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How To Create A Struts 2 Web Application

This tutorial walks through installing the framework and creating a simple application.

While the Struts 2 framework is simple to use, creating non-trivial applications assumes a working knowledge of many J2EE technologies, including:
  • Java
  • Filters, JSP, and Tag Libraries
  • JavaBeans
  • HTML and HTTP
  • Web Containers (such as Tomcat)
  • XML

For more about supporting technologies, see the Key Technologies Primer.

Java Requirements

Struts 2 requires Servlet API 2.4 or higher, JSP 2.0 or higher, and Java 7 or higher.

Our First Application

To get started using Struts 2 we will create a web application using Maven to manage the artifact dependencies. You can checkout all the example applications from the Struts 2 GitHub repository at struts-examples.

Create Struts 2 Web Application Using Maven To Manage Artifacts and To Build The Application

This tutorial assumes you know how to create a Java web application that uses Maven to manage artifacts and build the web application archive (war) file.

Step 1 - Create A Java Web Application

In your Java IDE create a Java web application with a project name of basic_struts that follows the standard Maven project folder structure. In your pom.xml include the following:

pom.xml build node

to run the application using maven, add the jetty maven-plugin to your pom.xml

pom.xml jetty plugin


The above plugin will enable you to run the application using mvn jetty:run

Step 2 - Add index.jsp

Our next step is to add a simple index.jsp to this web application. Create an index.jsp under src/main/webapp with a title of Basic Struts 2 Application - Welcome and in the body add an h1 heading of Welcome to Struts 2!


<!DOCTYPE html>
<%@ page language="java" contentType="text/html; charset=UTF-8" pageEncoding="UTF-8" %>
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <title>Basic Struts 2 Application - Welcome</title>
    <h1>Welcome To Struts 2!</h1>

Run mvn jetty:run to run the application.

In a web browser go to http://localhost:8080/basic-struts/index.jsp. You should see the following:


Step 3 - Add Struts 2 Jar Files To Class Path

Now that we know we have a working Java web application, lets add the minimal required Struts 2 framework Jar files to our web application’s class path. In pom.xml add the following dependency node:

pom.xml dependency node


Of course replace the X.X.X.X with the current Struts 2 version. Maven will get the struts2-core jar and the other jar files struts2-core requires (transitive dependencies).

Beginning with Struts version 2.2.3 you do not need to specify a separate dependency node for javassist.

Step 4 - Add Logging

To see what’s happening under the hood, the example application for this tutorial uses log4j2. You’ll need to add a dependency node for log4j2 to the pom:

pom.xml log4j dependency node


Using both log4j-core and log4j-api allows to use the latest version of Log4j2 without a clash with version provided by the framework. Setup a log4j2.xml configuration in the src/main/resources folder which contains the following


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
        <Console name="STDOUT" target="SYSTEM_OUT">
            <PatternLayout pattern="%d %-5p [%t] %C{2} (%F:%L) - %m%n"/>
        <Logger name="com.opensymphony.xwork2" level="debug"/>
        <Logger name="org.apache.struts2" level="debug"/>
        <Root level="warn">
            <AppenderRef ref="STDOUT"/>

Note the above log4j2 configuration specifies the console as the log target.

Step 5 - Add Struts 2 Servlet Filter

To enable the Struts 2 framework to work with your web application you need to add a Servlet filter class and filter mapping to web.xml. Below is the filter and filter-mapping nodes you should add to web.xml.

web.xml Servlet Filter



For more information about configuring the deployment descriptor for Struts 2 see web.xml. Note the url-pattern node value is /* meaning the Struts 2 filter will be applied to all URLs for this web application.

Step 6 - Create struts.xml

Struts 2 can use either an XML configuration file or annotations (or both) to specify the relationship between a URL, a Java class, and a view page (such as index.jsp). For our basic Struts 2 application, we’ll use a minimal xml configuration. Note the file name is struts.xml and it should be in the src/main/resources folder (struts.xml must be on the web application’s root class path).


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    "-//Apache Software Foundation//DTD Struts Configuration 2.5//EN"


    <constant name="struts.devMode" value="true" />

    <package name="basicstruts2" extends="struts-default">
        <action name="index">


This minimal Struts 2 configuration file tells the framework that if the URL ends in index.action to redirect the browser to index.jsp.

For more information about the struts.xml configuration file see struts.xml.

Step 7 - Build and Run the Application

Run mvn jetty:run to run the web-application using the jetty maven-plugin.

View the console where you should see numerous debug messages that tell you the Struts 2 framework is being included in the basic-struts2 web application.

Open a web browser and go to http://localhost:8080/basic-struts/index.action (note that’s index.action not index.jsp at the end of the URL). You should see the same web page as when going to http://localhost:8080/basic-struts/index.jsp. View the log messages written to the console and you should find several that discuss index.action and index.jsp:

Struts 2 Log Messages

2017-04-17 11:16:01,084 DEBUG [qtp1723848804-22] xwork2.DefaultActionProxy ( - Creating an DefaultActionProxy for namespace [/] and action name [index]
2017-04-17 11:16:01,172 DEBUG [qtp1723848804-22] result.ServletDispatcherResult ( - Forwarding to location: /index.jsp

Getting Help

The Struts 2 user mailing list is an excellent place to get help. If you are having a problem getting this Basic Struts 2 application to work search the Struts 2 mailing list. If you don’t find an answer to your problem, post a question on the mailing list.

Return to Getting started or onward to Hello World using Struts 2