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jsf with webbeans

WebBeans (JSR-299) gives JSF a solid foundation for its component model, based on WebBeans' typesafe IoC capabilities and annotation-based discovery.


Files in this tutorial

test.jspJSP to create the JSF component tree.
WEB-INF/classes/example/Calculator.javaCalculator model WebBean, taking the input and calculating the result.
WEB-INF/resin-web.xmlConfigures FacesServlet.
WEB-INF/classes/META-INF/web-beans.xmlWebBeans configuration file.


WebBeans works together with JSF to provide a solid component-basis for the data model of a JSF application.

With WebBeans, data components can be created by marking them with a @Component annotation, reducing the amount of configuration XML to a minimum. In this example, we only need XML to define the FacesServlet, and a marker web-beans.xml to direct WebBeans to search for component classes.

The data components automatically populate the JSF EL (expression language), so they are automatically available to the JSF application.

This example creates a simple calculator which adds two numbers together. The Calculator model receives the user data and produces the results. A trivial JSP page creates the JSF UI component tree.

Model Component

The data model is the heart of the JSF application. In this case, a trivial calculator.

The @Component marks example.Calculator as a WebBeans component. When WebBeans scans the classes, it will discover Calculator, introspect it, and automatically register the calculator in the WebBeans directory. Once it's registered, any other WebBeans component, or JSP/JSF EL, or PHP file or servlet or EJB can use the component.

The Calculator component has no XML configuration at all, since there's nothing to configure. For other applications, some of the component beans will want configuration to set properties, which will occur in something like the resin-web.xml file.
package example;

import javax.webbeans.*;

public class Calculator {
  private int _a;
  private int _b;

  public int getA() { return _a; }
  public void setA(int a) { _a = a; }

  public int getB() { return _b; }
  public void setB(int b) { _b = b; }

  public int getSum()
    return _a + _b;

The @RequestScoped annotation tells WebBeans to store the bean in the servlet request scope. Each request will use its own instance of the calculator. If the scope was @SessionScoped, the same Calculator would be used for the entire session. If it was @ConversationScoped it would be used for the JSF page.

The optional @Named annotation gives an alternate name for the calculator. If there is no @Named, WebBeans will use the class name, e.g. "calculator" in this case.

WebBeans components can also be injected with other WebBeans, or DataSources, JPA EntityManager or EntityManagerFactory or JMS Queues, and they can also use the @PostConstruct and @PreDestroy lifecycle annotations. Method interception and event listening are also possible.

JSF/JSP: Building the Component Tree

JSF is designed around a UI component tree model. The JSP code builds the JSF component tree, hands it back to JSF, and then JSF will display the component tree based on its current rendering configuration.

  • <f:view> is a wrapper tag around all the JSF component tree.
  • <h:messages> displays any error messages, like typing a string to the number fields.
  • <h:form> creates a HTML <form>
  • <h:inputText> creates a HTML <input> tag, using the Calculator methods getA() and setA() to receive the form values.
  • <h:outputText> creates a HTML <span> tag, with the text value generated by the CalculatorgetSum() method.
  • <h:commandButton> creates a HTML <input type="submit"> tag.
<%@ taglib prefix="f" uri="" %>
<%@ taglib prefix="h" uri="" %>
    <h:inputText value="#{calc.a}" size="4"/>
     + <h:inputText value="#{calc.b}" size="4"/>
     = <h:outputText value="#{calc.sum}" style="color:red"/>
    <h:commandButton value="Add"/>

The JSF expression language expressions #{calc.a} and #{calc.b} are used in two phases of JSF. When displaying, JSF will lookup the Calculator with "calc", and call its getA() method. When processing the form, JSF will lookup the Calculator and call the setA() method to assign the new value.

Housekeeping: the resin-web.xml and web-beans.xml

The housekeeping overhead is a minimum when using WebBeans. In this example we just need two pieces of XML configuration:

  1. Configuring the JSF servlet in the web.xml
  2. Marking a classpath root with a web-beans.xml

WebBeans will scan classes directories and jars if they contain a META-INF/web-beans.xml file, so many applications will just use web-beans.xml as a marker file with no content. Others applications will want to configure the WebBeans components using the web-beans.xml or may put that configuration in the resin-web.xml.

<web-app xmlns="">

  <servlet-mapping url-pattern="*.jsf"

<web-beans xmlns="">
     - The web-beans.xml marks a class root for WebBeans to search for
     - @Component beans.  Since the example doesn't need to override any
     - defaults, there's no additional configuration necessary.

Completing the Application

A more complete application would likely the IoC injection capabilities of WebBeans. For example:

  • Use Java Persistence by injecting a @In EntityManager to a model field.
  • Injecting a WebBeans singleton service with @In, defined by a <bean> configuration in the resin.conf (assuming it needs configuration.
  • Using JDBC directly with @In DataSource or @Named("jdbc/test") DataSource..
  • Using EJB stateless or stateful session beans as services.


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