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Current Trends in Java Application Modernization
Rahamathulla MJ Solution Architect, Digital & Analytics | October 14, 2020
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Java is influencing the technology industry for the last 25 years. Java has stood the test of time. It remains the dominant programming language for enterprise application development. In the Tiobe Index for the programming languages, Java has enjoyed the #1 and #2 positions since July 2001.

For the last 25 years, Java is influencing the technology industry and remains the dominant programming language.

In this article, we are going to see the different recent updates on the Java language and options for modernization.

The latest stable version for Java while writing this article is Java SE 14.0.2. With respect to Java EE, it was earlier maintained by Oracle under the Java Community Process. On September 12, 2017, the Oracle Corporation announced and submitted Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation, which named it as Jakarta EE.

Java EE8 is the latest stable release from Oracle. Eclipse foundation released Jakarta EE8 baselined from Java EE 8. Additionally, the Eclipse Foundation defined its own Jakarta EE Specification Process to release further versions of Jakarta EE.

Need for Java Application Modernization

Few of the pointers that would drive the modernization of Java applications are:

  • De-risking security issues as every JDK/Java EE introduces security fixes
  • For agility and resilience of the applications
  • Performance improvement and usage of new features
  • Moving to cloud-native architectures
  • Removing legacy technical debt

Trends and Options for Java Application Modernization

The below are the trends that we are seeing while modernizing enterprise applications, with an obvious focus on moving to cloud-native platforms:

  • Lift and Shift the application without many code and configuration changes
  • Homogenous upgrade of the application from legacy Java (like Java 5 to 8 or later)/ framework (like Hibernate, Spring, Struts, etc.) version to the latest one
  • Heterogeneous migration from applications that are running in application containers to lightweight containers (for instance, Java EE applications that are running in application servers like JBoss EAP, Weblogic, and WebSphere to Spring/Spring Boot applications that are running in lightweight containers like Tomcat, Jetty etc.)

Per the Eclipse Developer Survey and the overall industry view, there are three basic paths available for Java application modernization:

  • Spring/Spring Boot leads the way, as it’s the natural choice for developers, when thinking about cloud-native applications, and also offers lot of framework components for rapid enterprise application development.
  • Jakarta EE is emerging as the second-most popular framework among the developers as the standards are open now. We will see rapid adoption of this framework, as it offers more cloud-native framework-related features. Surprisingly, use of the monolithic architecture approach in cloud is increasing. That does not mean microservices are bad, but it needs lot of re-architecting effort to move to microservices architecture. There is a reason behind such an effort-intensive shift to microservices architecture. Many companies may not able to invest a lot of money to rebuild the application(s) from scratch using the microservices architecture.
  • Quarkus is the new kid on the block which has gained popularity among developers, to create cloud-native applications. Quarkus is Kubernetes-native. Quarkus is made of community projects like Eclipse Vert.x. Eclipse MicroProfile, Hibernate, Netty, RESTEasy, Apache Camel, etc. It offers a starter URL that provides options of starting a project with the required scaffolding. Additionally, the framework offers flexibility to compile to native code using GraalVM. The startup time for the services is faster compared to the other frameworks using compile time boot.
Java Application Modernization Options
Figure 1: Java Application Modernization Options

How to Get There

HCL offers multiple proprietary tools that provide homogenous/heterogeneous Java framework upgrades and migrations. They help to easily do the “Assessment” of the changes required in the application within the Java framework. This offers predictability of the modernization project. It helps in estimating and project planning. The tool suite also offers "Automatic Remediation" from a legacy Java language version to the latest version. It is also able to upgrade and migrate the Java frameworks and other related ones to either the latest version or other modern frameworks. Also, if the customers want to remediate the application to use the PAAS services of the target public cloud platform like AWS, GCP, or Azure, the options are very much covered by the HCL IPs.

Conclusion

The article provides the different trends and options available for the modernization of the Java applications. Though, cloud native is the imperative in the application modernization journey, the above options are not limited to cloud. The applications can be run on premises, on the cloud or in a hybrid environment (on premises + cloud) based on the requirements of the customer. HCL’s focus and diverse experience in the application modernization space provides risk-free modernization, reduces the total cost of ownership by moving to open standards and deployment structure-agnostic modernization/migration options. Please contact AppModCloud-Solution@hcl.com for any queries.

Disclaimer: "Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners."