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Simple Hack Alternative to URL Redirect for Struts Actions or Similar Frameworks

· Java Zone

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Recently as a requirement I had to work on a URL Redirect for loading a particular Action as entry point.  As the usual procedure we choose one of the following methods to proceed with

  •  Pass the chosen url in sendRedirect method of HttpServletInterface
    /*
    * HttpServletResponse Object
    */
    response.sendRedirect("/customAction.do");
  •  Pass the chosen url in HTML META tag and auto refresh page.
    <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="2;url=http://www.example.com/myapp/customAction.do">

Instead of using either of these, we can proceed and achieve this through the Web Application Deployment Descriptor ( web.xml)  file by following these steps.

  1. web.xml has tag elements <welcome-file-list> and <welcome-file> which route to default file(s) specified.
  2. Example of <welcome-file-list>
    <welcome-file-list>
        <welcome-file>index.html</welcome-file>
        <welcome-file>index.htm</welcome-file>
        <welcome-file>index.jsp</welcome-file>
    </welcome-file-list>
  3. To forward to a particular action file or similar.
    <welcome-file>customAction.do</welcome-file>
  4. Create an empty file with the same name in  application war root folder [ Tested On JBoss 4.0.x and Tomcat Servers].
  5. After deployment, targeted ActionFile file can be accessed with default application URL, Instead of giving absolute URL.


As you can see above, we tested this on JBoss 4.0x and Tomcat. Please let me know whether we would need to create the empty files, as in Step 4, in other Java Application Servers.

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