At present, Java is used widely by programmers for developing a wide variety of software applications -desktop GUI applications, websites, web applications, and Android mobile apps. Java has been evolving consistently to simplify and accelerate development of custom applications based on varied business requirements. Java 8 supports widely used functional programming concepts like anonymous functions and lambda expressions.
At the same time, Java 9 helps developers to build and maintain applications easily by writing modular programs. Also, a developer has option to choose from a wide range of Java-based technologies based on type of application and project requirements. JavaServer Faces (JSF), Java ServerPages (JSP), and Java Servlets are used widely by Java programmers. But the technologies differ from each other in terms of design goal, functionality, and usage.
Brief Overview of JavaServer Faces, Java ServerPages, and Java Servlet
JavaServer Faces (JSF)
JSF is a Java-based web framework. It simplifies web application development by allowing programmers to building component-based user interfaces (UIs). In addition to providing a standard of UI components, JSF also allows developers to build custom UI components through an application programming interface (API). Also, the developers can use JSF to connect the reusable UI components seamlessly with various data sources and server-side event handlers.
The programmers can take advantage of JSF to simplify web application development and maintenance by using reusable components. They can even run the web framework on Java application server, and make it render UI components according to targeted clients. JSF even makes it easier for developers to Implement custom UI components, facilitate data transfer between various UI components, and connect client-side code to server-side events handlers.
Servlet is a Java-based technology that accelerates web application development by providing component-based modules. The developers can further use Java Servlet as a class to extend the web server and respond to various types of incoming requests. At the same time, the Java programmers can also use Servlet to build custom web applications based on varied business requirements by taking advantage of various Java APIs. They can even use Servlet to collect user input through web forms, present records retrieved from various data sources, and generate web pages on the fly.
Many programmers use Java Servlet as a faster alternative to common gateway interface (CGI). They also have option to create custom Java Servlets through the packages provided by Java EE – javax.servlet and javax.servlet.http. Java Servlet makes it easier for programmers to accomplish a number of web development tasks – reading implicit HTTP request or explicit data sent by web browsers, sending explicit data to the web browsers, send implicit HTTP responses to clients, and generating results by processing data.
JavaServer Pages (JSP)
JSP is a Java-based server-side programming which helps developers to create web applications that support dynamic content. While using JSP, the developers can access a wide range of Java APIs according to precise project needs. They can even use JSP tags to insert Java code into HTML pages without writing additional code. The JSP components also act just like a user interface for the Java application. The programmers even have option to write JSP as text files, and integrate the text files smoothly with HTML, XML, and XHTML code.
While writing web applications in Java, the programmers can use JSP as a robust alternative to common gateway interface (CGI). But the developers can use JSP tags to accomplish common web development tasks by using JSP tags. They can even use JSP as dynamic elements in HTML, for creating dynamic web pages, and collecting user input through web forms. The JSP further enable developers to avail a wide range of enterprise Java APIs by leveraging Java Servlet API.
Comparing JavaServer Faces, Java ServerPages and Java Servlets
JSF, JSP and Servlet enable developers to write a variety of web applications in Java rapidly and efficiently. But they can use JSF as a web framework to simplify development of large and complex web application development by implementing model-view-controller (MVC) programming paradigm. On the other hand, JSP can be used as a server-side technology to accomplish common web development tasks through tags and accelerate template development with client-side technologies.
At the same time, Java Servlet can be used as pre-compiled Java programs to simplify development of web applications on the fly with dynamic content. The Java programmers has option to use JSP and Servlet interchangeably while developing web applications based on MVC pattern. Servlet is much faster than JSP. But JSP, unlike Servlet, allows Java developers to accomplish common web development tasks without writing additional code. Also, JSP acts as the view in MVC, whereas Servlet acts as the controller in MVC. It is always advisable to use Servlets, instead of JSP when the web application is required to process or manipulate huge amount of data.
On the whole, developers can avail the features of JSP, JSF, and Servlet to build custom web applications rapidly based on varied business requirements. They must understand the Java based technologies differ from each other in terms of design, functionality, and usage. Hence, they must keep in mind the type and requirements of individual web applications while comparing JSF, JSP and Servlet.