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From Apache Wiki <>
Subject [Struts Wiki] Update of "RolloverScope" by MichaelJouravlev
Date Wed, 07 Feb 2007 00:37:28 GMT
Dear Wiki user,

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The following page has been changed by MichaelJouravlev:

The comment on the change is:
Rewrote the page.

  Attention! This page describes a feature that has not been implemented yet!
- = Rollover Scope for Struts 1.3.x =
+ = Rollover Scope for Struts 1.x =
- In addition to standard J2EE scope objects (request, session, applicaiton) Struts will support
the ''rollover scope''. Ideally, for most uses and purposes this scope should be identical
to request scope, but its content should be stored on the server until the next request comes
in. Hence the name, the content of the scope rolls over to a next request.
+ Traditionally web applications have stored state information either in in the HTTP request
or in the HTTP session. If request object is used, a common practice to preserve state between
request is to save it into HTML FORM; in this case moving back and forward along page history
changes the state. If session object is used, it may open a potential source of memory leak,
because application has to explicitly remove user objects from session.
- One of the reasons for implementing rollover scope is automatic retaining of an !ActionForm,
so its content to be displayed on a consecutive request (redirect-after-post pattern). Using
session-scoped forms requires manual memory cleanup, which is tedious.
+ Caught between limitations of request object from the one hand and the necessity of laborious
manual housekeeping of session object on another hand, developers rarely use redirection to
split input and render tasks. This is unfortunate because Redirect-After-Post pattern is a
simple and proven solution for creating user-friendly and error-resistant interfaces.
- == A high-level outline of a rollover scope ==
+ Starting from Struts 1.4 it will be possible to store data related to a multi-request conversation
in the Rollover Scope.
- When an object is stored in rollover scope, the object is actually stored in the request
scope. An additional reference to the object is stored in rollover scope container. If container
does not exist, it is created and is stored itself in the request scope.
+ == Rollover scope in a nutshell ==
- When an object is accessed from rollover scope, the data is actually read from the request
+ Physically, a rollover scope is a map stored within session scope. One session can have
one or more associated rollover scopes. 
- Before returning the response to a client Struts verifies whether a rollover container exists
in request scope. If yes, the container is saved into the session scope. On a next request,
Struts checks whether the session contains a rollover container. If yes, its content is moved
to the request scope and rollover container is disposed of.
+ Rollover scope can be used in the following ways:
+  * Directly from use code through methods of RolloverScope class. [not tested]
+  * Indirectly through saveXXX() and loadXXX() methods of Action class. [not implemented
+  * By specifying action form scope in an action mapping of struts-config.xml file. [implemented]
- This approach allows to present rollover-scoped objects as request-scoped objects to an
application in most cases. When an application accesses rollover scope, it actually accesses
the request scope. Struts tags or JSTL tags automatically pick up data saved in rollover scope
because this data has been copied back to request scope. Thus, no additional support is nesessary
for tag libraries.
+ A rollover scope can be configured for automatic garbage collection. Two techniques are
+  * Setting scope lifetime when the scope is created.
+  * Specifying a scope as a storage for an action form that corresponds to a multi-request
conversation like a wizard.
- Without additional handling, the rollover-scoped object can be instantiated only once for
a given session, because the rollover scope is stored in the session between requests. This
is a limitation of the current implementation. The ways to overcome it are outlined further.
+ == Using rollover scope explicitly from application code ==
- == ActionForm and rollover scope ==
+ To obtain an instance of a rollover scope use {{{RolloverScope.getInstance}}} static method.
If the scope you are accessing does not exist and "create" flag is true, new scope will be
- An !ActionForm can be configured to be stored in the rollover scope using {{{scope="rollover"}}}
in an action mapping configuration, for example:
+ To store data in a scope or to read data from a scope use appropriate methods of Map interface.
Rollover scope is just an enhanced Map.
+ To remove rollover scope from the session object use {{{RolloverScope.remove}}} method.
+ == Using rollover scope to store an action form ==
+ In a Struts application a rollover scope can be used just as any other J2EE scope, including
action mappings. To declare a rollover scope for an action form use scope="rollover" in action
mapping definition. Below is an example of a standard redirect-after-post pattern: one mapping
for submitting user data from browser, another mapping for rendering a web page. An implicit
rollover scope is used to store form bean in between requests.
+ The sample config below employs dual-action approach: one action for input, another for
rendering. The input action inherits from !EventDispatchAction and is used as event processor.
Render action uses login/logout state to render an appropriate view.
+ Events are defined in 'parameter' attribute. Notice that 'scope' has 'rollover' value. The
rollover scope has request-based removal strategy with lifetime of one request - perfect for
redirect-after-post pattern. Besides automatic removal based on removal strategy, a rollover
scope can be removed based on action outcome. In the sample below, if an input action chooses
'cancel' or 'userhome' outcomes, then rollover scope is removed before request is redirected
to render action.
  {{{<action path = "/logininputaction"
-        type = "com.acme.LoginInputAction"
+         type = "org.apache.struts.samples.login.LoginInputAction"
-        name = "loginform"
+         name = "loginform"
-        scope = "rollover"
+         scope = "rollover"
-        validate = "false"
+         validate = "false"
-        parameter = "initEvent=init,loginEvent=login,logoutEvent=logout">
