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Programming Jakarta Struts, Second Edition by Chuck Cavaness

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Using Tiles

The Tiles framework provides a templating mechanism that allows you to separate the responsibilities of layout from those of content. As with the templates described earlier in this chapter, you have the ability to establish a layout and dynamically insert the contents of your pages into that layout at runtime. This is a powerful mechanism if you need to customize your site based on such things as internationalization, user preferences, or just the typical look-and-feel changes that occur in every web application sooner or later. The Tiles framework provides the following features:

  • Template capabilities

  • Dynamic page construction and loading

  • Screen definitions

  • Support for tile and layout reuse

  • Support for internationalization

  • Support for multiple channels

There has been a Template tag library within the Struts framework for quite some time. These tags allow you to use a very basic templating approach to assemble your JSP pages in a web application. Although these tags are helpful in separating the content for a web application from its prescribed layout, the Tiles framework goes much further and actually provides a superset of the Template tag library’s behavior, as well as many other features.

Tip

The Tiles framework was previously called Components, but the name was changed because that term is so overused. The Tiles documentation and source code still make reference to the old name in some places. Cedric Dumoulin created the Tiles framework to extend the concept of templates ...

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