The NetBeans E-commerce Tutorial - Connecting the Application to the Database

Content on this page applies to NetBeans IDE, versions 6.8 and 6.9

This tutorial unit focuses on communication between the database and the application. You begin by adding sample data to the database and explore some of the features provided by the IDE's SQL editor. You set up a data source and connection pool on the GlassFish server, and proceed by creating a JSP page that tests the data source by performing a simple query on the database.

This unit also addresses how the application retrieves and displays images necessary for web presentation, and how to set context parameters and retrieve their values from web pages. Once you are certain the data source is working correctly, you apply JSTL's core and sql tag libraries to retrieve and display category and product images for the index and category pages.

You can view a live demo of the application that you build in this tutorial: NetBeans E-commerce Tutorial Demo Application.



Software or Resource Version Required
NetBeans IDE Java bundle, 6.8 or 6.9
Java Development Kit (JDK) version 6
GlassFish server v3 or Open Source Edition 3.0.1
MySQL database server version 5.1
AffableBean project snapshot 2
website images n/a

Notes:

  • The NetBeans IDE requires the Java Development Kit (JDK) to run properly. If you do not have any of the resources listed above, the JDK should be the first item that you download and install.
  • The NetBeans IDE Java Bundle includes Java Web and EE technologies, which are required for the application you build in this tutorial.
  • The NetBeans IDE Java Bundle also includes the GlassFish server, which you require for this tutorial. You could download the GlassFish server independently, but the version provided with the NetBeans download has the added benefit of being automatically registered with the IDE.
  • You can follow this tutorial unit without having completed previous units. To do so, perform the following three steps:
    1. Set up your MySQL database server. Follow the steps outlined in: Communicating with the Database Server.
    2. Create the affablebean schema on the database server.
      1. Click on affablebean_schema_creation.sql and copy (Ctrl-C; ⌘-C on Mac) the entire contents of the file.
      2. Open the IDE's SQL editor. In the Services window (Ctrl-5; ⌘-5 on Mac), right-click the affablebean database connection ( Database connection node ) node and choose Execute Command. The IDE's SQL editor opens.
      3. Paste (Ctrl-V; ⌘-V on Mac) the entire contents of the affablebean.sql file into the editor.
      4. Click the Run SQL ( Run SQL button ) button in the editor's toolbar. The script runs on your MySQL server. Tables are generated for the affablebean database.
    3. Open the project snapshot in the IDE. In the IDE, press Ctrl-Shift-O (⌘-Shift-O on Mac) and navigate to the location on your computer where you unzipped the downloaded file.

Adding Sample Data to the Database

Begin by adding sample data to the category and product tables. You can do this using the IDE's SQL editor, which allows you to interact directly with the database using native SQL. The IDE's SQL support also includes a GUI editor that enables you to add, remove, modify and delete table records.

category table

  1. In the Services window (Ctrl-5; ⌘-5 on Mac), right-click the category table ( database table node ) node and choose View Data. The SQL editor opens and displays with a GUI representation of the category table in the lower region. Note that the table is empty, as no data has yet been added.
    Empty category table displayed in SQL editor
    Also, note that the native SQL query used to generate the GUI representation is displayed in the upper region of the editor: 'select * from category'.
  2. Delete 'select * from category' and enter the following SQL statement:
    INSERT INTO `category` (`name`) VALUES ('dairy'),('meats'),('bakery'),('fruit & veg');
    This statement inserts four new records, each with a unique entry for the 'name' column. Because the id column was specified as AUTO_INCREMENT when you created the schema, you do not need to worry about supplying a value.
  3. Click the Run SQL ( Run SQL button ) button in the editor's toolbar. The SQL statement is executed.
  4. To confirm that the data has been added, run the 'select * from category' query again. To do so, you can use the SQL History window. Click the SQL History ( SQL History button ) button in the editor's toolbar and double-click the 'select * from category' entry. The SQL History window lists all SQL statements that you recently executed in the IDE.

Watch the screencast below to see how you can follow the above steps. When typing in the editor, be sure to take advantage of the IDE's code completion and suggestion facilities.




product table

  1. Right-click the product table ( database table node ) node and choose Execute Command. Choosing the Execute Command menu option in the Services window opens the SQL editor in the IDE.
  2. Copy and paste the following INSERT statements into the editor.
    --
    -- Sample data for table `product`
    --
    
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('milk', 1.70, 'semi skimmed (1L)', 1);
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('cheese', 2.39, 'mild cheddar (330g)', 1);
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('butter', 1.09, 'unsalted (250g)', 1);
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('free range eggs', 1.76, 'medium-sized (6 eggs)', 1);
    
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('organic meat patties', 2.29, 'rolled in fresh herbs<br>2 patties (250g)', 2);
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('parma ham', 3.49, 'matured, organic (70g)', 2);
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('chicken leg', 2.59, 'free range (250g)', 2);
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('sausages', 3.55, 'reduced fat, pork<br>3 sausages (350g)', 2);
    
