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Introduction to java server side technologies servlets and jsp

Introduction to JavaServer-Side Technologies:Servlets and JSP

Sun tutorial to servlets

Sun JSP Tutorial

What is a servlet
What is a Servlet?

  • Servlets are Java programs that can be run dynamically from a Web Server

  • Servlets are a server-side technology

  • A Servlet is an intermediating layer between an HTTP request of a client and the data stored on the Web server

A java servlet





A Java Servlet


Web browser

Web server

An example
An Example

  • In the following example, the local server calls the ServletTimeServletwith an argument supplied by the user

  • This example, as well as all the examples in this lecture can be found at http://inferno:5000/(accessible only from CS!)

Reload refresh servlet result
Reload / Refresh Servlet Result

  • Trying to refresh the content created by a servlet will lead to fetching a new content from the server

  • This is not the case with static resources

  • Response headers of a static (as opposed to a servlet generated) resource contain

    • Etag, Last-Modified

  • While trying to refresh a resource

    • Cache-Contol: max-age=0 is sent and that means the server/proxies will try to revalidate the resource

    • Only in the static case the resource could be revalidated against some values the client holds

    • So in the static case the client sends the Etag value attached to the If-None-Match header, and the Last-Modified value is sent in If-Modified-Since

Clear the cache, open and then reload /dbi/Time.htmlOpen and reload /dbi/initCompare the headers sent and received.

What can servlets do
What can Servlets do?

  • Read data sent by the user (e.g., form data)

  • Look up other information about the request in the HTTP request (e.g. authentication data, cookies, etc.)

  • Generate the result (may do this by talking to a database, file system, etc.)

  • Format the result as a document (e.g., convert it into HTML format)

  • Set the appropriate HTTP response parameters(e.g. cookies, content-type, etc.)

  • Send the resulting document to the user

Supporting servlets

In your final project you will install this server to create a powerful website

Supporting Servlets

  • To run Servlets, the Web server must support them

    • ApacheTomcat

      • Also functions as a module for other Apache servers

    • SunJava System Web Server and Java System Application Server

    • IBM's WebSphere Application Server

    • BEA’sWeblogic Application Server

    • Macromedia’sJrun– an engine that can be added to Microsoft’s IIS, Apache’s Web servers and more...

    • Oracle Application Server

Creating a simple servlet

Creating a Simple Servlet a powerful website

Read more about the Servlet Interface

The servlet interface

(HTTP) a powerful website






The Servlet Interface

  • Java provides the interface Servlet

  • Specific Servlets implement this interface

  • Whenever the Web server is asked to invoke a specific Servlet, it activates the method service()of an instance of this Servlet

Http request methods
HTTP Request Methods a powerful website

  • POST -application data sent in the request body

  • GET - application data sent in the URL

  • HEAD- client sees only header of response

  • PUT - place documents directly on server

  • DELETE - opposite of PUT

  • TRACE- debugging aid

  • OPTIONS - list communication options

Servlet hierarchy
Servlet Hierarchy a powerful website

Called by the servlet container to allow the servlet to respond to any request method

service(ServletRequest, ServletResponse)


Generic Servlet

A generic, protocol-independent class, implementing Servlet


doGet(HttpServletRequest , HttpServletResponse)

doPost(HttpServletRequest HttpServletResponse)




Called by the servlet container to allow the servlet to respond to a specific request method

Class httpservlet
Class a powerful websiteHttpServlet

  • Class HttpServlethandles requests and responses of HTTP protocol

  • The service() method of HttpServlet checks the request method and calls the appropriate HttpServletmethod:

    doGet,doPost, doPut, doDelete, doTrace, doOptions ordoHead

  • This class is abstract

That is, a class that can be sub-classed but not instantiated. This class’ methods however are not abstract…

Read more about the HttpServlet Class

Creating a servlet
Creating a Servlet a powerful website

  • Extend the classHTTPServlet

  • Implement doGetor doPost(or both; also maybe others…)

  • Both methods get:

    • HttpServletRequest: methods for getting form (query) data, HTTP request headers, etc.

