Question 11 :
One of the shortcomings in Struts 1.0 is manageability of the configuration file (commonly known as struts-config.xml) when the development of the application involves a sizable team. This problem arises because a Struts-based application must run under one controller servlet, the ActionServlet, and the ActionServlet can use only one struts-config.xml. It is not an issue when the project is relatively small and the team consists of a couple of developers; however, when the project size becomes significant and the project involves a large number of developers, maintaining all the mapping information in a single file becomes increasingly problematic.
Struts 1.1 solves this problem nicely by introducing multiple sub-applications. In Struts 1.1, each sub-application has its own struts-config.xml file. A large Struts-based application can thus be easily partitioned into largely independent modules, i.e. sub-applications, and each sub-team can maintain their struts-config.xml independently.
The sub-application scheme is a natural extension of the servlet context mapping scheme of the URI paths used by servlet containers. According to the Servlet standard, when the servlet container receives a request with a URL, the servlet container will try to match the prefix of the URI path to a deployed web-application in the container. What Struts 1.1 does is it maps the second prefix of the path to a sub-application. In effect, this prefix mapping scheme creates another level of namespace for each sub-application. For example, for the URI,
/myApp is the context path for a web-application called "myApp" and /module2 is the sub-app prefix for a Struts sub-application called "module2".
Question 12 :
DynaBean and BeanUtils
Another major complaint usually heard amongst Struts 1.0 users is the extensive effort involved in writing the FormBean (a.k.a. ActionForm) classes.
Struts provides two-way automatic population between HTML forms and Java objects, the FormBeans. To take advantage of this however, you have to write one FormBean per HTML form. (In some use cases, a FormBean can actually be shared between multiple HTML forms. But those are specific cases.) Struts' FormBean standard follows faithfully the verbose JavaBean standard to define and access properties. Besides, to encourage a maintainable architecture, Struts enforces a pattern such that it is very difficult to 'reuse' a model-layer object (e.g. a ValueObject from the EJB tier) as a FormBean. Combining all these factors, a developer has to spend a significant amount of time to write tedious getters/setters for all the FormBean classes.
Struts 1.1 offers an alternative, Dynamic ActionForms, which are based on DynaBeans. Simply put, DynaBeans are type-safe name-value pairs (think HashMaps) but behave like normal JavaBeans with the help of the BeanUtils library. (Both the DynaBeans and the BeanUtils library were found to be useful and generic enough that they have been 'promoted' into Jakarta's Commons project.) With Dynamic ActionForms, instead of coding the tedious setters/getters, developers can declare the required properties in the struts-config.xml files. Struts will instantiate and initialize Dynamic ActionForm objects with the appropriate metadata. From then onwards, The Dynamic ActionForm instance is treated as if it is an ordinary JavaBean by Struts and the BeanUtils library.
Question 13 :
The Validator is not exactly a new feature. The Validator has been in the contrib package in the distribution since Struts 1.0.1. Since then, part of it has now been refactored and moved into the Jakarta-Commons subproject and renamed the Commons-Validator and the Struts specific portion is now called the Struts-Validator. However, since it is in the contrib package, people may overlook it and it is worthwhile to mention it here.
Question 14 :
To maintain backward compatibility, Struts 1.1 allows one default sub-application per application. The URI of the resources (i.e. JSPs, HTMLs, etc) in the default sub-application will have an empty sub-app prefix. This means when an existing 1.0 application is "dropped" into Struts 1.1, theoretically, it will automatically become the default sub-application.
Question 15 :
Direct Requests to JSPs
To take the full advantage of sub-application support, Struts 1.1 stipulates the requirement that all requests must flow through the controller servlet, i.e. the ActionServlet. Effectively, this means all JSPs must be fronted by Actions. Instead of allowing direct requests to any of the JSPs, all requests must go through an Action and let the Action forward to the appropriate JSP.
This is perhaps the biggest impact of migration to Struts 1.1 if you have not followed this idiom in your applications. This restriction is required because without going through the ActionServlet, Struts navigation taglibs (e.g.