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('sunflower seed loaf', 1.89, '600g', 3);
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('sesame seed bagel', 1.19, '4 bagels', 3);
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('pumpkin seed bun', 1.15, '4 buns', 3);
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('chocolate cookies', 2.39, 'contain peanuts<br>(3 cookies)', 3);
    
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('corn on the cob', 1.59, '2 pieces', 4);
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('red currants', 2.49, '150g', 4);
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('broccoli', 1.29, '500g', 4);
    INSERT INTO `product` (`name`, price, description, category_id) VALUES ('seedless watermelon', 1.49, '250g', 4);
    
    Examine the above code and note the following points:
    • By examining the affablebean schema generation script, you'll note that the product table contains a non-nullable, automatically incremental primary key. Whenever you insert a new record into the table (and don't explicitly set the value of the primary key), the SQL engine sets it for you. Also, note that the product table's last_update column applies CURRENT_TIMESTAMP as its default value. The SQL engine will therefore provide the current date and time for this field when a record is created.

      Looking at this another way, if you were to create an INSERT statement that didn't indicate which columns would be affected by the insertion action, you would need to account for all columns. In this case, you could enter a NULL value to enable the SQL engine to automatically handle fields that have default values specified. For example, the following statement elicits the same result as the first line of the above code:
      INSERT INTO `product` VALUES (NULL, 'milk', 1.70, 'semi skimmed (1L)', NULL, 1);
      After running the statement, you'll see that the record contains an automatically incremented primary key, and the last_update column lists the current date and time.
    • The value for the final column, 'category_id', must correspond to a value contained in the category table's id column. Because you have already added four records to the category table, the product records you are inserting reference one of these four records. If you try to insert a product record that references a category_id that doesn't exist, a foreign key constraint fails.
  3. Click the Run SQL ( Run SQL button ) button in the editor's toolbar.

    Note: View the Output window (Ctrl-4; ⌘-4 on Mac) to see a log file containing results of the execution.

  4. Right-click the product table ( database table node ) node and choose View Data. You can see 16 new records listed in the table.
    16 new records displayed in SQL editor's 'product' table

Creating a Connection Pool and Data Source

From this point onward, you establish connectivity between the MySQL database and the affablebean application through the GlassFish server which it is deployed to. This communication is made possible with the Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) API. The JDBC API is an integration library contained in the JDK (refer back to the component diagram displayed in the tutorial Introduction). Although this tutorial does not work directly with JDBC programming, the application that we are building does utilize the JDBC API whenever communication is required between the SQL and Java languages. For example, you start by creating a connection pool on the GlassFish server. In order for the server to communicate directly with the the MySQL database, it requires the Connector/J JDBC driver which converts JDBC calls directly into a MySQL-specific protocol. Later in this tutorial unit, when you apply JSTL's <sql:query> tags to query the affablebean database, the tags are translated into JDBC Statements.

A connection pool contains a group of reusable connections for a particular database. Because creating each new physical connection is time-consuming, the server maintains a pool of available connections to increase performance. When an application requests a connection, it obtains one from the pool. When an application closes a connection, the connection is returned to the pool. Connection pools use a JDBC driver to create physical database connections.

A data source (a.k.a. a JDBC resource) provides applications with the means of connecting to a database. Applications get a database connection from a connection pool by looking up a data source using the Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) and then requesting a connection. The connection pool associated with the data source provides the connection for the application.

In order to enable the application access to the affablebean database, you need to create a connection pool and a data source that uses the connection pool. Use the NetBeans GlassFish JDBC Resource wizard to accomplish this.

Note: You can also create connection pools and data sources directly on the GlassFish server using the GlassFish Administration Console. However, creating these resources in this manner requires that you manually enter database connection details (i.e., username, password and URL). The benefit of using the NetBeans wizard is that it extracts any connection details directly from an existing database connection, thus eliminating potential connectivity problems.

To access the console from the IDE, in the Services window right-click the Servers > GlassFish node and choose View Admin Console. The default username / password is: admin / adminadmin. If you'd like to set up the connection pool and data source using the GlassFish Administration console, follow steps 3-15 of the NetBeans E-commerce Tutorial Setup Instructions. The setup instructions are provided for later tutorial units.

