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Spring and Java EE – Head to Head

Spring v JavaEE

NB! We have the results ready, check them out to see which components are most popular both in Spring and Java EE.

Spring and Java EE are largely considered competing technologies. Our recent RebelLabs tools and technologies report asked which Java EE versions people used and whether or not they used Spring. The results are shown in this blog, but I can’t help but feel a little hollow inside. Let me explain.

Picture the scene — You finish speaking with your boss or colleague on the telephone and just as you’re hanging up the phone you remember a burning question that you forgot to ask. Well that’s just what we did with our Java Tools and Technologies survey. What would you do? Call your boss/colleague back? Or maybe deal with the suspense a little longer and ask the next time you talk to them? As we don’t deal with suspense very well, we’re doing the former, by asking you for a little more detail in our new 5 question mini-survey.


Let’s look at the data we already have from our existing survey, starting with enterprise Java. The following graph shows us which Java EE versions people currently use in their environments.

Java EE version breakdown

Seems pretty good, but what if I were to ask you what it means to be a Java EE user. Some might consider using servlets is enough, others might say EJBs. My point is, the survey question we asked could be answered very subjectively based on the respondent’s perception of what it means to be a Java EE user. To make this more objective, we can ask which Java EE specifications people are actaully using. This gives actual data about what people use, when they claim to be Java EE developers.

How about Spring? Let’s look at how the now infamous technology performed in the 2016 report:

Web Framework adoption

Wow, that’s a pretty emphatic result! We can however, apply the same adoption dilemma to Spring. It’s been more than ‘just a framework’ for many years now. It should be considered a platform or an ecosystem. As a result we could equally be clearer as to what our respondents mean when they state that they’re using ‘Spring’.

Without further ado, let me introduce the 5 burning questions I meant to ask previously (before hanging up the phone) in this mini survey, which requires a few more juicy details about each of the platforms. You can click the big orange button below to go straight to the survey website.


Alternatively, if you’re on a capable screen, it might be easier to complete the embedded version of the survey.

If you want us to notify you of the outcome, irrespective of whether or not you decide to take the survey yourself, subscibe to RebelLabs now and we’ll send you the results as soon as we have them!

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  • Mitch Pronschinske

    Good survey! I remember talking with Josh Long about how most surveys on Spring vs. Java EE weren’t framing the questions correctly for an accurate representation. Don’t remember exactly what he suggested though. :)