“If you are a Java developer and you write microservices, Helidon is a great choice”
“Helidon was designed for microservices only”
Although Oracle recently open source Helidon, a set of Java libraries, the project itself is not new, as Dmitry Kornilov, head of the Helidon project explained in a recent blog post. Work started some time ago and the tech giant is already using it in more than 10 projects.
Project Hélidon (which means swallow in Greek) is meant to make the experience of building microservices more enjoyable – you can, of course, use Java EE for that, but when a framework is readily available, why not use it?
We chatted with Project Helidon Manager Dmitry Kornilov about what is under Helidon’s hood and who should try it out. In short, “if you are a Java developer and write microservices, Helidon is a great choice.”
JAXenter: Helidon is a set of Java libraries for writing microservices. What’s the difference between using Java EE to build microservices and relying on Helidon? How can the latter experience [of building microservices] more pleasant?
Dmitri Kornilov: The development landscape is changing rapidly and the developer experience is evolving to meet new challenges. Sometimes it changes so quickly that technologies cannot be adopted quickly. Java EE is universal, it can be used to create monoliths and microservices, but it is a stable technology with a lot of legacy code.
Helidon was designed for microservices only. It is created from scratch and has no legacy code. Helidon SE brings a more modern and responsive approach that developers appreciate. We have tried to be very clear: no “magic” injection is used, which makes a Helidon SE application easy to debug. It is also compatible with all IDEs with no special plugins required.
For developers familiar with Java EE, we also have Helidon MP, our MicroProfile implementation. MicroProfile contains some of the most popular Java EE APIs for developing web applications (JAX-RS, CDI, etc.).
Helidon SE compatible with all IDEs with no special plugins required.
JAXenter: Oracle already uses Helidon in more than 10 projects. How did Helidon help these projects?
Dmitri Kornilov: The story is that developers want to implement a microservices architecture and try to move away from traditional application servers. The Jersey team received many questions about using the Jersey + Grizzly stack to create lighter microservices.
We offered Helidon as a solution and most teams accepted it. Additionally, Helidon has integrations with Oracle Cloud which are very convenient for our internal customers.
JAXenter: What are the most common use cases for Helidon?
Dmitri Kornilov: Helidon is designed to create Java microservices. So if you are a Java developer writing microservices then Helidon is a great choice. This is unique in that we offer Java EE developers a way to use familiar APIs (with our MicroProfile support), but also have the option to explore or use the lighter set of APIs provided. by Helidon SE.
JAXenter: What tools do developers need to get started with Helidon?
Dmitri Kornilov: They need JDK9 or JDK8, Maven 3.5, and whatever IDE they prefer.
JAXenter: What is the difference between Helidon SE and MP?
Dmitri Kornilov: Java frameworks for writing microservices fall into a few categories:
Simple, fun, and intentionally small feature set. Examples are Spark, Javalin, Micronaut, Helidon SE, etc.
Friendly for Java EE developers but a bit heavier. Some of them are built on full Java EE application servers. Examples are Thorntail (was Wildfly Swarm), OpenLiberty, Payara, Helidon MP, etc.
- A whole package
Full set of features, such as Spring Boot.
Helidon is available in two versions and covers two categories: Microframeworks and MicroProfile. It is up to the developer to choose what he wants to use in his applications.
- Helidon SE – simple, functional and light microframework developed in a modern responsive way. There is no such thing as a “magic” injection. No special run time required. JDK is used as the execution engine.
- Deputy of Helidon – Eclipse Microprofile implementation providing a familiar development experience for Java EE / Jakarta EE developers.
SEE ALSO: Discover Helidon, a new open source Java microservices framework
JAXenter: How does Helidon fit into the Jakarta EE universe?
Dmitri Kornilov: Helidon MP implements MicroProfile. Hopefully the MicroProfile specs will eventually move to Jakarta EE. Additionally, Helidon MP uses some Jakarta EE APIs, such as JAX-RS, CDI, and JSONP and implementations such as Jersey.
Helidon provides a nice access ramp to microservices development for Java developers. We hope this will help developers improve their productivity.
JAXenter: You mentioned in your blog post that you are working on GraalVM support. Why is this a good feature for Helidon SE users?
Dmitri Kornilov: This will speed up the startup and execution of your application. Running faster means processing more requests per instance. Responding to more requests means you need fewer instances. Fewer instances means less money. The bottom line is that GraalVM support saves our customers money.
JAXenter: Why should Java developers try Helidon?
Dmitri Kornilov: Helidon provides a nice access ramp to microservices development for Java developers. We hope this will help developers improve their productivity. Besides, it’s something new and interesting!
Hope this is reason enough for Java developers to give it a try and review it. If they have any comments, good or bad, we want to hear it. This will allow us to fill in the gaps and strengthen the features that have hit the mark.
JAXenter: What’s next for Helidon?
Dmitri Kornilov: I already mentioned the integration of Oracle Cloud with the CDI extension. We believe it will be part of Helidon version 1.0. Additionally, we are planning to add a responsive HTTP client. We already have a responsive web server, so a responsive HTTP client is a missing piece. This is a short term plan.
Next year we will be releasing a web application with a user interface that will allow selection of Helidon components and generation of Maven projects. We are also considering adding support for NoSQL, Eventing, and OpenAPI.
SEE ALSO: Understanding Jakarta EE: “Jakarta EE APIs Should Be More Cloud Adapted”
JAXenter: Just out of curiosity, why did you change the name? J4C has a great sound.
Dmitri Kornilov: J4C was an internal project name. We believe that Helidon (which means swallow in Greek, a nimble little bird) sounds better and, more importantly, better reflects our goals and directions: to provide a lightweight set of libraries that Java developers can easily use to build microservices. .
Also, we love Frank! If you don’t know Frank, that’s the bird’s name in the logo.
as quickly as possible
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