  1. Click the New File ( New File button ) button in the IDE's toolbar. (Alternatively, press Ctrl-N; ⌘-N on Mac.)
  2. Select the GlassFish category, then select JDBC Resource and click Next.
  3. In Step 2 of the JDBC Resource wizard, select the Create New JDBC Connection Pool option. When you do so, three new steps are added to the wizard, enabling you to specify connection pool settings.
  4. Enter details to set up the data source:
    • JNDI Name: jdbc/affablebean
      By convention, the JNDI name for a JDBC resource begins with the 'jdbc/' string.
    • Object Type: user
    • Enabled: true
    JDBC Resource wizard - General Attributes
  5. Click Next. In Step 3, Additional Properties, you do not need to specify any additional configuration information for the data source.
  6. Click Next. In Step 4, Choose Database Connection, type in AffableBeanPool as the JDBC connection pool name. Also, ensure that the Extract from Existing Connection option is selected, and that the jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/affablebean connection is listed.
  7. Click Next. In Step 5, Add Connection Pool Properties, specify the following details:
    • Datasource Classname: com.mysql.jdbc.jdbc2.optional.MysqlDataSource
    • Resource Type: javax.sql.ConnectionPoolDataSource
    • Description: (Optional) Connects to the affablebean database
    Also, note that the wizard extracts and displays properties from the existing connection.
    JDBC Resource wizard - Add Connection Pool
  8. Click Finish. The wizard generates a sun-resources.xml file for the project that contains all information required to set up the connection pool and data source on GlassFish. The sun-resources.xml file is a deployment descriptor specific to the GlassFish application server. When the project next gets deployed, the server will read in any configuration data contained in sun-resources.xml, and set up the connection pool and data source accordingly. Note that once the connection pool and data source exist on the server, your project no longer requires the sun-resources.xml file.
  9. In the Projects window (Ctrl-1; ⌘-1 on Mac), expand the Server Resources node and double-click the sun-resources.xml file to open it in the editor. Here you see the XML configuration required to set up the connection pool and data source. (Code below is formatted for readability.)
    <resources>
      <jdbc-resource enabled="true"
                     jndi-name="jdbc/affablebean"
                     object-type="user"
                     pool-name="AffableBeanPool">
      </jdbc-resource>
    
      <jdbc-connection-pool allow-non-component-callers="false"
                            associate-with-thread="false"
                            connection-creation-retry-attempts="0"
                            connection-creation-retry-interval-in-seconds="10"
                            connection-leak-reclaim="false"
                            connection-leak-timeout-in-seconds="0"
                            connection-validation-method="auto-commit"
                            datasource-classname="com.mysql.jdbc.jdbc2.optional.MysqlDataSource"
                            fail-all-connections="false"
                            idle-timeout-in-seconds="300"
                            is-connection-validation-required="false"
                            is-isolation-level-guaranteed="true"
                            lazy-connection-association="false"
                            lazy-connection-enlistment="false"
                            match-connections="false"
                            max-connection-usage-count="0"
                            max-pool-size="32"
                            max-wait-time-in-millis="60000"
                            name="AffableBeanPool"
                            non-transactional-connections="false"
                            pool-resize-quantity="2"
                            res-type="javax.sql.ConnectionPoolDataSource"
                            statement-timeout-in-seconds="-1"
                            steady-pool-size="8"
                            validate-atmost-once-period-in-seconds="0"
                            wrap-jdbc-objects="false">
    
        <description>Connects to the affablebean database</description>
        <property name="URL" value="jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/affablebean"/>
        <property name="User" value="root"/>
        <property name="Password" value="nbuser"/>
      </jdbc-connection-pool>
    </resources>
  10. In the Projects window (Ctrl-1; ⌘-1 on Mac), right-click the AffableBean project node and choose Deploy. The GlassFish server reads configuration data from the sun-resources.xml file and creates the AffableBeanPool connection pool, and jdbc/affablebean data source.
  11. In the Services window, expand the Servers > GlassFish > Resources > JDBC node. Here you can locate the jdbc/affablebean data source listed under JDBC Resources, and the AffableBeanPool connection pool listed under Connection Pools.
    Services window - GlassFish JDBC Resources

    Right-click data source and connection pool nodes to view and make changes to their properties. You can associate a data source with any connection pool registered on the server. You can edit property values for connection pools, and unregister both data sources and connection pools from the server.


Testing the Connection Pool and Data Source

Start by making sure the GlassFish server can successfully connect to the MySQL database. You can do this by pinging the AffableBeanPool connection pool in the GlassFish Administration Console.

Then proceed by adding a reference in your project to the data source you created on the server. To do so, you create a <resource-ref> entry in the application's web.xml deployment descriptor.

Finally, use the IDE's editor support for the JSTL sql tag library, and create a JSP page that queries the database and outputs data in a table on a web page.

Pinging the Connection Pool

  1. Ensure that the GlassFish server is already running. In the Services window (Ctrl-5; ⌘-5 on Mac), expand the Servers node. Note the small green arrow next to the GlassFish icon ( GlassFish server node in Services window ).

    (If the server is not running, right-click the server node and choose Start.)
  2. Right-click the server node and choose View Admin Console. The GlassFish Administration Console opens in a browser.
  3. Log into the administration console. The default username / password is: admin / adminadmin.
  4. In the console's tree on the left, expand the Resources > JDBC > Connection Pools nodes, then click AffableBeanPool. In the main window, the Edit Connection Pool interface displays for the selected connection pool.
  5. Click the Ping button. If the ping succeeds, the GlassFish server has a working connection to the affablebean database on the MySQL server.
    GlassFish Administration Console - Edit Connection Pool
    (If the ping fails, see suggestions in the Troubleshooting section below.)

