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1. What is Struts?

1.Struts is a web page development framework and an open source software that
helps developers build web applications quickly and easily. Struts combines Java
Servlets, Java Server Pages, custom tags, and message resources into a unified
framework. It is a cooperative, synergistic platform, suitable for development
teams, independent developers, and everyone between.

2.The core of the Struts framework is a flexible control layer based on standard
technologies like Java Servlets, JavaBeans, ResourceBundles, and XML, as well as
various Jakarta Commons packages. Struts encourages application architectures
based on the Model 2 approach, a variation of the classic Model-View-Controller
(MVC) design paradigm. Struts provides its own Controller component and
integrates with other technologies to provide the Model and the View. For the
Model, Struts can interact with standard data access technologies, like JDBC and
EJB, as well as most any third-party packages, like Hibernate, iBATIS, or Object
Relational Bridge. For the View, Struts works well with JavaServer Pages, including
JSTL and JSF, as well as Velocity Templates, XSLT, and other presentation systems.
The Struts framework provides the invisible underpinnings every professional web
application needs to survive. Struts helps you create an extensible development
environment for your application, based on published standards and proven design
patterns.

3. Struts Frame work is the implementation of Model-View-Controller (MVC) design


pattern for the JSP. Struts is maintained as a part of Apache Jakarta project and is
open source. Struts Framework is suited for the application of any size. Latest
version of struts can be downloaded from http://jakarta.apache.org/. We are using
jakarta-struts-1.1 and jakarta-tomcat-5.0.4 for this tutorial.

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2. How is the MVC design pattern used in Struts framework?

In the MVC design pattern, application flow is mediated by a central Controller. The
Controller delegates requests to an appropriate handler. The handlers are tied to a
Model, and each handler acts as an adapter between the request and the Model.
The Model represents, or encapsulates, an application's business logic or state.
Control is usually then forwarded back through the Controller to the appropriate
View. The forwarding can be determined by consulting a set of mappings, usually
loaded from a database or configuration file. This provides a loose coupling between
the View and Model, which can make an application significantly easier to create
and maintain.

Controller--Servlet controller which supplied by Struts itself; View --- what you can
see on the screen, a JSP page and presentation components; Model --- System state
and a business logic JavaBeans.

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3. Who makes the Struts?

Struts is hosted by the Apache Software Foundation(ASF) as part of its Jakarta


project, like Tomcat, Ant and Velocity.

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4. Why it called Struts?

Because the designers want to remind us of the invisible underpinnings that hold up
our houses, buildings, bridges, and ourselves when we are on stilts. This excellent
description of Struts reflect the role the Struts plays in developing web applications.

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5. Do we need to pay the Struts if being used in commercial purpose?

No. Struts is available for commercial use at no charge under the Apache Software
License. You can also integrate the Struts components into your own framework just
as if they were writtern in house without any red tape, fees, or other hassles.

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6. What are the core classes of Struts?

Action, ActionForm, ActionServlet, ActionMapping, ActionForward are basic classes


of Structs.

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7. What is the design role played by Struts?

The role played by Structs is controller in Model/View/Controller(MVC) style. The


View is played by JSP and Model is played by JDBC or generic data source classes.
The Struts controller is a set of programmable components that allow developers to
define exactly how the application interacts with the user.

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8. How Struts control data flow?

Struts implements the MVC/Layers pattern through the use of ActionForwards and
ActionMappings to keep control-flow decisions out of presentation layer.

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9. What configuration files are used in Struts?

ApplicationResources.properties

struts-config.xml

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10. What helpers in the form of JSP pages are provided in Struts framework?

--struts-html.tld

--struts-bean.tld
--struts-logic.tld

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11. Is Struts efficient?

• The Struts is not only thread-safe but thread-dependent(instantiates each


Action once and allows other requests to be threaded through the original object.

• ActionForm beans minimize subclass code and shorten subclass hierarchies

• The Struts tag libraries provide general-purpose functionality

• The Struts components are reusable by the application

• The Struts localization strategies reduce the need for redundant JSPs

• The Struts is designed with an open architecture--subclass available

• The Struts is lightweight (5 core packages, 5 tag libraries)

• The Struts is open source and well documented (code to be examined easily)

• The Struts is model neutral

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12. How you will enable front-end validation based on the xml in validation.xml?

The < html:javascript > tag to allow front-end validation based on the xml in
validation.xml. For example the code: < html:javascript formName=logonForm
dynamicJavascript=true staticJavascript=true / > generates the client side java
script for the form logonForm as defined in the validation.xml file. The <
html:javascript > when added in the jsp file generates the client site validation
script.

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13. What is ActionServlet?

The class org.apache.struts.action.ActionServlet is the called the ActionServlet. In


the the Jakarta Struts Framework this class plays the role of controller. All the
requests to the server goes through the controller. Controller is responsible for
handling all the requests.

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14. How you will make available any Message Resources Definitions file to the
Struts Framework Environment?

Message Resources Definitions file are simple .properties files and these files
contains the messages that can be used in the struts project. Message Resources
Definitions files can be added to the struts-config.xml file through < message-
resources / > tag. Example: < message-resources parameter= MessageResources /
>

15. What is Action Class?


The Action Class is part of the Model and is a wrapper around the business logic.
The purpose of Action Class is to translate the HttpServletRequest to the business
logic. To use the Action, we need to Subclass and overwrite the execute() method.
In the Action Class all the database/business processing are done. It is advisable to
perform all the database related stuffs in the Action Class. The ActionServlet
(commad) passes the parameterized class to Action Form using the execute()
method. The return type of the execute method is ActionForward which is used by
the Struts Framework to forward the request to the file as per the value of the
returned ActionForward object.

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16. Write code of any Action Class?

Here is the code of Action Class that returns the ActionForward object.

import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;

import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;

import org.apache.struts.action.Action;

import org.apache.struts.action.ActionForm;

import org.apache.struts.action.ActionForward;

import org.apache.struts.action.ActionMapping;

public class TestAction extends Action

public ActionForward execute(

ActionMapping mapping,

ActionForm form,

HttpServletRequest request,

HttpServletResponse response) throws Exception

return mapping.findForward(\"testAction\");

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17. What is ActionForm?


An ActionForm is a JavaBean that extends org.apache.struts.action.ActionForm.
ActionForm maintains the session state for web application and the ActionForm
object is automatically populated on the server side with data entered from a form
on the client side.

18. What is Struts Validator Framework?

Struts Framework provides the functionality to validate the form data. It can be use
to validate the data on the users browser as well as on the server side. Struts
Framework emits the java scripts and it can be used validate the form data on the
client browser. Server side validation of form can be accomplished by sub classing
your From Bean with DynaValidatorForm class. The Validator framework was
developed by David Winterfeldt as third-party add-on to Struts. Now the Validator
framework is a part of Jakarta Commons project and it can be used with or without
Struts. The Validator framework comes integrated with the Struts Framework and
can be used without doing any extra settings.

19. Give the Details of XML files used in Validator Framework?

The Validator Framework uses two XML configuration files validator-rules.xml and
validation.xml. The validator-rules.xml defines the standard validation routines,
these are reusable and used in validation.xml. to define the form specific
validations. The validation.xml defines the validations applied to a form bean.

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20. How you will display validation fail errors on jsp page?

The following tag displays all the errors:

< html:errors/ >

20. Why do we need Struts?

Java technologies give developers a serious boost when creating and maintaining
applications to meet the demands of today's public Web sites and enterprise
intranets. Struts combines Java Servlets, Java ServerPages, custom tags, and
message resources into a unified framework. The end result is a cooperative,
synergistic platform, suitable for development teams, independent developers, and
everyone in between.

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21. How does Struts work?

Java Servlets are designed to handle requests made by Web browsers. Java
ServerPages are designed to create dynamic Web pages that can turn billboard
sites into live applications. Struts uses a special Servlet as a switchboard to route
requests from Web browsers to the appropriate ServerPage. This makes Web
applications much easier to design, create, and maintain.

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22. Is Struts compatible with other Java technologies?


Yes. Struts is committed to supporting industry standards. Struts acts as an
integrator of Java technologies so that they can be used in the "real world".

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23. Who wrote Struts?

There are several active committers to the Struts project, working cooperatively
from around the globe. Dozens of individual developers and committers contributed
to the Struts 1.x codebase. All interested Java developers are invited to contribute
to the project. Struts is a Apache Software Foundation project, with the mission to
"provide secure, enterprise-grade server solutions based on the Java Platform that
are developed in an open and cooperative fashion".

