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Struts vs Struts2: Which Framework Reigns Supreme for Java EE Web Development?

Introduction to

Struts vs Struts2 Comparison

Java EE is undoubtedly one of the most popular programming languages, and its community continues to grow exponentially with each passing day. When it comes to creating dynamic web applications, there are a few frameworks that are widely used, and two of the most popular ones are Struts and Struts2.

Struts and Struts2 are two of the most widely used frameworks for creating Java EE web applications today. Although the names are similar, these two frameworks have distinct differences that are worth exploring.

This article provides an introduction to both Struts and Struts2 and compares the two frameworks side-by-side. What is Struts?

Struts is a Java EE framework that was created by Craig McClanahan back in 2000. Its primary purpose was to simplify the creation of web applications based on the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture.

In its early days, Struts was primarily focused on creating simple web applications, but it has evolved over the years to support complex enterprise-level applications as well. The Struts framework is divided into two main components:

1.

Controller: This component handles the incoming requests and sends them to the appropriate handler for processing.

2.

View: This component is responsible for rendering the output to the user based on the data provided by the Model. Struts uses a configuration file, commonly referred to as the “struts-config.xml,” to map the incoming requests to the appropriate handler.

The framework uses Java Server Pages (JSP) as its default rendering engine and provides a set of custom tags that make it easy to create dynamic web pages. Although Struts revolutionized the way web applications were created by introducing the MVC architecture, its rigid architecture and complex configuration files soon became a hindrance to its wider adoption.

What is Struts2? Struts2, on the other hand, was a complete overhaul of Struts.

Developed by the Apache Foundation, Struts2 was designed from the ground up to address the limitations of Struts and provide a more flexible and modular framework for creating web applications. The Struts2 framework is built on top of the WebWork framework, and it inherits many of its features, including its flexible interceptor-based architecture.

It also features a new tag library, called the Struts2 tag library, which provides a convenient way to create dynamic web pages. One of the most significant differences between Struts and Struts2 is that Struts2 is highly modular.

Every component of the framework is replaceable, which makes it easy to use with other technologies, such as Spring or Hibernate. The Struts2 framework also provides a simplified configuration mechanism that makes it easier to map the incoming requests to the appropriate handler.

Instead of using complex XML files, Struts2 uses a combination of annotations and configuration files to achieve this. Another noteworthy feature of Struts2 is its ability to easily integrate with other web technologies such as Ajax and RESTful web services.

Struts vs Struts2 Comparison

While both Struts and Struts2 share the same goal of making it easier to create web applications, there are significant differences between the two frameworks. 1.

Architecture: Struts2’s architecture is more flexible than Struts. Its modular design makes it easier to integrate with other technologies, and its interceptor-based architecture allows developers to plug in custom features easily.

2. Configuration: Struts2 uses a combination of annotations and configuration files to map incoming requests, which is a lot simpler than the complex XML configuration files used in Struts.

3. Tag Libraries: Struts2 comes with a new tag library that provides a more convenient and easy-to-use way of generating dynamic web pages, while Struts still uses the old JSP tags.

4. Ajax and RESTful Web Services: While both frameworks support Ajax and RESTful web services, Struts2 offers easier integration with these technologies than Struts.

Conclusion

In summary, both Struts and Struts2 are popular frameworks for creating Java EE web applications. While Struts revolutionized the way web applications were created, Struts2 has built on its foundation and improved upon it by addressing its limitations.

Ultimately, the choice of which framework to use depends on the requirements of the project at hand. What is Struts2?

Struts2 is an open-source request-based framework for creating enterprise-level web applications in Java EE. It is an improved and highly modular version of the original Struts framework, developed by the Apache Software Foundation.

The framework was built on top of the WebWork framework, which was known for its flexible and modular architecture.

Origin of Struts2

Struts2 was created with the aim of overcoming the limitations of the first version of Struts. The developers used the best practices and lessons learned from the Struts framework and incorporated them into Struts2, resulting in a more robust and scalable framework.

Struts2 Architecture

Struts2 architecture is based on the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern, which separates the presentation of data, user interface logic, and data handling logic within an application. The Struts2 framework consists of the following components:

1.

Controller: The Controller layer is responsible for receiving and processing incoming HTTP requests. The framework has an interceptor-based architecture that encapsulates cross-cutting functionality and modifies the processing of requests and responses in a structured way.

Interceptors modify or inspect the request/response before and/or after an action class is executed. 2.

Model: The Model layer represents the data of the application. It provides an abstraction layer to access data from different sources, such as a database, file system, or web service.

3. View: The View layer is responsible for rendering the data in the user interface.

Struts2 uses JavaServer Pages (JSP) or FreeMarker, a powerful template engine, as the default rendering engine. 4.

Value Stack: The Value Stack is a core component of the framework. It is a data structure that contains the data required by the View to render the final output, as well as the data required by the Model and the Controller.

Difference between Struts and Struts2

Struts2 has many improvements and new features compared to Struts. Here are some of the most important differences between the two frameworks.

1. Programming Model: Struts2 has a simplified programming model compared to Struts.

In Struts, the Action class is responsible for handling the requests and generating the response. In Struts2, the Controller layer uses an interceptor-based approach, which provides more flexible processing of requests and responses.

2. Thread-Safety: Struts2’s Action classes are thread-safe by default, whereas Action classes in Struts are not.

This means that in Struts2, multiple threads can handle multiple requests at the same time, which improves the performance and scalability of the application. 3.

Servlet API: The Struts framework is tightly coupled with the Servlet API, which makes it less portable and harder to test. Struts2 is designed to be servlet-agnostic, which makes it easier to test the application and switch to other technologies like portlets, JSF, or Spring.

4. Testability: Struts2 is more testable than Struts.

The framework provides a set of test classes that can run independently of the container, which makes it easier to write unit tests for the application. 5.

Input Properties: Struts2 provides a flexible way of handling input properties, which are defined in the Action classes. Struts does not support this feature, which makes it harder to handle form submission and validation.

6. JSTL and OGNL: Struts2 supports the Java Standard Tag Library (JSTL) and the Object-Graph Navigation Language (OGNL).

These technologies simplify the creation of dynamic web pages by providing a set of tags and expressions that can be used to manipulate data on the server side. 7.

Type Conversion: Struts2 provides a more flexible type conversion mechanism, which allows developers to convert data between different types without writing any conversion code.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Struts2 is a more modern and mature framework compared to the original Struts framework. It provides a flexible and modular architecture that is easier to use, test, and maintain.

It has many improvements and new features that make it a better choice for building enterprise-level web applications. If you are looking for a reliable and scalable web application framework for Java EE development, Struts2 is definitely worth considering.

In this article, we compared Struts and Struts2, two of the most widely used frameworks for creating Java EE web applications. Struts was introduced by Craig McClanahan in 2000 and was focused on providing a simple framework for creating web applications based on the MVC architecture.

Struts2 was developed by the Apache Foundation and was designed from the ground up to address the limitations of Struts and provide a more flexible and modular framework for creating web applications that are more scalable and easier to maintain. Struts2’s improvements include a simpler programming model, thread-safety, servlet-agnostic design, improved testability, a flexible way of handling input properties, support for JSTL and OGNL, and a more flexible type conversion mechanism.

By understanding the differences between these two frameworks, developers can make informed choices about which one to use for a specific project, leading to better-designed applications that are easier to maintain and scale.

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