WildFly vs. JBoss EAP: What's the difference?

There really aren’t a lot of differences between WildFly and JBoss Enterprise Application Platform.

If you weren’t aware, JBoss AS was the original name of the open source project from which the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) eventually gets built. But the similarity in the names of the two products caused far too much confusion. As a result, Red Hat decided to rebrand JBoss AS as WildFly.

Just as every new release of JBoss EAP was once built from JBoss AS, today, every new JBoss EAP release is built from WildFly. Let’s examine the history of these two offerings and compare the similarities and differences of WildFly vs. JBoss EAP.

How to compare WildFly vs. JBoss EAP

JBoss EAP is the commercial, Jakarta-EE certified application server for which Red Hat provides commercial support.  JBoss EAP is just a commercial build of the Wildfly project. In many ways, especially from a source code perspective, JBoss and Wildfly are the same thing.

“Wildfly is the upstream project JBoss EAP is built on,” said James Falkner, technical product manager for Red Hat Runtimes. “A lot of new features that end up in JBoss EAP start their lives in WildFly.”

JBoss AS version 7 — which supported Java EE 6 — was the last official JBoss AS release. The first WildFly release was version number eight and supported Java EE 7. Wildfly 20, released in June 2020, aims to be Jakarta EE 8 compliant and is certified to be Java EE 8 compatible.

WildFly vs, JBoss EAP differences

Developers can think of WildFly as an incubation ground for new JBoss features. WildFly employs a continuous delivery model, which means new WildFly releases happen more frequently than JBoss EAP releases. This gives WildFly users the chance to use new features or provide feedback on the latest builds before the code is integrated into a JBoss EAP release. In comparison, JBoss EAP releases occur much more infrequently.

wildfly vs JBoss

This chart shows the key differences between WildFly and JBoss EAP.

From an API standpoint, the biggest difference between WildFly vs. JBoss EAP is their MicroProfile support. The MicroProfile API is included as part of the WildFly distribution. JBoss EAP users will need to install the Eclipse MicroProfile expansion pack to obtain support.

Another key factor in the WildFly vs. JBoss EAP debate is that only EAP comes with subscription-based support from Red Hat. WildFly does not

Many of the other key factors that go into this application server comparison come out as a wash. Under the covers, the source code is exactly the same. These two Java application servers have more in common than they do different.

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