Java springboot Development
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Java EE vs Spring Boot: What are the Differences

By Jibu JamesJan. 9, 2023, 3 p.m. Application development company
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Are you wondering if you should use Java EE or Spring Boot for your next project? Both have their pros & cons, which one is right for you? Read to learn more!


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Java EE vs Spring Boot: What are the Differences

For the past 2 decades, the quest has been to point out the differences between Spring vs. J2EE. A few years ago, Spring held the fort as it was light and simple to handle. However, with the evolution of Java Enterprise Edition (also known as Java EE and J2EE), it has become the industry standard for many enterprises around the globe. In this blog post, we attempt to present a brief overview of their features, their advantages and disadvantages and the differences between the two in terms of performance, speed, scalability, applicability, and architecture. 

What is Spring in Java

The open-source Spring application framework provides infrastructure support for developing extensive Java applications. In the Java EE frameworks, Spring helps the developers to create high-performance applications using the POJOs (plain old Java objects).

Java EE – Features, Advantages, Disadvantages

Java Platform, Enterprise Edition is an evolved set of specifications around the Java Standard Edition (Java SE). This advanced version provides distributed computing and web service features. Oracle states that Java EE has improved API programming features that suit modern software architecture models. All the below-mentioned features are listed in the software documentation.

  • Asynchronous CDI events
  • Enhanced JSON support
  • A new REST Reactive Client API
  • And others. 

These features also suit its vast community of developers.

 

The global market perceives J2EE as the second-most popular programming language among developers. Approximately, 1 million websites in the world use Java EE, with almost a third of them being in the USA.

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Advantages of Java EE:

  • High scalability, reliability, and security;
  • Can be applied to more than a single platform
  • Works in high-level systems with complexity
  • Cross-platform portability
  • It’s easy to learn for those who know J2SE

Disadvantages of Java EE: 

  • Complex development environment
  • The large investment required (from the development stage to deployment to maintenance to management stages)
  • No in-built support for web-services standards
  • Steep learning curve because of numerous specifications

Spring Features

Spring is an open-source lightweight framework that is used to build applications (REST APIs). The Spring framework allows a developer to write enterprise Java applications and along with Spring Boot, it makes it easy to create production-grade standalone enterprise-class solutions (such as for microservices). 

Whereas the key feature of Spring is dependency injection it is auto configuration for Spring Boot. Therefore, together with Spring Boot Framework developers can cut down on development time and effort, and display increased productivity.

spring-features

 

Spring allows the development of:

  • Cloud and serverless solutions
  • Web applications
  • Microservices;
  • Event-driven software solutions
  • Automated tasks

Read our blog “Microservices vs SOA vs API Comparison”.

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Spring is purported to be the most popular Java framework that has been used in the recent past. Many live websites have used this technology.

Advantages of Spring Framework

Continuing comparisons on Java EE vs. Spring, let us see some advantages of Spring:

  • It is lightweight
  • Possibility of choosing XML /Java-based annotations allows for flexibility
  • Abstraction to JEE specifications (such as JPA, JTA)
  • High security offered because of close monitoring of third-party dependencies
  • Unit testing is easier

Disadvantages of Spring are:

  • Difficult to learn as it requires a firm grounding in core Java 
  • Uses XML
  • Provides multiple confusing options to developers making it difficult to pick the best ones

Java EE Vs. Spring – Comparisons

 

Java EE

Spring

It is a Sun/Oracle standard/specification

Spring is a framework

Is used for web development

Is used for a template design for applications

Has an Oracle based license

Has an open-source license

Based on 3D architectural frameworks; not necessary to use all of them

Based on layered architecture with many modules - the three-tier architecture model

Has an OO language that has a style and syntax

Does not have a programming language

Has good speed

Slower than Java EE

Can be web-based / non-web-based

Is based on approximately 20 modules

Has a GUI created from the abstract window toolkit

Makes similar syntax IDE-independent 

Uses JTA API with the execution

Provides a layer to help various JTA execution merchants

Java EE vs. Spring - Performance and Speed 

Whereas Spring is a framework, Java EE is a specification. Spring framework nevertheless simplifies software creation based on the Java EE platform. Therefore, these two options can be considered complementary elements.

