Saturday 8 May 2021
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10 Must-Have Tools for Java Development!

10 Must-Have Tools for Java Development!

The latest Programming Language Rankings from the industry watchers at RedMonk offered few surprises this time around. JavaScript topped the list, with Java coming in second.  Java developers have many options with the large selection of libraries, utilities, and programs at their disposal. Each one has its merits, but there are a few that stand out from the crowd due to their popularity, versatility, and usefulness.

These Top 10 tools cover the full range of Java development, from code building to bug squashing. Learning these tools can help you improve the quality of your code and become a more efficient Java developer.

1. Best Language version

1st Prize:  Java 8

2nd Prize:  Java 7

Java 8 has possibly the fastest adoption rate of any new version to date. This is likely due to long-awaited modern language features such as lambda expressions that cut down on some of the verbosity that Java is often criticized for. The performance increases are a big deal too.

While new Java apps and primary apps are written in Java 8 now, a good amount of existing Java apps are still Java 7 or 6. About a third of the developers using either one also use the other simultaneously.

2. Most popular and best version of Editor or IDE

1st Prize:  Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA (tie)

2nd Prize: Netbeans

Eclipse and Netbeans are both free and open source. Eclipse is well known for its large community and wealth of plugins (they’re easy to write), which make the platform endlessly extensible but slow to load and cumbersome at times. Netbeans differentiates itself by coming with things such as Maven and Git integration out of box. IntelliJ has the performance and polish of a commercial product. It has both free and paid versions.

Despite the increasing popularity of IntelliJ IDEA, NetBeans, and other IDEs, surveys indicate that Eclipse is still the preferred development environment for almost half of Java developers. Eclipse is the Swiss army knife of IDEs, featuring a heavily customizable interface and countless plugins. It’s particularly popular among enterprise developers due to it’s large developer community and extensible. And in fact, it’s so ubiquitous that all of the other tools in this post provide Eclipse plugins.

3. Totally awesome Web Framework

1st Prize:  AngularJS, Spring MVC

2nd Prize:  Java Server Faces (JSF)

While two out of three surveys give Spring MVC the edge over Java Server Faces (JSF), the large poll from DZone (paragraph 5) showed a virtual tie between Spring MVC and JSF. That might not matter much anymore, since JavaScript frameworks are making significant inroads into many popular web stacks. The one survey that asked about AngularJS usage compared to pure Java web framework usage showed AngularJS having an edge over the most popular Java frameworks on the front end.

4. Java Testing framework tools to find bugs and increase performance

1st Prize:  JUnit

JUnit is an open source framework for writing and running unit tests. A basic JUnit test consists of a testing class, a testing method, and the functionality to be tested. JUnit uses annotations to determine how tests are structured and ran.

JUnit also lets you set Rules that define how the test methods behave.

For more information, see Getting Started with JUnit. Vogella also provides a tutorial on unit testing with JUnit.

5. Super Coding Coverage Utility

1st Prize: Cobertura

Cobertura, a jcoverage fork, analyzes Java code for test coverage. Cobertura generates HTML-based reports based on the amount of code that isn’t covered by testing.

Cobertura provides tools for instrumenting, checking, and testing code. This tool allows you to use your framework of choice or without a testing framework by monitoring instrumented code.

How does it do it? This versatile testing tool reports code coverage in terms of lines, branches, and packages.  It is high customizable threshold that triggers a warning if coverage falls below the threshold. Cobertura also integrates with Maven and Gradle for automatic detection.


6. Top Automated browser web testing

1st Prize: Selenium

Selenium just automates the browsers. Developers usually use this tool along with testing frameworks to do large-scale web application testing.


7. Application Performance analysis/profiler

1st Prize: VisualVM

Included in the JDK, VisualVM is a utility for monitoring and reviewing the performance of Java applications. VisualVM detects and attaches to active JVM instances to retrieve diagnostic information about a process.



8. Static code analysis

1st Prize:  FindBugs

2nd Prize: SonarQube

These two tools are very different in scope, so it’s hard to compare. FindBugs is a simpler static code analysis tool while SonarQube is an entire platform for code quality analysis, syntax checking, and code metrics.

FindBugs is a tool that pattern-matches compiled code against a database of bugs. When provided with the source code, FindBugs also highlights the lines of code affected by detected bugs.

As of version 3.0.1, FindBugs maintains hundreds of bug descriptions. Bugs are categorized into four levels based on their severity: of concern, troubling, scary, and scariest. In addition to a GUI, FindBugs provides a command-line interface, an Ant task, and an Eclipse plugin.


9. Load testing top performers

1st Prize: JMeter

2nd Prize: LoadRunner

There’s a huge variety of load testing tools besides these two, so be sure to research this market. JMeter is open source, and LoadRunner is a commercial product. The main advantage of commercial products is the range of services for running tests in the cloud.


10. Application server winners

1st Prize:  Tomcat

2nd Prize: Wildfly

Tomcat has been the most used Java application server for many years. It’s lightweight and doesn’t try to implement all of the Java EE specs. In some surveys, Jetty, another lightweight app server, is ahead of Wildfly—the top Java EE-supporting app server. Tomcat is the clear leader for simple Java applications, and lightweight app servers are definitely the weapon of choice in microservices architectures.

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