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Stepping Through Jakarta Struts

What is Struts?

Struts from the Jakarta Project, is a development framework for Java servlet applications based upon the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design paradigm. The purpose of this article is to give you a quick intro to Struts, covering the necessary details to make it possible to build a simple one-page example containing an HTML form. Then I'll refine this example to show you additional features of Struts. I'll assume that you are familiar with Java servlet programming and the MVC architecture - if not I'd recommend that you read this article from JavaWorld.

- Figure 1: The MVC architecture -

Struts is comprised of a controller servlet, beans and other Java classes, configuration files, and tag libraries. This means that when you have downloaded Struts (and I'll come back to how this is done) you have available:

  • a controller for your application (the Struts servlet acts as a common controller for the whole application)
  • a collection of Java beans and other helper classes that you use in the "Model" part of your application
  • a collection of tag libraries used in your jsp-pages

To glue these things together Struts uses a set of configuration files. Together this gives you the skeleton that you can use to "strut" your application.

Struts has been designed to give you modularity and loose couplings in your application. If you're building a simple, small application you might find it complicated to have to create and handle so many files. You might even be tempted to put all your code in a single jsp-file. My advice to you is: don't do it! I'm sure you can build a single-page application faster using only one jsp-page, but if we're talking about more complex applications, the extra effort put in by using a modular framework will soon be rewarded.

If you hang on I'll guide you through the complete Struts application setup and hopefully show you how each piece fits in.

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 No. 237
 Posted on 8 June, 2006
 
 
 
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