Finally I’m Learning Struts…

I am one of a handful of Java developers in this world that hasn’t “really” learned Struts yet. Yes, I’ve seen numerous presentations at my local User Group , JavaMUG, on Struts. And I’ve read dozens of articles/tutorials on various java-related sites/blogs.

Well, times are a changing…. In a beautiful coincidence, and both in the same month…. The J2EE SIG I co-lead,, had “Intro to Struts” on the schedule, and I started at a new client doing work on a Struts-based application.

After a bit of panic I start searching for a book on Struts. I wanted something recent; covering Struts 1.2. The book I choose was Struts Essential Skills. I read the review on Amazon, and then flipped through it at the greatest book store in the world,, and then I bought it.

Instead of rewriting the review I left for the book on I’ll just put a link to the review here, and give a quick comment on the book.

I will advise against buying the Struts Essentials book. The examples are almost impossible to follow. Every class/jsp file in the example apps are named So think how this looks. When working through the examples in a chapter, say ch 4. The files look like this: index.jsp = ch04_1.jsp, an ActionForm =, an Action =, a POJO =, and finally a results.jsp = ch04_5.jsp.

Then try to imagine how hard it is to take these horribly named files and tie them together when looking at a web.xml and struts-config.xml. It’s very annoying. I hate to say it, but maybe I should thank the author for making the examples so hard to follow because I’ve had to work extra hard to understand the relationships and I think I actually have picked things up.

I also need to add that the last chapter in the Head First Servlets and Jsp book does an AWESOME job giving both a high level description on Struts and walking the reader through a simple example. The Head First authors do a kick-ass job making very technical things easy to understand. I can’t recommend the books enough to people.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Tony

    After being involved with Apache Cocoon for a few years, I got a job as a “corporate developer” — which meant using Struts/JSP. Using Struts after being exposed to things like Cocoon was like trying to use a hammer to cut bread.

    That being said, congratulations on picking up a skill that makes it easy to get a job 😛

  2. Frank Merenda

    If you use struts, be sure to use tiles as well. 🙂

    I’m using them on my current project. I’ve used struts/tiles on several projects in the past, also…

    Take care,

  3. Erik Weibust

    Howdy Tony…

    Thanks for stopping by. I heard a great phrase at a local user group meeting, “resume driven development”. I think using Struts definitely falls under that category.


  4. Erik Weibust

    Hey Frank… Just about everyone that is using Struts has told me that Tiles are a must. I’m still “digesting” this app I’m fixing, but it IS using Tiles. I’m sure I’ll have lots to say in the coming weeks…


  5. Tugdual

    If you are learning a Web Fwk, why not starting with JavaServer Faces?

  6. Erik Weibust

    Howdy Tugdual…

    I would absolutely rather be learning JSF, but the project I’m working on was already done in Struts.

    I have a long list of deliverables. When I work through the list I might have the opportunity to convert the app to JSF.


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