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Hello Java Programmers, if you are thinking about Microservice and Cloud-native development in Java and exploring options like which frameworks, libraries, and technologies can help you to create next-generation Java applications then you have come to the right place.
Earlier, I have shared the best Microservice courses, and Microservice design patterns and in this article, I am going to share the best Microservice Framework for Java developers. While you may know that Spring Boot and Spring Cloud is the leading framework for developing Microservice applications in Java, there are a couple of more options as well like MicroNaut, DropWizard, and Quarkus IO.
In this article, you will learn about the top 6 frameworks you can use to develop Microservice in Java.
While most of these frameworks are new and there are not many resources available about how to use these frameworks for developing production-quality Microservices in Java, except documentation and some tutorials here and there, along the way, I will also share some useful resources like online courses and books to learn these frameworks like online courses and tutorials.
What Are Microservices? Why Does it Matter?
When you search for Microservices on the internet, you will find a lot of different definitions, some of them are too technical and some of them are too easy to describe what is Microservice.
I am going to explain this based upon my own experience, this may not be the perfect or most accurate definition of Microservice, but this is what you will build or see when you work on a Microservice architecture or application.
Before going to Microservices, let’s take a step back and try to understand the evolution of application architecture and what caused the development of Microservices in the software development world.
Long back there was a time when we just maintain one application, one code-based, and they are also deployed into each machine.
For example, Windows software like Microsoft Word and other PC games. When we needed more functionality we just keep adding them into source code. This means after some years, your codebase is quite large, and adding or changing a single functionality requires a lot of regression testing, affecting delivery timelines and efforts.
People realized this and they created best practices to divide code into different modules. The idea is that each module should be independent of each other so that you can develop, test, and deploy them separately, and Web applications are born.
In the case of Web applications, you don’t need to deploy the whole application to the client machine, all you need is a browser and it can connect to the server to get whatever it needs to function. Now, you don’t need to deploy the client and server on the same machine.
This evolution continues on the server-side as well and people started breaking down a big monolithic application into multiple standalone, independent smaller applications, or should I say micro applications.
These Micro applications provide one service and completely focus on that like authorization, authentication, service discovers load balancing, etc and they are known as MicroService.
The architecture where we have multiple Micro applications providing different services connect to each and perform as one application is known as Microservice architecture.
Now, you might be thinking what is the benefit of it? Well, these Microservices are very small as compared to Monolithic applications which means you can develop, test, and deploy them quickly and independently. This really improves the delivery and release cycle.
It also makes a distributed architecture where you can deploy Microservices on a different host or same host, this means better utilization of server resources like storage, memory, and CPU. And, finally, it also helps with scalability as you can quickly spawn new instances of the service whose demand is increasing.
For example, let’s think about Amazon Prime Day when a lot of people shop and traffic to the Amazon site increases, at that point you need more processes to handle those checkouts, so you will create new instances of those processes but you don’t need to scale other services which are not prime related, like services which are indexing Amazon products.
Here is a nice diagram that explains the difference between Microservice and Monolith:
6 Best Microservice Framework for Cloud Native Java Development
So, this was my explanation of Microservices in general. As I have said, this may not be accurate or technically correct, but this is what you will see in most the places where a Microservice architecture is actually implemented.
Now that we know what is Microservice and what are its benefits, let’s explore a couple of Java frameworks that can help you to develop Microservices in Java.
There is no doubt that Spring Boot together with Spring Cloud is the best option for developing Microservices in Java. It’s the most established and tested framework and you will find a bigger community to support you when you are stuck.
Apart from up-to-date and in-depth documentation, there are also a lot of resources available online when it comes to learning Spring Boot and Spring Cloud, like Spring Boot Microservices course on Udemy which can get you started in no time.
These are the very important point when you are starting from scratch because you need to learn quickly and deliver quickly.
Now coming towards feature, Spring Cloud provides many features out-of-the-box which are needed in a Microservice architecture like service discovery and load balancing. It follows Netflix Microservice architecture, which is also the most common implementation.
If you want to learn Spring Boot and Spring Cloud for Microservice development in Java and need a resource, I highly recommend Master Microservices with Spring Boot and Spring Cloud course by Ranga Karnam of In28Minutes. This 19.5-hour course is a great resource to learn Microservice with Spring Boot for both beginners and intermediate Java developers.
