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OGNL is the Object Graph Navigation Language (see for the full documentation of OGNL). Here, we will cover a few examples of OGNL features that co-exist with the framework. To review basic concepts, refer to OGNL Basics.


No Format
       context map---|
                     |--value stack(root)
                     |--action (the current action)
                     |--attr (searches page, request, session, then application scopes)


Code Block
1title:Reference Another Object in the ActionContext
<s:property value="#session.mySessionPropKey"/> or
<s:property value="#session['mySessionPropKey']"/> or
<s:property value="#request['mySessionPropKeymyRequestPropKey']"/>

The ActionContext is also exposed to Action classes via a static method.

Code Block
ActionContext.getContext().getSession().put("mySessionPropKey", mySessionObject);

You can also put expression for attributes that don't support dynamic content, like below:

Code Block

<c:set var="foo" value="bar" scope="request"/>
<s:textfield name="username" label="%{}" />

Collections (Maps, Lists, Sets)

Dealing with Collections (Maps, Lists, and Sets) in the framework comes often, so here below please there are a few examples using the select tag. The OGNL documentation also includes some examples.

Syntax for list: {e1,e2,e3}. This idiom creates a List containing the String "name1", "name2" and "name3". It also selects "name2" as the default value.


To select a subset of a collection (called projection), use a wildcard within the collection.

  • ? - All elements matching the selection logic
  • ^ - Only the first element matching the selection logic
  • $ - Only the last element matching the selection logic

To obtain a subset of just male relatives from the object person:


titleHow the expression works

The lambda expression is everything inside the square brackets. The #this variable holds the argument to the expression, which is initially starts at 11in the following example is the number 11 (the code after the square-bracketed lamba expression, #fib(11)).

Code Block
<s:property value="#fib =:[#this==0 ? 0 : #this==1 ? 1 : #fib(#this-2)+#fib(#this-1)], #fib(11)" />

JSP 2.1

Under JSP 2.1 the # character is now used by the JSP EL.

This may cause problems with some applications that use the OGNL # operator.

One quick-fix is to disable the JSP EL in a JSP 2.1 container (like GlassFish) by adding a jsp-config element to the web.xml

Code Block


Next: Tag Syntax