Basic Struts 2 project setup

by Nabi Zamani
January 15th, 2011
(Last update: March 02nd, 2011)

This tutorial will tell you how to setup a basic Struts 2 project. The IDE I used is Netbeans 6.9, but you could also use any other IDE of your choice. I have tested this tutorial on Glassfish 3.0.1 - a great Java EE 6 certified application server. You should also be able to make this tutorial run on any other Servlet container, such as Tomcat or Jetty. I tested this Tutorial on both Glassfish and Tomcat. Apache Struts 2 requires:

  • Servlet API 2.4
  • JSP API 2.0
  • Java 5

Table of contents:


The application we will develop is very simple. It consists of two jsp files. One of them displays a html form with only one text field. This text field has to be filled with a message of your choice. On submission the message will be displayed. Our Action class will check if the field is filled or not. In case it is not filled we will get back to the input page and an error message is displayed.

You can also download the Netbeans project (Glassfish) or the corresponding Eclipse project (Tomcat 7). The projects also contain the required libraries in the right place. In both cases the lib directory within WEB-INF contains all the jar files I have mentioned above. In Eclipse these jar files are automatically added to the project (because they are located in the lib directory). For Netbeans each of the jar files in the lib directory has to be added manually to the project (I suggest as a relative path). The following two screenshots show you both the Netbeans (left) and Eclipse (right) project structure:


Screenshot from Netbeans project Screenshot from Eclipse project

Creating this tutorial meant a lot of effort. I hope it will help others. Any feedback is welcome - feel free to leave a comment (see below). If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me. For helping me to maintain my tutorials any donation is welcome.

If you want to learn more about Struts 2 then you should definitely have a look at the examples posted on the official Struts 2 sites at http://struts.apache.org/2.2.1.1/docs/getting-started.html. For this tutorial I have used a lot of the code posted there. The Struts 2 documentation and code examples make a great job for delivering knowledge to beginners and professionals. I am sure they welcome any contribution and donations as well.


1. Getting the Struts 2 libraries

You can download Struts 2 from http://struts.apache.org/index.html (I used struts-2.2.1.1 here). Once you have downloaded the archive please have a look at the lib folder - it includes all the relevent Struts 2 libraries. But we do not want to add all the jar files to our project because we don't need them all.

Unfortunately the Struts 2 downloads for some reason miss the javassist library - I cannot tell you why. That means you have to download it manually as well from www.javassist.org. The download includes javassist-x.xx.x-GA.jar (in my case javassist-3.14.0-GA.jar). If you don't add this library to your project then your Struts 2 application won't run.

Since we will also add log4j support later we have to add the log4j library as well. You can get log4j from http://logging.apache.org/log4j/1.2/.

So finally we have the libraries we want to add to our project. This is the minimum setup for any Struts 2 project:

  • commons-fileupload-1.2.1.jar
  • commons-io-1.3.2.jar
  • commons-logging-1.0.4.jar
  • ognl-3.0.jar
  • commons-logging-api-1.1.jar
  • struts2-core-2.2.1.1.jar
  • freemarker-2.3.16.jar
  • xwork-core-2.2.1.1.jar
  • javassist-3.14.0-GA.jar
  • log4j-1.2.16.jar

2. Creating the web.xml

The web.xml is pretty streight forward. The following web.xml has to be placed as usual into your WEB-INF directory:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<web-app id="WebApp_ID" version="3.0"
    xmlns="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee"
    xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee/web-app_3_0.xsd">

    <display-name>Basic Strust 2 Project setup on Glassfish 3.0.1</display-name>

    <filter>
        <filter-name>struts2</filter-name>
        <filter-class>org.apache.struts2.dispatcher.ng.filter.StrutsPrepareAndExecuteFilter</filter-class>
    </filter>

    <filter-mapping>
        <filter-name>struts2</filter-name>
        <url-pattern>/*</url-pattern>
    </filter-mapping>

</web-app>

3. Creating the struts.xml

The struts.xml is the main configuration file for struts. Here we will define our Actions. The struts.xml file has to be placed either in your default package or it can be placed into the WEB-INF/classes/ directory (for the latter case you might have to create the classes directory yourself). I have choosen to put the file together with struts-2.1.7.dtd into the classes directory.