Struts was created by Craig R. McClanahan and donated to The Apache Software
Foundation in May 2000. Craig was the primary developer of both Struts 1.x and
Tomcat 4. Tomcat 4 was the basis for the official reference implementation for a
servlet 2.3 and JSP 1.2 container.

Craig's current focus is as architect of the Sun Java Studio Creator (formerly Project
Rave). Craig also serves as the Specification Lead for JavaServer Faces (JSR-127),
and is the Web Layer Architect for the Java2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) platform as a
whole.

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24. Why is it called Struts?

It's a reference to struts in the architectural sense, a reminder of the nearly invisible
pieces that hold up buildings, houses, and bridges.

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25. Do I have to credit Struts on my own website?

You need to credit Struts if you redistribute your own framework based on Struts for
other people to use. (See the Apache License for details.) But you do not need to
credit Struts just because your web application utilizes the framework. It's the same
situation as using the Apache HTTPD server or Tomcat. Not required if its just
running your web site.

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26. Where can I get a copy of Struts?

The best place to download Struts is at struts.apache.org. The nightly builds are
very stable, and recommended as the best place to start today.

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27. How do I install Struts?


To develop applications with Struts, you can usually just add the Struts JAR file to
your Java development environment. You can then start using the Struts classes as
part of your own application. A blank Struts application (in the webapps directory,
open struts-blank.war) is provided, which you can just copy to get a quick-start on
your own brainchild.

Since the full source code for Struts is available, we also provide complete
instructions for compiling your own Struts JAR from scratch. (This is actually easier
than it looks!)

Your Struts application can usually be deployed using a standard WAR file. In most
cases, you simply deposit the WAR file on your application server, and it is installed
automatically. If not, step-by-step installation instructions for various servlet
containers are available.

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28. When do I need "struts.jar" on my classpath?

When you are compiling an application that uses the Struts classes, you must have
the "struts.jar" on the classpath your compiler sees -- it does not have to be on your
CLASSPATH environment variable.

Why is that an important distinction? Because if you are using a servlet container on
your development machine to test your application, the "struts.jar" must not be on
your CLASSPATH environment variable when running the container. (This is because
each Web application must also have their own copy of the Struts classes, and the
container will become confused if it is on the environment path as well.)

There are several general approaches to this issue:

* Use ANT for building your projects -- it can easily assemble classpaths for the
compiler. (This is how Struts itself is built, along with Tomcat and most other Java-
based projects).

* Use an IDE where you can configure the "class path" used for compilation
independent of the CLASSPATH environment variable.

* Use a shell script that temporarily adds struts.jar to the classpath just for
compilation, for example javac -classpath /path/to/struts.jar:$CLASSPATH $@

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29. Does Struts include its own unit tests?

Struts currently has two testing environments, to reflect the fact that some things
can be tested statically, and some really need to be done in the environment of a
running servlet container.

For static unit tests, we use the JUnit framework. The sources for these tests are in
the "src/test" hierarchy in the source repository, and are executed via the
"test.junit" target in the top-level build.xml file. Such tests are focused on the low-
level functionality of individual methods, are particularly suitable for the static
methods in the org.apache.struts.util utility classes. In the test hierarchy, there are
also some "mock object" classes (in the org.apache.struts.mock package) so that
you can package up things that look like servlet API and Struts API objects to pass in
as arguments to such tests.

Another valuable tool is Struts TestCase which provides a useful harness for Action
classes that can be used with JUnit or Cactus.

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30. If the framework doesn't do what I want, can I request that a feature be added?

First, it's important to remember that Struts is an all-volunteer project. We don't


charge anyone anything to use Struts. Committers and other developers work on
Struts because they need to use it with their own applications. If others can use it
too, that's "icing on the cake". If you submit a patch for a feature that a Committer
finds useful, then that Committer may choose to volunteer his or her time to apply
the patch. If you just submit an idea without a patch, it is much less likely to be
added (since first someone else has to volunteer their time to write the patch).

We are grateful for any patches, and we welcome new ideas, but the best way to
see that something gets added to the framework is to do as much of the work as
you can, rather than rely on the "kindness of strangers". Worst case, you can apply
the patch to your copy of Struts and still use the feature in your own application.
(Which is what open source is ~really~ all about.)

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31. Where can I get help with Struts?

The Struts package comes complete with a Users Guide to introduce people to the
framework and its underlying technologies. Various components also have their own
in-depth Developers Guide, to cover more advanced topics. Comprehensive
Javadocs are included along with the full source code. For your convenience, these
are bundled together as a self-installing application. The struts-documentation.war
is the same bundle that is deployed as the Struts Web site.

The Strut's mailing list is also very active, and welcomes posts from new users.
Before posting a new question, be sure to consult the MAILING LIST ARCHIVE and
the very excellent How To Ask Questions The Smart Way by Eric Raymond. Please
do be sure to turn off HTML in your email client before posting.

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32. What's the difference between Struts and Turbine? What's the difference
between Struts and Expresso?

If you are starting from scratch, packages like Turbine and Expresso can be very
helpful since they try to provide all of the basic services that your team is likely to
need. Such services include things like data persistence and logging.

If you are not starting from scratch, and need to hook up your web application to an
existing infrastructure, then "plain vanilla" Struts can be a better choice. The core
Struts framework does not presuppose that you are using a given set of data
persistence, presentation, or logging tools. Anything goes =:0)

Compared to other offerings, Struts endeavors to be a minimalist framework. We try


leverage existing technologies whenever we can and provide only the missing
pieces you need to combine disparate technologies into a coherent application. This
is great when you want to select your own tools to use with Struts. But, if you prefer
a more integrated infrastructure, then packages like Turbine or Expresso (which
uses Struts) are perfectly good ways to go.

See also

* < http://www.mail-archive.com/struts-user@jakarta.apache.org/msg03206.html >

* < http://www.mail-archive.com/general@jakarta.apache.org/msg00495.html >

* < http://jakarta.apache.org/velocity/ymtd/ymtd.html >

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33. Why aren't the Struts tags maintained as part of the Jakarta Taglibs project?

Development of both products began about the same time. Leading up to the
release of 1.0, it was thought better to continue to develop the taglibs alongside the
controller. Now that 1.0 is out, the JavaServer Pages Standard Taglib is in active
development. Once work on JSTL stabilizes, the Struts taglibs will be revisited. Tags
which are not linked directly to the framework may be hosted at Jakarta Taglibs
instead.

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34. Are the Struts tags XHTML compliant?

If you use an <html:html xhtml="true> or <html:xhtml/> element on your page,


the tags will render as XHTML (since Struts 1.1).

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35. Will the Struts tags support other markup languages such as WML

Struts itself is markup neutral. The original Struts taglibs are only one example of
how presentation layer components can access the framework. The framework
objects are exposed through the standard application, session, and request
contexts, where any Java component in the application can make use of them.

Markup extensions that use Struts are available for Velocity and XLST, among
others. A new Struts tag library for Java Server Faces is also in development.

For more about using WAP/WML with Struts see the article WAP up your EAserver.

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36. What about JSTL and JavaServer Faces?


JSTL, the JavaServer Standard Tag Library, is a set of JSP tags that are designed to
make it easier to develop Web applications. JavaServer Faces (JSF) is a specification
for a new technology that promises to make it easier to write MVC applications,
both for the Web and for the desktop.

The inventor of Struts, Craig McClanahan, is the specification co-lead for JavaServer
Faces (JSR 127), and architect of the reference implemenation as well as Java Studio
Creator. Both JSTL and JSF are complementary to Struts.

The mainstay of the Struts framework is the controller components, which can be
used with any Java presentation technology. As new technologies become available,
it is certain that new "glue" components will also appear to help these technologies
work as well with Struts.

Struts originally came bundled with a set of custom JSP tags. Today, several
extensions are available to help you use Struts with other popular presentation
technologies, like XSLT and Velocity. Likewise, extensions for JSTL and JSF are now
available as well.

The JSTL reference implementation is available through the Jakarta Taglibs site. A
JSTL taglibs for Struts, Struts-El , is available and distributed with Struts beginning
with the 1.1 release.

