Vaadin introduces Hilla to unify frontend/backend web development

Vaadin introduced a new web framework for Java developers, Hilla, which combines the backend with Spring Boot and the frontend as a mix of TypeScript and Lit.

Formerly known as Vaadin Fusion, Hilla offers many features to simplify business application development, such as providing a unified project setup for Java and TypeScript that stays in sync. It has a complete set of UI components, for example Vaadin components. It also offers support for single-page applications, including Spring Security for securing applications.

Hilla contains all the necessary artifacts a web application needs such as routing, forms, security, build tools, etc. On top of that, the framework provides automatic generation of TypeScript code which keeps the frontend in sync with the frontend. For example, if a developer creates the following endpoint in Spring Boot, two things are linked:





A Java code developer Hilla automatically generates TypeScript
                
@Endpoint
@AnynonousAllowed
public class HelloEndpoint {
    public String greet(String name) {
        return "Hello " + name;
        }
    }
                
            

                
const greeting = await HelloEndpoint.greet('Hilla');
console.log(greeting);
                
            

Hilla requires Node version 16.14 or higher and JDK 11 or higher, and instructions are available in the getting started guide.

Hilla is manufactured and serviced by Vaadin, however, it does not include the Vaadin Flow. Instead, it uses Lit, a lightweight library similar to ReactJs, to build native web components. Along with this, Hilla includes both frontend and backend in the same project. About this, Leif Åstrandhead of product management at Vaadin, mentioned that:

Contrary to popular belief about separating frontend and backend, we are looking for optimization opportunities by bringing together server-side Java and client-side TypeScript.

The Hilla framework currently only supports Spring Boot. Support for other frameworks, such as Quarkus or Jakarta EE, is not yet on the roadmap. On Spring Boot, Åstrand continues:

Today, Spring Boot brings together most elements of the Java ecosystem in a way that works based on convention, with minimal need for separate configuration.

Although Hilla’s first major release supports Java, a Vaadin webinar explains that other JVM languages, such as Kotlin, may be included in the future. Additionally, since it’s an open source project currently licensed under the Apache 2.0 license, anyone can view, extend, and modify the source code and report issues.

Developers who want to evaluate Hilla can take advantage of Vaadin’s initial materials through their documentation, a webinar, and a Spring Tips blog post. The source code can be found on GitHub.

James S. Joseph