Creating a Resource Reference to the Data Source

  1. In the Projects window, expand the Configuration Files folder and double-click web.xml. A graphical interface for the file displays in the IDE's main window.
  2. Click the References tab located along the top of the editor. Expand the Resource References heading, then click Add. The Add Resource Reference dialog opens.
  3. Enter the following details into the dialog:
    • Resource Name: jdbc/affablebean
    • Resource Type: javax.sql.ConnectionPoolDataSource
    • Authentication: Container
    • Sharing Scope: Shareable
    • Description: (Optional) Connects to database for AffableBean application
    Add Resource Reference dialog
  4. Click OK. The new resource is added under the Resource References heading.
    Resource reference to jdbc/affablebean data source listed in the deployment descriptor
    To verify that the resource is now added to the web.xml file, click the XML tab located along the top of the editor. Notice that the following <resource-ref> tags are now included:
    <resource-ref>
        <description>Connects to database for AffableBean application</description>
        <res-ref-name>jdbc/affablebean</res-ref-name>
        <res-type>javax.sql.ConnectionPoolDataSource</res-type>
        <res-auth>Container</res-auth>
        <res-sharing-scope>Shareable</res-sharing-scope>
    </resource-ref>

Querying the Database from a JSP Page

  1. Create a new JSP page to test the data source. Click the New File ( New File button ) button. (Alternatively, press Ctrl-N; ⌘-N on Mac.)
  2. Select the Web category, then select the JSP file type and click Next.
  3. Enter 'testDataSource' as the file name. In the Folder field, type in 'test'.
    JSP wizard

    The project does not yet have a folder named 'test' within the Web Pages location (i.e., within the web folder). By entering 'test' into the Folder field, you have the IDE create the folder upon completing the wizard.

  4. Click finish. The IDE generates a new testDataSource.jsp file, and places it into the new test folder within the project.
  5. In the new testDataSource.jsp file, in the editor, place your cursor at the end of the line containing the <h1> tags (line 17). Press Return, then press Ctrl-Space to invoke code suggestions. Choose DB Report from the list of options.
    Code suggestions displayed in editor

    If line numbers do not display, right-click in the left margin of the editor and choose Show Line Numbers.

  6. In the Insert DB Report dialog, specify the data source and modify the SQL query to be executed:
    • Data Source: jdbc/affablebean
    • Query Statement: SELECT * FROM category, product WHERE category.id = product.category_id
    Insert DB Report dialog
  7. Click OK. The dialog adds the taglib directives for the JSTL core and sql libraries to the top of the file:
    <%@taglib prefix="c" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/core"%>
    <%@taglib prefix="sql" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/sql"%>
    The dialog also generates template code to display the query results in an HTML table:
    <sql:query var="result" dataSource="jdbc/affablebean">
        SELECT * FROM category, product
        WHERE category.id = product.category_id
    </sql:query>
    
    <table border="1">
        <!-- column headers -->
        <tr>
            <c:forEach var="columnName" items="${result.columnNames}">
                <th><c:out value="${columnName}"/></th>
            </c:forEach>
        </tr>
        <!-- column data -->
        <c:forEach var="row" items="${result.rowsByIndex}">
            <tr>
                <c:forEach var="column" items="${row}">
                    <td><c:out value="${column}"/></td>
                </c:forEach>
            </tr>
        </c:forEach>
    </table>
  8. Before running the file in a browser, make sure you have enabled the JDBC driver deployment option in NetBeans' GlassFish support. Choose Tools > Servers to open the Servers window. In the left column, select the GlassFish server you are deploying to. In the main column, ensure that the 'Enable JDBC Driver Deployment' option is selected, then click Close.
    Servers window
    For Java applications that connect to a database, the server requires a JDBC driver to be able to create a communication bridge between the SQL and Java languages. In the case of MySQL, you use the Connector/J JDBC driver. Ordinarily you would need to manually place the driver JAR file into the server's lib directory. With the 'Enable JDBC Driver Deployment' option selected, the server performs a check to see whether a driver is needed, and if so, the IDE deploys the driver to the server.
  9. Right-click in the editor and choose Run File (Shift-F6; fn-Shift-F6 on Mac). The testDataSource.jsp file is compiled into a servlet, deployed to the server, then runs in a browser.
  10. Open the Output window (Ctrl-4; ⌘-4 on Mac) and click the 'AffableBean (run)' tab. The output indicates that the driver JAR file (mysql-connector-java-5.1.6-bin.jar) is deployed.
    Output window listing MySQL driver deployment
  11. Examine testDataSource.jsp in the browser. You see an HTML table listing data contained in the category and product tables.
    Browser display of testDataSource.jsp
    (If you receive a server error, see suggestions in the Troubleshooting section below.)

At this stage, we have set up a working data source and connection pool on the server, and demonstrated that the application can access data contained in the affablebean database.


Setting Context Parameters

This section demonstrates how to configure context parameters for the application, and how to access parameter values from JSP pages. The owner of an application may want to be able to change certain settings without the need to make intrusive changes to source code. Context parameters enable you application-wide access to parameter values, and provide a convenient way to change parameter values from a single location, should the need arise.

