The best Java UI frameworks for full stack development in 2024

Lilli Salo
Lilli Salo
On May 7, 2024 8:45:14 AM

A framework is a collection of predefined code that developers use to create applications. Given Java’s endurance as the programming language of choice for decades, it has many frameworks with pre-existing libraries, classes, and functions. Developers can build applications without having to write every code block from scratch.

While there are many frameworks out there, it is better to use full-stack Java UI frameworks for application development. These frameworks do UI well, but they go beyond that to support backend functionality as well. Your data flows smoothly between your application components, and you don't have to put in too many workarounds to manage a specific data type or condition.

This article describes the top Java UI frameworks for full-stack development in 2024.

Check out what other companies have built with Vaadin.

Introduction to Full-Stack Java Development

Application development has two broad areas of functionality. The front end, or UI development, deals with client-side technologies. You build the buttons, text boxes, and image layouts that render on users’ phones or browsers when they use your app. The back end, or serverside development, deals with coding logic and database technologies that make the app function. You build the data processing logic so the app works as expected.

Can Java be used in the front end?

Front-end development was not considered Java’s forte for a long time. Traditionally, Java has been favored for server-side development due to its "write once, run anywhere” capability. The Java Virtual Machine (JVM), Java’s rich API for networking, I/O, data access, and other back-end tasks, and Java’s mature ecosystem made it the preferred choice for building large-scale enterprise application backends.

So, what happened with UI? Initially, Java applets (small Java applications that could run in a web browser) were designed to bring interactive features to web pages, but they required a Java plugin installed in the browser to run. Due to this limitation, JavaScript, specifically designed to run natively in browsers, became the front-end technology of choice and overshadowed Java for a while.

But not in 2024! The last few years have seen the rise of JavaScript front-end libraries like Angular or React, which can integrate well with a Java backend. You also get Java full-stack frameworks, so you can handle both front-end and back-end requirements within a single ecosystem.

Benefits of full-stack Java

Having a single language across the stack streamlines development and debugging processes.

  • Business logic and validation routines can often be shared between server and client, reducing redundancy and errors.
  • Developers can use the same tools, IDEs (like Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA), and build systems (like Maven or Gradle) across the project.
  • Teams can collaborate more effectively when front-end and back-end developers use the same language and tools.

A development team that owns a feature from the back end to the front end can iterate faster without compromising quality. It also simplifies the training requirements for new developers. 

Top full-stack Java UI frameworks 

So, which framework is used for Java Web applications? The top choices among developers are given below.


Vaadin Flow is a popular choice for building modern web applications. You can use it for building everything from hobby projects to enterprise scale applications with ease. It allows developers to write UI 100% in Java without touching the frontend technologies. Vaadin Flow is well-known for its component-based architecture and integrates seamlessly with Java backends.

Spring Boot 

The Spring Framework is a popular programming and configuration model for Java-based enterprise applications. Spring Boot is an extension that lets you create stand-alone, production-grade applications that just run. Spring Boot supports Thymeleaf and Mustache, template engines for building UIs directly in HTML. While suited for rapid enterprise-level development, it still requires developers to interact with JavaScript and HTML.

JavaServer Faces

JavaServer Faces (JSF) is a Java specification that allows developers to create server-side user interfaces within JEE. It provides APIs for representing UI components, handling events,  input validation, page navigation, and more. It is also rich in its UI component framework, which promotes reusable UI components for consistency.


Grails is a Groovy-based full-stack framework built on top of Spring. Groovy is a dynamic language that allows for more flexible and less verbose coding patterns in Java. Grails incorporates a view technology that allows the mixing of Groovy code directly within HTML templates. 


JHipster is a development platform for generating, developing, and deploying full-stack web applications and microservices. It integrates Spring Boot, Micronaut, Quarkus, and others for the back end, with Angular, React, or Vue for the front end. It also offers development tools for entity generation, database configuration, and application monitoring. While technically not a framework, we have included it in the list as it supports Java full-stack development.


Hilla is a modern web application framework combining Java and TypeScript with a wide range of pre-built UI components ideal for complex, data-intensive applications. The backend, built entirely with Spring Boot, offers a comprehensive model for Java-based enterprise applications, ensuring robust, type-safe integration between the back end and the front end. By automating API endpoint generation and data binding, Hilla reduces boilerplate and boosts maintainability, making it perfect for developing scalable progressive web apps with a reactive front end.

Screenshot 2024-05-07 at 8.21.26Discover what you can create with Vaadin in the StarPass application! Try the demo.

Vaadin for full-stack Java

Vaadin Flow is the only full-stack Java framework for building modern apps without considering requests, responses, and other low-level web development concepts. Instead, you compose the UI from components—extend components and create compositions directly in Java. To make applications interactive, you can write user interactions that trigger events and event listeners that handle them.

Once the UI is ready, you can connect it directly to a data source. Vaadin has the tools to lazy-load millions of database rows and quickly build big, complex forms. You can connect to any database directly from your Java server.

Your interface runs on the JVM out of the box. You don’t need to expose REST services or create wrappers to move app data to the browser. Your app runs perfectly on all modern browsers without plugins—from the start.

Benefits of Full-Stack Java with Vaadin

Vaadin’s unique approach allows Java developers to focus on building functionality rather than dealing with browser compatibility issues and frontend languages. You get the following benefits.

  • Reduce the complexity and learning curve associated with web application development. 
  • Reuse business logic and validation code to reduce redundancy.
  • Maintain a cohesive user experience and brand identity across all application parts. 
  • Optimize communication between the client and server to minimize the data exchange necessary for UI updates.

Final thoughts

Full-stack Java development allows your development team to achieve more in less time and with less effort. Instead of figuring out how to exchange data between back-end and front-end components, they can use their energies to design more useful apps and features. Full-stack Java UI frameworks make the process even simpler. Start with the UI and work backward, integrating your data sources in just a few code lines.

Getting started with full-stack Java using Vaadin

Explore Java and Vaadin for your next business application project. You can start by following the  Vaadin Flow Quick Start tutorial or create a new project from scratch at You can also access all video training courses and certification exams to upskill your team.

Stuck with something or need extra help? Join the Vaadin Forum to learn more and engage with other Java developers. You can also directly contact the Vaadin team with your questions.

Lilli Salo
Lilli Salo
Lilli joined Vaadin in 2021 after delivering content for various international SaaS startups. She enjoys the creative challenge of transforming complicated topics into clear and concise written material that provide value to the reader.
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