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From "Craig R. McClanahan" <>
Subject Re: Struts limitation?
Date Mon, 12 Jun 2000 21:04:39 GMT
"Lisa Woodring (EUS)" wrote:

> I've been reading about Struts and playing with the example application.
> It seems like there's a major limitation with the architecture, but please
> correct me if I'm wrong...!!??
> It appears that multiple Action classes can use the same ActionForm.
> However, an Action can only use 1 ActionForm (which would translate
> to only 1 bean per JSP page).  Is this correct?

You are correct ... however, there is no limitation on the number of beans on
the JSP page -- it's just that only one of them will be treated as a "form bean"
for a particular mapping.

> My application sets configuration parameters for a piece of equipment.
> The grouping of configuration parameters is not necessarily obvious
> -- different people have different views on the logical grouping.
> Therefore,
> we want the ability to have certain parameters show up on multiple
> pages -- and have the flexibility to easily move parameters between
> pages (without having to change the ActionForms).  So, in this case, it
> would make more sense to have the "ActionForm" beans contain an internal
> grouping.  Then, have the JSPs use parameters from different beans.  But,
> it appears that you can only have 1 ActionMapping per path in the
> "action.xml"
> file.  Am I wrong, or is there a way to do this?

I am not positive I completely understand what you are after, but can't you do
this by sharing a single ActionForm instance with all of the properties/fields
required by all of the various pages?  That way, you can move a particular field
from one page to another (within this set of pages) without changing any code.

> We actually have an architecture that uses a generic bean class for the
> parameters.
> Then, we have a "setName" method that needs to get called to specify the
> specific
> parameter.  Ideally, it would be nice if the ActionServlet could do this for
> us --
> creating the generic bean class & calling the "setName" method.  Any
> ideas/thoughts?

If you passed the name as a hidden input field called "name", won't this work
for you?  The servlet has no clue whether a particular field was actually
visible or not -- only that it came in as part of the request.

The Struts design pattern is aimed at the use case where a particular form bean
contains individual properties for various fields with matching names (modulo
the usual JavaBeans conventions about capitalization).  A single form bean can
be shared across multiple pages, and a particular field can be moved among those
pages -- or even shown on more than one of them.  The main rationale is that, if
you have to redisplay an existing page, you want the values last entered by the
user to be redisplayed (just as a GUI application will) so that only the
offending fields need to be corrected.

If your JSP pages are gathering data from more than one bean, you've got a
couple of choices if you want to use Struts as it currently stands:

* Create a new bean that combines all the required fields, and populate
  it appropriately when it is first created.  This can be very handy when
  your form bean actually represents an underlying data object (like an
  entity EJB) and you do not want to make actual changes to the data
  bean's properties until everything has been validated and completed.

* Skip the "form bean" part of Struts and just use the MVC pattern stuff.

I'd be interested in discussing what sort of general design patterns we could
implement in Struts that come closer to your requirements, if it is

> Lisa

Craig McClanahan

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