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.
Spring4MVCApacheTiles3-img03

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

Spring4MVCApacheTiles3-img1


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:
Spring4MVCApacheTiles3-img01Spring4MVCApacheTiles3-img02

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">

	<modelVersion>4.0.0</modelVersion>
	<groupId>com.websystique.springmvc</groupId>
	<artifactId>Spring4MVCApacheTiles3Example</artifactId>
	<packaging>war</packaging>
	<version>1.0.0</version>
	<name>Spring4MVCApacheTiles3Example</name>

  	<properties>
		<springframework.version>4.2.6.RELEASE</springframework.version>
		<apachetiles.version>3.0.5</apachetiles.version>
	</properties>

	<dependencies>
		<!-- Spring -->
		<dependency>
			<groupId>org.springframework</groupId>
			<artifactId>spring-core</artifactId>
			<version>${springframework.version}</version>
		</dependency>
		<dependency>
			<groupId>org.springframework</groupId>
			<artifactId>spring-web</artifactId>
			<version>${springframework.version}</version>
		</dependency>
		<dependency>
			<groupId>org.springframework</groupId>
			<artifactId>spring-webmvc</artifactId>
			<version>${springframework.version}</version>
		</dependency>
		<!-- Apache Tiles -->
		<dependency>
			<groupId>org.apache.tiles</groupId>
			<artifactId>tiles-core</artifactId>
			<version>${apachetiles.version}</version>
		</dependency>
		<dependency>
			<groupId>org.apache.tiles</groupId>
			<artifactId>tiles-api</artifactId>
			<version>${apachetiles.version}</version>
		</dependency>
		<dependency>
			<groupId>org.apache.tiles</groupId>
			<artifactId>tiles-servlet</artifactId>
			<version>${apachetiles.version}</version>
		</dependency>
		<dependency>
			<groupId>org.apache.tiles</groupId>
			<artifactId>tiles-jsp</artifactId>
			<version>${apachetiles.version}</version>
		</dependency>
		
		<!-- Servlet+JSP+JSTL -->
		<dependency>
			<groupId>javax.servlet</groupId>
			<artifactId>javax.servlet-api</artifactId>
			<version>3.1.0</version>
		</dependency>
		<dependency>
			<groupId>javax.servlet.jsp</groupId>
			<artifactId>javax.servlet.jsp-api</artifactId>
			<version>2.3.1</version>
		</dependency>
		<dependency>
		    <groupId>javax.servlet</groupId>
		    <artifactId>jstl</artifactId>
		    <version>1.2</version>
		</dependency>
		
	</dependencies>

	<build>
		<pluginManagement>
			<plugins>
				<plugin>
			        <groupId>org.apache.maven.plugins</groupId>
			        <artifactId>maven-compiler-plugin</artifactId>
			        <version>3.2</version>
			        <configuration>
			            <source>1.7</source>
			            <target>1.7</target>
			        </configuration>
			    </plugin>
				<plugin>
					<groupId>org.apache.maven.plugins</groupId>
					<artifactId>maven-war-plugin</artifactId>
					<version>2.4</version>
					<configuration>
						<warSourceDirectory>src/main/webapp</warSourceDirectory>
						<warName>Spring4MVCApacheTiles3Example</warName>
						<failOnMissingWebXml>false</failOnMissingWebXml>
					</configuration>
				</plugin>
			</plugins>
		</pluginManagement>
		<finalName>Spring4MVCApacheTiles3Example</finalName>
	</build>
</project>

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;


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

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

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

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">  

<tiles-definitions>  
 
   <!-- Base Definition -->
   <definition name="base-definition" 
       template="/WEB-INF/views/tiles/layouts/defaultLayout.jsp">  
       <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" />  
   </definition>  
 
   <!-- 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" />  
   </definition>  

   <!-- 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" />  
   </definition>  
      
   <!-- 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" />  
   </definition>  
 
</tiles-definitions>

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.

defaultLayout.jsp

<%@ 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"%>

<html>

<head>
	<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>
</head>
 
<body>
		<header id="header">
			<tiles:insertAttribute name="header" />
		</header>
	
		<section id="sidemenu">
			<tiles:insertAttribute name="menu" />
		</section>
			
		<section id="site-content">
			<tiles:insertAttribute name="body" />
		</section>
		
		<footer id="footer">
			<tiles:insertAttribute name="footer" />
		</footer>
</body>
</html>

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.
defaultHeader.jsp

<div>
    	<h1>Tiles Demo</h1>
</div>

defaultFooter.jsp

<div>
  Made in this world.
</div>

defaultMenu.jsp

<nav>
	<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>
	</ul>
</nav>

home.jsp

<h2>Welcome to Home page</h2>

products.jsp

<h2>Products page</h2>

contactus.jsp

<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;



@Controller
@RequestMapping("/")
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 {

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

Spring4MVCApacheTiles3-img1

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

Spring4MVCApacheTiles3-img2

Spring4MVCApacheTiles3-img3

Download Source Code



References

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