    • HttpServletResponse: methods for setting HTTP status codes, HTTP response headers, and get an output stream used for sending data to the client

  • Many times, we implement doPostby calling doGet, or vice-versa

Check the result of an empty implementationhttp://localhost/dbi/empty

You could also run:

CheckRequestServlet <host> /dbi/empty <port> <OTHER-METHODS> a powerful website


import javax.servlet.*;

import javax.servlet.http.*;

publicclass TextHelloWorld extends HttpServlet {

publicvoid doGet(HttpServletRequest req, HttpServletResponse res) throws ServletException,IOException{

PrintWriter out = res.getWriter();

out.println("Hello World");


publicvoid doPost(HttpServletRequest req, HttpServletResponse res) throws ServletException,IOException{

doGet(req, res);



Returning html
Returning HTML a powerful website

  • By default, no content type is given with a response

  • In order to generate HTML:

    • Tell the browser you are sending HTML, by setting the Content-Type header (response.setContentType())

    • Modify the printed text to create a legal HTML page

  • You should set all headers beforewriting the document content.Can you guess why?

As you can check using LiveHttpHeaders plug-in

Download LiveHttpHeaders Extension a powerful website

publicclass HelloWorld extends HttpServlet {

publicvoid doGet(HttpServletRequest request,

HttpServletResponse response)

throws ServletException,IOException{

PrintWriter out = response.getWriter();

out.println("<html><head><title>Hello World</title></head>\n");


out.println("<h2>"+new java.util.Date()+"</h2>\n");

out.println("<h1>Hello World</h1>\n</body></html>"); }


Content type wasn’t set, but the browser will understand…

)don’t rely on this in a real product / the project)

Configuring the server

myApp/WEB-INF/classes/HelloWorld.class a powerful website

Configuring the Server

  • More on this in when we Tomcat in depth…













Getting information from the request

Getting Information a powerful websiteFrom the Request

An http request example
An HTTP Request Example a powerful website

GET/default.asp HTTP/1.0

Accept:image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, image/jpeg, image/png, */*



User-Agent:Mozilla/4.04 [en] (WinNT; I ;Nav)


Accept-Charset: iso-8859-1,*,utf-8

Getting http data
Getting HTTP Data a powerful website

  • Values of the HTTP request can be accessed through the HttpServletRequestobject

  • Get the value of the headerhdr usinggetHeader("hdr")of the request argument

  • Get all header names: getHeaderNames()

  • Methods for specific request information: getCookies,getContentLength, getContentType,getMethod,getProtocol, etc.

Read more about the HttpRequest Interface

public a powerful websiteclass ShowRequestHeaders extends HttpServlet {

publicvoid doGet(HttpServletRequest request,HttpServletResponse

response) throws ServletException, IOException {


PrintWriter out = response.getWriter();

String title = "Servlet Example: Showing Request Headers";


"<html><head><title>" + title + "</title></head><body>\n"

+ "<h1>" + title+ "</h1>\n"

+ "<h2>Request Method: "+request.getMethod()+"</h2>"

+ "<h2>Request URI: "+request.getRequestURI()+"</h2>"

+ "<h2>ServletPath: "+request.getServletPath()+"</h2>"

+ "<h2>Request Protocol: "+request.getProtocol()+"</h2>"

+ "<table border=\"1\">\n"

+ "<tr><th>Header Name</th><th>Header Value</th></tr>");

Enumeration a powerful website headerNames = request.getHeaderNames();

while (headerNames.hasMoreElements()) {

String headerName = (String) headerNames.nextElement();

out.println("<tr><td>" + headerName + "</td>"





publicvoid doPost(HttpServletRequest request,HttpServletResponse

response) throws ServletException, IOException {

doGet(request, response);




Compare the results of the different browsers

User input in html
User Input in HTML a powerful website

  • Using HTML forms, we can pass parameters to Web applications

  • <form action=… method=…> …</form>comprises a single form

    • action:the address of the application to which the form data is sent

    • method: the HTTP method to use when passing parameters to the application (e.g.get or post)

The input tag
The a powerful website<input> Tag

  • Inside a form, INPUT tags define fields for data entry

  • Standard input types include: buttons, checkboxes, password fields,radio buttons, text fields, image-buttons, text areas, hidden fields, etc.