Hint: I guess the Struts 2 developers always forget to offer a new *.dtd file which contains the latest version number (I have monitored this the last releases). But struts-2.1.7.dtd works just fine.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE struts PUBLIC
    "-//Apache Software Foundation//DTD Struts Configuration 2.1.7//EN"
    "/WEB-INF/classes/struts-2.1.7.dtd">

<struts>
    <!--
    You could also set the constants in the struts.properties file
    placed in the same directory as struts.xml
    -->
    <constant name="struts.devMode" value="true" />

    <package name="basicstruts2" extends="struts-default" namespace="/">

        <!--
        If no class attribute is specified the framework will assume success and
        render the result index.jsp
        If no name value for the result node is specified the success value is the default
        -->
        <action name="index">
            <result>/WEB-INF/results/index.jsp</result>
        </action>

        <action name="">
            <result>/WEB-INF/results/index.jsp</result>
        </action>

        <!--
        If the URL is hello.action then call the execute method of class HelloWorldAction.
        If the result returned by the execute method is success render the HelloWorld.jsp
        -->
        <action name="hello" class="com.nabisoft.struts2.demo.action.HelloWorldAction" method="execute">
            <result name="success">/WEB-INF/results/HelloWorld.jsp</result>
            <result name="input">/WEB-INF/results/index.jsp</result>
        </action>

    </package>

</struts>

4. Creating the struts.properties

The struts.properties file is another configuration file where we can set some struts properties. See http://struts.apache.org/2.0.14/docs/strutsproperties.html for more information. I have choosen to place this file at /WEB-INF/classes/.

struts.devMode=true
#struts.locale=en
#we don't want to show extensions
struts.action.extension= ,
struts.configuration.xml.reload=false
struts.i18n.reload=true
struts.custom.i18n.resources=global
struts.enable.DynamicMethodInvocation=false
#struts.enable.SlashesInActionNames=true

5. log4j configuration

The log4j.xml file has to be placed either in your default package or it can be placed into the WEB-INF/classes/ directory. Again I have choosen to put the file together with log4j.dtd into the classes directory.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<!DOCTYPE log4j:configuration PUBLIC "-//log4j/log4j Configuration//EN" "log4j.dtd">

<log4j:configuration xmlns:log4j="http://jakarta.apache.org/log4j/">

    <appender name="STDOUT" class="org.apache.log4j.ConsoleAppender" >
       <layout class="org.apache.log4j.PatternLayout" >
          <param name="ConversionPattern" value="%d %-5p %c.%M:%L - %m%n" />
       </layout>
    </appender>

    <!-- specify the logging level for loggers from other libraries -->
    <logger name="com.opensymphony" >
    	<level value="DEBUG" />
    </logger>

    <logger name="org.apache.struts2" >
    	 <level value="DEBUG" />
    </logger>

    <!-- for all other loggers log only debug and above log messages -->
    <root>
       <priority value="INFO" />
       <appender-ref ref="STDOUT" />
    </root>

</log4j:configuration>



6. Internationalization / i18n

Internationalization is an easy job in Struts 2. We will simply create a global.properties file because we have defined it in our struts.properties (see above). global.properties is for the default language, for English we also create global_en.properties and for German global_de.properties files. Since I want English to be the default language global_en.properties will simply be empty. In this case you could also leave the file global_en.properties away but unfortunately I was facing some i18n issues. It seems that depending on the JRE locale struts chooses the corresponding "default"-locale. Offering an empty global_en.properties file solved my issue - it is enough for me as a workaround. All English descriptions will be in global.properties. For this tutorial it is enough to place the properties files into the default package.

submit=submit
your.message-label=Your message
welcome=Welcome to Struts 2!
error.enter.message=Please enter a Message!

submit=Absenden
your.message-label=Ihre Nachricht
welcome=Willkomen zu Struts 2!
error.enter.message=Please enter a message!

7. Creating the struts results (jsp)

Next we will create two jsp files in /WEB-INF/results/ which will be our struts result pages we have specified in the struts.xml.