Setting up context parameters can be accomplished in two steps:

  1. Listing parameter names and values in the web deployment descriptor
  2. Calling the parameters in JSP pages using the initParam object

The JSP Expression Language (EL) defines implicit objects, which initParam is an example of. When working in JSP pages, you can utilize implicit objects using dot notation and placing expressions within EL delimiters (${...}). For example, if you have an initialization parameter named myParam, you can access it from a JSP page with the expression ${initParam.myParam}.

For more information on the JSP Expression Language and implicit objects, see the following chapter in the Java EE 6 Tutorial: Chapter 6 - Expression Language.

By way of demonstration, you create context parameters for the image paths to category and product images used in the AffableBean project. Begin by adding the provided image resources to the project, then perform the two steps outlined above.

  1. Download the website sample images, and unzip the file to a location on your computer. The unzipped file is an img folder that contains all of the image resources required for the AffableBean application.
  2. Import the img folder into the AffableBean project. Copy (Ctrl-C; ⌘-C on Mac) the img folder, then in the IDE's Projects window, paste (Ctrl-V; ⌘-V on Mac) the folder into the project's Web Pages node.
    'img' folder displayed in Projects window
    The categories and products folders contain the images that will be displayed in the index and category pages, respectively.
  3. Open the project's web deployment descriptor. In the Projects window, expand the Configuration Files node and double-click web.xml.
  4. Click the General tab, then expand Context Parameters and click the Add button.
  5. In the Add Context Parameter dialog, enter the following details:
    • Parameter Name: productImagePath
    • Parameter Value: img/products/
    • Description: (Optional) The relative path to product images
    Add Context Parameter dialog
  6. Click OK.
  7. Click the Add button again and enter the following details:
    • Parameter Name: categoryImagePath
    • Parameter Value: img/categories/
    • Description: (Optional) The relative path to category images
  8. Click OK. The two context parameters are now listed:
    web.xml - context parameters
  9. Click the XML tab to view the XML content that has been added to the deployment descriptor. The following <context-param> entries have been added:
    <context-param>
        <description>The relative path to product images</description>
        <param-name>productImagePath</param-name>
        <param-value>img/products/</param-value>
    </context-param>
    <context-param>
        <description>The relative path to category images</description>
        <param-name>categoryImagePath</param-name>
        <param-value>img/categories/</param-value>
    </context-param>
  10. To test whether the values for the context parameters are accessible to web pages, open any of the project's web pages in the editor and enter EL expressions using the initParam implicit object. For example, open index.jsp and enter the following (New code in bold):
    <div id="indexLeftColumn">
        <div id="welcomeText">
            <p>[ welcome text ]</p>
    
            <!-- test to access context parameters -->
            categoryImagePath: ${initParam.categoryImagePath}
            productImagePath: ${initParam.productImagePath}
        </div>
    </div>
  11. Run the project. Click the Run Project ( Run Project button ) button. The project's index page opens in the browser, and you see the values for the categoryImagePath and productImagePath context parameters displayed in the page.
    Context parameter values displayed in browser

Working with JSTL

So far in this tutorial unit, you've established how to access data from the affablebean database, add image resources to the project, and have set up several context parameters. In this final section, you combine these achievements to plug the product and category images into the application. In order to do so effectively, you need to begin taking advantage of the JavaServer Pages Standard Tag Library (JSTL).

Note that you do not have to worry about adding the JSTL JAR file (jstl-impl.jar) to your project's classpath because it already exists. When you created the AffableBean project and selected GlassFish as your development server, the libraries contained in the server were automatically added to your project's classpath. You can verify this in the Projects window by expanding the AffableBean project's Libraries > GlassFish Server 3 node to view all of the libraries provided by the server.
GlassFish libraries listed in Projects window
The jstl-impl.jar file is GlassFish' implementation of JSTL, version 1.2.

You can also download the GlassFish JSTL JAR file separately from: http://jstl.dev.java.net/download.html

Before embarking upon an exercise involving JSTL, one implementation detail needs to first be clarified. Examine the files contained in the categories and products folders and note that the names of the provided image files match the names of the category and product entries found in the database. This enables us to leverage the database data to dynamically call image files within the page. So for example, if the web page needs to access the image for the broccoli product entry, you can make this happen using the following statement.

${initParam.productImagePath}broccoli.png

After implementing a JSTL forEach loop, you'll be able to replace the hard-coded name of the product with an EL expression that dynamically extracts the name of the product from the database, and inserts it into the page.