The JSF specification and reference implementation is available through Sun's The
JSF specification and reference implementation is available through Sun's Java
ServerFaces page. An early-release JavaServer Faces taglib for Struts, Struts-Faces,
is also in early release and available through the nightly build. The Struts Faces
taglib is expected to work with any compliant JSF implementation, including
MyFaces.

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37. Is there a particularly good IDE to use with Struts

Struts should work well with any development environment that you would like to
use, as well as with any programmers editor. The members of the Struts
development team each use their own tools such as Emacs, IDEA, Eclipse, and
NetBeans.

38. Why was reload removed from Struts (since 1.1)?

The problem with ReloadAction was that Struts was trying to act like a container,
but it couldn't do a proper job of it. For example, you can't reload classes that have
been modified, or (portably) add new classes to a running web application (even if
the container supported it).

Meanwhile, as Struts 1.1 was being developed, work progressed on things like
Tomcat's reload command via the Manager webapp. This feature allows you to
quickly reload-on-demand, complete with saving and restoring your session). It
started to make even less sense for Struts to half-implement a feature that
containers are implementing fully.

A more minor point is that freezing the configuration information at application


startup time allows Struts to safely access the mapping information without
bothering with synchronization. The "startup-only" strategy creates a modest but
real improvement in performance for all users.

So, ReloadAction is not supported since Struts 1.1 for two reasons:

* It never did let you reload everything that you would really want to -- particularly
changed classes -- so many people ended up having to reload the webapp anyway.

* Containers are starting to offer reload-on-demand features which does the same
thing as the Struts ReloadAction, only better.

* Not supporting ReloadAction lets Struts avoid doing synchronization locks around
all the lookups (like figuring out which action to use, or the destination of an
ActionForward) so applications can run a little faster.

Of course, if someone came up with an implementation that solved these problems


without creating any others, we would not be opposed to including a new
ReloadAction.

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39. What is a modular application? What does module-relative mean?

Since Struts 1.1, the framework supports multiple application modules. All
applications have at least one root, or default, module. Like the root directory in a
file system, the default application has no name. (Or is named with an empty string,
depending your viewpoint.) Developing an application with only a default module is
no different from how applications were developed under Struts 1.0. Since Struts
1.1, you can add additional modules to your application, each of which can have
their own configuration files, messages resources, and so forth. Each module is
developed in the same way as the default module. Applications that were
developed as a single module can added to a multiple module application, and
modules can promoted to a standalone application without change. For more about
configuring your application to support multiple modules, see Configuring
Applications in the User Guide.

But to answer the question =:0), a modular application is a Struts application that
uses more than one module. Module-relative means that the URI starts at the
module level, rather than at the context level, or the absolute-URL level.

* Absolute URL: http://localhost/myApplication/myModule/myAction.do

* context-relative: /myModule/myAction.do

* module-relative: /myAction.do

The Struts Examples application is a modular application that was assembled from
several applications that were created independently.

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40. Why are some of the class and element names counter-intuitive?

The framework grew in the telling and, as it evolved, some of the names drifted.
The good thing about a nightly build, is that everything becomes available to the
community as soon as it is written. The bad thing about a nightly build is that things
like class names get locked down early and then become difficult to change.

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41. Why is ActionForm a base class rather than an interface?

The MVC design pattern is very simple to understand but much more difficult to live
with. You just need this little bit of Business Logic in the View logic or you need just
that little bit of View logic in the Business tier and pretty soon you have a real mess.

Making ActionForm a class takes advantage of the single inheritance restriction of


Java to it makes it more difficult for people to do things that they should not do.

ActionForms implemented as interfaces encourage making the property types


match the underlying business tier instead of Strings, which violates one of the
primary purposes for ActionForms in the first place (the ability to reproduce invalid
input, which is a fundamental user expectation). ActionForms as an interface would
also encourage using existing DAO objects as ActionForms by adding
‘implements ActionForm’ to the class. This violates the MVC design pattern
goal of separation of the view and business logic.

Since the goal of struts is to enforce this separation, it just makes more sense for
Struts to own the ActionForm.

DynaActionForms relieve developers of maintaining simple ActionForms. For near


zero maintenance, try Niall Pemberton's LazyActionForm

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42. Do ActionForms have to be true JavaBeans?

The utilities that Struts uses (Commons-BeanUtils since 1.1) require that ActionForm
properties follow the JavaBean patterns for mutators and accessors (get*,set*,is*).
Since Struts uses the Introspection API with the ActionForms, some containers may
require that all the JavaBean patterns be followed, including declaring "implements
Serializable" for each subclass. The safest thing is to review the JavaBean
specification and follow all the prescribed patterns.

Since Struts 1.1, you can also use DynaActionForms and mapped-backed forms,
which are not true JavaBeans. For more see ActionForm classes in the User Guide
and Using Hashmaps with ActionForms in this FAQ.

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43. Can I use multiple HTML form elements with the same name?

Yes. Define the element as an array and Struts will autopopulate it like any other.

private String[] id= {};

public String[] getId() { return this.id; }

public void setItem(String id[]) {this.id = id;}


And so forth

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44. Can I use multiple HTML form elements with the same name?

Yes. The issue is that only one action class can be associated with a single form. So
the real issue is how do I decode multiple submit types to a single Action class.
There is more than one way to achieve this functionality.

The way that is suggested by struts is right out of the javadoc for
LookupDispatchAction . Basically, LookupDispatchAction is using the keys from
ApplicationProperties.resources as keys to a map of actions available to your Action
class. It uses reflection to decode the request and invoke the proper action. It also
takes advantage of the struts <html:submit> tags and is straight forward to
implement.

You can roll your own with JavaScript events and javascript:void
(document.forms["myform"].submit) on any html element. This gives you control of
how you want your page to look. Again you will have to decode the expected action
in the execute method of your action form if you choose this route.

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45. Why doesn't the focus feature on the <html:form> tag work in every
circumstance?

Unfortunately, there is some disagreement between the various browsers, and


different versions of the same browser, as to how the focus can be set. The
<html:form> tag provides a quick and easy JavaScript that will set the focus on a
form for most versions of most browsers. If this feature doesn't work for you, then
you should set the focus using your own JavaScript. The focus feature is a
convenient "value-add" -- not a core requirement of the tag. If you do come up with
a JavaScript that provides the final solution to this project, please post your patch to
this Bugzilla ticket.

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46. Why are my checkboxes not being set from ON to OFF?

A problem with a checkbox is that the browser will only include it in the request
when it is checked. If it is not checked, the HTML specification suggests that it not
be sent (i.e. omitted from the request). If the value of the checkbox is being
persisted, either in a session bean or in the model, a checked box can never
unchecked by a HTML form -- because the form can never send a signal to uncheck
the box. The application must somehow ascertain that since the element was not
sent that the corresponding value is unchecked.

The recommended approach for Struts applications is to use the reset method in
the ActionForm to set all properties represented by checkboxes to null or false. The
checked boxes submitted by the form will then set those properties to true. The
omitted properties will remain false. Another solution is to use radio buttons
instead, which always submit a value.
It is important to note that the HTML specification recommends this same behavior
whenever a control is not "successful". Any blank element in a HTML form is not
guaranteed to submitted. It is therefor very important to set the default values for
an ActionForm correctly, and to implement the reset method when the ActionForm
might kept in session scope.

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47. Can I use JavaScript to submit a form?

You can submit a form with a link as below. BTW, the examples below assume you
are in an block and 'myForm' is picked up from the struts-config.xml name field of
the action.

<a href='javascript:void(document.forms["myForm"].submit()>My Link</a>

Now the trick in the action is to decode what action you intend to perform. Since
you are using JavaScript, you could set a field value and look for it in the request or
in the form.

... html/javascript part ...

<input type='hidden' value='myAction' />

<input type='button' value='Save Meeeee'

onclick='document.forms["myForm"].myAction.value="save";

document.forms["myForm"].submit();' />

<input type='button' value='Delete Meeeee'

onclick='document.forms["myForm"].myAction.value="delete";

document.forms["myForm"].submit();' />

... the java part ...

class MyAction extends ActionForm implements Serializable {

public ActionForward execute (ActionMapping map, ActionForm form,

HttpServletRequest req, HttpServletResponse) {

String myAction = req.getParameter("myAction");

if (myAction.equals("save") {

// ... save action ...

} else if (myAction.equals("delete") {
// ... delete action ...

This is just one of many ways to achieve submitting a form and decoding the
intended action. Once you get used to the framework you will find other ways that
make more sense for your coding style and requirements. Just remember this
example is completely non-functional without JavaScript.

