Spring 4 MVC+Apache Tiles 3 Example

In this post we will integrate Apache Tiles 3 with Spring MVC 4, using annotation-based configuration. Apache Tiles is a template based, composite view framework: it allows to reuse page pieces across the application, keeping consistent look and feel. Page layouts in general contains several page-fragments like header,footer, menu & content. In a consistent layout, only content changes between page navigation while other page fragments like header,footer & menu remains fixed most of the time.

Tiles allows developers to define these page fragments which can be assembled into a complete pages at runtime.


Following technologies being used:

  • Spring 4.2.6.RELEASE
  • Apache Tiles 3.0.5
  • Maven 3
  • JDK 1.7
  • Tomcat 8.0.21
  • Eclipse MARS.1 Release 4.5.1

Let’s begin.

Step 1: Create the directory structure

Following will be the final project structure:

Let’s now add the content mentioned in above structure explaining each in detail.

Step 2: Update pom.xml to include required dependencies

<project xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/xsd/maven-4.0.0.xsd"
	xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">



		<!-- Spring -->
		<!-- Apache Tiles -->
		<!-- Servlet+JSP+JSTL -->


Apart from usual Spring dependencies, We have also added few dependencies for Apache Tiles 3. Additional dependencies can be added for more advanced tiles usage. Maven Apache-tiles page lists all the dependencies from basic to advanced usages.

Step 3: Configure Tiles

Configure tiles in Spring Application configuration file.

package com.websystique.springmvc.configuration;

import org.springframework.context.annotation.Bean;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.ComponentScan;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Configuration;
import org.springframework.web.servlet.config.annotation.EnableWebMvc;
import org.springframework.web.servlet.config.annotation.ResourceHandlerRegistry;
import org.springframework.web.servlet.config.annotation.ViewResolverRegistry;
import org.springframework.web.servlet.config.annotation.WebMvcConfigurerAdapter;
import org.springframework.web.servlet.view.tiles3.TilesConfigurer;
import org.springframework.web.servlet.view.tiles3.TilesViewResolver;

@ComponentScan(basePackages = "com.websystique.springmvc")
public class AppConfig extends WebMvcConfigurerAdapter{

     * Configure TilesConfigurer.
	public TilesConfigurer tilesConfigurer(){
	    TilesConfigurer tilesConfigurer = new TilesConfigurer();
	    tilesConfigurer.setDefinitions(new String[] {"/WEB-INF/views/**/tiles.xml"});
	    return tilesConfigurer;

     * Configure ViewResolvers to deliver preferred views.
	public void configureViewResolvers(ViewResolverRegistry registry) {
		TilesViewResolver viewResolver = new TilesViewResolver();
     * Configure ResourceHandlers to serve static resources like CSS/ Javascript etc...
    public void addResourceHandlers(ResourceHandlerRegistry registry) {

Highlights of above configurations are TilesConfigurer & TilesViewResolver. TilesConfigurer simply configures a TilesContainer using a set of files containing definitions, to be accessed by TilesView instances. Definition files are basically XML files containing layout definitions.

In our Spring MVC application, we also need a ViewResolver. Spring comes with a Tiles specific ViewResolver named TilesViewResolver. Once configured, the view names returned from your controller methods will be treated as tiles view and Spring will look for a definition having the same name in definitions XML files.

Step 4: Create tiles definitions

Shown below is the definition file tiles.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<!DOCTYPE tiles-definitions PUBLIC  "-//Apache Software Foundation//DTD Tiles Configuration 3.0//EN"  "http://tiles.apache.org/dtds/tiles-config_3_0.dtd">  

   <!-- Base Definition -->
   <definition name="base-definition" 
       <put-attribute name="title" value="" />  
       <put-attribute name="header" value="/WEB-INF/views/tiles/template/defaultHeader.jsp" />  
       <put-attribute name="menu" value="/WEB-INF/views/tiles/template/defaultMenu.jsp" />  
       <put-attribute name="body" value="" />  
       <put-attribute name="footer" value="/WEB-INF/views/tiles/template/defaultFooter.jsp" />  
   <!-- Home Page -->
   <definition name="home" extends="base-definition">  
       <put-attribute name="title" value="Welcome" />  
       <put-attribute name="body" value="/WEB-INF/views/pages/home.jsp" />  

   <!-- Product Page -->
   <definition name="products" extends="base-definition">  
       <put-attribute name="title" value="Products" />  
       <put-attribute name="body" value="/WEB-INF/views/pages/products.jsp" />  
   <!-- Contact-us Page -->
   <definition name="contactus" extends="base-definition">  
       <put-attribute name="title" value="Contact Us" />  
       <put-attribute name="body" value="/WEB-INF/views/pages/contactus.jsp" />  

In above definition file, we have defined a base-definition and several other definitions extending base-definition. Other defintions are just overwriting the part they are specialized for. template attribute in definition-block is used to specify the actual layout file. Each of the definition (by name) can be treated as a tiles-view.

