Introduction To Struts

Every now and then IT industry has come out with something new. It was Java in mid 90s and .NET in 2000 and so on. All these things changed the way programmers write programs.

Java changed the preception of programmer. It let programmers concentrate on application logic more than house-keeping issues like memory management and thread management.

.NET from Microsoft came in 2000 has provided a new platform for application development. We say we develop applications for .NET and not Windows.

J2EE is widely accepted by industry. Java has grown from strength to strength in both Web application development and enterprise application development. First came Servlets, then JSP, EJB and now Java Struts.

What is Java Struts?

If you are hearing this for first time then you are not alone. Not many know it as of now, but at the same time many use it.

Struts is used to develop web applications. It is a web application framework based on JSPs, Servlets and Java Beans.

Struts project was initiated in May,2000 by Craig R. McClanahan and in July,2001 Struts 1.0 was released.

In MVC (Model-view-Controller) design pattern, Controller acts as a mediator between View (presentation) and Model (data). Prior to Struts, MVC was implemented using JSPs. The entire development was JSP Centric. In Model 2 of MVC, we use Servlets and JSPs. JSPs take care of generating HTML (view) and Servlets take care of controlling the flow. Java Beans are used to contain model (data). Beans may take data from either a database or an EJB or any other conceivable source.

View - Presentation

View portion is handled in Struts using JSPs. Struts provide a set of custom tags, which internally generate HTML. The best part of it is these HTML pages can be very easily internationalized. It means the view portion can be in any language. It takes almost no time to shift an application from English to Spanish.

View portion handled by custom tags is intergarted with Model, which is represented by Java Bean.

Controller - controlling the flow

Controller portion is handled by Servlet. ActionServlet in Struts takes request and decides which action should take place. The Action component performs business logic and then transfer control to view portion for display.

What you need to use Struts?

The following are the component required to use Struts.

Do the following after you install Jakarta Struts 1.1.

  1. Unzip the .ZIP file into folder
  2. Copy struts-documentaion.war from webapps directory of the folder into which you extracted ZIP file into webapps directory of Tomcat.
  3. Start Tomcat server
  4. Enter the url http://localhost:8080/struts-documentation. Struts documentation is provided as one of the sample web applications.

First application

I have developed a simple Struts application. Download and extract it into webapps directory of Tomcat. Then start tomcat and run the url http://localhost:8080/first to see the sample application in action.

Java struts provides a few sample applications to demonstrate Struts. However, my application (first) will give an overview of struts without overwhelming you.

Keep learning.