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From Shawn Bayern <>
Subject Announcement: JSP Standard Tag Library (JSTL)
Date Fri, 21 Jun 2002 23:20:04 GMT
Tomcat users,

You might have heard about the JSP Standard Tag Library (JSTL), which is a
new standard under the Java Community Process.  JSTL 1.0 was finalized at
the end of May 2002, and its reference implementation was released as part
of Sun's Web Services Developer Pack (WDSP) earlier this month.

The goal of JSTL 1.0 is to simplify the development of JSP pages by
standardizing tags for the following tasks:

   - control flow (iteration, conditional logic, and error handling)
   - URL management (session encoding, cross-context imports, etc.)
   - text formatting and internationalization (i18n)
   - XML manipulation (with XPath)
   - database access (via JDBC)

JSTL also offers an expression language for accessing scoped attributes,
request parameters, and other data.  (This expression language is planned
to be the basis of a core addition to JSP 2.0.)  Using JSTL tags and the
new expression language, you can often avoid scripting elements
("scriptlets" and scripting expressions) in your pages.

JSTL works with a number of different models for web development.  Users
of a "model 2" approach will probably appreciate JSTL's expression
language and core tags for control flow; prototypers and developers of
small applications may appreciate its SQL tags.  Personally, I find JSTL's
XML tags to offer a convenient, powerful alternative to XSLT for many
common XML-manipulation tasks.  And JSTL also offers an API for
programmers who wish to configure JSTL and expose data for their JSP

I'm sending this message to announce that Jakarta Taglibs has just
released version 1.0 of its "Standard Taglib," an implementation of JSTL.
(The implementation at Jakarta Taglibs is also the basis for Sun's
reference implementation of JSTL.)  You can download the 1.0 release of
the Standard Taglib at

The Standard Taglib requires JSP 1.2; it has been tested with Tomcat
4.0.4.  (Earlier versions of Tomcat may have trouble loading the JAXP 1.2
classes included with our distribution, so I recommend using Tomcat 4.0.4.  
A set of older XML files is available from the URL above if you want to
use an older version of Tomcat.)

I'm happy to answer questions that you have about JSTL; for detailed
discussion, you might be interested in joining the 'taglibs-user' mailing
list at Jakarta; see

for instructions on how to do so.

For general information about JSTL, as well as a link to the formal
specification, pointers to upcoming books on JSTL, and current articles,

If you have any comments for future versions of JSTL, you can submit them
to our expert group by mailing


Shawn Bayern
JSTL reference implementation lead
Author, "JSTL in Action"   (July 2002)

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