Step 5: Create Layouts

In our case we have defined a basic layout [/WEB-INF/views/tiles/layouts/defaultLayout.jsp] pinned with definition using template attribte.


<%@ page language="java" contentType="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1" pageEncoding="ISO-8859-1"%>
<%@ page isELIgnored="false" %>
<%@ taglib prefix="c" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/core"%>
<%@ taglib uri="http://tiles.apache.org/tags-tiles" prefix="tiles"%>


	<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1">
	<title><tiles:getAsString name="title" /></title>
	<link href="<c:url value='/static/css/bootstrap.css' />"  rel="stylesheet"></link>
	<link href="<c:url value='/static/css/app.css' />" rel="stylesheet"></link>
		<header id="header">
			<tiles:insertAttribute name="header" />
		<section id="sidemenu">
			<tiles:insertAttribute name="menu" />
		<section id="site-content">
			<tiles:insertAttribute name="body" />
		<footer id="footer">
			<tiles:insertAttribute name="footer" />

This layout file provides the consistent look-n-feel across your application. If you want to change layout, define a corresponding layout file and attach to the definition using template attribute.

As you can see, we have a header,footer,menu & body. We are using tags-tiles tag library to provide the placeholder within layout file. Attributes specified using insertAttribute will be provided by corresponding definition(or the one extending it).

Step 6: Create views

We have created some default views[used when the extending definition does not overwrite them] and some specific ones.

    	<h1>Tiles Demo</h1>


  Made in this world.


	<a href="${pageContext.request.contextPath}/"><img class="logo" src="${pageContext.request.contextPath}/static/img/Linux-icon.png"></a>
	<ul id="menu">
		<li><a href="${pageContext.request.contextPath}/">Home</a></li>
       <li><a href="${pageContext.request.contextPath}/products">Products</a></li>
       <li><a href="${pageContext.request.contextPath}/contactus">Contact Us</a></li>


<h2>Welcome to Home page</h2>


<h2>Products page</h2>


<h2>Contact Us Page</h2>

Step 7: Create Controller

package com.websystique.springmvc.controller;

import org.springframework.stereotype.Controller;
import org.springframework.ui.ModelMap;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMethod;

public class AppController {

	@RequestMapping(value = { "/"}, method = RequestMethod.GET)
	public String homePage(ModelMap model) {
		return "home";

	@RequestMapping(value = { "/products"}, method = RequestMethod.GET)
	public String productsPage(ModelMap model) {
		return "products";

	@RequestMapping(value = { "/contactus"}, method = RequestMethod.GET)
	public String contactUsPage(ModelMap model) {
		return "contactus";

Look at each of these controller methods. The returned value from them is treated as tiles-view [Thanks to TilesViewResolver] and corresponding tiles-definition gets consulted.

Step 8: Create Initializer

package com.websystique.springmvc.configuration;

import org.springframework.web.servlet.support.AbstractAnnotationConfigDispatcherServletInitializer;

public class AppInitializer extends AbstractAnnotationConfigDispatcherServletInitializer {

	protected Class<?>[] getRootConfigClasses() {
		return new Class[] { AppConfig.class };
	protected Class<?>[] getServletConfigClasses() {
		return null;
	protected String[] getServletMappings() {
		return new String[] { "/" };


Step 9: Build, deploy and Run Application

Now build the war (either by eclipse as was mentioned in previous tutorials) or via maven command line( mvn clean install). Deploy the war to a Servlet 3.0 container . Since here i am using Tomcat, i will simply put this war file into tomcat webapps folder and click on startup.bat inside tomcat/bin directory.

If you prefer to deploy from within Eclipse using tomcat: For those of us, who prefer to deploy and run from within eclipse, and might be facing difficulties setting Eclipse with tomcat, the detailed step-by-step solution can be found at : How to setup tomcat with Eclipse.

Open browser and browse at http://localhost:8080/Spring4MVCApacheTiles3Example/


Click on different menu items to see the content gets changes while preserving the actual look-n-feel.



Download Source Code


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