${initParam.productImagePath}${product.name}.png

Begin by integrating the category images into the index page, then work within the category page so that data pertaining to the selected category is dynamically handled.

index page

  1. In the Projects window, double-click the index.jsp node to open it in the editor. (If already opened, press Ctrl-Tab to select it in the editor.)
  2. At the top of the file, before the first <div> tag, place your cursor on a blank line, then type 'db' and press Ctrl-Space. In the code-completion pop-up window that displays, choose DB Query.
    DB completion items displayed in editor
  3. In the Insert DB Query dialog, enter the following details:
    • Variable Name: categories
    • Scope: page
    • Data Source: jdbc/affablebean
    • Query Statement: SELECT * FROM category
    Insert DB query dialog
  4. Click OK. The dialog generates an SQL query using JSTL <sql:query> tags. Also, note that the required reference to the sql taglib directive has been automatically inserted at the top of the page. (Changes displayed in bold.)
    <%@taglib prefix="sql" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/sql"%>
    <%--
        Document   : index
        Created on : Sep 5, 2009, 4:32:42 PM
        Author     : nbuser
    --%>
    
    <sql:query var="categories" dataSource="jdbc/affablebean">
        SELECT * FROM category
    </sql:query>
    
                <div id="indexLeftColumn">
                    <div id="welcomeText">
                        <p>[ welcome text ]</p>
                        
    The SQL query creates a result set which is stored in the categories variable. You can then access the result set using EL syntax, e.g., ${categories} (demonstrated below).
  5. Place your cursor at the end of '<div id="indexRightColumn">' (line 22), hit return, type 'jstl' then press Ctrl-Space and choose JSTL For Each.
    JSTL completion items displayed in editor
  6. In the Insert JSTL For Each dialog, enter the following details:
    • Collection: ${categories.rows}
    • Current Item of the Iteration: category
    Insert JSTL For Each dialog
  7. Click OK. The dialog sets up syntax for a JSTL forEach loop using <c:forEach> tags. Also, note that the required reference to the core taglib directive has been automatically inserted at the top of the page. (Changes displayed in bold.)
    <%@taglib prefix="c" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/core"%>
    <%@taglib prefix="sql" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/sql"%>
    
        ...
    
        <div id="indexRightColumn">
            <c:forEach var="category" items="categories.rows">
            </c:forEach>
            <div class="categoryBox">

    If you are wondering what 'rows' refers to in the generated code, recall that the categories variable represents a result set. More specifically, categories refers to an object that implements the javax.servlet.jsp.jstl.sql.Result interface. This object provides properties for accessing the rows, column names, and size of the query’s result set. When using dot notation as in the above example, 'categories.rows' is translated in Java to 'categories.getRows()'.

  8. Integrate the <c:forEach> tags into the page. You can nest the <div class="categoryBox"> tags within the forEach loop so that HTML markup is generated for each of the four categories. Use EL syntax to extract the category table's id and name column values for each of the four records. Make sure to delete the other <div class="categoryBox"> tags which exist outside the forEach loop. When you finish, the complete index.jsp file will look as follows. (<c:forEach> tags and contents are displayed in bold.)
    <%@taglib prefix="c" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/core"%>
    <%@taglib prefix="sql" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/sql"%>
    <%--
        Document   : index
        Created on : Sep 5, 2009, 4:32:42 PM
        Author     : nbuser
    --%>
    
    <sql:query var="categories" dataSource="jdbc/affablebean">
        SELECT * FROM category
    </sql:query>
    
                <div id="indexLeftColumn">
                    <div id="welcomeText">
                        <p>[ welcome text ]</p>
    
                        <!-- test to access context parameters -->
                        categoryImagePath: ${initParam.categoryImagePath}
                        productImagePath: ${initParam.productImagePath}
                    </div>
                </div>
    
                <div id="indexRightColumn">
                    <c:forEach var="category" items="${categories.rows}">
                        <div class="categoryBox">
                            <a href="category?${category.id}">
    
                                <span class="categoryLabelText">${category.name}</span>
    
                                <img src="${initParam.categoryImagePath}${category.name}.jpg"
                                     alt="${category.name}">
                            </a>
                        </div>
                    </c:forEach>
                </div>
  9. Click the Run Project ( Run Project button ) button. The project's index page opens in the browser, and you see the names and images of the four categories.
    Category images displayed in index page in browser
  10. Click any of the four images in the browser. The category page displays.
    Category page in browser

    To understand how linking takes place between the index and category pages, reexamine the HTML anchor tags within the forEach loop:

    <a href="category?${category.id}">

    When a user clicks the image link in the browser, a request for 'category' is sent to the application's context root on the server. In your development environment, the URL is as follows:

    http://localhost:8080/AffableBean/category

    This URL can can be explained in the following manner:

    • http://localhost:8080: The default location of the GlassFish server on your computer
    • /AffableBean: The context root of your deployed application
    • /category: The path to the request

    Recall that in Preparing the Page Views and Controller Servlet, you mapped a request for '/category' to the ControllerServlet. Currently, the ControllerServlet internally forwards the request to /WEB-INF/view/category.jsp, which is why the category page displays upon clicking an image link.

    You can verify the application's context root by expanding the Configuration Files node in the Projects window, and opening the sun-web.xml file. The sun-web.xml file is a deployment descriptor specific to GlassFish.

    Also, note that a question mark (?) and category ID are appended to the requested URL.

