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Javalin vs Ktor: What are the differences?

  1. Routing and handling: Javalin provides a straightforward routing API where routes can be defined using lambda functions, making it easy to handle HTTP requests and define custom endpoints. On the other hand, Ktor uses a more declarative approach with a DSL (Domain Specific Language) for routing and handling requests, allowing for greater flexibility in defining routes and handling different types of requests.

  2. Scalability: Javalin is lightweight and optimized for small to medium-sized projects, making it a good choice for building microservices or simple web applications. Ktor, on the other hand, is built on an asynchronous programming model, making it well-suited for high-traffic and scalable applications that need to handle many concurrent requests.

  3. Framework complexity: Javalin aims to be minimalistic and easy to use, providing only the essential features required for building web applications. Ktor, on the other hand, provides a more feature-rich framework with built-in support for features like authentication, sessions, and server-sent events, making it a better choice for complex enterprise applications that need these additional features out of the box.

  4. Coroutines vs Threads: Javalin uses traditional threads for handling concurrency, which can have limitations in terms of scalability and resource usage. Ktor, on the other hand, uses coroutines, which are lightweight and more efficient, allowing for better concurrency and resource utilization.

  5. Integration with other libraries: Javalin has better integration with third-party libraries and frameworks, as it has been around for longer and has a larger community. Ktor, on the other hand, has been developed by JetBrains, the creators of Kotlin, and provides seamless integration with other JetBrains tools, making it a good choice for Kotlin developers who already use JetBrains tools like IntelliJ IDEA.

  6. Framework popularity: Javalin has been around since 2017 and has gained popularity among Java developers due to its simplicity and ease of use. Ktor, on the other hand, is a relatively newer framework but has been steadily gaining popularity with Kotlin developers, especially those who prefer a more modern and asynchronous programming model.

In Summary, Javalin and Ktor differ in their routing and handling approach, scalability, framework complexity, concurrency model, integration with other libraries, and popularity among developers.

Decisions about Javalin and Ktor
Juan José Aguililla Martínez

I developed Hexagon heavily inspired in these great tools because of the following reasons:

  • Take full advantage of the Kotlin programming language without any strings attached to Java (as a language).
  • I wanted to be able to replace the HTTP server library used with different adapters (Jetty, Netty, etc.) and though right now there is only one, more are coming.
  • Have a complete tool to do full applications, though you can use other libraries, Hexagon comes with a dependency injection helper, settings loading from different sources and HTTP Client, so it comes with (batteries included).

Right now I'm using it for my pet projects, and I'm happy with it.

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Pros of Javalin
Pros of Ktor
  • 1
  • 1
    Rich support of template engines
  • 1
    Does not require IDEA plugins
  • 8
    Simple & Small
  • 7
    Kotlin native
  • 6
    Light weight
  • 3
    High performance

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Cons of Javalin
Cons of Ktor
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 2
      Not self-explanatory: relies on Kotlin "magic"
    • 2
      Relatively fresh technology - not a lot of expertise

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    - No public GitHub repository available -

    What is Javalin?

    Javalin started as a fork of the Spark framework but quickly turned into a ground-up rewrite influenced by express.js. Both of these web frameworks are inspired by the modern micro web framework grandfather: Sinatra, so if you’re coming from Ruby then Javalin shouldn’t feel too unfamiliar.

    What is Ktor?

    It is a framework for building asynchronous servers and clients in connected systems using the Kotlin programming language.

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    What are some alternatives to Javalin and Ktor?
    Apache Spark
    Spark is a fast and general processing engine compatible with Hadoop data. It can run in Hadoop clusters through YARN or Spark's standalone mode, and it can process data in HDFS, HBase, Cassandra, Hive, and any Hadoop InputFormat. It is designed to perform both batch processing (similar to MapReduce) and new workloads like streaming, interactive queries, and machine learning.
    Spring Boot
    Spring Boot makes it easy to create stand-alone, production-grade Spring based Applications that you can "just run". We take an opinionated view of the Spring platform and third-party libraries so you can get started with minimum fuss. Most Spring Boot applications need very little Spring configuration.
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    Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
    GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over three million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.
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