Struts has a lot of different features, and trying to introduce them all at once can confuse and scare off users. After getting frustrated reading various tutorials, I decided to sit down and figure out just how simple a Struts implementation could be while still preserving a proper MVC (model two) architecture.

The Struts HTML and Bean tagsets are wonderful, but they are by no means required to use Struts: while the tutorials and introductions do not advertise this fact, Struts works fine with conventional HTML forms and with basic JSPs. I was able to add Struts support to a simple WebApp using only three *.jar files and no *.tld files:

  1. commons-beanutils.jar
  2. commons-collections.jar
  3. commons-digester.jar
  4. commons-logging.jar
  5. struts.jar

So, simply add those to your WEB-INF/lib/ directory, and you have all the library support you'll need for now.

Next, you need to set up WEB-INF/web.xml to use Struts' ActionServlet:

 <display-name>Minimal Struts Application</display-name>
 <description>Minimal Struts-based WebApp.</description>

You also need to add one (that's right, just one) extra configuration file, WEB-INF/struts-config.xml:

    <form-bean name="nameBean" type="com.megginson.NameBean"/>
    <action path="/foo" type="com.megginson.SubmitAction" input="/index.jsp"
      name="nameBean" scope="request">
      <forward name="success" path="/hello.jsp"/>
      <forward name="failure" path="/error.jsp"/>

I created two JSPs. First, index.jsp, which contains a simple HTML form and no special JSP logic at all (it could have been named index.html):

  <title>Servlet Test</title>
  <h1>Servlet Test</h1>
  <form action="" type="GET">
   <input type="text" name="name"/>
   <input type="submit" value="Say hi!"/>

The second JSP, hello.jsp, displays the output from the servlet, and uses a bit of ugly embedded Java (yes, a tag library would have been cleaner); again, this is straight-forward, non-Struts stuff:


<jsp:useBean id="nameBean" class="com.megginson.NameBean" scope="request"></jsp:useBean>
<p>Hello, <%=nameBean.getName()%>!</p>


Finally, I added two simple classes. The first one, com.megginson.NameBean, extends the Struts ActionForm class, and is the bean that holds state information for the request (Struts populates it automatically from the HTML form):

package com.megginson;


import org.apache.struts.action.ActionForm;

public class NameBean
    extends ActionForm
    implements Serializable

    public NameBean ()

    public String getName ()
        return name;

    public void setName (String name)
    { = name;

    private String name;


The second class, com.megginson.SubmitAction, is virtually useless in its current state, but is here to show how the architecture works. It extends the Struts Action class, and is invoked by the Struts ActionServlet:

package com.megginson;

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 SubmitAction
    extends Action

    public ActionForward execute (ActionMapping mapping, ActionForm form,
            HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
        throws Exception
        NameBean nameBean = (NameBean) form;
        nameBean.setName(nameBean.getName() + ", esquire");
        return mapping.findForward("success");

And that's it: a simple Struts MVC app.

StrutsMinimalInstall (last edited 2009-09-20 23:12:40 by localhost)