Book Review of the Month

Professional JSP Tag Libraries
by Simon Brown
This book is a great introduction and tutorial on writing JSP custom tags. It takes a step-by-step and very detailed approach to the subject and has lots of example code. Chapters build on the information presented in previous chapters, so this is one of those books you really do want to read from start to finish. I think you'll want to do this anyway...

The book can be divided, like Gaul, into three parts. The first part (Chapters 1-7) takes the reader from constructing simple tags through Body Tags and finally to tags that cooperate with other tags to perform a task. The second section (Chapters 8-10) discusses the situations that custom tags should be used for and provides examples, design approaches for tags and tag libraries, and how to validate and deploy your tags. The chapter on validation addresses validation in the tag handler itself, in a TagExtraInfo class, and the use of the TagLibraryValidator class to validate pages that import a tag library. The last two chapters present a case study and brief overviews of Struts tags, Jakarta Taglibs, and the Java Standard Tag Library (JSTL).

The book focuses on tag capabilities in JSP 1.2 but you can use most of what is presented in JSP 1.1. In fact, the chapter on Body Tags re-visits an iteration example from a previous chapter to demonstrate how tags that iterate over a collection can be developed in JSP 1.1.

(John Wetherbie - Bartender, October 2002)

More info at More info at

Chosen by Cindy Glass and Madhav Lakkapragada