The Village at the Keystone Resort
Colorado Software Summit
Java and XML Programming Conference
November 3 – 8, 2002
Keystone Conference Center


Mark Kolb – @Security Broadband

JSTL: The JavaServer Pages Standard Tag Library

JSP, as the presentation-layer standard for web-based J2EE applications, is now in widespread use. The ability to include Java source code in a JSP page, however, greatly compromises attempts at cleanly separating presentation from implementation as recommended by, for example, the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern. Given the small number of non-scripting tags provided by the base JSP specification, custom tags are the primary means for avoiding scripting code in a JSP page.

This presentation will review the new JSP Standard Tag Library (JSTL), which supplements the built-in tags by offering page authors a base set of custom tags for performing common operations, such as iteration, conditionalization, and data formatting (including internationalization). We'll look at what's good and what's not so good in the JSTL, and also examine the JSTL expression language for specifying dynamic attribute values.

Authoring JSP Custom Tags

Creating a custom tag library requires careful design and the ability to wear multiple hats. The propeller beanie will do the trick while implementing your custom tags, but you'll need something with a bit more fashion sense if you want those tags to be used by page authors. In addition to a review of the Java API's for writing JSP custom tags, this talk will focus on various issues (for example, procedural vs. declarative styles) that should be considered when designing a custom tag library.

Picture of Mark Kolb

Mark Kolb is the Software Engineer Manager for @Security Broadband in Austin, Texas. He has been programming in Java since 1996, and in object-oriented languages of one flavor or another since 1984. In recent years, he has focused on Internet applications, ranging from applet-based HTML editors to server-side systems for residential security monitoring. Mark is the co-author, with Duane Fields and Shawn Bayern, of Web Development with JavaServer Pages, 2nd Edition. Email:


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