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Core JSTL - Mastering the JSP Standard Tag Library[1]

Core JSTL - Mastering the JSP Standard Tag Library[1]

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Core JSTL: Mastering the JSP™ Standard Tag Library
About Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
With origins reaching back to the industry's first computer science publishing program in the 1960s, Prentice HallProfessional Technical Reference (PH PTR) has developed into the leading provider of technical books in theworld today. Formally launched as its own imprint in 1986, our editors now publish over 200 books annually,authored by leaders in the fields of computing, engineering, and business.Our roots are firmly planted in the soil that gave rise to the technological revolution. Our bookshelf contains manyof the industry's computing and engineering classics: Kernighan and Ritchie's
C Programming Language
UNIX System Administration Handbook 
, Horstmann's
Core Java
, and Johnson's
 High-Speed Digital Design
.PH PTR acknowledges its auspicious beginnings while it looks to the future for inspiration. We continue to evolveand break new ground in publishing by providing today's professionals with tomorrow's solutions.
Until recently, JavaServer Pages (JSP) has, for the most part, been accessible only to Java developers. That'sbecause JSP did not provide a standard set of tags for common functionality or a scripting language for pageauthors. The lack of those essential features meant that JSP developers had to embed Java code in JSP pages orimplement custom tags that encapsulated that Java code. Either way, they had to be well versed in the Javaprogramming language to effectively use JSP.To implement maintainable and extensible Web applications, developers must decouple business and presentationlogic. Without an expression language or standard tag library, JSP pages often contained a great deal of Java code,which allowed easy access to business logic. That Java code and the inevitable related business logic tightlycoupled JSP pages with the underlying data model, which resulted in brittle systems that were difficult to modifyor extend.The JSP Standard Tag Library (JSTL) provides a scripting language and set of standard tags that make JSPaccessible to page authors and make it much easier to separate business and presentation logic. Those benefitsallow page authors to focus on a Web application's presentation, while Java developers implement business logic,which in turn makes those applications much easier to implement, maintain, and extend. Because JSTL has such aprofound effect on the development of Java-based Web applications as a whole, it is one of the most importantnew developments for server-side Java.
1.1 What This Book Is About 
This book discusses all aspects of JSTL, including a thorough examination of the expression language and JSTL'stags (which are commonly known as actions). I assume that readers are already familiar with the basics of servletsand JSP, so those topics are not discussed in this book. See "This Book's Audience" for more information aboutwhat level of experience is assumed for readers.
1.2 The Servlet and JSP APIs This Book Depends Upon 
JSTL only works with servlet containers that support the Servlet 2.3 and JSP 1.2 APIs. To run this book'sexamples, you will need such a servlet container; for example, Resin 2.1.2 or Tomcat 4.1.3; see "Downloading andInstalling a Servlet Container" on page 26 for more information about downloading and installing those servletcontainers.
Core JSTL: Mastering the JSP™ Standard Tag Library
1.3 The Book's Web Site 
This book has a companion Web site athttp://www.corejstl.com. That Web site provides documented source codefor all of this book's examples.
1.4 How This Book's Code Was Tested 
All of the code examples in this book were tested with Resin 2.1.2 and Tomcat 4.1.3. See "The Book's Web Site"for more information about downloading that code.
1.5 This Book's Audience 
This book was written for Java developers with a basic understanding of servlets and JSP. If you are new toservlets and JSP, I recommend the following books for your first book on those topics:
Core Servlets and JSP
by Marty Hall, Sun Microsystems Press
 Advanced JavaServer Pages
by David Geary, Sun Microsystems Press
 Java Servlet Programming
by Jason Hunter, O'Reilly
Web Development with JavaServer Pages
by Fields and Kolb, Manning
1.6 How To Use This Book 
The majority of this book is written in a tutorial style that illustrates how to make the most of JSTL's expressionlanguage and actions. The last chapter in the book is a reference for the JSTL actions. That reference providesdetailed syntax information for each JSTL action, in addition to a short description of the action and its constraintsand error handling. Each action also is accompanied by an
 In a Nutshell
section that provides enough informationabout the action to get you started.You can use the reference chapter in one of two ways. First, it may be a good place to start when you are using aJSTL action for the first time. Once you understand the action's syntax and its intent, you will probably want toread more about the action in the applicable chapter where it's discussed in detail. Second, you should use thereference to help you use JSTL actions after you understand their purpose and intent; for example, the<fmt:formatNumber> action, which is discussed in detail in "Formatting and Parsing Numbers" on page 310 andsummarized in "Formatting Actions" on page 509 provides 12 attributes. It can be difficult to remember all of those attributes and how they work together. Instead of trying to unearth that specific information from the"Formatting Actions" chapter beginning on page 308, you would be better off looking up those attributes in the"JSTL Reference" chapter beginning on page 464
1.7 Conventions Used in This Book 
Table P-1shows the coding conventions used in this book.
Table P-1. Coding Conventions 
Convention Example
Class names have initial capital letters.
public classClassName
 Method names have initial lower case, and the rest of the words have an initialcapital letter.
 Variable names have initial lower case, and the rest of the words have aninitial capital letter.
private int lengthprivate intbufferLength
Note that, for the most part, methods are referred to without their arguments; however, arguments are includedwhen the discussion warrants them.Table P-2shows the typographic conventions used in this book.

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