Here is a link which utilizes the LookupDispatch action to submit forms with multiple
actions without javascript: http://husted.com/struts/tips/003.html

***************************************************************************************************
*****

48. How do I use JavaScript to ...

Struts is mainly a server-side technology. We bundled in some JSP tags to expose


the framework components to your presentation page, but past that, the usual
development process applies.

Interactive pages require the use of JavaScript. (That's why it was invented.) If you
want things popping up or doing this when they click that, you are outside the
scope of Struts and back into the web development mainstream.

You use JavaScript with Struts the same way you use with any presentation page.
Since JavaScript is a client-side technology, you can use simple relative references
to your scripts. If you need to fire a JavaScript from a HTML control, the Struts HTML
tags have properties for the JavaScript events.

A very good JavaScript resource is Matt Kruse's site at


http://www.mattkruse.com/javascript/ Do I need to implement reset and set all my
form properties to their initial values?

No. You need to set checkbox properties to false if the ActionForm is being retained
in session scope. This is because an unchecked box does not submit an attribute.
Only checked boxes submit attributes. If the form is in session scope, and the
checkbox was checked, there is no way to turn it back off without the reset method.
Resetting the properties for other controls, or for a request scope form, is pointless.
If the form is in request scope, everything already just started at the initial value.

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49. Can't I just create some of my JavaBeans in the JSP using a scriptlet?

Struts is designed to encourage a Model 2/MVC architecture. But there is nothing


that prevents you from using Model 1 techniques in your JavaServer Pages, so the
answer to the question is "Yes, you can".
Though, using Model 1 techniques in a Struts application does go against the grain.
The approach recommended by most Struts developers is to create and populate
whatever objects the view may need in the Action, and then forward these through
the request. Some objects may also be created and stored in the session or context,
depending on how they are used.

Likewise, there is nothing to prevent you from using scriptlets along with JSP tags in
your pages. Though, many Struts developers report writing very complex scriplet-
free applications and recommend the JSP tag approach to others.

For help with Model 1 techniques and scriptlets, you might consider joining the
Javasoft JSP-interest mailing list, where there are more people still using these
approaches.

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*****

50. Can I use other beans or hashmaps with ActionForms?

Yes. There are several ways that you can use other beans or hashmaps with
ActionForms.

* ActionForms can have other beansor hashmaps as properties

* "Value Beans" or "Data Transfer Objects" (DTOs) can be used independently of


ActionForms to transfer data to the view

* ActionForms can use Maps to support "dynamic" properties (since Struts 1.1)

ActionForms (a.k.a. "form beans") are really just Java beans (with a few special
methods) that Struts creates and puts into session or request scope for you. There
is nothing preventing you from using other beans, or including them in your form
beans. Here are some examples:

Collections as properties Suppose that you need to display a pulldown list of


available colors on an input form in your application. You can include a string-valued
colorSelected property in your ActionForm to represent the user's selection and a
colorOptions property implemented as a Collection (of strings) to store the available
color choices. Assuming that you have defined the getters and setters for the
colorSelected and colorOptions properties in your orderEntryForm form bean, you
can render the pulldown list using:

<html:select property="colorSelected">

<html:options property="colorOptions" name="orderEntryForm"/>

</html:select>

The list will be populated using the strings in the colorOptions collection of the
orderEntryForm and the value that the user selects will go into the colorSelected
property that gets posted to the subsequent Action. Note that we are assuming
here that the colorOptions property of the orderEntryForm has already been set.

See How can I prepopulate a form? for instructions on how to set form bean
properties before rendering edit forms that expect properties to be pre-set.
Independent DTO An Action that retrieves a list of open orders (as an ArrayList of
Order objects) can use a DTO independently of any form bean to transfer search
results to the view. First, the Action's execute method performs the search and puts
the DTO into the request:

ArrayList results = businessObject.executeSearch(searchParameters);

request.setAttribute("searchResults",results);

Then the view can iterate through the results using the "searchResults" request key
to reference the DTO:

` <logic:iterate id="order" name="searchResults" type="com.foo.bar.Order">

<tr><td><bean:write name="order" property="orderNumber"/><td>

<td>..other properties...</td></tr>

</logic:iterate>

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51. Why do the Struts tags provide for so little formatting?

The Struts tags seem to provide only the most rudimentary functionality. Why is
there not better support for date formatting and advanced string handling?

Three reasons:

First, work started on the JSTL and we didn't want to duplicate the effort.

Second, work started on Java Server Faces, and we didn't want to duplicate that
effort either.

Third, in a Model 2 application, most of the formatting can be handled in the


ActionForms (or in the business tier), so all the tag has to do is spit out a string. This
leads to better reuse since the same "how to format" code does not need to be
repeated in every instance. You can "say it once" in a JavaBean and be done with it.
Why don't the Struts taglibs offer more layout options?

Since the Struts tags are open source, you can extend them to provide whatever
additional formatting you may need. If you are interested in a pre-written taglib that
offers more layout options, see the struts-layout taglib.

In the same arena, there is a well regarded contributor taglib that can help you
create Menus for your Struts applications.

***************************************************************************************************
*****

52. Why does the <html:link> tag URL-encode javascript and mailto links?

The <html:link> tag is not intended for use with client-side references like those
used to launch Javascripts or email clients. The purpose of link tag is to interject the
context (or module) path into the URI so that your server-side links are not
dependent on your context (or module) name. It also encodes the link, as needed,
to maintain the client's session on the server. Neither feature applies to client-side
links, so there is no reason to use the <html:link> tag. Simply markup the client-
side links using the standard tag.

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*****

53. How can I scroll through list of pages like the search results in google?

Many Struts developers use the Pager from the JSPTags site.

http://jsptags.com/tags/navigation/pager/

***************************************************************************************************
*****

54. Why does the option tag render selected=selected instead of just selected?

Attribute minimization (that is, specifying an attribute with no value) is a place


where HTML violates standard XML syntax rules. This matters a lot for people
writing to browsers that support XHTML, where doing so makes the page invalid.It's
much better for Struts to use the expanded syntax, which works the same on
existing browsers interpreting HTML, and newer browsers that expect XHTML-
compliant syntax. Struts is following the behavior recommended by the XHTML
specification

***************************************************************************************************
*****

55. Do I have to use JSPs with my application?

The short answer to this question is: No, you are not limited to JavaServer Pages.

The longer answer is that you can use any type of presentation technology which
can be returned by a web server or Java container. The list includes but is not
limited to:

* JavaServer Pages,

* HTML pages,

* WML files,

* Java servlets,

* Velocity templates, and

* XML/XLST

Some people even mix and match apparently unrelated technologies, like PHP, into
the same web application.

***************************************************************************************************
*****

56. Do ActionForms have to be true JavaBeans?

ActionForms are added to a servlet scope (session or request) as beans. What this
means is that, for certain functionality to be available, your ActionForms will have to
follow a few simple rules.
First, your ActionForm bean must have a zero-arguments constructor. This is
required because Struts must be able to dynamically create new instances of your
form bean class, while knowing only the class name. This is not an onerous
restriction, however, because Struts will also populate your form bean's properties
(from the request parameters) for you.

Second, the fields of your form bean are made available to the framework by
supplying public getter and setter methods that follow the naming design patterns
described in the JavaBeans Specification. For most users, that means using the
following idiom for each of your form bean's properties:

private {type} fieldName;

public {type} getFieldName() {

return (this.fieldName);

public void setFieldName({type} fieldName) {

this.fieldName = fieldName;

NOTE - you MUST obey the capitalization conventions shown above for your
ActionForm properties to be recognized. The property name in this example is
"fieldName", and that must also be the name of the input field that corresponds to
this property. A bean property may have a "getter" method and a "setter" method
(in a form bean, it is typical to have both) whose name starts with "get" or "set",
followed by the property name with the first character capitalized. (For boolean
properties, it is also legal to use "is" instead of "get" as the prefix for the getter
method.)

Advanced JavaBeans users will know that you can tell the system you want to use
different names for the getter and setter methods, by using a java.beans.BeanInfo
class associated with your form bean. Normally, however, it is much more
convenient to follow the standard conventions.