<%@ page language="java" contentType="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1" pageEncoding="ISO-8859-1"%>
<%@ taglib prefix="s" uri="/struts-tags" %>
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html>
    <head>
        <title>Basic Struts 2 Project Setup</title>
        <s:head/>
    </head>

    <body>

        <h1><s:text name="welcome" /></h1>

        <p>
            <s:url id="localeEN" namespace="/" action="" >
                <s:param name="request_locale" >en</s:param>
            </s:url>
            <s:url id="localeDE" namespace="/" action="" >
                <s:param name="request_locale" >de</s:param>
            </s:url>
            <s:a href="%{localeEN}" >English</s:a>
            <s:a href="%{localeDE}" >German</s:a>
        </p>

        <s:if test="hasActionErrors()">
        <div id="fieldErrors">
            <s:actionerror/>
        </div>
        </s:if>

        <s:form action="hello" namespace="/" method="post" name="myForm" theme="xhtml">
            <s:textfield name="message" size="40" maxlength="40" required="true" key="your.message-label"/>
            <s:submit key="submit" />
        </s:form>

    </body>

</html>

<%@ page language="java" contentType="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1"
    pageEncoding="ISO-8859-1"%>
<%@ taglib prefix="s" uri="/struts-tags" %>
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html>

    <head>
        <title>Hello World!</title>
    </head>

    <body>

        <h2>Thank you for your message on <s:property value="nowDate" /></h2>

        <p>
            Your Message was:<br/><br/>
            <s:property value="message" />
        </p>

    </body>

</html>

8. Implementing the Action Class

Now we have to implement our Action class which we have referenced from within our struts.xml file.

package com.nabisoft.struts2.demo.action;

import com.opensymphony.xwork2.ActionSupport;
import java.util.Date;

public class HelloWorldAction extends ActionSupport {


    private String message;

    private Date nowDate;

    @Override
    public void validate(){
        if (message==null || message.length()==0)
            addActionError(getText("error.enter.message"));
    }

    @Override
    public String execute() throws Exception {
        nowDate = new Date();

        return SUCCESS;
    }

    public String getMessage() {
        return message;
    }

    public void setMessage(String message) {
        this.message = message;
    }

    public Date getNowDate() {
        return nowDate;
    }

}

9. Location of the required files

Please have a look at the two sceenshots above (one for Eclipse and one for Netbeans) to see where exactly all the required files are located. You could also download the preconfigured Eclipse project (configured to run on Tomcat 7) or Netbeans project (configured to run on Glassfish 3.0.1) and import it into your IDE. As you can see both in the screenshots and the preconfigured projects the i18n property files are placed right in the default Java package. The directory WEB-INF/classes/ contains the following files:

  • log4j.dtd
  • log4j.xml
  • struts-2.1.7.dtd (shipped with the struts download)
  • struts.properties
  • struts.xml

I usually prefer to put *.dtd (here: struts-2.1.7.dtd) files somewhere on the local server and then referencing them there instead of referencing a remote server. In our case I have choosen to put the file struts-2.1.7.dtd into WEB-INF/classes/ and to reference it in the file struts.xml via "/WEB-INF/classes/struts-2.1.7.dtd" instead of referencing "http://struts.apache.org/dtds/struts-2.1.7.dtd" (see Step 3 ).


10. Running the application

To see the result of your application you need to enter one of the following URLs into a browser of your choice (your URL might be different depending on your project settings):

  • Eclipse project: http://localhost:8080/BasicStrust2ProjectEclipse/
  • Netbeans project: http://localhost:8080/BasicStrust2Project/

11. Download Source Code

Instead of creating your Eclipse/Netbeans project according to this tutorial you might prefer to download the preconfigured projects I offer. This might save you some time because you can import them into your Netbeans/Eclipse IDE and have a runnung example within only a few minutes (or even seconds). Make sure you have already installed Glassfish 3.0.1 / Tomcat 7. You should also have Glassfish 3.0.1 / Tomcat 7 added to your IDE.




Comments
  • If you like this tutorial help me to maintain it:
  • And don't forget to let others know about it:
 
 
 
gfdfgdg
posted by rfsdfgdfg
Fri Mar 14 13:33:46 CET 2014
dgdfgdfgdfg
hi
posted by Pritam
Tue Jan 07 11:05:57 CET 2014
I am using eclipse kepler and apche tomcat.I did, what is mentioned in this tutorial but,i got 404 error. 
to download struts 2
posted by hemraj
Thu Oct 03 11:09:33 CEST 2013
 it is  to understand
Working example
posted by Gábor
Fri Jul 26 16:36:51 CEST 2013
Dear Nabi,

thank you for your working example. I tried it on Eclipse Kepler+Tomcat 7 under Debian. It is very nice, that the needed jar files are in the example too.

