How to Choose the Right Java Library

How to Choose a Java Library | MergeBase

Third-party libraries can be incredibly useful for developers, expediting the development process and enhancing an application’s functionality. However, using third-party Java libraries can also impact the security and integrity of your codebase, which is why choosing the right Java library is essential.

In this article, we’ll offer helpful tips and strategies for selecting the right Java library for your next project. Let’s dive in.

Get clear on your project requirements

Before getting lost in the vast selection of Java libraries available, it’s crucial to understand your project’s requirements clearly. Identifying the required functionalities and performance will help narrow down your options and ensure that the Java library you choose aligns with your project goals.

At this stage, you should also list the existing systems your chosen library will need to be compatible with to prevent future issues as your project progresses.

Research available libraries

Once you’ve defined your goals and requirements, you can start filtering out incompatible Java libraries to create a shortlist. Choosing the right Java library requires thorough research, so the shorter your list, the faster you’ll be able to make your decision.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 Java libraries that developers should know about, but you can also leverage popular Java developer communities and forums to help with your research.

We’ll discuss the specific steps to take during your research later in the article, but the TDLR version is as follows.

  • Explore popular libraries first (there’s a reason they’re well-liked!)
  • Leverage community feedback and reviews
  • Assess the documentation and support resources available
  • Check for active development and maintenance (more likely with the popular libraries)
  • Prioritize security-conscious libraries with a good track record to mitigate potential risks of using third-party libraries

Evaluate your security considerations

Security should be one of your top priorities when selecting a Java library. Choosing a library with a proactive approach to security can help safeguard your application against potential threats and save you from potential compliance issues down the road.

Review the library’s security track record, assess vulnerability management practices, and ensure compliance with industry standards, such as those outlined by OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project).

Assess the performance and efficiency of each library

Another key priority when choosing the right Java library is performance and efficiency. To understand how efficient a library is, benchmark it against alternatives, analyze resource consumption, and then compare these figures for each library under consideration.

It’s also important to consider the scalability potential of each library to ensure that it will work for your project long-term.

One aspect of library selection that shouldn’t be overlooked is the licensing. When selecting a suitable Java library for your project, ensure you understand the library’s license type and assess compatibility with any existing licenses involved in the project.

Consider the potential legal implications of choosing a license type (and whether it affects your current legal considerations). This short guide provides more information on the legal requirements of open-source license types.

Ensure it offers the relevant integrations and compatibility for your project

Chances are you won’t be working with just one library, so when looking for a Java library, it’s essential to evaluate the ease of integration with your existing codebase to ensure compatibility with other libraries or frameworks.

Verifying interoperability with your development environment early in the decision-making process will streamline the integration and minimize any potential compatibility issues that increase your risk of security vulnerabilities.

Look into the community support and documentation available for each library

When evaluating different Java libraries, don’t underestimate the importance of strong community support and comprehensive documentation. Active community engagement and timely updates indicate a healthy ecosystem that prioritizes security and reliability, which will be hugely advantageous to your project’s success.

Before making a decision, check the availability of community forums and support channels (and how active they are), review documentation for clarity and comprehensiveness, and assess the frequency and quality of updates and patches.

Test and validate in controlled environments

Once you’ve narrowed your Java library options to two or three contenders, conduct thorough testing in a controlled environment. Verify the compatibility across different platforms and environments and consider real-world usage scenarios and edge cases.

By conducting rigorous testing and validation, you can uncover potential vulnerabilities or issues before they impact your production environment, ensuring a secure and robust application.

Make the final decision

Once you’ve concluded your research, it’s time to decide. Compare the data you’ve collected on each library and weigh the pros and cons based on the project requirements you set out in step one.

Consider the long-term maintenance and support implications of your chosen library and document the rationale behind your decision for future reference and transparency.


Selecting the right Java library directly impacts the security and integrity of your codebase, making it one of the most important decisions determining your project’s success. However, by prioritizing security considerations, conducting thorough research, and evaluating performance, licensing, integration, community support, and testing, you can mitigate potential risks and make an informed decision.

Once you’ve chosen your library, keep your application secure with MergeBase’s patented AI-powered attack surface reduction that reduces application attack surface at runtime and scan for vulnerabilities affecting your code using our SCA tool.

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