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From Patrick Lightbody <>
Subject Re: [s2] Action ! Method syntax (was Freemarker transform name)
Date Fri, 25 Aug 2006 13:50:54 GMT
> Just to step back a moment, let's be clear that the
> original
> suggestion, which stemmed from the "Rough Spots"
> discussion, was that
> we experiment with using wildcards to provide the
> same functionality
> as the "!" syntax. If that experiment provided
> fruitful, we would
> then, only only then, remove the hardwired "!" in
> favor of a wildcard
> solution, that mimicked the same functionality, so
> that existing pages
> did not need to change.

My understanding was that wildcards was much more about reducing configuration and introducing
conventions rather than addressing any perceived issues about multiple entry points on the
> My own initial trial was successful. I was able to
> substitute a
> wildcard for the "!" in a prior revision of the
> MailReader
> application, without changing the server pages. (One
> exception was a
> form that didn't specify an action, but I expect few
> people do that
> now.) Hopefully, others will make the same trial with
> their own
> applications.
> If we can use wildcards instead of the "!", then we
> can take out
> excepton code, and focus on stabalizing the code for
> wildcards
> generally, instead of "!" specifically.
> Right now, the switch serves two clear purposes. One
> it closes a
> security gap, or at least makes the gap optional.
> Two, it makes it
> possible for people to experiment with using
> wildcards in lieu of the
> bang construct.
> Now, along the way, in another discussion, I asked if
> using multiple
> methods was really a best practice, and the general
> answer was that
> alternate methods were considered an elegant and
> pragmatic practice,
> and clearly the best practice that anyone has
> defined. But that was a
> separate discussion.

Yes, this is a best practice. And many people use and depend on being able to invoke those
methods from URL constructs (either in the form of ! or with a parameter name such as "method:cancel",
which addresses cancel buttons on forms).

> As it stands, I think we are at the point where
> people need to put
> what we already have to the test. Can we use the
> simple, general
> purpose wildcards *we already have* to mimick the "!"
> functionality?
> If not, why not? And, can you show us what we can't
> do in a working
> example?

No, we cannot. The major problem that comes to mind is the cancel button.

> There is no reason for alarm or discord. The only
> thing that has a
> changed is a one-line setting in a properties file.
> Meanwhile, having
> the setting is closing a backdoor that some people
> might overlook, and
> it is helping us identify where the special-case code
> is now, so if we
> are able to *replace* the functionality with
> general-puroose code, we
> will know where to make the changes.
> -Ted.
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