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From Hans Bergsten <>
Subject Re: Problems with <c:out> tag
Date Sun, 06 Jul 2003 00:53:18 GMT
Billy Bacon wrote:
> I've run into the same issue but with a different tag other than <c:out>.
> I'm assuming they are related but I'm really looking for some advice here...
> I'm in the process of converting my application to JSTL from Struts tags.
> Once Struts 1.1 Release Candidate 2 came out supporting EL I decided to
> stick with Struts EL since converting the entire application to JSTL and
> removing all of my Struts tags didn't seem possible when I started to run
> into this issue.
> In my original code I had the following "if" statement within my JSP...
> <logic:equal name="adminDownloadForm" property="idFlag" value="true">
> <%-- Show some related information if 'idFlag' evaluates to true --%>
> </logic:equal>
> The above worked just fine and returned the expected information. When I
> tried to convert this simple "if" statement to JSTL I ran into a problem...
> Here's the code I attempted to use...
> <c:if test="${adminDownloadForm.idFlag}">
> <%-- Show some related information if 'idFlag' evaluates to true --%>
> </c:if>
> Once I tried the <c:if> tag and executed the JSP I received the error
> described by Matt below... "
>>>An error occurred while evaluating custom action
>>>attribute "value" with value
>>>"${adminDownloadForm.idFlag}": Unable to find a value for
>>>"ifFlag" in object of class
>>>"" using operator "."

This means that there's something quite not right with the "idFlag"
property in your bean. The JSTL EL goes strictly by the JavaBeans
specification, so the bean must satisfy all rules for the property access
methods. A quite common problem is to have a "getter" method that returns
an object of one type, and a "setter" method that takes an object of
another type:

   public class MyBean {
     public boolean getIdFlag() {...}
     public setIdFlag(String value) {...}

This is not valid according to the JavaBeans spec, so the end result is
that this class doesn't define a property named "idFlag" at all, even
though it has a getIdFlag() method.

> JSTL is not aware of the adminDownloadForm object. I know this Form is
> related to Struts but the behavior of these JSTL tags is inconsistent. In
> order to get my <c:if> tag to work properly I had to use a <bean:define>
> from the Struts library and define the 'idFlag' variable.
> Now if I do something like this, my <c:if> tag works fine....
> <bean:define id="idFlag" name="adminDownloadForm" property="idFlag" />
> <c:if test="${idFlag}">
> ....
> </c:if>

I have not looked at the Struts code, but I assume that it doesn't use
the JavaBeans support classes to get the property value. If it uses
plain introspection to get hold of a method called getIdFlag() and call
it, it works even though the class doesn't have a bean property with the
name "idFlag" according to the JavaBeans spec.

> But now I'm writing two lines of code when all I needed was one line using
> the <logic:equals> tag from the Struts library. I know an additional line of
> code is not the end of the world but which is better practice? Is having
> Struts tags and JSTL tags in your JSP bad practice? Could it cause confusion
> to other developers down the road?

In general, using more than one tag library from different sources in a
JSP application is not bad practice (it's commonly needed, actually).
But I recommend sticking to JSTL in the cases where there's a direct
replacement for the Struts tag, as in the case of <logic:equals> vs.

> Back to my point of JSTL being inconsistent... I have this standalone tag in
> my JSP (with no bean define or <c:set> and I do not get an exception from
> this tag... It works just fine....
> <c:forEach var="assetType" items="${summaryForm.assetTypeQueues}">
> What's confusing and inconsistent is that I didn't need to define the
> 'summaryForm' object. It was capable of seeing it and extracted the variable
> I asked from it just fine. Why doesn't the <c:if> tag act in the same
> manner? Is this a bug or am I doing something wrong?

See above. It's arguably a bug in your bean class (unless there's something
else going on here that I'm not aware of).

> I apologize for the novel I just wrote but I didnĀ¹t want to leave out any
> details. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I hope this helps,
Hans Bergsten                                <>
Gefion Software                       <>
Author of O'Reilly's "JavaServer Pages", covering JSP 1.2 and JSTL 1.0
Details at                                    <>

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