10 Top Tools For Java Application Developers

  At present, Java is more popular than other programming language. It is also a programming language which is used widely by developers for building desktop GUI application, web applications, web services and mobile apps. But the developers still need robust frameworks, IDEs and development tools to write the applications in Java rapidly and efficiently. Each developer also has option to choose from many Java frameworks, IDEs, and development tools according to his specific needs.

Overview of 10 Widely Used Java Frameworks, IDEs, and Development Tools

1) Spring MVC

Spring is one of the mature and popular Java web frameworks available in the market. In addition to supporting model-view-controller (MVC) software development paradigm, Spring also simplifies common programming tasks like database integration, web services creation, and security. The programmers also have option to use Spring Boot to create Java web applications that can be deployed without dealing without complex XML configurations https://www.kuepa.com/. Spring Boot further comes with a number of production-ready features like health checks, metrics and externalized configuration. The most recent version of the framework further comes with a command line tool that allows programmers to run Groovy scripts, and prototype web application quickly using Spring.

2) JavaServer Faces Technology (JSF)

Oracle has developed JavaServer Faces Technology (JSF) as the official Java EE web framework. The framework developed through Java community process helps programmers to create server-side user interfaces rapidly. It allows users to create websites rapidly by keeping the presentation layer separate from application logic. The developers can even use the JavaServer Faces UI component tags to connect the application logic and presentation layers of the project without writing any additional code. The members of the community also provide new JavaServer Faces APIs regularly to simplify Java web application development process.

3) Vaadin

Vaadin makes it easier for programmers to write server-side components of single-page web applications in Java. The developers can also use to Vaadin to develop web UIs with HTML. They can further take advantage of the robust Vaadin Elements containing a variety of customized HTML elements for business applications. They can even use components like charts, data grids and combo box to extend the Google Polymer library. The tools provided by Vaadin Pro further help developers to make their web applications more interactive and mobile-friendly, along with reducing coding time significantly.

4) Google Web Toolkit (GWT)

The web toolkit from Google helps developers to make the web applications more responsive by compiling the Java code into JavaScript. As JavaScript is supported by each modern web browser, the compilation enhances the website's accessibility and performance. The GWD SDK includes a compiler and a development server, along with core Java APIs and widgets. These components enable developers to write client-side applications in Java, and then deploy the frontend code as JavaScript. At the same time, the GWT compiler optimizes the code base by removing dead code and reducing performance bottlenecks.

5) Grails

Grails is a version of Ruby on Rails for Java platform written in Groovy programming language. The programmers can integrate Grails seamlessly with the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). They also have option to extend and enhance the framework by either creating custom plug-ins or using existing plug-ins. At the same time, they can also avail several advanced features provided by the framework including NoSQL support, integrated ORM, asynchronous programming, and compile-time meta-programming. The users can also take advantage of domain-specific languages to effectuate querying, validation and markup rendering.

6) Play Framework

In addition to being a MVC web framework, Play is also designed with features to simplify development of web services. The framework further supports multiple JVM-based programming languages including Java and Scala. Features like stateless services and asynchronous I/O make Play different from other Java web frameworks. The users can further take advantage of the code refresh feature of the framework to check the impact of changes made to the code instantaneously without rebuilding or restarting the whole project. Play further enables programmers to avail a wide variety of plug-ins, testing tools, and IDEs while helping developers to build scalable web applications.

7) Dropwizard

As a modern and lightweight framework, Dropwizard helps developers to build and deploy both Java web applications and web services. It further focuses on the glue between various components to provide an integrated development experience to programmers. The latest version of Dropwizard further takes advantages of the new features included in Java 8 to enhance the application's compatibility and security. It further allows programmers to monitor and assess the behaviour of the code in production environment using Metric libraries.

8) Eclipse

The open source IDE is written in Java, and designed with features to simplify development of a variety of Java applications. It supports major platforms like Windows, Linux and OS X. The users can easily customize Eclipse according to their specific needs by using a wide range of plug-ins and extensions. They can even avail a set of useful features provided by Eclipse including Windows Builder, XML Editors and Tools, Maven Integration, Git Team Provider, Mylyn Task List, and Code Recommenders Developer Tools.

9) NetBeans

The open source IDE is written in Java, and enables developers to build desktop, web and mobile apps with Java. In addition to being cross-platform, NetBeans also supports an array of programming languages in addition to Java. The users can further build a variety of Java applications efficiently by availing the robust features provide by NetBeans including quick and smart code editing, GUI development tools, static analysis tools, debugger and profiler. Also, NetBeans make it easier for programmers to update their existing applications to Java 8.