  • Each one associates a single (string) value with a named parameter

Get example
GET Example a powerful website








Post example
POST Example a powerful website








Google doesn’t support POST!(try to guess why)

POST /search HTTP/1.1


Content-type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded

Content-length: 10



Getting the parameter values
Getting the Parameter Values a powerful website

  • To get the (first) value of a parameter named x:

    • req.getParameter("x")

      where req is the service request argument

  • If there can be multiple values for the parameter:

    • req.getParameterValues("x")

  • To get parameter names:

    • req.getParameterNames()

< a powerful websitehtml><head><title>Sending Parameters</title>


p{display:table-row} span{display:table-cell; padding:0.2em}


<h1>Please enter the parameters</h1>


<p>Background color:


<p>Font color:

<span><inputtype="text" name="fgcolor"/> </span> </p>

<p>Font size:



<inputtype="submit"value="Submit Parameters"/></h2>




An Example (cont) a powerful website

publicclass SetColors extends HttpServlet {

publicvoid doGet(HttpServletRequest

request,HttpServletResponse response)

throws ServletException, IOException {


PrintWriter out = response.getWriter();

String bg = request.getParameter("bgcolor");

String fg = request.getParameter("fgcolor");

String size = request.getParameter("size");

An Example (cont) a powerful website

out.println("<html><head><title>Set Colors Example"


out.println("<body style=\"color:" + fg +

";background-color:" + bg + ";font-size:"+ size + "px\">");

out.println("<h1>Set Colors Example</h1>");

out.println("<p>You requested a background color " + bg + "</p>");

out.println("<p>You requested a font color " + fg + "</p>");

out.println("<p>You requested a font size " + size + "</p>");



Handling post
Handling Post a powerful website

  • You don't have to do anything different to read POST data instead of GET data. (Cool!)

<form action="localhost/dbi/SetColors"

method="post"> …

public void doPost(HttpServletRequest request,

HttpServletResponse response)

throws ServletException, IOException {

doGet(request, response);


Creating the response of the servlet

Creating the a powerful websiteResponse of the Servlet

Http response
HTTP Response a powerful website

  • The response includes:

    • Status line: version, status code, status message

    • Response headers

    • Empty line

    • Content

HTTP/1.1 200 OK

Content-Type: text/html

Content-Length: 89

Server: Apache-Coyote/1.1


<BODY><H1>Hello World </H1></BODY></HTML>

Read more about the HttpResponse Interface

Setting the response status
Setting the Response Status a powerful website

  • Use the following HttpServletResponse methods to set the response status:

    • setStatus(int sc)

      • Use when there is no error, like 201 (created)

      • No need to send 200 OK explicitly…

    • sendError(sc), sendError(sc, message)

      • Use in erroneous situations, like 400 (bad request)

      • The server may return a formatted message

    • sendRedirect(String location)

      • As opposed to forwarding which is done within the server side completely, on redirect the client gets the “Location” header and a special code (302) and sends another request to the new location


Setting the response status1
Setting the Response Status a powerful website

  • Class HTTPServletResponse has static integer variables for popular status codes

    • for example:

      SC_OK(200), SC_NOT_MODIFIED(304),


  • Status code 200 (OK) is the default

Setting response headers
Setting Response Headers a powerful website

  • Use the following HTTPServletResponse methods to set the response headers:

    • setHeader(String hdr, String value), setIntHeader(String hdr, int value)

      • If a header with the same name exists, it is overridden.

    • addHeader(String hdr, String value), addIntHeader(String hdr, int value)

      • The header is added even if another header with the same name exists.

