Running JSTL 1.2 on Tomcat 7 using Maven

I finally decided to bite the bullet and try using cleaner JSP methods, including JSTL tags for some looping constructs. I thought I could slam out a quick “hello world” on my Tomcat 7 instance, but what I found instead was a world of hurt! I wrote this blog article so that anyone facing a similar road can avoid the speed-bumps.

Okay, I know I haven’t posted anything on my blog in over a year, but this falls under the OMG-Why-Couldn’t-I-find-a-straightforward-answer category. Whomever suffers the same headache I suffered will hopefully get led here by Google…

The Problem: Running the most basic JSP Example

Up until now, the few times I’ve needed to cobble together a JSP file for some sort of front-end functionality, I’ve used raw, low-level JSP Scriptlets. Which means typing things like

<% if (something) { %> <some-html> <% } else { %> <some-html> <% } %>

all over the place. And if I wanted to do any looping, well forget about it! It’s a nightmare. So I’ve got these few books and articles that talk about the better ways to solve these problems using cleaner xml-y solutions, and most all of them dive into using JSTL (JSP Standard Tag Library) which is a damned standard and yet isn’t included with Tomcat. It’s one of those things that each vendor is supposed to implement independently, and yet the only implementation out there appears to be Oracle’s Glassfish implementation! (There’s an Apache JSTL project, and they say on their web page that a version 1.2 implementation (which is the stated version for the Java 6 EE standard collection, alongside Servlet 3.0 and JSP 2.2) but that webpage hasn’t been updated since October 2009!!

So apparently JSTL is so basic and simple that it’s included in the elementary pages of any JSP books, but like some bastard stepchild that nobody wants, it’s support is freakishly missing. Okay, enough bellyaching about how FUBAR that is… what about just getting the thing to run? Continue reading “Running JSTL 1.2 on Tomcat 7 using Maven”