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How to Separate Art Work from Programming

 
Alec Lee
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One of the reasons we don't want to use scriptlet in JSP is to allow non-java speaking "artists" to design JSP and focus on the art work only. This sounds good. But, I am wondering how this is possible in reality.

First, I just want to know if there are anybody out there who need to write JSP but know nothing about Java or programming language?

Second, if we are using some page composition framework like Struts Tiles, most of the JSP are not simple HTML. Rather they are combination of template text, html's,jstl's, Struts taglibs, tiles layouts and tiles definitions. We definitely cannot use Frontpage or Dreamweaver to design such page - and I wonder if there are any tools that can generate JSTL and Struts taglib. In that case, it is almost impossible to write JSP without knowing the details of the underlying framework. Is it possible for someone without Java knowledge to know about Struts Tiles??
 
Scott Selikoff
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The answer is it depends how complex your underlying framework is. For example, if its a gallary of artist's images, then it should be easy to design JSPs that automatically detect which images are available and display a list of them possibly even with thumbnails (although you still need to generate the thumbnail image).

On the other hand, if its something far more complicated, its up to you to fill in the gaps. You could define a web page form that takes input and converts it into a JSP/HTML file, there are many such products that do this. For example, you do not need to know about the internals of this forum software in order to make content appear on this site. The same goes for your web pages for users, if you fill in a lot of blanks for them you can develop fully automated solutions, but it requires a lot of work to do it well.

Finally, have you considered a different front end for artists such as PHP? Most people seem to find this less cumbersome than JSP, and if its for people that do not know java but can code HTML, I'd suggest it as an alternate to teaching them java.
 
Ben Souther
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The app that I work on all day is routinely customized and beautified by people with no knowledge of Java.

I chose not to use Struts because I didn't like the way it replaces all the HTML tags with Struts tags. When it started JSTL was just coming out and either it or "I" wasn't ready enough to use it in this project. If I were starting this today, I would use JSTL and EL.

Basically, I adhered to a very strict definition of MVC.
There is absolutely no scriptlet code in the JSPs. All logic is handled by Java code in the servlets and beans.
I provided about a half a dozen custom tags for looping through tabular data, and optionally showing certain things, ect...
All the data is printed to the JSPs via jsp:getProperty tags.

So far, I haven't run into an HTML designer who couldn't immediately jump in and start working with these pages.
 
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