Specific response headers
Specific Response Headers a powerful website

  • Class HTTPServletResponse provides setters for some specific headers:

    • setContentType

    • setContentLength

      • automatically set if the entire response fits inside the response buffer

    • setDateHeader

    • setCharacterEncoding

More header methods
More Header Methods a powerful website

  • containsHeader(String header)

    • Check existence of a header in the response

  • addCookie(Cookie)

  • sendRedirect(String url)

    • automatically sets the Location header

  • Do not write into the response after sendErroror sendRedirect

Check the result of writing a responseafter sendError/sendRedirect http://localhost/dbi/bad.html

The response content buffer
The Response Content Buffer a powerful website

  • The response body is buffered

  • Data is sent to the client when the buffer is full or the buffer is explicitly flushed

  • Once the first data chunk is sent to the client, the response is committed

    • You cannot set the response line nor change the headers. Such operations are either ignored or cause an exception to be thrown

Check the result of sendError/setContentType getting “commited” http://localhost/dbi/bad.html

Buffer related methods
Buffer Related Methods a powerful website

  • setBufferSize, getBufferSize

    • What are the advantages of using big buffers? what are the disadvantages?

  • flushBuffer

  • resetBuffer

    • Clears the unsent body content

  • reset

    • Clears any data that exists in the buffer as well as the status code and headers (if not yet sent)

  • isCommitted

Supporting http methods

Supporting HTTP Methods a powerful website

The head method
The HEAD Method a powerful website

  • The simple implementation of doHead is executing doGet and excluding the response body

  • In addition, the size of the body is calculated and added to the headers

  • You do not have to override this method

  • Why would one want to override this method?

    • The content size is not calculated in servlets as opposed to static html resources…

Check the default implementation of doHead:

Run CheckRequestServlet <HOST> /dbi/init <PORT> GET Run CheckRequestServlet <HOST> /dbi/init <PORT> HEADRun CheckRequestServlet <HOST> /dbi/Time.html <PORT> HEAD (shorter output yet its length is calculated…)In class HOST=localhost, PORT=80

The head method cont
The HEAD Method a powerful website(cont)

  • The right way to implement doHead is :

    • Don’t implement doHead explicitly

    • Instead, check within the doGet call, what is the requested method (httpServletRequest.getMethod())

    • If it’s HEAD do the same without returning the content

    • This way the results of HEAD / GET requests are similar as they should be

Options and trace
OPTIONS and TRACE a powerful website

  • doOptions returns the supported methods:

    • For example, if you override doGet then the following header will be returned:


  • doTracereturns the request itself in the body of the message, for debugging purposes

  • You usually do not override these methods

    • Override doOptions if you offer some new methods…

Unsupported methods
Unsupported Methods a powerful website

  • By default, the methods doPost, doGet, doPutand doDeletereturn an error status code 405 with the message:

    HTTP method XXXis not supported by this URL

  • doHead calls doGet and therefore leads to the same result but with unsupported method GET

  • In particular, you have to override doGetand doPostif you want to return an appropriate response for these methods

    • Many applications support only one of GET/POST

Servlet life cycle

Servlet Life Cycle a powerful website

Servlet life cycle1
Servlet Life Cycle a powerful website

  • When the servlet mapped URL is requested, the server loads the Servlet class and initializes one instance of it

  • Each client request is handled by the Serlvet instance in a separate thread

  • The server can remove the Servlet

  • The Servlet can remain loaded to handle additional requests

Servlet life cycle2
Servlet Life Cycle a powerful website

  • When the Servlet in instantiated, its method init()is invoked (in our case, by Tomcat)

    • External parameters are supplied

  • Upon a request, its method service()is invoked

  • Before the Servlet removal, its method destroy()is invoked

Servlet life cycle3
Servlet Life Cycle a powerful website

Deal with requests:

call the


Calling the


Destroy the Servlet:

call the





In our case by servlet we refer to any class extending HttpServlet




Initializing servlets
Initializing Servlets a powerful website

  • The method init has a parameter of type ServletConfig

  • ServletConfig has methods to get external initialization parameters (getInitParameter())

    • In Tomcat, these parameters are set in web.xml

  • To make initializations, override init() and notinit(ServletConfig)

    • The former is automatically called by the latter after performing default initializations

If we use init(), how can we obtain a reference to the ServletConfig ?