+         parameter = "initEvent=init,loginEvent=login,cancelEvent=cancel,logoutEvent=logout">
+         <set-property key="rolloverStrategy" value="rcount" />
+         <set-property key="rolloverLimit" value="1" />
+         <set-property key="rolloverRelease" value="cancel,userhome" />
-  <forward name = "render" path = "/" redirect = "true"/>
+         <forward name = "render" path = "/" redirect = "true"/>
+         <forward name = "userhome" path = "/" redirect = "true"/>
+         <forward name = "cancel" path = "/" redirect = "true"/>
  <action path = "/loginrenderaction"
-        type = "com.acme.LoginRenderAction"
+         type = "org.apache.struts.samples.login.LoginRenderAction"
-        name = "loginform"
+         name = "loginform"
-        scope = "rollover"
+         scope = "rollover"
-        validate = "false">
+         validate  = "false">
+         <set-property key="rolloverStrategy" value="rcount" />
+         <set-property key="rolloverLimit" value="1" />
+         <set-property key="rolloverRelease" value="loggedin" />
-  <forward name = "notloggedin" path = "/pages/login.jsp"/>
+         <forward name = "notloggedin" path = "/logindialog/logincomponent-login.jsp"/>
-  <forward name = "loggedin" path = "/pages/logout.jsp"/>
+         <forward name = "loggedin" path = "/logindialog/logincomponent-logout.jsp"/>
- == 1.2 and 1.3 compatibility ==
+ == Changes to Struts core classes ==
+ Several core classes have been updated to accommodate usage of rollover scope. Two new commands
have been added to default chain.
- Currently the rollover scope is implemented for 1.3-style Command chain only. The DTD is
+ === New: org.apache.struts.scope.RolloverScope ===
+ Instances of this class store rollover-scoped data; the class implements Map. Static methods
of this class obtain/create /remove a rollover scope instance. 
- == Implementation details ==
+ === New: org.apache.struts.chain.commands.LoadRolloverData ===
+ This command must be specified in chain config file before !CreateActionForm command; it
matures all rollover scopes corresponding to current session, removes aged scopes, looks up
for a rollover scope corresponding to an action mapping and loads rollover data into request
scope to ensure that JSP tags perform properly.
- === Core files ===
+ === New: org.apache.struts.chain.commands.ReleaseRolloverData ===
+ This command must be specified in chain config after !ExecuteCommand and !ExecuteAction
commands; it immediately releases current rollover scope if current action is configured so
with "rolloverRelease" property.
+ === Updated: org.apache.struts.chain.contexts.ActionContext ===
+ Added {{{getRolloverScope}}} method along with "rollover" literal to be used in action mapping
- org.apache.struts.chain.context.!ActionContextBase is enhanced so getScope(String scopeName)
accepts rollover context name.
- org.apache.struts.chain.context.!ActionContext interface is enhanced with getRolloverScope()
- org.apache.struts.chain.context.!WebActionContext class is enhanced with getRolloverScope()
- org.apache.struts.chain.commands.servlet.!ExecuteAction class is enhanced to store rollover
scope in the session after an action class is executed.
- org.apache.struts.chain.commands.!ExecuteCommand class is enhanced to store rollover scope
in the session after an command is executed.
- === Reading rollover data from the session ===
- The base request chain is augmented with {{{ObtainRolloverData}}} class placed before actions,
commands or actionforms are looked up and instantiated:
+ === Updated: org.apache.struts.chain.contexts.ActionContextBase ===
+ Method {{{getScope}}} now looks up for rollover scope along with standard J2EE scopes. 
+ === Updated: org.apache.struts.chain.contexts.WebActionContext ===
+ Defines getRolloverScope method, which obtains/creates rollover scope based on current webcontext
and request scope. This method is used by {{{ActionContextBase.getScope}}} method.
- {{{<command className="org.apache.struts.chain.commands.servlet.SetContentType"/>
- <command className="org.apache.struts.chain.commands.ObtainRolloverData"/>
- <command className="org.apache.struts.chain.commands.RemoveCachedMessages"/>}}}
- When a request is received, Struts checks whether the session contains a rollover container.
If yes, its content is moved to the request scope and rollover container is disposed of.
+ === Updated: struts-config_1_3.dtd ===
+ !RequestScope enity now allows "rollover" value along with "request" and "session".
- === Executing a command or an action ===
+ == Source code and samples ==
+ The changes related to rollover scope have not been committed to main Struts 1.x codebase
yet. You can try a simple example of rollover scope usage by downloading this sample application.
Source code is included.
- After either an action or a command has executed by !ExecuteAction or !ExecuteCommand respectively,
but before the response is sent to a browser, a new rollover container is created if needed
and is stored in the session. This container will be checked on a next request.
- == Limitations and other approaches ==
- Current implementation allows to store only one session-wide instance of an object, so in
a way rollover scope works like a session scope with automatic cleanup when next request comes.
Obviously this is not how actual request-scoped objects behave. Below are the knows options
for improvement.
- === Use a URL parameter ===
- Stripes generates a URL parameter that allows to locate a proper rollover container object,
called a !FlashScope in Stripes. The drawbacks:
-    * URL is mangled, which may not be desirable for some (like me).
-    * Must redirect to stick the parameter into URL. Redirection is needed for render requests
too, like: render(URL)->redirect->render(URL+param).
- === Use a hidden form field ===
- It is possible to generate a hidden form field with rollover container ID, the drawbacks:
-    * all pages must contain forms
-    * what if a page contains several forms?
- === Use a temporary cookie ===
-    The drawbacks:
-    * If cookies are turned off on a browser, would have to use URL parameters
-    * It is not possible (as far as I know) to send one cookie from one browser window and
another from another window; all cookies are shared by all windows in a browser session.
- == Conclusion ==
- Currently rollover scope is implemented in its simplest and allows only one session-scoped
instance of an object to be rolled over.

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