which shouldn't be necessary anyway because EL is enabled by default? the scripting-invalid should disable scriptlets, not EL, correct?
regardles, with or without that jsp-config node in my web.xml it looks like EL does not work unless i explicitly set isELIgnored="false" in the page directive in each individual jsp page. Is there a way to avoid that? why doesn't the jsp-config node in web.xml work the way i expect?
Which container are you using ? Yes EL should be enabled by default. The flag in the DD or the page directive will also trigger EL support. The one in the DD is for all JSPs and the one in the JSP is for that particular JSP only.
Vassili Vladimir is correct. Whether the EL is enabled or not depends upon how you declare the web application. Declared as a 2.3 app it will be disabled, declared as a 2.4 app it will be enabled. This is covered in more detail in the JSP FAQ.
Extra goo in the deployment descriptor and on the pages is best avoided.