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From Apache Wiki <>
Subject [Myfaces Wiki] Update of "Tiles and JSF." by Robert Taylor
Date Sun, 18 Sep 2005 12:55:27 GMT
Dear Wiki user,

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The following page has been changed by Robert Taylor:

New page:
== How to get started using Tiles and JSF. ==

Tiles is a framework which allows you to build page templates and easily and declaratively
plug in 
various reusable page components. Tiles reduces the cost of maintaining the look and feel
of your 

application, and at the same time allows authors or developers to focus on the content that
really matters. 

For more information on Tiles, please visit

MyFaces Tomahawk provides a series of JSF components that go beyond the JSF specification
and contains an
implementation of javax.faces.application.ViewHandler, JspTilesViewHandlerImpl which supports
MyFaces provides an example web app using JspTilesViewHandlerImpl and can be found in the

binary distribution of the various webapp examples available at

The easiest thing to do is to download and install the myfaces-tiles-example.war example.
Run it, and
look at the configuration files. They will go a long way to explain how things work. If your
familiar with JSF and how things work, then, that may be all you need.

On the other hand, if you stray from standard configurations provided in the example, then
you may
run into problems (especially if you are new to JSF and come from the Struts world).

My goal was to create a simple example, much like the one provided by myfaces-tiles-example.war,
use path mapping instead of extension mapping, and to place all my pages under a directory
called /pages.
I also wanted to avoid using the embedded DTD which is specified in the tiles.xml file provided
in the

The first thing I did was to modify the servlet mapping for the JSF servlet to support path
  <servlet-name>Faces Servlet</servlet-name>

I need to tell MyFaces where to find my tiles configurations. 


I just copied my base-tiles-def.xml file I used in an existing Struts application and
used it as a template for my example.

The next thing was to define a welcome file,


and place index.jsp directly under the root of my web app context.
The file index.jsp simply contains a forward:

<jsp:forward page="/app/launch.jsp"/>

I next updated the faces configuration file to the following:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE faces-config PUBLIC
  "-//Sun Microsystems, Inc.//DTD JavaServer Faces Config 1.0//EN"
  "" >



Next make sure I have  tile defined. Here's a snippet from base-tiles-def.xml:
<definition name="/launch.tiles" extends="main.layout">
	<put name="content" value="/pages/launch.jsp" />

During the view rendering phase, JSF will use the ViewHandler defined, instead of the default,
org.apache.myfaces.application.jsp.JspViewHandlerImpl. This ViewHandler will read in the tiles
definitions and facilitate rendering the appropriate view.

=== A few observations of note here ===

The url in index.jsp is misleading. It would seem to imply that there might be a launch.jsp
directly under 
the web app root context, but there isn't. What happens is that since  the path "/app/" is
in the url, 
the JSF servlet intercepts the request and starts the request processing life cycle. During
render view phase, the JspTilesViewHandlerImpl performs the following logical steps:

 1. Identifies the servlet mapping as path mapping.
 2. Looks at viewId (/launch.jsp) and determines that it contains the default suffix, ".jsp".
 3. Creates a tiles definition look up key by replacing the viewId suffix with ".tiles".
   (/launch.jsp ===> /launch.tiles).
 4. Looks up the tiles definition using the look up key.
 5. Dispatches to the tile
 6. Tiles does the rest as far as rendering the view.

(If your really curious, look at the renderView() method in

In order for this to work, the tiles definition name MUST match the tiles definition look
up key
created in step 3 above.

The default suffix, ".jsp", is configurable by defining an init context parameter in web.xml


One other interesting note for former Struts users, the faces-config navigation-rule element
is empty.
This is because the navigation rules never come into play here. There is no such thing as
an action 
mapping which simply forwards to a tile. This abstraction is removed at the cost of coupling
the viewId
name directly to the tiles definition name.

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