Read more about the ServletConfig Interface

A web xml example
A web.xml Example a powerful website

  • More on this in when we Tomcat in depth…











  • public a powerful websiteclass ServletInit extends HttpServlet {

  • String _login = null;

  • Calendar _initTime = null;

  • publicvoid init() throws ServletException {

  • _login = getInitParameter("login");

  • _initTime = newGregorianCalendar();

  • }

  • publicvoid doGet(HttpServletRequest req,

  • HttpServletResponse res) throws ServletException, IOException {

  • res.setContentType("text/html");

  • PrintWriter out = res.getWriter();

    • out.println("<html><head><title>Initialization</title><body><h2>"

  • + "I am the Servlet of <i>" + _login+ "</i><br/>"

  • + "I was initialized at " + _initTime.get(Calendar.HOUR_OF_DAY)

  • + ":"+ _initTime.get(Calendar.MINUTE)

  • + ":"+ _initTime.get(Calendar.SECOND)

  • + "</h2></body></html>"); }}

Calls the method getInitParameterdefined within the ServletConfig interface implemented by HttpServletclass

Loading a servlet on startup
Loading a Servlet on Startup a powerful website

  • A Servlet is usually loaded when it is first being called

  • You can set Tomcat to load a specific Servlet on startup in the Servlet declaration inside web.xml

  • More on this in when we Tomcat in depth…






You can use this element to set the loading order of those servlets which are loaded on startup

Destroying servlets
Destroying Servlets a powerful website

  • The server may remove a loaded Servlet, Why?:

    • asked to do so by an administrator (e.g. Server shutdown)

    • Servlet was idle for a long time

    • server needs to free resources

  • The server removes a Servlet only if all threads have finished or a grace periodhas passed

  • Before removing, calls the destroy()method

    • can perform cleanup, e.g., close database connections

  • Is it possible for the Servlet to end without its destroy being called?

    • You can do it if you kill the process explicitly

Thread synchronization
Thread Synchronization a powerful website

  • Multiple threads are accessing the same Servlet object at the same time

  • Therefore, you have to deal with concurrency

  • init() and destroy()are guaranteed to be executed only once (before/after all service executions)

Introduction to jsp

Introduction to JSP a powerful website

Many html pages are mostly static
Many HTML Pages are Mostly Static a powerful website

  • Servlets allow us to write dynamic Web pages

    • Easy access to request, session and context data

    • Easy manipulation of the response (cookies, etc.)

    • And lots more...

  • It is very inconvenient to write and maintain long and mostly static HTML pages using Servlets (even though such pages are very common)

    out.println("<h1>Bla Bla</h1>" + "bla bla bla bla" + "lots more here...")

Introducing jsp
Introducing JSP a powerful website

  • The Idea:

    • Use HTML for most of the page.

    • Write Servlet code directly in the HTML page, marked with special tags.

  • The server automatically translates a JSP page to a Servlet class and the latter is actually invoked

    • In Tomcat 5.5, you can find the generated Servlet code under $CATALINA_BASE/work/

  • A JSP is no more than a very (very) convenient way to write servlets which output textual data.


Java a powerful website



  • Servlets: HTML code is printed using Java code

  • JSP: Java code is embedded in HTML code

  • Not only for HTML! JSP can be used for any textual format. Servlets can be used for any data!



Example a powerful website



<title>Hello World</title>



<h2><%= new java.util.Date() %></h2>

<h1>Hello World</h1>



Open the generated Java code

Generated servlet hierarchy tomcat 5 0 implementation

Sun a powerful website






Generated Servlet Hierarchy(Tomcat 5.0 Implementation)



Abstract class extended by every generated Servlet

Read more about Apache HttpJspBase Class

Jsp limitations and advantages
JSP Limitations and Advantages a powerful website

  • JSP can only do what a Servlet can do

  • Easier to write and maintain HTML

  • Easier to separate HTML from code

  • Can be created using a "reverse engineering technique":

    • Create static HTML and then replace static data with Java code

Jsp life cycle

JSP Life Cycle a powerful website

Jsp life cycle1
JSP Life Cycle a powerful website

The following table describes the life cycle of JSP generated Servlet in details:

