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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.

There's a new sorting and paging taglib in town

From the Apache News Blog, I found there's a new sorting and paging taglib in town. We already have the Display Tag and the Value List Handler, but now we have the Data Grid. It looks pretty good too - although it doesn't seem to support/enforce XHTML. For your viewing pleasure, I've setup a demo. To be fair, you can also checkout the Value List Handler Demo and the Display Tag Demo.

Posted in Java at Sep 16 2004, 09:15:54 PM MDT 19 Comments

Seems the links on the 6th demo for Data Grid uses some hard coded links? The links do not shift order as the data do when sorting on a column. Looks sweet though.

Posted by Pål Brattberg on September 17, 2004 at 01:00 AM MDT #

[Trackback] I just found a cool post by Matt Raible on how to sort tables on the (web-)client-side (without round-trip to the server). This is extremly cool in combination with my favourite JSP tag libraray Displaytag. Update: Today Matt posted another...

Posted by kleineikenscheidt/stefan on September 18, 2004 at 02:58 AM MDT #

Thanks for telling us about the new tag and for creating the demo. Such timing too, I'm working on making a blog on Valuelist because IMO it rocks. I'm curious to see how the demo works, would you mind sharing with us the code for the demo so that I can compare it to valuelist? The documentation on DataGrid appears to be less than poor.

Posted by Kris Thompson on September 19, 2004 at 09:18 AM MDT #

<em>> I'm curious to see how the demo works, would you mind sharing with us the code for the demo?</em> What demo? All the projects mentioned are open source and you can download their demo code as far as I know.

Posted by Matt Raible on September 19, 2004 at 06:50 PM MDT #

I thought you whipped up the demo, seemed like something that you would do between 2am and 4am -;) I'll download the code and check it out.

Posted by Kris Thompson on September 19, 2004 at 07:39 PM MDT #

After checking out the datagrid example source I am left very confused as to why this new taglib exist. As I see it, the only thing it does that the others can't is the aggregation piece.... kind of making this into a spreadsheet like tag. Other then that it seems very much like displaytag. Am I missing something?

Posted by Kris Thompson on September 20, 2004 at 05:54 AM MDT #

So Matt, having played with the three of them, how would rate/compare them?I found the displaytag easy to use but I think i read somewhere that if you have more than 5000 items the display tag start having problems. I'm thinking of moving to valuelist but i didn't find its documentation that good (lots of spelling mistakes and incomplete tutorial). Any insight would be greatly appreciated! Thanx.

Posted by Twice Tshwenyane on September 20, 2004 at 09:44 AM MDT #


I agree, it does seem very much like the display tag. But it doesn't have exporting. I imagine it might get some more traffic b/c its Jakarta. The good thing is that more options are available and hopefully these projects can learn from each other.

Twice - I've only used the displaytag in my projects and I haven't done anything with the others but click through their demos. You are correct about issues performance issues with the displaytag, but the developers are working on that and it should be fixed in the 1.1 release. I've heard good things about ValueList but never used it myself.

Posted by Matt Raible on September 20, 2004 at 12:49 PM MDT #

Ok, most probably displaytag 1.1 would be a long way off as we're still on 1.0 rc1. So in the meantime if my need presses i would have to just dive into valuelist. But like you say the more options we have the better. Thanks.

Posted by Twice Tshwenyane on September 21, 2004 at 04:05 AM MDT #

508 compliant? common I am too lazy to read the code on friday night!

Posted by Green on September 24, 2004 at 08:59 PM MDT #

Yep, it does look to be 508 compliant.

Posted by Matt Raible on September 24, 2004 at 10:34 PM MDT #

There's a good article on the ValueList Handler on Sun's Design Patterns site: According to this article the ValueList Handler requires the use of the Transfer Object pattern. Is this correct? Or can the ValueList Handler be used by just providing a vector of basic beans, like the displaytag is able to do?

Posted by Wouter on September 27, 2004 at 02:23 AM MDT #

After quickly reviewing each of the taglibs mentioned in this post, I have discovered that they each suffer from the same limitation. It doesn't appear that there is anyway to issue a multi-column sort. An example of this type of sort would be sorting by last name and then first name, assuming they were displayed in different columns. Unfortunately for my current app, this is a requirement.

Posted by Dan Allen on October 04, 2004 at 08:48 AM MDT #

Dan - you're right, this is a limitation of these tags. Have fun implementing that - sounds like a bear.

Posted by Matt Raible on October 04, 2004 at 09:33 AM MDT #

I disagree. With Valuelist if you are using the JDBCAdaptor you have access to the sql and therefore you could do it. Take a look at my setup blog on valuelist, It doesn't show a multi column sort but it does have a sortcolumn and you could modifiy the sql to do multi sort.

Posted by Kris Thompson on October 04, 2004 at 10:41 AM MDT #

@X@ @X@ sutki brunetki @X@ [URL=]biurowy striptiz[/URL] @X@ :P (;)

Posted by M@ryn@ on October 17, 2006 at 01:11 AM MDT #

I have not tried the DataGrid tag library by Apache, but evaluated both Display Tags and ValueList thoroughly as a web shop project requires such functionality.

Unfortunately, while looking very good at a first glimpse, both are far from mature or capable especially within a large Enterprise Web Application using either Struts or Spring.

Display Tags seem far more mature, but suffer from one big issue (I'd simply call it a BUG) which is, that paging generates hardcoded URL's using just the JSP, but incompatible with any dynamic URL's such as "" or similar ones. It just produces a "ActionView.jsp" URL with the actual physical JSP location, instead of the Action (or Controller) page using that JSP. Other than that, it is missing editable components, but for lists it seems quite good aside from the problem with MVC frameworks.

ValueList looks rather impressive, and tries to address almost everything, including Spring, Struts, Tiles, ... integration. Unfortunately its version 0.1.8 (0.1.9 in some demos, but they have never been released for download?) is as mature as its number and aside from the HSSQL in memory examples (which kill almost every Tomcat, unless you provide it up to 1GB of VM space ;-) nothing really works !!! Especially real life Oracle data causes it to fail with memory leaks, timeouts or SkipPageExceptions. So unless you just have very little data it seems rather unusable.

Not sure, how Apache's libraries will be compared to that, but as in Display Tags, it seems, those using more "basic" JSP and Servlet mechanisms, like reading a Session Property and introspecting its values rather than doing all the DTO stuff (or trying it) uusually work and behave better.

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