Talent Pool Comparison

Java EE

Java EE is one of the most in-demand programming languages and there are close to 9 million developers. Java can be used for simple software and enterprise-level solutions.

The average salary of an experienced Java developer In the USA is USD 100,000 per year. However, in some European nations, you can hire them at one-fourth of that cost.

Spring

Over half of Java developers are estimated to use Spring in their projects and the number of programmers with this tech stack is estimated to be approximately 4.5 million. Spring is frequently considered one of the best Java frameworks.

The average salary of an experienced Spring developer in the USA is USD 100,000 per year. Spring developers in Canada and the UK can be hired for 60 percent of this cost. It would be still cheaper in some Eastern European nations.

Java EE

Java 19 is the latest version released (September 22). Some important additions are:

  • Record patterns
  • Structured concurrency
  • Preview of a foreign function and memory API;
  • Pattern matching for switch expressions/statements
  • Virtual threads
  • Vector API
  • Linux/RISC-V port

Java EE can be scaled vertically on a single system and across multiple systems horizontally. According to your requirements, you can also add more resources to your servers such as RAM and/or disk space. You can also add more machines/server nodes to work together. 

Spring

The latest release version is Spring 5.3.23 (October 22). The Spring framework can be downloaded from the official website. You can also get other products such as Spring Boot, Spring Data, Spring Cloud, Spring for GraphQL, Spring Security, etc.

The current version has the following features:

  • Serializable WebClientException;
  • Deprecate NestedIOException;
  • And many others including bug fixes.

Spring is almost as highly scalable as Java EE because it is the framework on top of the specification. Spring facilitates easy vertical and horizontal scaling models.

Spring vs. J 2EE: Security

Java EE

In Java EE, web services and applications are made of components that can be set in different containers responsible for security. The two types of security provided are:

Declarative security is the one in which the application’s security mechanism is both declared and handled by the application externally. This is made up of the application-level and component-level securities.

Programmatic security is one in which an embedded solution is used typically when the declarative security by itself is not sufficient to build the required security model.

Java EE supports several must-have security features including authentication, data integrity, authorization, and transport security. It also runs with a virtual machine, adding another layer of protection.

Spring

Spring uses another product called “Spring Security” as a customizable access control and authentication framework. 

Some of the features include:

  • JAAS login module
  • Spring Web MVC integration
  • Basic and digest access authentication, and more
  • Servlet API integration
  • Protection against click-jacking and many other types of attacks

When should you choose Java EE

It is an excellent choice for developing enterprise software, websites, web software, and EJB applications. This technology allows a high level of scalability, and you can move from an MVP to a full-fledged enterprise solution implementation quickly. It can be launched anywhere and does not depend on specific platforms.

Choose Java EE to:

  • Start with an MVP that will quickly grow
  • Develop complex software solutions with many frameworks and libraries
  • Create a multiplatform app that works from any platform
  • Unlimited possibilities

Popular apps built using Java EE are Twitter and Spotify, among others. 

When should you choose Spring?

Spring simplifies the Java EE development process and makes it more lightweight. The framework provides many templates and using dependency injection, simplifies the testing process.

Use Spring to

  • Build microservices
  • Build serverless applications
  • Use batch processing, etc.

Popular apps built using the Spring framework are Netflix and Blablacar. 

Let’s get started with microservices! Talk to us today!

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FAQs

Whereas Spring is a framework, Java EE is a specification. Spring is built on a layered and multi-module architecture but Java EE is built on a 3D architectural framework.

Most of the server-side development is Spring-dominated. Java EE is not used in server-side development and therefore there is no comparison or competition.

Approximately two-thirds of developers in a survey on the JVM system said that they used the Spring framework to develop their applications.

Some basic knowledge of XML is necessary to learn Spring as it uses a lot of XML.

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