Jsp life cycle2

Translation & compilation only after first call… a powerful website

JSP Life Cycle

Server restarted

Page modified

Page first written

Written by Marty Hall. Core Servlets & JSP book:

Jsp translation
JSP Translation a powerful website

JSP file named file.jsp will be translated into the Java file

  • When the JSP file is modified, JSP is translated into a Servlet

    • But only after the JSP’s url is requested by the client

    • Application needs not be reloaded when JSP file is modified

  • Server does not generate the Servlet class after startup, if the latter already exists and isn’t too old

    • Generated Servlet acts just like any other Servlet

  • The generated servlet can handle GET, POST, HEAD requests though it does not implement doGet(), doPost(), doHead() explicitly

    • Its Servlet.service() method calls the newly implemented main method named HttpJspBase._jspService()

Init and destroy
init() a powerful website and destroy()

  • init() of the generated Servlet is called every time the Servlet class is loaded into memory and instantiated

  • destroy() of the generated Servlet is called every time the generated Servlet is removed

  • The latter two happen even if the reason is modification of the JSP file

Jspinit and jspdestroy
jspInit a powerful websiteand jspDestroy

  • In JSP pages, like regular Servlets, we sometimes want to implement init and destroy

  • It is illegal to use JSP declarations to override init or destroy, since they are (usually) already implemented by the generated Servlet

  • Instead, override the methodsjspInit() and jspDestroy()

    • The generated servlet is guaranteed to call these methods from init and destroy,respectively

    • The standard versions of jspInit and jspDestroy are empty (placeholders for you to override)

Thread synchronization1
Thread Synchronization a powerful website

  • After the Servlet is generated, one instance of it serves requests in different threads, just like any other Servlet

  • In particular, the service method (_jspService) may be executed by several concurrent threads

  • Thus, like Servlets, JSP programming requires concurrency management

Basic jsp elements

Basic JSP Elements a powerful website

A Quick Reference to JSP Elements

Basic elements in a jsp file
Basic Elements in a JSP file a powerful website

  • HTML code: <html-tag>content</html-tag>

  • JSP Comments: <%-- comment --%>

  • Expressions: <%= expression %>

  • Scriptlets: <% code %>

  • Declarations: <%! code %>

  • Directives: <%@ directive attribute="value" %>

  • Actions: <jsp:forward.../>, <jsp:include.../>

  • EL Expressions: ${expression}

Covered Later...

Jsp expressions
JSP Expressions a powerful website

  • A JSP expression is used to insert Java values directly into the output

  • It has the form: <%= expression %>, where expression can be a Java object, a numerical expression, a method call that returns a value, etc...

  • For example:

    <%= new java.util.Date() %>

    <%= "Hello"+" World" %>

    <%= (int)(100*Math.random()) %>

The heading space and the following space are not created in the result.

Use “ “ if you want a real space

Jsp expressions1
JSP Expressions a powerful website

  • Within the generated Java code

    • A JSP Expression is evaluated

    • The result is converted to a string

    • The string is inserted into the page

  • This evaluation is performed at runtime (when the page is requested), and thus has full access to information about the request, the session, etc...

Expression translation

public void a powerful website_jspService(HttpServletRequest request,

HttpServletResponse response)

throws, ServletException {




out.write("<h1>A Random Number</h1>\r\n");

out.print( Math.random() );




Expression Translation

<h1>A Random Number</h1>

<%= Math.random() %>

Default content-type

The generated servlet calls out.write() for Strings, and out.print() for objects

Predefined variables implicit objects
Predefined Variables (Implicit Objects) a powerful website

  • The following predefined variables can be used:

    • request: the HttpServletRequest

    • response: the HttpServletResponse

    • session: the HttpSession associated with the request

    • out: the PrintWriter (a buffered version of type JspWriter) used to fill the response content

