Microservices refer to a form of service-oriented architecture wherein applications are built as a collection of several smaller services rather than a single app. These independent applications or services that make up a larger app can run on their own and are built using different programming languages, including Java.
So why should you switch to Java microservices?
Some advantages of the microservices approach over the traditional, large applications framework include:
Using a microservices framework not only speeds up development but also reduces cost, owing to the requirement of lesser code and fewer people to build an app using smaller components.
- Simplicity of structure
- Faster development
- Small codebase in most cases
- Increased scalability
The Rise of Microservices Frameworks in Java
Microservices frameworks form a recent trend that is expected to grow with increasing interest in serverless architecture, which requires small and light deployments that can be achieved by implementing a microservices framework in Java.
Another driver for the popularity of microservices frameworks in Java is the increasing adoption of containers and container management systems like Kubernetes. Of course, microframeworks are also quite simple to work with, achieving most projects with just a few thousand lines of code.
Below, we have outlined 5 of the popular and emerging microservices frameworks that you can use for developing in Java.
Popular Java Microservices Frameworks
1. Spring Boot
A survey indicates Spring Boot to be the leading framework for building microservices applications within Java and for a good reason, too. In general, Spring Boot is a mature, open-source, and feature-rich framework with a vast community to turn to for support. Spring Boot microservices can be easily deployed on various platforms, be it Dockers or bare metal servers. This popular Java framework comes with in-built functionalities like security autoconfiguration and starter dependencies that allow for rapid application development in Java.
Getting started with Spring Boot is as simple as visiting start.spring.io to launch an automated application template in just a few minutes. Not surprisingly, Java framework is exceptionally popular, owing to the convenience and flexibility it offers, and firms that wish to deploy Spring Boot microservices architecture can find experienced staff quite easily. For professionals, various pieces of training and certifications in Spring Boot are available to upgrade their skill set with this easy-to-use microservices framework that can be exploited even by less experienced teams to solve complex business problems. In practice the Spring framework has proved to be the most effective standard for microservice development.
Micronaut is a modern, JVM-based, full-stack microservices framework. It is designed for building easily testable microservice applications and implementing serverless functions. The best part about Micronaut is the quick startup time, which is due to non-reliance on reflection-based IoC frameworks, a considerable departure from Spring Boot. Another great feature of Micronaut is the exceptional built-in support for cloud, which makes it a breeze to work on AWS or write serverless applications.
It is a fact that Micronaut was developed based on lessons learned through the real-world applications of Spring and Spring Boot over the years. As a result, many of the APIs within the framework are inspired by Spring which makes it easier for new developers to find their feet. Micronaut framework also overcomes several of the shortcomings intrinsic to frameworks like Spring and Spring Boot, through upsides like:
- Reduced memory footprint
- Faster startup time
- Easy unit testing
- Less usage of proxies and reflections
Ballerina is not a microservices framework. Instead, it is a distributed programming language which can be used to write distributed applications. This enables developers to build customised network applications from scratch by writing software using the open-source programming language.
Overall, Ballerina is a cloud-native programming language that simplifies the microservices framework further by overcoming the challenge of distributed tracing and observability. With built-in support, it is possible to enable tracking and monitoring without any additional lines of code.
As Ballerina is mainly designed for cloud computing, it also includes annotations for Docker and Kubernetes, making it possible to deploy into those environments with minimal coding. Ballerina also makes the developer aware of any potential security threats, network failures and communications while writing the program itself for seamless deployment at later stages.
Dropwizard is an open-source framework, which is popularly known for the rapid development of RESTful web services. Dropwizard is also considered quite easy to use and works well for microservices application development. It integrates tried and tested Java libraries into a functional platform while offering templates with Java-based interfaces like FreeMarker and Mustache. Similar to Spring Boot, Dropwizard applications are packaged into fat JAR files with the Jetty application server embedded.
According to some experts, Dropwizard lacks a little bit in terms of flexibility when compared with other frameworks like Spring Boot. However, it scores in terms of reliability by integrating a well-tested combination of tools that are pre-wired to get your project off the ground quickly. Even though Dropwizard has no built-in dependency injection solution, it does have integrations for Guice and Dagger. Overall, Dropwizard flaunts superior performance and operations amicability for microservices application advancement.
5. Eclipse MicroProfile
The Eclipse MicroProfile project is an upgrade to Java EE, aimed at optimising Enterprise Java for building Microservices architecture and cloud-native applications. The system is based on a subset of Jakarta EE WebProfile APIs, which means the process of building MicroProfile applications remains essentially the same.
MicroProfile is getting popular not only for the familiarity of usage but also for attempting a standardized API for microservices in Java by bringing together a bunch of vendors and organisations. The critical APIs in MicroProfile include CDI, JAX-RS, JSON-P, Metrics and Config.
The idea of microservices is simple yet powerful, and is fast gaining popularity to improve the end-user experience by breaking down monolithic applications into smaller bits that are lighter, faster, and programmed to run independently or cohesively, as required. Not surprisingly, several experts list microservices as an advanced skill that Java Developers must possess in 2020.
If you wish to propel your career as a Java Developer, continue upskilling yourself with complementary technologies to keep up with the constantly evolving language.
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