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When you click on a hyperlink or submit an HTML form in a Struts 2 web application, the input is not sent to another server page, but to a Java class that you provide. These classes are called Actions. After the Action fires, a Result selects a resource to render the response. The resource is generally a server page, but it can also be a PDF file, an Excel spreadsheet, or a Java applet window.
Suppose you want to create a simple "Hello World" example that displays a welcome message. After setting up an empty basic Struts 2 web application (see How To Create A Struts 2 Web Application), to create a "Hello World" example, you need to do four things:
Create a mapping (struts.xml) to couple the Action class and view
Let's look at an example model class, Action, server page, and mapping. If you like, fire up your Java IDE, and enter the code as we go.
Let's modify either the basic_struts project to add a model class to store our message, a view that displays our message, an Action class to act as the controller, and a configuration that ties everything together.
If you're using the Basic_Struts2_Ant project to start with create the MessageStore class in the src folder and if you're using the Basic_Struts2_Mvn class create the MessageStore class in src/main/java. Be sure to note the package statement below.
In the model class above note the use of public set and get methods to allow access to the private message String attribute. The Struts 2 framework requires that objects you want to expose to the view (HelloWorld.jsp) follow the JavaBean-style conventions.
We need an Action class to act as the Controller. The Action class responds to a user action (in this example that action will be clicking an HTML hyperlink and sending a specific URL to the Servlet container). One or more of the Action class's methods are executed and a String result is returned. Based on the value of the result, a specific view page (in this example that view page is HelloWorld.jsp) is rendered.
Note the package and import statements below.
The Struts 2 framework will create an object of the
HelloWorldAction class and call the execute method in response to a user's action (clicking on a hyperlink that sends a specific URL to the Servlet container).
In this example, the execute method creates an object of class
MessageStore and then returns the String constant
Note also the public getter and setter methods for the private
MessageStore object. Since we want to make the
MessageStore object available to the view page,
HelloWorld.jsp we need to follow the JavaBean-style of providing get and set methods.
We need a server page to present the message that is stored in the model class
MessageStore. Create the below JSP in the
WebContent folder (if using Ant) or in
src/main/webapp (if using Maven).
The taglib directive tells the Servlet container that this page will be using the Struts 2 tags and that these tags will be preceded by an
<s:property> tag displays the value returned by calling the method
getMessageStore of the
HelloWorldAction controller class. That method returns a
MessageStore object. By adding the
.message onto the messageStore part of the value attribute we are telling the Struts 2 framework to call the
getMessage method of that
MessageStore object. The
getMessage method of class
MessageStore returns a String. It is that String that will be displayed by the
We'll learn more about tags in the next tutorial. See the Struts Tags for more information about tags.
We need a mapping to tie the URL, the
HelloWorldAction class (controller), and
HelloWorld.jsp (the view) together. The mapping tells the Struts 2 framework which class will respond to the user's action (the URL), which method of that class will be executed, and what view to render based on the String result that method returns.
struts.xml file (in the Mvn project that file is in the src/main/resources folder) to add the action mapping. Place the action node (action name="hello") between the opening and closing package node, just after the action mapping with the name="index". Your complete struts.xml should look like:
In index.jsp (see WebContent folder for Ant project and src/main/webapp for Mvn project) let's add an Action URL the user can click on to tell the Struts 2 framework to run the execute method of the HelloWorldAction class and render the HelloWorld.jsp view.
First add the taglib directive at the top of the jsp
<%@ taglib prefix="s" uri="/struts-tags" %>. Next add this p tag
<p><a href="<s:url action='hello'/>">Hello World</a></p> after the h1 tag. Your new index.jsp should look like:
The Struts url tag creates the URL with an action of hello. The hello action was mapped to the HelloWorldAction class and its execute method. When the user clicks on the above URL it will cause the Struts 2 framework to run the execute method of the HelloWorldAction class. After that method returns the String success, the view page HelloWorld.jsp will be rendered.
Execute mvn clean package to create the war file.
Copy the war file to your Servlet container. After your Servlet container successfully deploys the war file go to this URL http://localhost:8080/helloworld/index.action where you should see the following:
Click on the Hello World link and you should get the HelloWorld.jsp page:
The Struts 2 user mailing list is an excellent place to get help. If you are having a problem getting this 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.
Your browser sends to the web server a request for the URL http://localhost:8080/Hello_World_Struts2_Ant/hello.action.
hello.action. According to the settings loaded from the web.xml, the container finds that all requests are being routed to
org.apache.struts2.dispatcher.ng.filter.StrutsPrepareAndExecuteFilter, including the
*.actionrequests. The StrutsPrepareAndExecuteFilter is the entry point into the framework.
executemethod creates the MessageStore object and returns
SUCCESS. The framework checks the action mapping to see what page to load if
SUCCESSis returned. The framework tells the container to render as the response to the request, the resource
HelloWorld.jspis being processed, the
<s:property value="messageStore.message" />tag calls the getter
HelloWorldAction and then calls the
getMessageof the MessageStore object returned by
getMessageStore, and the tag merges into the response the value of the message attribute.
The framework uses Actions to process HTML forms and other requests. The
Action class returns a result-name such as
INPUT. Based on the mappings loaded from the
struts.xml, a given result-name may select a page (as in this example), another action, or some other web resource (image, PDF).
When a server page is rendered, most often it will include dynamic data provided by the Action. To make it easy to display dynamic data, the framework provides a set of tags that can be used along with HTML markup to create a server page.