app and web development company well-versed in working with a range of different frameworks and producing quality work for clients; you can check out some of their work on their website and learn more about what they do. The bottom line for clients is that it doesn’t really matter what framework a developer uses, as long as it delivers a strong web-based experience for the client.

Are you a developer looking to move away from JavaScript frameworks and towards Java options? Will you be trying any of the frameworks mentioned above in your upcoming development projects? We’d love to hear from you.


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