WARNING - developers might be tempted to use one of the following techniques,


but any of them will cause your property not to be recognized by the JavaBeans
introspection facilities, and therefore cause your applications to misbehave:

* Using getter and setter method names that do not match - if you have a getFoo()
method for your getter, but a setBar() method for your setter, Java will not
recognize these methods as referring to the same property. Instead, the language
will think you have a read-only property named "foo" and a write-only property
named "bar".

* Using more than one setter method with the same name - The Java language lets
you "overload" methods, as long as the argument types are different. For example,
you could have a setStartDate(java.util.Date date) method and a
setStartDate(String date) method in the same class, and the compiled code would
know which method to call based on the parameter type being passed. However,
doing this for form bean properties will prevent Java from recognizing that you have
a "startDate" property at all.

There are other rules to follow if you want other features of your form beans to be
exposed. These include indexed attributes and mapped attributes. They are
covered in detail in other areas of the Struts documentation, in particular:
indexedprops.html

For a complete explanation of what a JavaBean is, and everything it can do, see the
JavaBeans Specification (version 1.01) at:

http://java.sun.com/products/javabeans/docs/beans.101.pdf

***************************************************************************************************
*****

57. Do I have to have a separate ActionForm bean for every HTML form?

This is an interesting question. As a newbie, it is a good practice to create a new


ActionForm for each action sequence. You can use DynaActionForms to help reduce
the effort required, or use the code generation facilities of your IDE.

Some issues to keep in mind regarding reuse of form beans are as follows:

* Validation - You might need to use different validation rules depending upon the
action that is currently being executed.

* Persistence - Be careful that a form populated in one action is not unexpectedly


reused in a different action. Multiple entries in struts-config.xml for the same
ActionForm subclass can help (especially if you store your form beans in session
scope). Alternatively, storing form beans in request scope can avoid unexpected
interactions (as well as reduce the memory footprint of your application, because no
server-side objects will need to be saved in between requests.

* Checkboxes - If you do as recommended and reset your boolean properties (for


fields presented as checkboxes), and the page you are currently displaying does not
have a checkbox for every boolean property on the form bean, the undisplayed
boolean properties will always appear to have a false value.

* Workflow - The most common need for form bean reuse is workflow. Out of the
box, Struts has limited support for workflow, but a common pattern is to use a
single form bean with all of the properties for all of the pages of a workflow. You will
need a good understanding of the environment (ActionForms, Actions, etc.) prior to
being able to put together a smooth workflow environment using a single form
bean.

As you get more comfortable, there are a few shortcuts you can take in order to
reuse your ActionForm beans. Most of these shortcuts depend on how you have
chosen to implement your Action / ActionForm combinations.

How can I prepopulate a form?

The simplest way to prepopulate a form is to have an Action whose sole purpose is
to populate an ActionForm and forward to the servlet or JSP to render that form
back to the client. A separate Action would then be use to process the submitted
form fields, by declaring an instance of the same form bean name.
The struts-example example application that is shipped with Struts illustrates this
design pattern nicely. Note the following definitions from the struts-config.xml file:

...

<form-beans>

...

<-- Registration form bean -->

<form-bean name="registrationForm"

type="org.apache.struts.webapp.example.RegistrationForm"/>

...

</form-beans>

...

<action-mappings>

...

<-- Edit user registration -->

<action path="/editRegistration"

type="org.apache.struts.webapp.example.EditRegistrationAction"

name="registrationForm"

scope="request"

validate="false"/>

...

<-- Save user registration -->

<action path="/saveRegistration"

type="org.apache.struts.webapp.example.SaveRegistrationAction"

name="registrationForm"

input="registration"

scope="request"/>

...

</action-mappings>

Note the following features of this approach:

* Both the /editRegistration and /saveRegistration actions use the same form bean.
* When the /editRegistration action is entered, Struts will have pre-created an
empty form bean instance, and passed it to the execute() method. The setup action
is free to preconfigure the values that will be displayed when the form is rendered,
simply by setting the corresponding form bean properties.

* When the setup action completes configuring the properties of the form bean, it
should return an ActionForm that points at the page which will display this form. If
you are using the Struts JSP tag library, the action attribute on your <html:form>
tag will be set to /saveRegistration in order for the form to be submitted to the
processing action.

* Note that the setup action (/editRegistration) turns off validation on the form that
is being set up. You will normally want to include this attribute in the configuration
of your setup actions, because you are not planning to actually process the results
-- you simply want to take advantage of the fact that Struts will precreate a form
bean instance of the correct class for you.

* The processing action (/saveRegistration), on the other hand, leaves out the
validate attribute, which defaults to true. This tells Struts to perform the validations
associated with this form bean before invoking the processing action at all. If any
validation errors have occurred, Struts will forward back to your input page
(technically, it forwards back to an ActionForward named "registration" in this case,
because the example webapp uses the inputForward attribute in the element -- see
the documentation describing struts-config.xml for more information) instead of
calling your processing action.

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*****

58. Can I have an Action without a form?

Yes. If your Action does not need any data and it does

not need to make any data available to the view or

controller component that it forwards to, it doesn't need

a form. A good example of an Action with no ActionForm is

the LogoffAction in the struts example application:

<action path="/logoff"

type="org.apache.struts.webapp.example.LogoffAction">

<forward name="success" path="/index.jsp"/>

</action>

This action needs no data other than the user's session, which

it can get from the Request, and it doesn't need to prepare any

view elements for display, so it does not need a form.

However, you cannot use the <html:form> tag without


an ActionForm. Even if you want to use the <html:form>

tag with a simple Action that does not require input,

the tag will expect you to use some type of ActionForm,

even if it is an empty subclass without any properties.

***************************************************************************************************
*****

59. Can you give me a simple example of using the requiredif Validator rule?

First off, there's an even newer Validator rule called

validwhen, which is almost certainly what you want to use,

since it is much easier and more powerful.

It will be available in the first release after 1.1 ships.

The example shown below could be coded with validwhen as:

<form name="medicalStatusForm">

<field

property="pregnancyTest" depends="validwhen">

<arg0 key="medicalStatusForm.pregnancyTest.label"/>

<var>

<var-name>test</var-name>

<var-value>((((sex == 'm') OR (sex == 'M'))

AND (*this* == null)) OR (*this* != null))</test>

</var>

</field>

Let's assume you have a medical information form

with three fields, sex, pregnancyTest, and testResult.

If sex is 'f' or 'F',

pregnancyTest is required. If pregnancyTest is not blank,

testResult is required. The entry in your validation.xml

file would look like this:

<form name="medicalStatusForm">

<field

property="pregnancyTest" depends="requiredif">
<arg0 key="medicalStatusForm.pregnancyTest.label"/>

<var>

<var-name>field[0]</var-name>

<var-value>sex</var-value>

</var>

<var>

<var-name>fieldTest[0]</var-name>

<var-value>EQUAL</var-value>

</var>

<var>

<var-name>fieldValue[0]</var-name>

<var-value>F</var-value>

</var>

<var>

<var-name>field[1]</var-name>

<var-value>sex</var-value>

</var>

<var>

<var-name>fieldTest[1]</var-name>

<var-value>EQUAL</var-value>

</var>

<var>

<var-name>fieldValue[1]</var-name>

<var-value>f</var-value>

</var>

<var>

<var-name>fieldJoin</var-name>

<var-value>OR</var-value>

</var>

</field>

<field
property="testResult" depends="requiredif">

<arg0 key="medicalStatusForm.testResult.label"/>

<var>

<var-name>field[0]</var-name>

<var-value>pregnancyTest</var-value>

</var>

<var>

<var-name>fieldTest[0]</var-name>

<var-value>NOTNULL</var-value>

</var>

</field>

</form>

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*****

60. When is the best time to validate input?

This is an excellent question. Let's step back a second and think about a typical mid
to large size application. If we start from the back end and work toward the view we
have:

1) Database: Most modern databases are going to validate for required fields,
duplicate records, security constraints, etc.

2) Business Logic: Here you are going to check for valid data relationships and
things that make sense for the particular problem you are triing to solve.

... This is where struts comes into the picture, by now the system should be pretty
well bulletproof. What we are going to do is make validation friendlier and
informative. Rember it is OK to have duplicate validations...

3) ActionErrors validate(ActionMapping map, HttpServletRequest req) is where you


can do your validation and feed back to the view, information required to correct
any errors. validate is run after the form has been reset and after the ActionForm
properties have been set from corresponding view based input. Also remember you
can turn validation off with validate="false" in the action mapping in the struts-
config.xml. This is done by returning an ActionErrors collection with messages from
your ApplicationResources.properties file.

