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Redmonk Analyzes Java Framework Popularity

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Redmonk Analyst Fintan Ryan recently published his findings on framework popularity in Java. After completing an in-depth research study on GitHub stars, issues, commits and Twitter followers, Ryan concludes:

Spring still dominates, Spring Boot is on an exponential curve, Netty and Play continue to grow strongly.

Ryan started with the 15 most popular Java framework projects and found a clear divide between two tiers. The figure below shows all the frameworks included in this study.

Java - Framework GitHub Stars

The top, most popular tier consists of Spring, Play, Netty, Spring Boot, Vert.x, Dropwizard and Spark Java. He conducted the rest of his analysis on these frameworks, looking at GitHub stats, community and commercial contributions, support and licensing.

Netty is particularly interesting in that it had lots of commits from Twitter in 2009 and 2012.

Netty - Company & Community Commits

And most of its issues come from Apple (due to a single contributor).

Netty - Company & Community Issues

It's also interesting to see that Sony Mobile sponsors most of the Spark Java work. This is because they employ the project's lead engineers.

Spark Java - Company & Community Commits

Beneath this facade of glitzy charts lies a modest interior with not many surprises. Of the open source Java frameworks, the most popular ones are developed by Pivotal, Lightbend, Red Hat and the open source community.

Notably missing from this list is Oracle. However, Oracle's Java EE does provide the infrastructure (e.g. servlets) for many of the frameworks in this study. If Java EE were an open source project on GitHub, how would it stack up against these frameworks? It'll be interesting to see how Oracle tries to regain framework relevancy with Java EE 8. They've committed to a revamped Java EE 8 for the cloud. Several new initiatives surrounding this effort are expected to be announced at the JavaOne conference next week.

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Community comments

  • OpenXava

    by Javier Paniza,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    I missed OpenXava in the list. I'm the OpenXava project lead and, of course, I think it deserves be included in any Java Framework list. On the other hand, if Fintan Ryan does not know the framework it just does not exist.

    I would like to present some data to show that OpenXava is as popular as the ones presented above. I exclude Spring, Spark and Play, the most popular ones.

    First, the Alexa Rank for the framework sites:
    1. DropWizard: 106,722
    2. VertX: 125,692
    3. Netty: 131,478
    4. OpenXava: 447,132
    5. Ninja: 456,615
    6. Comsat: 629,879
    7. Undertow: 694,088
    8. ActiveWeb: 1,012,688
    9. Jooby: 1,505,351
    10. Baratine: 1,813,941
    11. Rapidoid: 3,107,762
    12. RestExpress: ???

    Note that OpenXava is in the 4th position.

    Here the list of LinkedIn profiles including the framework:
    1. DropWizard: 3304
    2. VertX: 305
    3. Undertow: 290
    4. OpenXava: 211
    5. ActiveWeb: 103
    6. RestExpress: 36
    7. Jooby: 24
    8. Ninja: 6
    9. Rapidoid: 5
    10. Baratine: 3
    11. Comsat: ?
    12. Netty: ?

    Again that OpenXava is in the 4th position.

    OpenXava exists since 2005, it's in SourceForge and has a business model, so it's not cool, I know. But it's more popular that most of the frameworks you mentioned.

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