Helidon For Microservices Flies High
Written by Nikos Vaggalis   
Monday, 10 October 2022

Helidon, the open source microservices framework by Oracle, has been updated to version 3. At the same time a new side project, Helidon Nima, introduces virtual thread support.

Helidon sprang up back in 2018 from the lack of agility of Java/Jakarta EE in building microservices. Sure you could do that, but not in the most efficient way. Thus at Oracle they thought of a framework designed from the ground up for building microservices would be more efficient. In order to stay close to the Java EE spirit, Helidon was made to implement the Microprofile standard, widely used in Java EE environments.

Besides implementing MicroProfile, which offers a more complete but at the same time more heavyweight approach, Helidon looked the Microframework way too, which provides the bare essentials for building more lightweight solutions. As such Helidon comes in two versions, SE and MP.

  • Helidon SE offers a more simple, lightweight and reactive way of building microservices.

  • Helidon MP, on the other hand, adheres to the Eclipse Microprofile standard, which means that its users can immediately feel at home when implementing Helidon MP based applications.

Version 3 is the newest major release and with it comes the following changes/additions:

  • First of all the minimum Java version now required is version 17 because Helidon contains many performance and language features which are found on that Java version.

  • Helidon MP implements MicroProfile 5.0 and selected Jakarta EE 9.1 specifications, as well as dropping the javax. * namespace to migrate to the jakarta. * one.

  • Security hardening with JEP-290.

  • Helidon SE is revamped too by implementing a new routing API to make it much easier to specify different routes for different protocols, like specifying different routes for http 1 and http 2. This support extends to other protocols as well, such as Websockets.

  • Riding the wave of the Starter project initializers like Spring or Vaadin do, you can now generate your Helidon boilerplate project too by visiting the corresponding Starter at helidon.io. This functionality finds its way to the updated CLI too so that the CLI can do the same initialization work performed by the online Starter.

Version 3 also introduces some breaking changes due to the Jakarta namespace migration and the new API routing specification. For that reason the official documentation provides migration guides for upgrading your v1 or v2 apps to v3.

But that's not all. With the ink still not dry, Helidon Nima was also announced. Helidon Nima is Helidon on Virtual threads and will be part of the next major Helidon release which is currently planned at the end of 2023.

The reason of introducing virtual thread support stems from the fact that:

Prior to Helidon Nima, developers would have a choice to use Helidon MP and write JAX-RS applications, or if they needed a higher level of performance and throughput they could use Helidon SE and write reactive based services. However, the reactive based services are more complex to write, maintain, and debug.

In contrast, development with Helidon Níma is much easier as it follows a simplified programming model with (almost) unlimited virtual threading resources available. The JVM takes care of the optimizations.

Nima's technology preview is now available with the Helidon 4. 0. 0-ALPHA1 release.

 

More Information

Helidon 3 release notes

Helidon Nima

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Last Updated ( Monday, 10 October 2022 )