Q: What do you understand by DispatchAction?
Answer: DispatchAction is an action that comes with Struts 1.1 or later, that lets you combine Struts actions into one class, each with their own method. The org.apache.struts.action.DispatchAction class allows multiple operation to mapped to the different functions in the same Action class.
For example:
A package might include separate RegCreate, RegSave, and RegDelete Actions, which just perform different operations on the same RegBean object. Since all of these operations are usually handled by the same JSP page, it would be handy to also have them handled by the same Struts Action.

A very simple way to do this is to have the submit button modify a field in the form which indicates which operation to perform.

<html:hidden property="dispatch" value="error"/>
<SCRIPT>function set(target) {document.forms[0].dispatch.value=target;}</SCRIPT>
<html:submit onclick="set('save');">SAVE</html:submit>
<html:submit onclick="set('create');">SAVE AS NEW</html:submitl>
<html:submit onclick="set('delete);">DELETE</html:submit>

Then, in the Action you can setup different methods to handle the different operations, and branch to one or the other depending on which value is passed in the dispatch field.

String dispatch = myForm.getDispatch();
if ("create".equals(dispatch)) { ...
if ("save".equals(dispatch)) { ...

The Struts Dispatch Action [org.apache.struts.actions] is designed to do exactly the same thing, but without messy branching logic. The base perform method will check a dispatch field for you, and invoke the indicated method. The only catch is that the dispatch methods must use the same signature as perform. This is a very modest requirement, since in practice you usually end up doing that anyway.

To convert an Action that was switching on a dispatch field to a DispatchAction, you simply need to create methods like this

public ActionForward create(
ActionMapping mapping,
ActionForm form,
HttpServletRequest request,
HttpServletResponse response)
throws IOException, ServletException { ...

public ActionForward save(
ActionMapping mapping,
ActionForm form,
HttpServletRequest request,
HttpServletResponse response)
throws IOException, ServletException { ...

Cool. But do you have to use a property named dispatch? No, you don’t. The only other step is to specify the name of of the dispatch property as the “parameter” property of the action-mapping. So a mapping for our example might look like this:

<action
path="/reg/dispatch"
type="app.reg.RegDispatch"
name="regForm"
scope="request"
validate="true"
parameter="dispatch"/>

If you wanted to use the property “o” instead, as in o=create, you would change the mapping to

<action
path="/reg/dispatch"
type="app.reg.RegDispatch"
name="regForm"
scope="request"
validate="true"
parameter="o"/>

Again, very cool. But why use a JavaScript button in the first place? Why not use several buttons named “dispatch” and use a different value for each?

You can, but the value of the button is also its label. This means if the page designers want to label the button something different, they have to coordinate the Action programmer. Localization becomes virtually impossible. (Source: http://husted.com/struts/tips/002.html).

Q: How Struts relates to J2EE?
Answer: Struts framework is built on J2EE technologies (JSP, Servlet, Taglibs), but it is itself not part of the J2EE standard.

 

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