Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The most popular Java EE servers in 2014/2015 according to OmniFaces users

For a little over 3 months (from half of November 2014 to late February 2015) we had a poll on the OmniFaces website asking what AS (Application Server) people used with OmniFaces (people could select multiple servers).

The response was quite overwhelming for our little project; no less than 840 people responded, choosing a grand total of 1108 servers.

The final results are as follows:

Position Server Votes (Percentage)
1 JBoss (AS/EAP/WildFly) 395 (47%)
2 GlassFish 206 (24%)
3 Tomcat/Mojarra/Weld 186 (22%)
4 TomEE 85 (10%)
5 WebSphere 55 (6%)
6 WebLogic 49 (6%)
7 Tomcat/MyFaces/OWB 33 (3%)
8 Jetty/Mojarra/Weld 19 (2%)
9 Geronimo 13 (1%)
10 JEUS 11 (1%)
11 Liberty 9 (1%)
12 Jetty/MyFaces/OWB 9 (1%)
13 JOnAS 8 (0%)
14 NetWeaver 8 (0%)
15 Resin 6 (0%)
16 InforSuite 5 (0%)
17 WebOTX 4 (0%)
18 Interstage AS 4 (0%)
19 (u)Cosminexus 3 (0%)

As can be seen the clear winner here is JBoss, which gets nearly half of all votes and nearly twice the amount of the runner up; GlassFish. Just slightly below GlassFish at number 3 is Tomcat in the specific combination with Mojarra and Weld.

It has be noted that Mojarra & Weld are typically but a small part of a homegrown Java EE stack, which often also includes things like Hibernate, Hibernate-Validations and many more components. For the specific case of OmniFaces however the Servlet, JSF and CDI implementations are what matter most so that's why we specifically included these in the poll. Another homegrown stack based on Tomcat, but using Myfaces and OWB (OpenWebBeans) instead scores significantly lower and ends up at place 7.

We acknowledge that people not necessarily have to use Mojarra and Weld together, but can also use Mojarra with OWB, or MyFaces with Weld. However we wanted to somewhat limit the options for homegrown stacks, and a little research ahead hinted these were the more popular combinations. In a follow up poll we may zoom into this and specifically address homegrown stacks by asking which individual components people use.

An interesting observation is that the entire top 4 consists solely out of open source servers, together good for 103% relative to the amount of people who voted (remember that 1 person could vote for multiple servers), or a total of 79% relative to all servers voted for.

While these are certainly impressive numbers, we do have to realize that the voters are self selected and specifically concern those who use OmniFaces. OmniFaces is an open source library without any form of commercial support. It's perhaps not entirely unreasonable to surmise that environments that favor closed source commercially supported servers are less likely to use OmniFaces. Taking that into account, the numbers thus don't necessarily mean that open source servers are indeed used that much in general.

That said, the two big commercial servers WebSphere and WebLogic still got a fair amount of votes; 104 together which is 9% relative to all servers voted for.

The fully open source and once much talked about server Geronimo got significantly few votes; only 13. The fact that Geronimo has more or less stopped developing its server and the lack of a visible community (people blogging about it, writing articles, responding to issues etc) probably contributes to that.

It's somewhat surprising that IBM's new lightweight AS Liberty got only 9 votes, where older (and more heavier) AS WebSphere got 55 votes. Maybe Liberty indeed isn't used that much yet, or maybe the name recognition isn't that big at the moment. A potential weakness in the poll is that we left out the company names. For well known servers such as JBoss and GlassFish you rarely see people calling it Red Hat JBoss or Oracle GlassFish, but in case of Liberty it might have been clearer to call it "IBM Liberty (WLP)".

Another small surprise is that the somewhat obscure server JEUS got as many votes as it did; 11 in total. This is perhaps extra surprising since creator TMaxSoft for some unknown reason consistently calls it a WAS instead of an AS, and the poll asked for the latter.

The "Japanese obscure three" (WebOTX, Interstage AS and (u)Cosminexus) are at the bottom of the list, yet at least 3 to 4 persons each claim to be using it with OmniFaces. Since not all of these servers are trivial to obtain, we've never tested OmniFaces on any of them so frankly have no idea how well OmniFaces runs on them. Even though according to this poll it concerns just a small amount of people, we're now quite eager to try out a few of these servers in the future, just to see how things work there.


For the particular community of those who use Omnifaces, we've seen that open source servers in general and particularly JBoss, GlassFish and TomEE are the most popular Java EE servers. Tomcat and Jetty were included as well, but aren't officially Java EE (although one can build stacks on them that get close).

A couple of servers, which really are complete Java EE implementations just as well and one might think take just as much work to build and maintain, only see a very low amount of users according to this poll. That's of course not to say that they aren't used much in general, but may just gather to a different audience.

Arjan Tijms

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