The dot(.) opearator can be used with maps and beans. When used with a map, the name to the right of the operator is the key in the map, whereas when used with a bean, the value to the right is the name of the property in the bean we are trying to access.
The  operator can be used in all cases where the (.) operator is used. In addition, it can also be used in cases where the left had side of the  operator is an arrya or a list.
And yes, as already stated, param is a map not a bean. The only implicit object in EL implicit objects list that is a bean is the pageContext. All the others are map objects.
so, param["name"] and param.name will return the same result. [ November 27, 2006: Message edited by: Ashwini Hegde ]