    <a href="category?${category.id}">

    This forms the query string. As is demonstrated in the next section, you can apply (pageContext.request.queryString} to extract the value of the query string from the request. You can then use the category ID from the query string to determine which category details need to be included in the response.

category page

Three aspects of the category page need to be handled dynamically. The left column must indicate which category is selected, the table heading must display the name of the selected category, and the table must list product details pertaining to the selected category. In order to implement these aspects using JSTL, you can follow a simple, 2-step pattern:

  1. Retrieve data from the database using the JSTL sql tag library.
  2. Display the data using the JSTL core library and EL syntax.

Tackle each of the three tasks individually.

Display selected category in left column

  1. In the Projects window, double-click the category.jsp node to open it in the editor. (If already opened, press Ctrl-Tab to select it in the editor.)
  2. Add the following SQL query to the top of the file.
    <sql:query var="categories" dataSource="jdbc/affablebean">
        SELECT * FROM category
    </sql:query>
    Either use the Insert DB Query dialog as described above, or use the editor's code suggestion and completion facilities by pressing Ctrl-Space while typing.
  3. Between the <div id="categoryLeftColumn"> tags, replace the existing static placeholder content with the following <c:forEach> loop.
    <div id="categoryLeftColumn">
    
        <c:forEach var="category" items="${categories.rows}">
    
            <c:choose>
                <c:when test="${category.id == pageContext.request.queryString}">
                    <div class="categoryButton" id="selectedCategory">
                        <span class="categoryText">
                            ${category.name}
                        </span>
                    </div>
                </c:when>
                <c:otherwise>
                    <a href="category?${category.id}" class="categoryButton">
                        <div class="categoryText">
                            ${category.name}
                        </div>
                    </a>
                </c:otherwise>
            </c:choose>
    
        </c:forEach>
    
    </div>
    In the above snippet, you access the request's query string using 'pageContext.request.queryString'. pageContext is another implicit object defined by the JSP Expression Language. The EL expression uses the PageContext to access the current request (an HttpServletRequest object). From HttpServletRequest, the getQueryString() method is called to obtain the value of the request's query string.
  4. Make sure to add the JSTL core and sql taglib directives to the top of the page. (This is done automatically when using the editor's code suggestion and completion facilities.)
    <%@taglib prefix="c" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/core"%>
    <%@taglib prefix="sql" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/sql"%>
  5. Run the project. In the browser, navigate to the category page and click the category buttons in the left column. Each time you click, the page refreshes highlighting the selected category.
    Category page with bakery category selected
    Also, note that the ID of the selected category is displayed in the page's URL. (In the above image, the bakery category is selected, and '3' is appended to the URL in the browser's navigation toolbar.)

    Your servlet container (i.e., GlassFish) converts JSP pages into servlets before running them as part of a project. You can view the generated servlet for a JSP page by right-clicking the page node in the Projects window and choosing View Servlet. Of course, you first need to run the project so that the servlet is generated. Taking the index.jsp file as an example, when you choose View Servlet, the IDE displays a read-only copy of the generated servlet, index_jsp.java, in the editor. The servlet exists on the server at: <gf-install-dir>/glassfish/domains/domain1/generated/jsp/AffableBean/org/apache/jsp/index_jsp.java.



Display title heading above product table

  1. Add the following SQL query to the top of the file, underneath the query you just implemented. (New query is shown in bold.)
    <sql:query var="categories" dataSource="jdbc/affablebean">
        SELECT * FROM category
    </sql:query>
    
    <sql:query var="selectedCategory" dataSource="jdbc/affablebean">
        SELECT name FROM category WHERE id = ?
        <sql:param value="${pageContext.request.queryString}"/>
    </sql:query>
  2. Use JSP EL syntax to extract the category name from the query and display it in the page. Make the following change to the <p id="categoryTitle"> element. (Displayed in bold.)
    <p id="categoryTitle">${selectedCategory.rows[0].name}</p>
    Since the result from the selectedCategory query contains only one item (i.e., user can select only one category), you can retrieve the first row of the result set using 'selectedCategory.rows[0]'. If a user selects the 'meats' category for example, the returned expression would be '{name=meats}'. You could then access the category name with '${selectedCategory.rows[0].name}'.
  3. Save (Ctrl-S; ⌘-S on Mac) changes made to the file.
  4. Return to the browser and refresh the category page. The name of the selected category now displays above the product table.
    Category page with bakery title displayed over product table

    Note: As demonstrated in this and the previous step, you do not need to explicitly recompile, deploy, and run the project with each change to your code base. The IDE provides a Deploy on on Save feature, which is enabled for Java web projects by default. To verify that the feature is activated, right-click your project node in the Projects window and choose Properties. In the Project Properties window, click the Run category and examine the 'Deploy on Save' option.

