I now feel like I understand Struts. For the first week or two, it was constant frustration to do any task. It seemed so highly complicated that every aspect was burdensome. Now that I’m more acquainted with it, it’s beginning to get dramatically easier. I’m creating a suite of pages, all of which read some list of data from a DB, create controls, and accept input to add, delete or edit that data. This is all standard stuff, things I do all the time.

The first page took 2 or 3 days, maybe 12 hours of time. Everything was unfamiliar, the JSP tags seemed tricky, the nomenclature consistently tripped me up when the property is addressed as “name” and the name is addressed as “property”. The first one was horrible. The second one took maybe 5 hours. Some of tags were familiar, but I had to deal with lists of values in my ActionForms, etc. I think I’m at the point where I can create a new one in something like 90 minutes and falling. I was hoping that eventually, I would get paid back for my investment of time and energy into this package. That point has been reached. I’m doing all admin pages now, nothing that will face the user. By the time I’m done with this, I think I’ll be ready to work on the other stuff and knock it all out.

The really essential piece of all this is the StrutsTestCase package. It is far better to learn you’ve made some silly mistake in the config from running the unit test, rather than having to stop and restart Tomcat 20 times. The config is very easy to screw up, so I would be flailing around if not for it.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.