Here you have access to the request so you can see what kinds of action is being
requested to fine tune your validations. The <html:error> tag allows you to dump
all errors on your page or a particular error associated with a particular property.
The input attribute of the struts-config.xml action allows you to send validation
errors to a particular jsp / html / tile page.
4) You can have the system perform low level validations and client side feedback
using a ValidatorForm or its derivatives. This will generate javascript and give
instant feedback to the user for simple data entry errors. You code your validations
in the validator-rules.xml file. A working knowledge of regular expressions is
necessary to use this feature effectively.

***************************************************************************************************
*****

61. How can I avoid validating a form before data is entered?

The simplest way is to have two actions. The first one has the job of setting the form
data, i.e. a blank registration screen. The second action in our writes the
registration data to the database. Struts would take care of invoking the validation
and returning the user to the correct screen if validation was not complete.

The EditRegistration action in the struts example application illustrates this:

< action path="/editRegistration">

type="org.apache.struts.webapp.example.EditRegistrationAction"

attribute="registrationForm"

scope="request"

validate="false">

<forward name="success path="/registration.jsp"/>

</action>

When the /editRegistration action is invoked, a registrationForm is created and


added to the request, but its validate method is not called. The default value of the
validate attribute is true, so if you do not want an action to trigger form validation,
you need to remember to add this attribute and set it to false.

62. How can I create a wizard workflow?

The basic idea is a series of actions with next, back, cancel and finish actions with a
common bean. Using a LookupDispatchAction is reccomended as it fits the design
pattern well and can be internationalized easily. Since the bean is shared, each
choice made will add data to the wizards base of information. A sample of struts-
config.xml follows:

< form-beans>

<form-bean name="MyWizard"

type="forms.MyWizard" />

</form-beans>

<!-- the first screen of the wizard (next action only available) -->

<!-- no validation, since the finish action is not available -->


<actions>

<action path="/mywizard1"

type="actions.MyWizard"

name="MyWizard"

validate="false"

input="/WEB-INF/jsp/mywizard1.jsp">

<forward name="next"

path="/WEB-INF/jsp/mywizard2.jsp" />

<forward name="cancel"

path="/WEB-INF/jsp/mywizardcancel.jsp" />

</action>

<!-- the second screen of the wizard (back, next and finish) -->

<!-- since finish action is available, bean should validated, note

validation should not necessarily validate if back action requested, you

might delay validation or do conditional validation -->

<action path="/mywizard2"

type="actions.MyWizard"

name="MyWizard"

validate="true"

input="/WEB-INF/jsp/mywizard2.jsp">

<forward name="back"

path="/WEB-INF/jsp/mywizard1.jsp" />

<forward name="next"

path="/WEB-INF/jsp/mywizard3.jsp" />

<forward name="finish"

path="/WEB-INF/jsp/mywizarddone.jsp" />

<forward name="cancel"

path="/WEB-INF/jsp/mywizardcancel.jsp" />

</action>

<!-- the last screen of the wizard (back, finish and cancel only) -->

<action path="/mywizard3"
type="actions.MyWizard"

name="MyWizard"

validate="true"

input="/WEB-INF/jsp/mywizard3.jsp">

<forward name="back"

path="/WEB-INF/jsp/mywizard2.jsp" />

<forward name="finish"

path="/WEB-INF/jsp/mywizarddone.jsp" />

<forward name="cancel"

path="/WEB-INF/jsp/mywizardcancel.jsp" />

</action>

The pieces of the wizard are as follows:

forms.MyWizard.java - the form bean holding the information required

actions.MyWizard.java - the actions of the wizard, note the use of


LookupDispatchAction allows for one action class with several methods. All the real
work will be done in the 'finish' method.

mywizard[x].jsp - the data collection jsp's

mywizarddone.jsp - the 'success' page

mywizardcancel.jsp - the 'cancel' page

63. How can I 'chain' Actions?

Chaining actions can be done by simply using the

proper mapping in your forward entries

in the struts-config.xml file.

Assume you had the following two classes:

/* com/AAction.java */

...

public class AAction extends Action

public ActionForward

execute(ActionMapping mapping,

ActionForm form,
HttpServletRequest request,

HttpServletResponse response) throws

Exception

// Do something

return mapping.findForward("success");

/* com/BAction.java */

...

public class BAction extends Action

public ActionForward

execute(ActionMapping mapping,

ActionForm form,

HttpServletRequest request,

HttpServletResponse response) throws

Exception

// Do something else

return mapping.findForward("success");

Then you can chain together these two actions with

the Struts configuration as shown

in the following excerpt:

...

<action-mappings type=

"org.apache.struts.action.ActionMapping">

<action path="/A"
type="com.AAction"

validate="false">

<forward name="success" path="/B.do" />

</action>

<action path="/B"

type="com.BAction"

scope="session"

validate="false">

<forward name="success" path="/result.jsp" />

</action>

</action-mappings>

...

Here we are assuming you are using a suffix-based (.do) servlet mapping, which
is recommended since module support requires it. When you send your browser to
the web application and name the action A.do (i.e. http://localhost:8080/app/A.do) it
will execute AAction.execute(), which will then forward to the "success" mapping.

This causes the execution of BAction.execute() since the entry for "success" in the
configuration file uses the .do suffix.

Of course it is also possible to chain actions programmatically, but the power and
ease of being able to "reroute" your web application's structure using the XML
configuration file is much easier to maintain.

As a rule, chaining Actions is not recommended. If your business classes are


properly factored, you should be able to call whatever methods you need from any
Action, without splicing them together into a cybernetic Rube Goldberg device.

If you must chain Actions, be aware of the following: calling the second Action from
the first Action has the same effect as calling the second Action from scratch. If
both of your Actions change the properties of a formbean, the changes made by the
first Action will be lost because Struts calls the reset() method on the formbean
when the second Action is called.

64. Struts GenericDataSource Just a general question

Struts GenericDataSource Just a general question - I'm building an application that


will run stand-alone, not in an application server. I need to manage some database
connections. Is the struts GenericDataSource a good candidate to do this for me? I
basicly just need a connection pool from where I can get connections and then
return them to optimize performance.

If this struts class is not a good candidate, can someone recommend a similar pool-
manager that is lean and mean and easy to use?

Answer 1
The Struts 1.0 GenericDataSource is not a good candidate for a production server.
In Struts 1.1, the Commons DBCP is used istead, which is a good candidate for a
production server. (You can also use the DBCP in Struts 1.0 by specifying the type
and including the Commons JARs.)

Another popular choice is Poolman. It's not under active development, but I believe
you can still download it from SourceForge. Poolman is also very easy to use outside
of Struts.

Many containers also offer support for connection pools. The one that ships with
Resin is quite good. The later versions of Tomcat bundle the Commons DBCP.

Regardless of what pool you use, a good practice is to hide it behind some type of
adaptor class of your own (often a singleton), to make it easy to change later. So
your classes call your adaptor, and your adaptor calls whichever pool you are using.

A neat and often-overlooked aspect of the Struts DataSource manager is that it


supports loading multiple connection pools and giving each a name. So you might
have one pool for internal use and another for public use. This way, the public
connections can't swap your administrative access to the application. Each pool
could also have its own login, and therefore different rights to the underlying
database.

Answer 2

int i=1;

with Struts 1.0 and jdbc,use GenericDataSource

not in struts-xml, but in Client.properties

my Client.properties

instanceBd=oraID

userPasswd=xxx/yyyy

maxCount=20

minCount=19

port=1521

driver=oracle.jdbc.driver.OracleDriver

url=jdbc:oracle:thin:@serverName:port:instanceBd

on the code init (struts 1.0 or struts 1.1):

GenericDataSource ng = new GenericDataSource ();

ng.setUser (mprop.getUserBd());

ng.setPassword (mprop.getPasswdBd());

ng.setUrl (mprop.getUrl());

ng.setDriverClass(mprop.getDriverClass());
ng.setMaxCount(mprop.getMaxCount());

ng.setMinCount (mprop.getMinCount());

ng.setDescription("jdbc OracleDriver");

ng.setAutoCommit(true);

try { ng.open(); } catch (java.sql.SQLException e) {

in business logic (or pool) :

Connect cn = ng.getConnection();

it's work.

with struts 1.1 , struts-legacy.jar

is necessy for this codes.