10) JSource

Despite being a lightweight IDE, JSource comes with features to facilitate cross-platform application development with Java. It is also developed fully with Swing component. JSource is also designed with features to help programmers to create, edit, compile and run a variety of Java files efficiently. However, it supports syntax highlighting for several programming languages in addition to Java. The Java programmers also have option to integrate JSource with other widely used Java frameworks and development tools.

On the whole, Java developers have option to choose from many frameworks, IDEs and development tools. But each tool may not complement all needs of each project. Hence, the developer must pick the right Java development tools according to the requirements of individual projects. He can even consider combining these frameworks, IDEs and development tools to enhance the functionality and performance of Java applications.

VIP MANAGEMENT SERVICES: South Africa is very unique in the world in the sense that most of its successful entrepreneurs, community leaders, and political elite are those who transitioned from non-profit organizations into self-employment. However, the challenge that most of them encounter is how to effect this transition. Some are forced to initially operate part-time, i.e. while they are employed or volunteering in other organizations in the country. In most cases they end up being ethically conflicted. Their careers are destroyed before they could achieve their objective of becoming fully self-employed. It is for this reason that I am advocating the introduction of VIP Management Services Development Programmes to these needy members of our society. This works like an incubator of professionals.

EXECUTIVE COACHING: Coaching is about a shift from the Current State of Being (CSoB) into the Future State of Being (FSoB). So, it is about transformation. Both the Current State of Being (CSoB) and the Future State of Being (FSoB) for the client must be clearly defined. There must be discomfort with the CSoB that propels the client to embark on the coaching journey. The FSoB in most cases cannot be fully attained but the client can close to it as close as it possible. One thing certain is that there will be shift away from the CSoB. The FSoB is like the shining star at the distance. The coaching sessions form part of the journey toward the Future State of Being (FSoB). This ideal future state is not necessarily achieved upon the completion of the coaching programme. This becomes the journey f life time. The coaching programme places the client on the path toward the Destiny which once achieved it becomes the client's Legacy. This Legacy becomes the Heritage that the client will leave for the Generations that come after him/her. Coaching is therefore a way of life and it is unimaginable to live a fulfilling life without it.

Coaching evolved over the past years, having started in the US in the seventies from college sport:

• Coaching as Motivation and Personality Development intervention

• Coaching as Mentoring and Development of Potential

• Coaching as Advisory to Top Management

• Personal Coaching for private People

• Coaching for all situations

Coaching is today clearly distinct from the above previous evolutionary stages. It follows clearly defined Models and Philosophy. The Perspective, Purpose, and Processes are clearly visible in coaching. Every coach is expected to have a particular methodology they follow in their Coaching Programme.

STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT: Depending on the size of the organization, strategy development is either done in-house or an external strategy development consultant is engaged. There are a number of books written about strategy facilitation. However, there is no one universal strategy development template. Every organization has its own template, approach and strategy. Whoever facilitates the development of such strategy has to first invest time in understanding the business or receiving a thorough briefing from the management and leadership before embarking on the process of developing and formulating the strategy of such an organization. The risks associated with the strategy that does not speak to the context of the business are very high since strategies tend to be medium to long-term. So, strategy development facilitators have huge responsibility on their shoulders. They are also expected to be highly ethical in their work. They are expected to keep confidentiality and not to abuse the privilege they have in accessing strategic information.

CONSULTING: Consultants are the most innovative, creative and pragmatic practitioners, and yet individualistic in approach. It is important for the consultants to network with each other and share their expertise, methodologies, challenges and frustrations, especially if they hope to contribute to the national transformation imperatives, like supporting South Africa's National Development Plan (NDP). They are encouraged to contribute to the good course of sharing and growing the economy and the society. Their network is there to attract the new entrants into the field to do the business of consulting, encourage mentoring of the beginners and to make themselves accessible to the industries in a relaxed and less pressurizing environment.

There are very few institutions of learning that teach Consulting in Economic Empowerment & Transformation as a standalone qualification, and yet this is one of the key components of the South African economic & political environment. Any business strategy that does not start by unpacking these two phenomena is ignorant of the realities of the South Africa of today, and it is likely to miss the opportunities that are associated with this country. The only constant in today's society is transformation and change. The economic empowerment of the neglected sectors of the South African society is imperative for all the organizations that are committed to the growth of the country.

Since the introduction of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) legislation, the growth of the consultancy sector in Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) has been phenomenal. Black Economic Empowerment is a national Economic Transformation Imperative and somehow we need to encourage and foster alignment in the thinking. Economic empowerment and transformation in South African means participation by previously disadvantaged individual in the main economic sectors of the country. However, the current economic players seem not to see the benefit in allowing new players in. The country requires the current and aspiring entrepreneurs to come together and debate on what needs to happen to change the status quo. South Africa cannot be globally competitive as long as the bigger part of the population is excluded from the economic activity. This is self-defeating and must be addressed. Business, especially, the private sector must want to address this situation. It is to their benefit. Let us drive entrepreneurship development until we have reached the critical mass that guarantees the country a meaningful position in global entrepreneurship competitiveness. This is about global entrepreneurship competitiveness.

