Apache Struts 2 Documentation > Home > Guides > Core Developers Guide > Configuration Elements > Wildcard Mappings
Added by Ted Husted, last edited by Don Brown on Apr 19, 2008  (view change)

As an application grows in size, so will the number of action mappings. Wildcards can be used to combine similar mappings into one more generic mapping.

The best way to explain wildcards is to show an example and walk through how it works. This example modifies a conventional mapping to use wildcards to match all pages that start with /edit:

<!-- Generic edit* mapping -->
<action
    name="/edit*"
    class="org.apache.struts.webapp.example.Edit{1}Action">
    <result
        name="failure"
        path="/mainMenu.jsp"/>
    <result
        path="/{1}.jsp"/>
</action>

The "*" in the path attribute allows the mapping to match the request URIs /editSubscription, editRegistration, or any other URI that starts with /edit, however /editSubscription/add would not be matched. The part of the URI matched by the wildcard will then be substituted into various attributes of the action mapping and its action results replacing {1}. For the rest of the request, the framework will see the action mapping and its action results containing the new values.

Mappings are matched against the request in the order they appear in the framework's configuration file. If more than one pattern matches the last one wins, so less specific patterns must appear before more specific ones. However, if the request URL can be matched against a path without any wildcards in it, no wildcard matching is performed and order is not important. Also, note that wildcards are not greedy, meaning they only match until the first occurrence of the following string pattern. For example, consider the following mapping:

<action name="List*s" class="actions.List{1}s">
  <result>list{1}s.jsp</result>
</action>

This mapping would work correctly for the URI ListAccounts but not ListSponsors, because the latter would turn into this configuration:

<action name="ListSpons" class="actions.ListSpons">
  <result>listSpons.jsp</result>
</action>

Wildcard patterns can contain one or more of the following special tokens:

* Matches zero or more characters excluding the slash ('/') character.
** Matches zero or more characters including the slash ('/') character.
\character The backslash character is used as an escape sequence. Thus
'\*'
matches the character asterisk ('*'), and
'\\'
matches the character backslash ('\').

In the action mapping and action results, the wildcard-matched values can be accessed with the token {N} where N is a number from 1 to 9 indicating which wildcard-matched value to substitute. The whole request URI can be accessed with the {0} token.

Also, the action mapping and action result properties (set using the <set-property key="foo" value="bar"> syntax) will accept wildcard-matched strings in their value attribute.

See also Wildcard Method

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