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I'm creating an Android app that tracks user's positions (the positions are uploaded through a REST web service).

Now I need to create the backend for this server. So what the backend should do is parse the incoming JSON data and put it in a SQL database.

I also need an administration interface for the backend to support some simple CRUD operations on a SQL table.

So all in all it's not a complex backend. I want to keep things as simple as possible and avoid using large frameworks. I have read a little about Vaadin which seems like a really easy way to create an administration interface.

So with these requirements in mind what frameworks would you recommend for parsing the JSON data and dropping it in a database and then creating an administration GUI for it?

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For the web service, I would recommend you an implementation of the Java specification for web services JAX-RS such as Jersey, the reference implementation of this specification.

The advantage of using a specification implementation is that it would be easy to switch framework if for example Jersey went idle one day, since there are several competitors. The Jersey implementation is well documented and the mailing list is quite active. I found it easy to learn.

As an easy web framework, I recommend Apache Wicket. I have to add that I do not really like Wicket normally, but for easy webpages that do not have to scale and that are unlikely to grow complex, you are able to produce good results with only little effort. Also, there are quite a lot of example spread on the web. Vaadin on the other hand is a really well-designed framework but it takes more effort to learn. Thus, it depends on your personal preference and the time you have what you should pick.

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Vaadin

Yes I strongly recommend Vaadin to Java programmers or other developers that want to make web apps without learning the nitty-gritty about HTTP, HTML, CSS, DOM, JavaScript, WebSocket, and so on. Vaadin renders your web app user-interface using those standard web technologies on your behalf, while you write your business logic and forms-layouts-widgets all in Java.

See my answers to similar questions here and here.

Specifically, for database work look at the SQLContainer for plugging into SQL databases. If you like Java Persistence API (JPA) (I don’t), check out the JPAContainer.

For a display widget to show a data grid to present tabular database data, see the venerable Table component and its newer jazzier cousin, Grid. The Grid widget even has its own vanity page.

Try the Vaadin demos including the Sampler and the Reindeer Theme demo.

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