YOUTH AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT: South Africa is one of the countries in the world that has taken a decisive step in promoting Youth Entrepreneurship, and yet we are one of the poor performers in Youth Enterprise Development. The country must connect the youth with the other youth of the world, and build exchange platforms and programmes, like conceptualizing a successful and sustainable Youth Enterprise Development Model (Products & Services, Business Development & Market Access, Systems & Knowledge Support, Exports Markets Development, Financial & Technical Support, etc.)

Women empowerment does not mean that men are excluded from actively advancing the development of women. As long as they support the objectives of emancipating female citizens, they should be welcome in the Women Empowerment Programmes. However, women are encouraged to take the leadership in their own empowerment and challenge men to be supportive of their programmes and initiatives. There is a need to consolidate Women Empowerment Programmes and Initiatives in South Africa to achieve maximum impact. Women are in the majority, and therefore their participation in the economic activities of the country will increase our economic production, management and leadership capacity. This will make us economically competitive in the continent and globally.

MENTORSHIP: The application of internal and external Mentorship Programmes is fundamental to the continuous development and life-long learning. The extent to which Mentorship Programme in companies is formalized varies from one company to another. Irrespective of that, there is either an internal or external mentorship approach. The talent development circumstances of a company influence the approach that each company follows. Some companies have a combination of both internal and external mentorship programme. External Mentorship is mostly appropriate for the executives and senior managers. An Internal Mentorship programme would be more appropriate for the large portion of the staff. For any internal Mentorship programme to be successful, the company must develop a standard programme, and develop internal mentors to participate in the programme.

ADVISORS AND SPOKESPERSONS DEVELOPMENT: Advisors and Spokespersons are the professionals that find themselves in the firing lines more than any other professionals. They are often called in very late, when the leaders have already implicated themselves. Yet there are very few forums at which these important professionals get together to share their frustrations and experiences. As a country we should strive to establish forums and networks at which this unique talent is further developed and supported. It is also for those who aspire to be developed as advisors and spokespersons. We need to regularly assemble these professionals to take stock of their profession, interact with the other professionals and the public they serve. There are no questions as to why business executives, senior managers, leaders, and politicians need advisors and spokespersons. They are indispensable.

TALENT MOBILITY: The African continent is one of the highest recipients of global talent. Business practitioners in the global talent mobility space are experiencing complex client demands and therefore are encouraged to work together in developing a talent pool that will be able to service the needs of the growing number of highly specialized expatriates that are deployed in Africa by the global multinationals. Secondly, the African governments are becoming sophisticated in the regulation of the movement of foreign talent into the continent. Most countries are pushing for compliance with localization policies to make sure that their countries are not only benefiting the foreign countries but also the local citizens. The cross-border platforms across the continent must be created. The goal of such platforms should be to provide the opportunity for the global talent mobility practitioners to interact and connect. This is to make sure that the local and global trends and practices are aligned. This is one of the young sectors in Africa with the highest relevance to the African and global economies.

MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: Many books have been written about Management and Leadership. Every country has a specific global context of management and leadership to deal with. More and more South African companies are venturing into foreign markets (countries) and they are sending their best managers and leaders there. Companies like MTN, SABMiller, and Sasol, are some of the successful South African companies that have sent their best managers and leaders to foreign markets to lead their operations. The Management and Leadership Programmes in South Africa should have as their main goal to bring both South African and global managers & leaders together to discuss and share insights. This is necessary for the South African companies to thrive in home, new and foreign markets.

PROFESSIONAL WRITERS DEVELOPMENT: Professional writers, like artists, can be very isolated, and yet the rest of the population wants their writing. It is amazing that these inspirational professionals do not get together to share their professional experiences often enough. South Africa can do better in enabling the professional writers to get together and support each other. We also want them to hear from their clients, the readers. If you are a professional and aspiring writer you require coaching and mentorship by seasoned writers. You will appreciate the value you will obtain from meeting fellow writers. You may also meet authors that are open to co-authoring of books and articles.