    • application: The ServletContext

    • config: The ServletConfig

  • These variables and more will be discussed in details

< a powerful websitehtml>


<title>JSP Expressions</title>



<h2>JSP Expressions</h2>


<li>Current time: <%= new java.util.Date() %></li>

<li>Your hostname:<%= request.getRemoteHost() %></li>

<li>Your session ID: <%= session.getId() %></li>

<li>The <code>testParam</code> form parameter:

<%= request.getParameter("testParam") %></li>




Computer-code style

Jsp scriplets
JSP Scriplets a powerful website

  • JSP scriptletslet you insert arbitrary code into the Servlet service method ( _jspService)

  • Scriptlets have the form: <% Java Code%>

  • The code is inserted verbatim into the service method, according to the location of the scriptlet

  • Scriptlets have access to the same automatically defined variables as expressions

Scriptlet translation
Scriptlet Translation a powerful website

<%= foo() %>

<% bar(); %>

public void _jspService(HttpServletRequest request,

HttpServletResponse response)

throws ServletException, IOException {








An interesting example
An Interesting Example a powerful website

Scriptlets don't have to be complete code blocks:

<%if (Math.random() < 0.5) { %>

You <b>won</b> the game!

<%} else { %>

You <b>lost</b> the game!

<% } %>

if (Math.random() < 0.5) {

out.write("You <b>won</b> the game!");

} else {

out.write("You <b>lost</b> the game!");


Jsp declarations
JSP Declarations a powerful website

  • A JSP declaration lets you define methods or members that get inserted into the Servlet class (outside of all methods)

  • It has the following form:

    <%! Java Code %>

  • For example:

    <%! private int someField = 5; %>

    <%! private void someMethod(...) {...} %>

  • JSPs are intended to contain a minimal amount of code so it is usually of better design to define methods in a separate Java class...

Declaration example
Declaration Example a powerful website

  • Print the number of times the current page has been requested since the Servlet initialization:

<%! private int accessCount = 0; %>

<%! private synchronized int incAccess() {

return ++accessCount;

} %>

<h1>Accesses to page since Servlet init:

<%= incAccess() %> </h1>

Generated Servlet a powerful website

public class serviceCount_jsp extends... implements...

throws... {

private int accessCount = 0;

private synchronized int incAccess() {

return ++accessCount;


public void _jspService(HttpServletRequest request,

HttpServletResponse response)

throws ServletException, IOException {



out.write("<h1>Accesses to page since Servlet init: ");


... } ... }

Java permits member initialization on declaration, even if the location is outside any method’s scope

Jsp directives
JSP Directives a powerful website

  • A JSP directive affects the structure of the Servlet class that is generated from the JSP page

  • It usually has the following form:

    <%@directive attribute1="value1"... attributeN="valueN"%>

  • Three important directives: page, include and taglib

  • include and taglib will be discussed later

Page directive attributes
page a powerful website-Directive Attributes

  • importattribute: A comma separated list of classes/packages to import

    <%@ page import="java.util.*,*" %>

  • contentTypeattribute:Sets the MIME-Type of the resulting document (default is text/html as already mentioned)

    <%@ page contentType="text/plain" %>

Imports from the class/Jar locations as mentioned in Tomcat class

Page directive attributes cont
page a powerful website-Directive Attributes (cont)

  • What is the difference between setting the page contentType attribute, and writing<%response.setContentType("...");%> ?

    • In the latter case, the new servlet will call response.setContentType()twice

    • The first, impicit (from the JSP point of view), call will be with the default content type.

    • The second, explicit, call might even come after the buffer was flushed or after the writer was obtained…

Check: double-contenttype.jsp code using the explicit call, generated java code (servlet)

Page directive attributes cont1
page a powerful website-Directive Attributes (cont)

.If the JSP is defined as using a session, a session cookie will be sent to the client

The underlinedvalue is the default

  • session="true|false" - use a session?

  • buffer="sizekb|none|8kb"

    • Specifies the content-buffer (out) size in kilo-bytes

  • autoFlush="true|false"

    • Specifies whether the buffer should be flushed when it fills, or throw an exception otherwise

  • isELIgnored ="true|false"

    • Specifies whether JSP expression language is used

    • EL is discussed later