Best wishes
Gábor
about htis project
posted by max
Mon Apr 15 11:51:47 CEST 2013
Hey i want to ask one simple Question..that is why u place those two jsp file into "results" folder..is there any rules are there....
Well actually i tried to place those files into web content and run it but action not executed......
basics of struts 2 - facing problem
posted by rakesh kumar
Sat Apr 13 16:06:42 CEST 2013
http://www.nabisoft.com/tutorials/struts2/basic-struts2-project-setup

I was going through the above URL step by step. This one is really very good and well explained stuff. While running tomcat I am facing one problem and looking for a quick help.

Following is the problem I am getting while running the tomcat -

description: The requested resource is not available. 
want source code
posted by Nadeem Ahmed
Mon Mar 25 03:28:47 CET 2013
I am beginner, wants to learn
Thank You
posted by swathi
Wed Oct 17 11:27:46 CEST 2012
I download the netbeans project it is run successfully in my system..Thank you very much..
       
want to download the sourec code
posted by Geeta
Thu Jul 26 07:29:41 CEST 2012
want to download the sourec code
about this struct2 pgm
posted by Sharda
Wed Jul 25 15:31:05 CEST 2012
Nice explaination  thxxxx ...........
.properties file and classes folder.
posted by yuta lolap
Wed Jul 04 17:29:19 CEST 2012
What  is the use of .properties fie? 

How does the classes folder get created in eclipse ide? Do i have to create the folder myself? How do i get the files in it?


 i know how to make the struts.xml file but there are these log files u have how do i get them?

Please give me a step by step tutorial.
require source code
posted by saranya
Mon May 14 07:36:10 CEST 2012
require source code
How to these existing project RollingFileAppender for store the logs in notepade
posted by Shannu
Mon Feb 06 07:35:24 CET 2012
provide the code for, existing project in eclipse using RollingFileAppender in log4j.xml file to store the logs in notepad


feed back
posted by sarath
Tue Dec 20 11:16:18 CET 2011
nice explanation
Hi
posted by Shakthileela
Thu Dec 15 07:33:16 CET 2011
Could I please know which version of Eclipse I should download for getting the Dynamic Web project in my file menu. Please reply If anyone knows.
for this application
posted by pavan
Wed Dec 07 07:07:12 CET 2011
It good for exposed to public for learning new things
Regarding :log4j
posted by Suresh
Fri Nov 25 14:44:38 CET 2011
Hai,
         I need a help and detailed information of log4j and procedures to convert  an web application into executable file which has to be in encrypted format for security purpose. 
struts2
posted by madhu
Fri Nov 18 06:40:55 CET 2011
really helpful and nice explanation wih detail
Problem
posted by GaR
Thu Nov 17 04:44:35 CET 2011
$QUOTE I our case I have choosen to put the file struts-2.1.7.dtd into WEB-INF/classes/ and to reference it in the file struts.xml via "/WEB-INF/classes/struts-2.1.7.dtd" instead of referencing "http://struts.apache.org/dtds/struts-2.1.7.dtd" $QUOTE

------------------- 

Maybe that is problem here ! It cannot find this path ! 

Plain clearly pls ! 
Question regarding Struts2 application
posted by Balu
Wed May 25 02:10:53 CEST 2011
Hi Sir,

I am writing a small application where I read data from JSP and pass it to Action through Forms. I have created project in Netbeans 6.9 . It was all fine till i wanted to integrate it with Struts2 Jquerry plugin.