PROFESSIONAL SPEAKERS DEVELOPMENT: The United States of America has successfully created a lucrative sector out of the professional speaking sector. We believe that South Africans have natural talent in speaking that will even challenge the Americans, and overtake them. Their success was not by chance but their education system instils confidence in their children early in their education life. We want teachers, educationists, politicians and practitioners to consider growing the speakers sector in the country. It sounds less important but it is indeed one of the sectors that inspire a lot of confidence and pride in the nation's people. Once one becomes a subject matter expert in a particular field, one can develop as a speaker. You can specialize in professional speaking about the subject you master very well.

PROFESSIONAL TRANSLATORS DEVELOPMENT: It is a known fact that South Africans are quick at learning foreign languages. However, when it comes to international business relations and communication, please do not take chances. Employ the services of the professional translator. How would you know if the translator is not genuine? Let's put together networks and forums to create the opportunity for those qualified professional translators to grow their profession. We also need to grow interest in this profession. This could be one of the highest paying professions, especially now that South Africa is a full member of community of nations like AU, UN, BRICS, etc. Our country is one of the countries with the highest number of diplomatic relationships in the world. We must take regular stock of this sector, connect with similar networks globally and collaborate in our service offerings. A lot is unknown about this profession, especially among the previously disadvantaged individuals (i.e. black South Africans). How does one become a professional translator? What are career opportunities? Where does one study to become a professional translator?

DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES: South Africa is known to have benefited from the active society of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who volunteered to resolve community development problems associated with the neglect of the previous Apartheid Government. However, post-1994 a number of NGOs disappeared as more and more people opted for business opportunities that came with our young democracy. We are now where we were before. There is a need for more social entrepreneurs and NGOs to tackle the problems of poverty, crime, unemployment and inequality. Some private companies have established Foundations and Corporate Social Investments (CSI) Programmes to respond to these challenges. Some institutions of learning have introduced Social Entrepreneurship Programmes to equip practitioners with knowledge to grow and professionalize the non-profit sector. This is a welcomed development and is encouraged.

SOCIAL MEDIA PRACTITIONERS DEVELOPMENT: Social media has taken the knowledge and information age to the highest level. It is not only about the knowledge and information, but the technology that enables us to play an active role in this era. As much as social media has its own risks, we cannot afford the risk of isolation. We are appealing to many professionals, especially the golden talent, i.e. those who consider themselves too old to be involved in social media, to welcome the challenge and embrace social media. If there is one form of exclusion people are likely to subject themselves to, it is opting not to be active in social media. Rather learn to manage the terrain than staying out of it. The risk of isolation is too high and must be avoided.

SPORT ENTREPRENEURS & ADMINISTRATORS DEVELOPMENT: Sport is a sector that fits in both the entertainment and business sector as a result of the role it plays in social and business life. It is the most complex sector to make a career in. The barriers of entry are very few, and as a result you find professionals from other sectors becoming entrepreneurs and administrators in sport. The country should open the debate around the professionalization of the sector. As much as there are low barriers of entry, people should take studies in sport management and then enter the sector to grow it. Should the sport sector insist on sport graduates to become entrepreneurs and administrators? What are the investors and sport club owners' views on the future of the sector with regard to professionalization?

MUSIC ENTREPRENEURS AND AGENTS DEVELOPMENT: Art, culture, and music have a potential to become the highest foreign currency earner for the South African economy. The belief that our natural talents are sufficient to make us world-beaters is seriously challenged. The country needs academic and practical programmes to grow the sector. Natural talent is appreciated, but it must be enhanced by formal programmes in music and art. Researchers and academics must invest their energies, efforts and resources in developing the South Africans' natural talent. Is Mzanzi's golden sector truly happening or is it up to now only a concept? What will it take to make our music sector big export player?

COLLABORATION IN LEARNING & CATCHING UP WITH TRENDS: South Africa is perceived to be a consumer country rather than a production country. This is in both goods and service sectors. The same applies in the knowledge sector. Yet we have many cutting edge innovations started in this country, only to be perfected in other countries. We want this country to be the origin, manufacturing and testing of new ideas, before these ideas are converted into products, solutions and service offerings that can be commercialised in other countries.

RELEVANCE IN KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION AGE: It is now a number of years since we entered the Knowledge and Information Age. We are still in it and we would like to make maximum benefit of it. We also want to contribute to this age. It is not necessarily as stressful as many believe. It requires us to have positive attitude toward it. Further, we must appreciate the role that technology plays in this age. Technology is an enabler rather than a nuisance. And we have choices as to the type of technology we want to engage with rather than stressing about it. The worst mistake is to have negative attitude to this age and reject technology. We will be further isolated as a result of our own resistance. What will follow this era is going to be more disempowering than we think. For example, technology will drive our vehicles, service us, diagnose diseases, and information will be stored in the cloud as it is always the case. This could become scary. It will increase our fears and stress levels. Let us embrace the changes and technology trends in our lives.


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