Display product details within the table

  1. Add the following SQL query to the top of the file, underneath the previous queries you implemented. (New query is shown in bold.)
    <sql:query var="categories" dataSource="jdbc/affablebean">
        SELECT * FROM category
    </sql:query>
    
    <sql:query var="selectedCategory" dataSource="jdbc/affablebean">
        SELECT name FROM category WHERE id = ?
        <sql:param value="${pageContext.request.queryString}"/>
    </sql:query>
    
    <sql:query var="categoryProducts" dataSource="jdbc/affablebean">
        SELECT * FROM product WHERE category_id = ?
        <sql:param value="${pageContext.request.queryString}"/>
    </sql:query>
  2. Between the <table id="productTable"> tags, replace the existing static table row placeholders (<tr> tags) with the following <c:forEach> loop. (Changes are displayed in bold.)
    <table id="productTable">
    
        <c:forEach var="product" items="${categoryProducts.rows}" varStatus="iter">
    
            <tr class="${((iter.index % 2) == 0) ? 'lightBlue' : 'white'}">
                <td>
                    <img src="${initParam.productImagePath}${product.name}.png"
                        alt="${product.name}">
                </td>
                <td>
                    ${product.name}
                    <br>
                    <span class="smallText">${product.description}</span>
                </td>
                <td>
                    &euro; ${product.price} / unit
                </td>
                <td>
                    <form action="addToCart" method="post">
                        <input type="hidden"
                               name="productId"
                               value="${product.id}">
                        <input type="submit"
                               value="add to cart">
                    </form>
                </td>
            </tr>
    
        </c:forEach>
    
    </table>
    Note that in the above snippet an EL expression is used to determine the background color for table rows:
    class="${((iter.index % 2) == 0) ? 'lightBlue' : 'white'}"
    The API documentation for the <c:forEach> tag indicates that the varStatus attribute represents an object that implements the LoopTagStatus interface. Therefore, iter.index retrieves the index of the current round of the iteration. Continuing with the expression, (iter.index % 2) == 0) evaluates the remainder when iter.index is divided by 2, and returns a boolean value based on the outcome. Finally, an EL conditional operator (? :) is used to set the returned value to 'lightBlue' if true, 'white' otherwise.

    For a description of JSP Expression Language operators, see the Java EE 5 Tutorial: JavaServer Pages Technology > Unified Expression Language > Operators.

  3. Save (Ctrl-S; ⌘-S on Mac) changes made to the file.
  4. Return to the browser and refresh the category page. Product details now display within the table for the selected category.
    Category page displaying products for selected category

You have now completed this tutorial unit. In it, you explored how to connect your application to the database by setting up a connection pool and data source on the server, then referenced the data source from the application. You also created several context parameters, and learned how to access them from JSP pages. Finally, you implemented JSTL tags into the application's web pages in order to dynamically retrieve and display database data.

You can download and examine snapshot 3 if you'd like to compare your work with the solution project. The solution project contains enhancements to the HTML markup and stylesheet in order to properly display all provided images. It also provides welcome page text, and a basic implementation for the page footer.


Troubleshooting

If you are having problems, see the troubleshooting tips below. If you continue to have difficulty, or would like to provide constructive feedback, use the Send us Your Feedback link.

  • You receive the following exception:
    org.apache.jasper.JasperException: PWC6188: The absolute uri: http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/core cannot be resolved in either web.xml or the jar files deployed with this application
    This is a known issue for NetBeans IDE 6.9. Try to deploy the project, then access the file by typing its URL in the browser. For example, if you are trying to view testDataSource.jsp in a browser, enter 'http://localhost:8080/AffableBean/test/testDataSource.jsp' in the browser's URL field directly. Otherwise, add the IDE's JSTL 1.1 library to the project. In the Projects window, right-click the Libraries node and choose Add Library. Select JSTL 1.1. For more information, see: http://forums.netbeans.org/topic28571.html.
  • You receive the following exception:
    javax.servlet.ServletException: javax.servlet.jsp.JspException: Unable to get connection, DataSource invalid: "java.sql.SQLException: Error in allocating a connection. Cause: Class name is wrong or classpath is not set for : com.mysql.jdbc.jdbc2.optional.MysqlDataSource"
    This can occur when the MySQL driver has not been added to the domain lib folder. (Note that after adding, it is necessary to restart the server if it is already running.)
  • You receive the following exception:
    javax.servlet.ServletException: javax.servlet.jsp.JspException: Unable to get connection, DataSource invalid: "java.sql.SQLException: No suitable driver found for jdbc/affablebean"
    This can occur when the jdbc/affablebean resource reference hasn't been added to the web.xml deployment descriptor.
  • You receive the following exception:
    javax.servlet.ServletException: javax.servlet.jsp.JspException: Unable to get connection, DataSource invalid: "java.sql.SQLException: Error in allocating a connection. Cause: Connection could not be allocated because: Access denied for user 'root'@'localhost' (using password: YES)"
    This can occur when you are using an incorrect username/password combination. Make sure the username and password you use to connect to the MySQL server are correctly set for your connection pool in the sun-resources.xml file. Also, check that the username and password are correctly set for the connection pool in the GlassFish Administration Console.

See Also

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