It Shows below error:

org.apache.jasper.JasperException: file:C:/Users/Jasmine/Documents/NetBeansProjects/WebApplication3/build/web/JQueryTrial.jsp(11,40) PWC6117: File "/struts-tags" not found
org.apache.jasper.JasperException:  PWC6117: File "/struts-tags" not found

My previous JSP file as below (  when it worked fine) 


<%@page contentType="text/html"%>
<%@page pageEncoding="UTF-8"%>

<%@ taglib uri="http://struts.apache.org/tags-bean" prefix="bean" %>
<%@ taglib uri="http://struts.apache.org/tags-html" prefix="html" %>
<%@ taglib uri="http://struts.apache.org/tags-logic" prefix="logic" %>

<html:html lang="true">
    <head>
        <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8">
        <title><bean:message key="welcome.title"/></title>
        <html:base/>
    </head>
    <body style="background-color: white">
        
        <logic:notPresent name="org.apache.struts.action.MESSAGE" scope="application">
            <div  style="color: red">
                ERROR:  Application resources not loaded -- check servlet container
                logs for error messages.
            </div>
        </logic:notPresent>
        <html:form action="test.do">
            <html:text property="name"/>
            <html:submit />
        </html:form>

        <h3><bean:message key="welcome.heading"/></h3>
        <p><bean:message key="welcome.message"/></p>
        
    </body>
</html:html>


--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Now it is like shown below 



<%@ taglib prefix="s" uri="/struts-tags"%>
<%@ taglib prefix="sj" uri="/struts-jquery-tags"%>


<html:html lang="true">
    <head>
        <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8">
        <title><bean:message key="welcome.title"/></title>
        <html:base/>
    </head>


    <body style="background-color: white">

        <logic:notPresent name="org.apache.struts.action.MESSAGE" scope="application">
            <div  style="color: red">
                ERROR:  Application resources not loaded -- check servlet container
                logs for error messages.
            </div>
        </logic:notPresent>

        <div id="div1">Div 1</div>
    <s:url id="ajaxTest" value="/AjaxTest.action"/>
    <sj:a id="link1" href="%{ajaxTest}" targets="div1">
        Update Content
    </sj:a>

    <html:form action="test.do">
        <html:text property="name"/>
        <html:submit />
    </html:form>

    <h3><bean:message key="welcome.heading"/></h3>
    <p><bean:message key="welcome.message"/></p>

</body>

</html:html>

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Can you please look at the problem ad let me know where what is the link I am missing.

I have included all the library files through Project--> properties --> Library.
I dont think there is an issue due to that.

Thanks in advance !!! 
Struts2Project
posted by RK
Fri May 06 06:17:34 CEST 2011
I developed my own small application by referring your content and the BasicStruts2 Project. My Application works fine.

Thanks & Regards
RK
Tutorial has been updated
posted by Nabi
Wed Mar 02 23:33:41 CET 2011
I have added Steps 9, 10 and 11.

@zib:
1) see Step 10: if you choose to run the project I offer for download you need to enter http://localhost:8080/BasicStrust2ProjectEclipse/ in your browser.

2) see Step 9: the i18n property files are placed right in the default Java package. But you could also have figured that out from the screenshots above.

3) see Step 9: please make sure /WEB-INF/classes/struts-2.1.7.dtd is available. The file struts-2.1.7.dtd ships with the original Struts2 download.

@Antonio:
You can also use it the way I have configured it without any kind of problems. You only need to make sure that the referenced file can be found at /WEB-INF/classes/struts-2.1.7.dtd (see Step 9).
Nope - there is no misconfiguration and all libs are just fine. The url you have to enter depends on your project settings. In my projects settings you have to call http://localhost:8080/BasicStrust2ProjectEclipse/ (in case of Eclipse) or http://localhost:8080/BasicStrust2Project/ in case of Netbeans and that's it. You could have figured that from the screenshots or the projects I offer for download (see Step 11).
Errors
posted by Antonio
Wed Mar 02 12:50:17 CET 2011
For solving the DTD warnings, just change

"/WEB-INF/classes/struts-2.1.7.dtd"
for 
"http://struts.apache.org/dtds/struts-2.1.7.dtd"
in struts.xml


With the 404 I have the same problem, it must be cased by configuration mistakes or wrong lib importation.
basic struts2 project setup tutorial - need more explanation
posted by zib
Sun Feb 20 03:38:55 CET 2011
Nice tutorial, but it's missing a few things:

1) I'm getting a 404 error. What webpage do I go to when I'm done with this tutorial?

2) i18n stuff needs better explanation. Where do I upload those properties files? in the web-inf/classes directory?

3) why am I getting a warning for dtd files? where do i get those files? Better explanation is needed here.

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