In web application, most pages are follow a similar web interface layout and styling, for example, same header and footer. In JSF 2.0, you can use Facelets tags to provide a standard web interface layout easily, in fact, it’s look similar with Apache Tiles framework.

In this example, it shows the use of 4 Facelets tags to build page from a template :

  1. ui:insert – Used in template file, it defines content that is going to replace by the file that load the template. The content can be replace with “ui:define” tag.
  2. ui:define – Defines content that is inserted into template with a matching “ui:insert” tag.
  3. ui:include – Similar to JSP’s “jsp:include”, includes content from another XHTML page.
  4. ui:composition – If used with “template” attribute, the specified template is loaded, and the children of this tag defines the template layout; Otherwise, it’s a group of elements, that can be inserted somewhere. In addition, JSF removes all tags “outside” of “ui:composition” tag.

1. Template Layout

In JSF 2.0, a template file is just a normal XHTML file, with few JSF facelets tags to define the template layout.

File : commonLayout.xhtml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" 
"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"   
      xmlns:h="http://java.sun.com/jsf/html"
      xmlns:ui="http://java.sun.com/jsf/facelets"
      >
 
    <h:head>
	<h:outputStylesheet name="common-style.css" library="css" />
    </h:head>
 
    <h:body>
 
	<div id="page">
 
	    <div id="header">
		<ui:insert name="header" >
		  <ui:include src="/template/common/commonHeader.xhtml" />
		</ui:insert>
	    </div>
 
	    <div id="content">
	  	<ui:insert name="content" >
	 	  <ui:include src="/template/common/commonContent.xhtml" />
	   	</ui:insert>
	    </div>
 
	    <div id="footer">
	    	<ui:insert name="footer" >
	    	  <ui:include src="/template/common/commonFooter.xhtml" />
	    	</ui:insert>
    	    </div>
 
        </div>
 
    </h:body>
</html>

In this template, it defines a standard web layout :

  1. Uses “h:outputStylesheet” tag to include a CSS file in head to styling the whole page layout.
  2. Uses “ui:insert” tag to define three replaceable sections : header, content and footer.
  3. Uses “ui:include” tag to provide a default content if no replacement is specified when the template is used.

2. Header, Content and Footer

Three default page content.

File : commonHeader.xhtml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" 
"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"   
      xmlns:ui="http://java.sun.com/jsf/facelets"
      >
    <body>
	    <ui:composition>
 
		<h1>This is default header</h1>
 
	    </ui:composition>
    </body>
</html>

File : commonContent.xhtml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" 
"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"   
      xmlns:ui="http://java.sun.com/jsf/facelets"
      >
    <body>
	    <ui:composition>
 
		<h1>This is default content</h1>
 
	    </ui:composition>
    </body>
</html>

File : commonFooter.xhtml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" 
"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"   
      xmlns:ui="http://java.sun.com/jsf/facelets"
      >
    <body>
	    <ui:composition>
 
		<h1>This is default footer</h1>
 
	    </ui:composition>
    </body>
</html>

When these pages are insert into the template file, all the tags outside of the “ui:composition” will be removed. For example,

File : commonHeader.xhtml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" 
"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"   
      xmlns:ui="http://java.sun.com/jsf/facelets"
      >
    <body>
	    ALL TAGS ABOVE THIS LINE WILL BE REMOVED BY JSF
	    <ui:composition>
 
		<h1>This is default header</h1>
 
	    </ui:composition>
	    ALL TAGS BELOW THIS LINE WILL BE REMOVED BY JSF
    </body>
</html>

JSF only takes following elements and insert into the template file

<ui:composition>
 
	<h1>This is default header</h1>
 
</ui:composition>

When insert into the “commonLayout” template , it became…

File : commonLayout.xhtml

	...
    <h:body>
 
	<div id="page">
 
	    <div id="header">
		<h1>This is default header</h1>
	    </div>
	...

3. Using Template

To make use of an existing template, eg. “commonLayout.xhtml“, you use “ui:composition” tag with a “template” attribute. See following two examples :

File : default.xhtml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" 
"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"   
      xmlns:h="http://java.sun.com/jsf/html"
      xmlns:ui="http://java.sun.com/jsf/facelets"
      >
    <h:body>
 
    	<ui:composition template="template/common/commonLayout.xhtml">
 
    	</ui:composition>
 
    </h:body>
 
</html>

This JSF page load “commonLayout.xhtml” template and display all the default page content.

jsf2-facelets-template-example-1

File : page1.xhtml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" 
"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"   
      xmlns:h="http://java.sun.com/jsf/html"
      xmlns:ui="http://java.sun.com/jsf/facelets"
      >
    <h:body>
 
    	<ui:composition template="/template/common/commonLayout.xhtml">
 
    		<ui:define name="content">
    			<h2>This is page1 content</h2>
    		</ui:define>
 
		<ui:define name="footer">
    			<h2>This is page1 Footer</h2>
    		</ui:define>
 
    	</ui:composition>
 
    </h:body>
 
</html>

This JSF page load a “commonLayout.xhtml” template and use “ui:define” tag to override the the “ui:insert” tag, which defined in the template file.

jsf2-facelets-template-example-2
Note
As long as the name of the “ui:define” tag is matched to the name of the “ui:insert” tag, which defined in template, the “ui:insert” content is replaced.

Download Source Code

Download It – JSF-2-Facelets-Template-Example.zip (12KB)

References

  1. Apache Tiles Framework
  2. JSF “ui:include” JavaDoc
  3. JSF “ui:insert” JavaDoc
  4. JSF “ui:define” JavaDoc
  5. JSF “ui:composition” JavaDoc
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