Quarkus is another full-stack, Kubernetes-native Java framework made for Java virtual machines (JVMs) and native compilation, optimizing Java specifically for containers and enabling it to become an effective platform for serverless, cloud, and Kubernetes environments.
Quarkus is backed by Redhat and it’s quickly gaining ground for creating high-performance, and scalable Java applications. One of the key features of Quarkus based applications is fast boot time.
Many Java programmers are looking to try Quarkus for fast and reactive Microservices and if you also want to learn Quarkus, I highly recommend you to check out this Starting with Quarkus course by Antonio Goncalves, one of the Quarkus pioneers on Udemy. This 3.5-hour long course is a great starting point for any Java developer willing to learn Quarkus.
This is another modern, JVM-based, full-stack framework for building modular, easily testable microservice and serverless applications. Micronaut is getting a lot of love from the Java community and with big companies like Oracle and JetBrains putting their weight behind MicroNaut may emerge as a strong contender to Spring Boot and Spring cloud in near future.
When it comes to technical things, there is a key difference between MicroaNaut and Spring Framework, Spring which relies exclusively on runtime reflection and proxies, Micronaut uses compile-time data to implement dependency injection.
This is not a new approach but approaches are taken by tools such as Google’s Dagger, which is designed primarily with Android in mind.
Another interesting thing to know about MicroNaut is that it’s created by OCI, the same company that created Grails, a popular web development framework for Groovy developers.
The current version of MicroNaut is MicroNaut 2.5 which supports Gradle 6.5 and incremental compilation and has better reactive libraries for Microservices. If you want to learn MicroNaut and need a resource, I also recommend you to check out Learn Micronaut – cloud-native microservices with Java course by Daniel Prinz on Udemy. This 6.5-hour long course is a great resource to learn MicroNaut from scratch.
DropWizard is another powerful framework for creating RESTful web services and microservices. It uses popular Java libraries like Jetty, Jackson, and Jersey for creating high-performance Java applications quicker and easier.
The good thing about DropWizard is that it provides in-built support for configuration, monitoring, metrics, and many more operational tasks. When it comes to learning DropWizard there are not many resources available.
You can check documentation but if you are looking for books and online courses, then there are not many, I only find Getting started with Dropwizard course on Udemy which is kind of ok, not the best but you can still start with DropWizard by following this course.
Eclipse MicroProfile is an initiative to optimize Java EE for Microservice architecture. It aims to provide a vendor-neutral specification to create Microservices architecture by leveraging Java EE. The specification has been created by experts and backed by organizations like IBM, RedHat, and Oracle, which makes it great to use for Microservice development and deployment.
Vert.x from Eclipse is a lightweight framework to develop Reactive Microservices. It supports a non-blocking and asynchronous development model and allows you to run your distributed application runs on top of a Java Virtual Machine.
Unlike Spring Boot which provides in one solution Vert.x doesn’t provide an all-in-one solution instead it provides a toolkit and building block to build your own component. Since it’s a toolkit, it provides flexibility to use it as a standalone or embed it inside Spring itself.
In fact, many Microservice frameworks like QuarkusIO used Vert.x for their low-level need like TCP and HTTP. If you want to learn Vertx and looking for resources then I also suggest you check out this Learn Vert.x – Reactive microservices with Java course by Daniel Prinz on Udemy. This 9.5-hour long course is a great resource to start with Vert.x for Reactive Microservice development.
That’s all about some of the best Java Frameworks for Microservice development. While most of the organizations use Spring Boot and Spring Cloud for creating their RESTful web services and Microservices but you can also learn more modern alternatives like QuarkusIO and Micronaut. I have also tried to suggest useful resources where you can learn these frameworks. If you have any other framework to add to this list feel free to comment.
Thanks, for reading this article so far. If you like these best Java Microservice frameworks then please share them with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or feedback then please drop a note.
P. S. – If you are keen to jump into the world of Microservices and looking for free online courses to learn Microservice development then you may also like to explore Master Spring Microservices with Spring Boot and Spring Cloud! course by Karthikeya T on Udemy. This 1-hour long free hands-on course is a great way to start building Microservice in Java.
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