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6 quick facts about a Java microservices architecture

Building microservices in Java may not be as simple as it seems. Here are six quick facts and tips that will help you with Java-based microservices development.

As the microservices approach to architecture crops up in diverse applications small and large, Java-specific developers must grapple with the benefits and drawbacks -- as well as the shifting trends -- of microservices development. 

Whether you are a Java developer looking to gain a leg up in microservices development or a beginner considering the prospect of building microservices in Java, these curated tips from experts answer pressing questions regarding app development, deployment and management with a Java microservices architecture.

Common myths about Java and microservices

Unless you've been hard at work using Java and microservices for some time, it's likely that you only have a conceptual idea of how a Java and microservices combination works from an architectural perspective.

In this video article, Java expert Cameron McKenzie sets out to disprove three commonly held misconceptions about Java microservices: microservices have no front end; using Spring Boot or Eclipse MicroProfile is non-negotiable; and developers can only work with a limited set of APIs. While busting these myths, McKenzie provides a detailed look at actual practices for a Java microservices architecture. See how a Java microservices architecture can exist in different forms and still perform effectively.

Can Java EE meet microservices needs?

Java EE development has evolved to facilitate microservices architectures, but it still lags behind.

While some organizations rely heavily on Java for their microservices architecture, that doesn't mean they believe it adequately suits microservices, as business and technology journalist Alan Earls shares in these accounts from the development industry. Many teams that use Java for microservices believe that the pairing isn't viable without a framework, like Spring.

On the other hand, people see promise in changes in the Java EE space. Although Java EE originally didn't suit microservices, advancements to the MicroProfile specification and Jakarta EE enable the foundations of Java EE to live on in a capable microservices platform.

Java or .NET for microservices

One of the primary benefits of microservices is that they're not tied to a specific programming language. One application can rely on loosely coupled microservices written in diverse languages. But will Java-based microservices development mean changes for other programming languages and related frameworks that facilitate a microservice architecture?

This feature story polls IT industry members on their insights or preferences in a Java microservices vs. .NET microservices examination. Specifically, learn the potential effect that an uptick in Java and JVM-based microservices development could have on microservices builds with a Microsoft .NET and Azure combo.

Find out how these two different development routes are trending in the microservices space. And, outside of this Java vs. .NET framing, Go and Python -- as well as a plethora of less prevalent modern programming languages -- are relevant in the microservices development arena.

Java-specific microservices tools

Tool selection in a Java microservices architecture can involve varied combinations as well as different methodologies.

An organization's microservices development process takes place in one of two areas: the front end or the back end. The differences between these development approaches affect which tools your team should select to build microservices, according to expert architect and developer Tom Nolle.

In the front-end approach, Nolle singles out Maven and Spring Boot as two tools that stand out over Apache Tomcat, Eclipse Jetty and others. Front-end development of microservices prioritizes the integration of microservices and web servers. For this method, he asserts that Maven and Spring rise above these other options when it comes to enabling web-based front ends that use microservices.

As for the back-end approach, this technique doesn't integrate with web servers, and involves general componentization and orchestration strategies when it comes to Java microservices.

Spring Boot and Spring Cloud

This 101-style tutorial by technology journalist Kerry Doyle takes a head-on look at how to use Spring Framework specifically with microservices projects. It provides a refresher on the Spring Framework and its array of app development capabilities, features and even library integrations, then leaps into technical details.

Once you comprehend Spring's fundamentals, dig into the how-tos of navigating Spring Boot and Spring Cloud, which both enable Spring's ability to build microservices and resolve configuration issues.

Spring Boot and Spring Cloud have different characteristics. Spring Boot has minimal upfront configuration and can create standalone applications that run immediately as self-contained units. On the other hand, Spring Cloud also provides rapid development possibilities but offers useful performance and security features, too. Doyle suggests that the most valuable way to use these frameworks is in tandem.

Java program packaging formats

The rise of microservices with Java brings up another topic of consideration: What file format do you use to package Java programs for microservices deployment?

In this feature, McKenzie explores why Java archive (JAR) format files have become preferred by developers since Java microservices became prevalent.

Begin with a briefing on the origins and basic purposes of the JAR format, the WAR format and the EAR format. These three file formats all differ and developers tend to use each one for distinct types of Java programs.

McKenzie explains why the trend of deploying microservices in containers has led the Java community to return to JAR -- one of the earliest used Java file format types. Examine why the JAR format has edged out others when it comes to compressing Java files for microservices, containers and cloud-native deployments. 

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