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Akka vs Play: What are the differences?


In this Markdown code, we will discuss the key differences between Akka and Play. Akka is a toolkit and runtime for building highly concurrent, distributed, and fault-tolerant applications on the JVM, while Play is a web application framework built on top of Akka and is designed to simplify the development of web applications.

  1. Concurrency Model: Akka adopts the Actor Model, where actors are independent units of execution that communicate by sending messages. Actors provide a high level of concurrency by running independently and asynchronously. On the other hand, Play also uses the Actor Model for handling HTTP requests, but it also provides support for handling stateful and stateless interactions.

  2. Application Type: Akka is primarily used for building reactive and distributed applications, with a focus on messaging and communication. It provides a toolkit for building scalable and fault-tolerant distributed systems. Play, on the other hand, focuses on web application development and provides a framework that includes features like routing, handling requests, and managing HTTP interactions.

  3. Development Paradigm: Akka is more low-level and provides a programming model for building concurrent and distributed applications. It gives developers more control over the design and implementation of their applications. Play, on the other hand, provides higher-level abstractions and follows the MVC (Model-View-Controller) paradigm for building web applications. It abstracts away many of the low-level details and provides a more opinionated approach to development.

  4. Message Passing vs Request-Response: In Akka, communication between actors is done through message passing, where actors send and receive messages asynchronously. This allows for loose coupling and provides a scalable and fault-tolerant way of handling communication. In Play, communication between components is done through request-response interactions, where an HTTP request is sent to a controller and a response is returned. This is more suitable for web applications where sequential processing is often needed.

  5. Scalability: Akka provides built-in support for building highly scalable applications. It supports clustering and allows for distribution of actors across multiple nodes. This makes it well-suited for building systems that can handle a large number of concurrent users and can scale horizontally. Play also supports scalability but is primarily focused on web applications and provides features like built-in support for handling HTTP requests, routing, and managing sessions.

  6. Testing and debugging: Akka provides robust support for testing and debugging distributed systems. It includes tools for writing unit tests, integration tests, and system tests, as well as tools for monitoring and debugging distributed applications. Play also provides testing tools but is more focused on testing web applications, with features like test helpers for HTTP requests, assertions, and fixtures.

In summary, Akka is a toolkit for building highly concurrent and distributed applications, while Play is a web application framework built on top of Akka. Akka focuses on providing a low-level programming model for building reactive and distributed systems, while Play abstracts away many of the low-level details and provides higher-level abstractions for web application development.

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Pros of Akka
Pros of Play
  • 32
    Great concurrency model
  • 17
  • 12
    Actor Library
  • 10
    Open source
  • 7
  • 5
    Message driven
  • 5
  • 81
  • 55
    Web-friendly architecture
  • 55
    Built on akka
  • 50
  • 47
  • 46
  • 40
    Open source
  • 34
  • 27
    High velocity
  • 24
  • 9
  • 8
    Non-blocking io
  • 6
    Developer friendly
  • 5
    Simple template engine
  • 4
  • 3
    Pure love
  • 2
    Resource efficient

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Cons of Akka
Cons of Play
  • 3
    Mixing futures with Akka tell is difficult
  • 2
    Closing of futures
  • 2
    No type safety
  • 1
    Very difficult to refactor
  • 1
    Typed actors still not stable
  • 3
    Evolves fast, keep up with releases
  • 1
    Unnecessarily complicated

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What is Akka?

Akka is a toolkit and runtime for building highly concurrent, distributed, and resilient message-driven applications on the JVM.

What is Play?

Play Framework makes it easy to build web applications with Java & Scala. Play is based on a lightweight, stateless, web-friendly architecture. Built on Akka, Play provides predictable and minimal resource consumption (CPU, memory, threads) for highly-scalable applications.

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What companies use Akka?
What companies use Play?
See which teams inside your own company are using Akka or Play.
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What tools integrate with Akka?
What tools integrate with Play?
What are some alternatives to Akka and Play?
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