Struts follows MVC architecture.The main aim of the MVC architecture is to separate the business logic and application data from the presentation data to the user.
Below are the benifits of using MVC design pattern.
resuable : When the problems recurs, there is no need to invent a new solution, we just have to follow the pattern and adapt it as necessary.
expressive: By using the MVC design pattern our application becomes more expressive.
Again I am re-iterating what is MVC.
Model: Model is responsible for providing the data from the database and saving the data into the data store. All the business logic are implemented in the Model. Data entered by the user through View are check in the model before saving into the database. Data access, Data validation and the data saving logic are part of Model.
View: View represents the user view of the application and is responsible for taking the input from the user, dispatching the request to the controller and then receiving response from the controller and displaying the result to the user. HTML, JSPs, Custom Tag Libraries and Resources files are the part of view component.
Controller: Controller is intermediary between Model and View. Controller is responsible for receiving the request from client. Once request is received from client it executes the appropriate business logic from the Model and then produce the output to the user using the View component. ActionServlet, Action, ActionForm and struts-config.xml are the part of Controller.
Overview of the Struts Framework
The Struts framework is composed of approximately classes and interfaces which are organized in about 12 top level packages. Along with the utility and helper classes framework also provides the classes and interfaces for working with controller and presentation by the help of the custom tag libraries. It is entirely on to us which model we want to choose. The view of the Struts architecture is given below:
The Struts Controller Components:
Whenever a user request for something, then the request is handled by the Struts Action Servlet. When the ActionServlet receives the request, it intercepts the URL and based on the Struts Configuration files, it gives the handling of the request to the Action class. Action class is a part of the controller and is responsible for communicating with the model layer.
The Struts View Components:
The view components are responsible for presenting information to the users and accepting the input from them. They are responsible for displaying the information provided by the model components. Mostly we use the Java Server Pages (JSP) for the view presentation. To extend the capability of the view we can use the Custom tags, java script etc.
The Struts model component:
The model components provides a model of the business logic behind a Struts program. It provides interfaces to databases or back- ends systems. Model components are generally a java class. There is not any such defined format for a Model component, so it is possible for us to reuse Java code which are written for other projects. We should choose the model according to our client requirement.
How Struts Works
The basic purpose of the Java Servlets in struts is to handle requests made by the client or by web browsers. In struts JavaServerPages (JSP) are used to design the dynamic web pages. In struts, servlets helps to route request which has been made by the web browsers to the appropriate ServerPage. The use of servlet as a router helps to make the web applications easier to design, create, and maintain. Struts is purely based on the Model- View- Contoller (MVC) design pattern. It is one of the best and most well developed design patterns in use. By using the MVC architecture we break the processing in three sections named Model, the View, and the Controller. Below we are describing the working of struts.
1. As we all are well aware of the fact that each application we develop has a deployment descriptor i.e. WEB-INF/web.xml. This is the file which the container reads. This file has all the configuration information which we have defined for our web application. The configuration information includes the index file, the default welcome page, the mapping of our servlets including path and the extension name, any init parameters, information related to the context elements.
In the file WEB-INF/web.xml of struts application we need to configure the Struts ActionServlet which handles all the request made by the web browsers to a given mapping. ActionServlet is the central component of the Struts controller. This servlet extends the HttpServlet. This servlet basically performs two important things. First is : When the container gets start, it reads the Struts Configuration files and loads it into memory in the init() method. You will know more about the Struts Configuration files below. Second point is: It intercepts the HTTP request in the doGet() and doPost() method and handles it appropriately.
2. In struts application we have another xml file which is a Struts configuration file named as struts.config.xml. The name of this file can be changed. The name of the struts configuration file can be configured in the web.xml file. This file is placed under the WEB-INF directory of the web application. It is an XML document that describes all or part of Struts application. This file has all the information about many types of Struts resources and configures their interaction. This file is used to associate paths with the controller components of your application., known as Action classes like <action path =”/login” type = “LoginAction”>. This tag tells the Struts ActionServlet that whenever the incoming request is http://myhost/myapp/login.do, then it must invoke the controller component LoginAction. Above, you can see that we have written .do in the URL. This mapping is done to tell the web application that whenever a request is received with the .do extension then it should be appended to the URL.
3. For each action we also have to configure Struts with the names of the resulting pages that will be shown as a result of that action. In our application there can be more than one view which depends on the result of an action. One can be for a success and the other for the failure. If the result action is “success” then the action tells the ActionServlet that the action has been successfully accomplished or vice- versa. The struts knows how to forward the specific page to the concerned destination. The model which we want to use is entirely to you, the model is called from within the controller components.
4. Action can also get associate with a JavaBean in our Struts configuration file. Java bean is nothing but a class having getter and setter methods that can be used to communicate between the view and the controller layer. These java beans are validated by invoking the validate() method on the ActionForm by the help of the Struts system. The client sends the request by the normal form submission by using Get or Post method, and the Struts system updates that data in the Bean before calling the controller components.
5. The view we use in the struts can be either Jsp page, Velocity templates, XSLT pages etc. In struts there are set of JSP tags which has been bundled with the struts distribution, but it is not mandatory to use only Jsp tags, even plain HTML files can be used within our Struts application but the disadvantage of using the html is that it can’t take the full advantage of all the dynamic features provided in the struts framework.
The framework includes a set of custom tag libraries that facilitate in creating the user interfaces that can interact gracefully with ActionForm beans. The struts Jsp taglibs has a number of generic and struts specific tags tags which helps you to use dynamic data in your view. These tags helps us to interact with your controller without writing much java code inside your jsp. These tags are used create forms, internally forward to other pages by interacting with the bean and helps us to invoke other actions of the web application.
There are many tags provided to you in the struts frameworks which helps you in sending error messages, internationalization etc.
Note: The points we have described above will be in effect if and only if when the ActionServlet is handling the request. When the request is submitted to the container which call the ActionServlet, make sure that the extension of the file which we want to access should have the extension .do.
web.xml : Whenever the container gets start up the first work it does is to check the web.xml file and determine what struts action Servlets exist. The container is responsible for mapping all the file request to the correct action Servlet.
A Request : This is the second step performed by the container after checking the web.xml file. In this the user submits a form within a browser and the request is intercepted by the controller.
The Controller : This is the heart of the container. Most Struts application will have only one controller that is ActionServlet which is responsible for directing several Actions. The controller determines what action is required and sends the information to be processed by an action Bean. The key advantage of having a controller is its ability to control the flow of logic through the highly controlled, centralized points.
struts.config.xml : Struts has a configuration file to store mappings of actions. By using this file there is no need to hard code the module which will be called within a component. The one more responsibility of the controller is to check the struts.config.xml file to determine which module to be called upon an action request. Struts only reads the struts.config.xml file upon start up.
Model : The model is basically a business logic part which takes the response from the user and stores the result for the duration of the process. This is a great place to perform the preprocessing of the data received from request. It is possible to reuse the same model for many page requests. Struts provides the ActionForm and the Action classes which can be extended to create the model objects.
View : The view in struts framework is mainly a jsp page which is responsible for producing the output to the user.
Struts tag libraries : These are struts components helps us to integrate the struts framework within the project’s logic. These struts tag libraries are used within the JSP page. This means that the controller and the model part can’t make use of the tag library but instead use the struts class library for strut process control.
Property file : It is used to store the messages that an object or page can use. Properties files can be used to store the titles and other string data. We can create many property files to handle different languages.
Business objects : It is the place where the rules of the actual project exists. These are the modules which just regulate the day- to- day site activities.
The Response : This is the output of the View JSP object