65. Dynamic pages using struts

Is it possible to create the elements of a page(jsp) dynamically based on the results


of a data base query, when using struts framework?

If you are talking about rendering a report, then sure. The Action iteracts with the
business layer/data access objects to acquire the data, and then passes it to the
presentation page bundled up as a JavaBean or a collection of JavaBeans. The JSP
tags (and other systems) all use reflection, so you can use whatever JavaBean you
like.

If you are talking about creating a dynamic data-entry form, then "not so much".

Struts 1.1 supports map-backed ActionForms, but the page still needs to know what
input fields are going to be needed. For a truly dynamic input form, I guess the key
would be some type of tag that took a map and then generated a column of input
fields. (Wouldn't work for everyone, since a lot of forms must be designed just so.)
For extra credit, the entry names could (optionally) be resource keys that were used
to find the label text.

Text fields would be easy. Others would need some type of JavaBean with
properties to tell the tag what to output. A bit of work, but obviously doable.

Of course, you'd probably want to validate the form before passing it back to the
database. I imagine it's possible to use the validator in a non-declarative way, but I
don't know anyone whose doing that. If you can do a db query to get the
information about the form, I imagine you could also do a query to get the
information about validations for the form. It would probably be easier to write your
own engine than adopt the validator. (It's not really that complicated to do.)
People often ask about "dynamic input forms", but most of us just can't get our
head around the use case. It's hard to understand what you do with the dynamic
data when it comes back. Most application don't allow you to input or update an
arbitrary (e.g. dynamic) set of fields.

66. What's the best way to deal with migrating a large application from Struts to
JSF? Is there any tool support that can help?

Answer: This is a complicated task depending on your Struts application. Because


the two frameworks have different goals, there are some challenges. Migrate your
response pages first. Keep the Struts controller and place and forward to JSF pages.
Then you can configure Struts forwards to go through the Faces servlet. Consider
looking at the Struts-Faces framework from Apache. See the framework chapter in
JSF in Action.

67. Declarative Exception Handling

If you have developed web applications long enough, you will realize a recurring
pattern emerges: when the backend (e.g. the EJB tier) throws you an exception, you
nearly always need to display an error page corresponding to the type of that
exception. Sooner or later, you will come up with a mechanism to use a lookup table
(e.g. an HashMap) to lookup an error page from the exception class.

Struts 1.1 now provides a similar but more powerful mechanism to declare
exception handling. In Struts 1.1, you can declare in the struts-config.xml the
associations between an exception class and an exception handler. Using the
default exception handler included in Struts, you can also specify the path of the
error pages. With this information, Struts will automatically forward to the specified
pages when an uncaught exception is thrown from an Action.

Like other facilities in Struts, the exception handlers are pluggable. You can write
and define your own handler classes if needed.

68. Can you compare the advantages and disadvantages of JSF vs. Struts ?

This is a very popular question these days. In general, JSF is still fairly new and will
take time to fully mature. However, I see JSF being able to accomplish everything
Struts can, plus more. Struts evolved out of necessity. It was created by developers
who were tired of coding the same logic again and again. JSF emerged both from
necessity and competition.

Struts has several benefits:

* Struts is a mature and proven framework. It has been around for a few years and
deployed successfully on many projects. The WebSphere Application Server admin
console is a Struts application.

* Struts uses the Front Controller and Command patterns and can handle
sophisticated controller logic.

* In addition to the core controller function, it has many add-on benefits such as
layouts with Tiles, declarative exception handling, and internationalization.

There are disadvantages:


* Struts is very JSP-centric and takes other frameworks to adapt to other view
technologies.

* Although Struts has a rich tag library, it is still geared towards helping the
controller aspect of development and does not give a sense that you are dealing
with components on a page. Therefore, it is not as toolable from a view perspective.

* Struts requires knowledge of Java™. Its goal was to aid Java developers, but not to
hide Java. It does not hide details of the Java language to Web developers that well.

* ActionForms are linked programmatically to the Struts framework. Therefore, to


decouple the model, you need to write transfer code or use utilities to move data
from Action Forms to the Model on input.

JSF is an evolution of a few frameworks, including Struts. The creator of Struts, Craig
McClanahan, is one of the JSF specification leads. Therefore, it is not by accident to
see some overlap between Struts and JSF. However, one of JSF's major goals is to
help J2EE Web applications to be easily developed using RAD tools. As such, it
introduces a rich component model. JSF has several advantages:

* JSF is a specification from Sun® and will be included in future versions of the J2EE
specification. All major vendors are pledging strong support for JSF.

* JSF uses the Page Controller Pattern and therefore aids in Page rich applications.
Components can respond to event from components on a page.

* JSF has a well-defined request lifecycle allowing for plugability at different levels.

* One powerful example of plugability is building your own render toolkit. The ability
to separate the rendering portion from the controller portion of the framework
allows for wonderful opportunities of extensibility. Component providers can write
their own toolkits to render different markup languages, such as XML or WML. In
addition, the render toolkit is not tied to JSP.

* Because JSF has a rich component model, it favors a RAD style of development. I
can now build my Web pages using drag and drop technology. In addition, JSF gives
me a way to link visual components to back model components without breaking
the layering.

JSF has disadvantages:

* JSF is still quite new and evolving. It will take some time to see successful
deployments and wide usage. In addition, as vendors write components, they may
not do everything you want them to.

* JSF by hand is not easier than Struts. Its goal was more oriented to RAD. Those
who prefer to do things by hand (for example, the vi type guy who does not like
IDEs) may find Struts easier to develop.

* Struts navigation may be a bit more flexible and adhere to more complex
controller logic.

69. Both JSF and Struts will continue to exist for a while ?
Both JSF and Struts will continue to exist for a while. The Struts community is aware
of JSF and is positioning itself to have strong support for JSF. See What about JSTL
and JavaServer faces?

From a tools perspective, if you look at the support for JSF versus Struts in
WebSphere Studio, the Struts tools are focused around the controller aspects. The
Web Diagram editor helps build your Struts configuration and the wizards/editors
build Struts artifacts. The JSF tools are geared towards building pages, and in
essence, hide the JSF framework from you. Expect WebSphere Studio to support
both frameworks for a while. As JSF matures, expect to see some of the controller
aspects in JSF to become toolable.

70. Multiple Sub-applications

One of the shortcomings in Struts 1.0 is manageability of the configuration file


(commonly known as struts-config.xml) when the development of the application
involves a sizable team. This problem arises because a Struts-based application
must run under one controller servlet, the ActionServlet, and the ActionServlet can
use only one struts-config.xml. It is not an issue when the project is relatively small
and the team consists of a couple of developers; however, when the project size
becomes significant and the project involves a large number of developers,
maintaining all the mapping information in a single file becomes increasingly
problematic.

Struts 1.1 solves this problem nicely by introducing multiple sub-applications. In


Struts 1.1, each sub-application has its own struts-config.xml file. A large Struts-
based application can thus be easily partitioned into largely independent modules,
i.e. sub-applications, and each sub-team can maintain their struts-config.xml
independently.

The sub-application scheme is a natural extension of the servlet context mapping


scheme of the URI paths used by servlet containers. According to the Servlet
standard, when the servlet container receives a request with a URL, the servlet
container will try to match the prefix of the URI path to a deployed web-application
in the container. What Struts 1.1 does is it maps the second prefix of the path to a
sub-application. In effect, this prefix mapping scheme creates another level of
namespace for each sub-application. For example, for the URI,

http://some-host.com/myApp/module2/editSubscription.do

/myApp is the context path for a web-application called "myApp" and /module2 is
the sub-app prefix for a Struts sub-application called "module2".

71. DynaBean and BeanUtils

Another major complaint usually heard amongst Struts 1.0 users is the extensive
effort involved in writing the FormBean (a.k.a. ActionForm) classes.

Struts provides two-way automatic population between HTML forms and Java
objects, the FormBeans. To take advantage of this however, you have to write one
FormBean per HTML form. (In some use cases, a FormBean can actually be shared
between multiple HTML forms. But those are specific cases.) Struts' FormBean
standard follows faithfully the verbose JavaBean standard to define and access
properties. Besides, to encourage a maintainable architecture, Struts enforces a
pattern such that it is very difficult to 'reuse' a model-layer object (e.g. a
ValueObject from the EJB tier) as a FormBean. Combining all these factors, a
developer has to spend a significant amount of time to write tedious getters/setters
for all the FormBean classes.

