Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Web Architecture Consultant specializing in open source frameworks.

10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

JSP 2.0 and Servlets 2.4 Research

I'm going to record a few items from my JSP 2.0 and Servlet 2.4 research tonight. I hope you don't mind.

From JSR 152 (JSP 2.0):

We plan to incorporate two main new features into JSP, and a few incremental features. Additionally we expect to incorporate erratas and clarifications as well as opportunistic improvements.

The two key features are the use of JSP to author custom actions, and adding expression language support into the container. The main goal of this JSR is to deliver these new features into the JSP specification in a timely manner. This goal will likely limit what other features can be incorporated.

So (to me) this means that if you know JSTL, you already know half of JSP 2.0. And the best part of JSP 2.0? One main theme of this update of the JSP specification is that we want to simplify, not complicate, the view of a JSP that most users, specially page authors, have.

From JSR 154 (Servlet 2.4):

Servlet 2.4 will be a relatively small upgrade to the existing API. Since the technology is highly popular, we have a large number of small requests for enhancement to the API that we would like to be able to accommodate. Over and above that, Servlet 2.4 will address the following areas in a portable manner:-

* Modularization of the deployment format

The goal is to achieve a level of modularity with the deployment format which is not currently possible using the current DTD based deployment descriptor. The intent is to enable this modularity to manage the organization of deployment information of related technologies that use the web container as the underlying platform. These frameworks include dependencies on other J2EE components, JSP technology, JavaServer Faces, JAXM, JAX-RPC and other frameworks that build on servlet semantics.

Hmmm, this almost sounds like the module idea in Struts. Does this mean they want to allow sub-applications (or modules) within a web application? After a little research, it appears that the 2.4 spec will allow you to add new namespaces to your web.xml file, and therefore, you can extend the deployment descriptor for your own needs. Look for vendors to use this, as well as UI Frameworks like JSF. The top of your web.xml will resemble the following on 2.4 container:

<web-app xmlns="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/j2ee"
    xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/j2ee http://
    java.sun.com/xml/ns/j2ee/web-app_2_4.xsd" version="2.4">

Also on the list:

* Enhancements to the security model
     - Provide a facility for logging out of web applications portably
     - Clarify, possibly by adding API or deployment syntax, the relationship between HTTP session state and authentication state

* Smallish enhancements to the filter and listener models
     - Provision of deployment syntax for declaring API dependencies between elements in a filter chain
     - Addition of request and response level listeners and event notifications.

Cool, sounds like good stuff. Logging out of web applications portably? You mean there's more we can do than invalidate the session? I wonder what else there is to logging out? Maybe it'll remember the last page the user was on? No such luck (but you can do that with Cookies). It appears that there's a strong effort to encourage vendors to implement single sign-on for webapps. Tomcat is the only one I know that does this now. HttpSession has a new logout method - if the servlet container implements single signon, the logout logs the client out of all web applications on the servlet container and invalidates all sessions associated with the same client. I guess this is cool if you have more than one webapp on your server. Now we just need an API to allow webapps to talk to each other on the same container. I guess you could call this HTTP, but I want something better than that. Another interesting item I found is that you'll be able to use a servlet as your welcome-file, which is currently not allowed in the 2.3 spec.

So how do these new specs influence how you write your webapps? It doesn't seem like there's much that's new, and certainly no ground-breaking features. So learn Struts, so you'll have a headstart on JSF, and learn JSTL, so you'll know the expression language used in JSP 2.0. If you've been put off by writing tag libraries, it'll be easier with JSP 2.0, as you'll be able to use JSP fragments as a type of tag library. Lastly, if you're not using container-managed authentication (i.e. BASIC, FORM), you might want to consider it. The thing I like most about container-managed authentication is that you can bookmark pages in an app, and then get right back to them by entering a login/password - this is how it should be vs. login -> main menu -> bookmarked page. You can use filters to restore any session or request information that is needed for the bookmarked page.

Pheww, boy am I lucky! I copy-pasted this post before I tried to submit it, and whaddya know, Chimera crashed after I hit the "Post to Weblog" button!

Posted in Java at Nov 29 2002, 07:09:23 PM MST 4 Comments

My Neighborhood

Who lives on your blogstreet? Here's my neighbors.

Posted in Roller at Nov 29 2002, 05:38:01 PM MST Add a Comment

Should I use Maven for struts-xdoclet?

James Strachan has encouraged me to use Maven for my struts-xdoclet project. I should give Dave some credit too, as he has also suggested this through e-mail. Here's my delimma, it'll probably take me anywhere from 2-4 hours to figure it out and integrate it. Does it buy me that much functionality to make it worth it? And my biggest fear is that it seems to help you produce a "project website" - that has a Jakarta look to it. I'll end up spending hours and hours tweaking the look and feel of that sucker - which provides no real value at all. But I'll do it because that's how I am. So to answer your suggestion James, I'm afraid to integrate with Maven, as I'm scared to create too much more work for myself with my already tight deadlines. Volunteers are welcome ;-)

Posted in Java at Nov 29 2002, 11:41:11 AM MST Add a Comment

JSP 2.0 Book

As I mentioned earlier, I've been asked to write a couple chapters in technical book. Since I've been given permission to tell you the name and publisher, here goes. The book is Professional JSP 2.0, an update to Professional JSP 2nd Edition (@amazon.com). I'll be writing two chapters, one on Security and how it relates to web applications, and one on Struts. I hope to complete and submit an outline for both chapters today, and I'll post it here when I'm finished. I was also thinking of contacting all the recent Struts Authors I know (Ted Husted, Chuck Cavaness, and Sue Spielman) to get there advice on the most mis-understood areas of Struts.

My hope is that I won't be writing just another Struts book/article, but rather a summary of the best parts about Struts and things I like (i.e. Validation, XDoclet, DispatchAction, ModuleExceptions). I also plan on sending an e-mail to the Struts User Mailing List in hopes of getting feedback from them. The bad news is that I have a week to write the first draft for each chapter. The good part about that is that it'll force me to focus and get the job done. I'm planning on spending a lot of time at the DU Library, where I've spent many hours in the past cranking out long essays. I plan to do all writing and development on Mini-Me (my Powerbook), b/c I think it'll produce nicer screenshots. As you might've guessed, I'm hoping to use struts-xdoclet as my sample app for both chapters. I plan evolve it more and more even after the book is published though (scheduled for early next year).

Thanks to Lance for the hookup with Wrox.

In other news, I got an interesting e-mail this morning. It said:

I saw your resume and found it impressive. Are you interested in working in Europe?

Posted in Java at Nov 29 2002, 07:21:56 AM MST Add a Comment

text-align: justify

Zeldman inspires me to justify the content on this site. I think it's looking better already. Now I just need to start writing longer posts (like Russ) to justify this change.

Posted in The Web at Nov 29 2002, 06:52:45 AM MST Add a Comment