Struts 1.1 offers an alternative, Dynamic ActionForms, which are based on


DynaBeans. Simply put, DynaBeans are type-safe name-value pairs (think
HashMaps) but behave like normal JavaBeans with the help of the BeanUtils library.
(Both the DynaBeans and the BeanUtils library were found to be useful and generic
enough that they have been 'promoted' into Jakarta's Commons project.) With
Dynamic ActionForms, instead of coding the tedious setters/getters, developers can
declare the required properties in the struts-config.xml files. Struts will instantiate
and initialize Dynamic ActionForm objects with the appropriate metadata. From
then onwards, The Dynamic ActionForm instance is treated as if it is an ordinary
JavaBean by Struts and the BeanUtils library.

72. Validator

The Validator is not exactly a new feature. The Validator has been in the contrib
package in the distribution since Struts 1.0.1. Since then, part of it has now been
refactored and moved into the Jakarta-Commons subproject and renamed the
Commons-Validator and the Struts specific portion is now called the Struts-
Validator. However, since it is in the contrib package, people may overlook it and it
is worthwhile to mention it here.

The Validator provides an extensible framework to define validation rules to validate


user inputs in forms. What is appealing in the Validator is that it generates both the
server-side validation code and the client-side validation code (i.e. Javascript) from
the same set of validation rules defined in an XML configuration file. The Validator
performs the validation based on regular-expression pattern matching. While a
handful of commonly used validators are shipped with the framework (e.g. date
validator, range validator), you can always define your own ones to suit your need.

73. Default Sub-application

To maintain backward compatibility, Struts 1.1 allows one default sub-application


per application. The URI of the resources (i.e. JSPs, HTMLs, etc) in the default sub-
application will have an empty sub-app prefix. This means when an existing 1.0
application is "dropped" into Struts 1.1, theoretically, it will automatically become
the default sub-application.

74. Direct Requests to JSPs

To take the full advantage of sub-application support, Struts 1.1 stipulates the
requirement that all requests must flow through the controller servlet, i.e. the
ActionServlet. Effectively, this means all JSPs must be fronted by Actions. Instead of
allowing direct requests to any of the JSPs, all requests must go through an Action
and let the Action forward to the appropriate JSP.

This is perhaps the biggest impact of migration to Struts 1.1 if you have not
followed this idiom in your applications. This restriction is required because without
going through the ActionServlet, Struts navigation taglibs (e.g. <html:form> and
<html:link>) used in the JSPs will not have the correct sub-app context to work with.
75. ActionServlet Configurations

With the introduction of sub-applications, a more flexible way is introduced to


configure each sub-application independently. Many of the configuration entries
(e.g. resource bundle location, maximum upload file size, etc) that used to be
defined in web.xml have now been moved to struts-config.xml. The original entries
in web.xml are deprecated but will still be effective.

76. Action.execute() and Action.getResources()

In Struts 1.0, request handling logic is coded in Action.perform(); however,


Action.perform() throws only IOException and SevletException. To facilitate the new
declarative exception handling , the request handling method needs to throw
Exception, the superclass of all the checked exceptions. Therefore, to both maintain
backward compatibility and facilitate declarative exception handling,
Action.perform() is now deprecated in favour of Action.execute().

You also have to be careful if you use DispatchAction in your existing applications.
At the time of writing, the DispatchAction in Struts 1.1 beta has not yet been
updated to use execute(). (A bug report has been filed in Struts' bug database.)
Therefore, without modifying the DispatchAction class yourself, declarative
exception handling will not work with DispatchAction subclasses.

In addition, Action.getResources() is now deprecated. Instead, you should call


Action.getResources(HttpServletRequest) instead. This allows Struts to return to you
the sub-application specific message resources. Otherwise, the message resources
for the default sub-app will be used.

77. Library Dependency

Struts 1.1 now depends on a handful of libraries from other Jakarta subprojects (e.g.
Commons-Logging, Commons-Collections, etc.). Some of these libraries may cause
classloading conflicts in some servlet containers. So far, people have reported in the
mailing list the classloading problem of commons-digester/jaxp1.1, and commons-
logging causing deployment difficulties in Struts 1.1 applications running on
Weblogic 6.0. (The problems have been corrected in Weblogic 6.1 and 7.0.)

78. Resources under WEB-INF

According to the Servlet specification, resources (e.g. JSP files) stored under WEB-
INF are protected and cannot be accessed directly by the browsers. One design
idiom for Struts 1.0 is to put all the JSP files under WEB-INF and front them by
Actions so that clients cannot illegally access the JSPs.

With the introduction of sub-application prefixes in Struts 1.1, mapping resources


under WEB-INF gets complicated. Extra configuration steps utilizing the pagePattern
and forwardPattern attributes of the element in struts-config.xml is required to
inform Struts to construct the paths correctly. More specifically, you need to set
these attributes to the pattern "/WEB-INF/$A$P".

79. What is the Jakarta Struts Framework?

Jakarta Struts is an open source implementation of MVC

(Model-View-Controller) pattern for the development of web based applications.


Jakarta Struts is a robust architecture and can be used for the development of
applications of any size.

The “Struts framework” makes it easier to design scalable, reliable Web


applications.

80. What is an ActionServlet?

The class org.apache.struts.action.ActionServlet is called the ActionServlet.

In the Jakarta Struts Framework this class plays the role of controller.

All the requests to the server go through the “Controller”.

The “Controller” is responsible for handling all the requests.

81. How can one make any “Message Resources” definitions file available to the
“Struts Framework” environment?

Answer: “Message Resources” definitions file are simple .properties files and

these files contain the messages that can be used in the struts project.

“Message Resources” definition files can be added to the struts-config.xml file

through <message-resources /> tag. Example:

<message-resources parameter="MessageResources" />

82. What is an “Action Class”?

The “Action Class” is part of the “Model” and is a wrapper around the business
logic.

The purpose of the “Action Class” is to translate the HttpServletRequest to the


business logic.

To use the “Action”, we need to subclass and overwrite the execute() method.

All the database and business processing is done in the “Action” class.

It is advisable to perform all the database related work in the “Action” class.

The ActionServlet (command) passes the parameterized class to ActionForm using


the execute() method.

The return type of the execute method is ActionForward which is used by the Struts
Framework to forward the request to the file according to the value of the returned
ActionForward object.

83. Write code of any Action Class?

Here is the code of Action Class that returns the ActionForward object.

package j2eeonline.jdj.com;

import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;

import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
import org.apache.struts.action.Action;

import org.apache.struts.action.ActionForm;

import org.apache.struts.action.ActionForward;

import org.apache.struts.action.ActionMapping;

public class TestAction extends Action{

public ActionForward execute(ActionMapping mapping, ActionForm form,


HttpServletRequest request,

HttpServletResponse response) throws Exception{

return mapping.findForward("testAction");

84. What is an “ActionForm”?

An “ActionForm” is a JavaBean that extends org.apache.struts.action.ActionForm.

ActionForm maintains the session state for web application and the “ActionForm”
object is automatically populated on the server side with data entered from a form
on the client side.

85. What is Struts Validator Framework?

The “Struts Framework” provides the functionality to validate the form data.

It can be used to validate the data in the user’s browser as well as on the server
side.

Struts Framework checks the JavaScript code and it can be used to validate the
form data on the client browser.

Server side validation of form data can be accomplished by subclassing your “form”
Bean with DynaValidatorForm class.

The “Validator” framework was developed by David Winterfeldt as a third-party


“add-on” to Struts.

Now the Validator framework is part of the “Jakarta Commons” project and it can be
used with or without Struts.

The Validator framework comes integrated with the Struts Framework and

can be used without any making any additional settings.

86. Describe the details of XML files used in the “Validator Framework”?

The Validator Framework uses two XML configuration files

1) validator-rules.xml and

2) validation.xml.
The validator-rules.xml defines the standard validation routines.

These are reusable and used in validation.xml to define the form specific
validations.

The validation.xml defines the validations applied to a form bean.

87. How would you display “validation fail” errors on a JSP page?

Following tag displays all the errors: <html:errors/>

88. How can one enable front-end validation based on the xml in validation.xml?

The <html:javascript> tag allows front-end validation based on the xml in


validation.xml.

For example the code:

generates the client side JavaScript for the form "logonForm" as defined in the
validation.xml file.

The <html:javascript> when added in the JSP file generates the client side
validation script.