JSP and Beyond

a pragmatic primer on building web-based solutions with Java technologies

Java Server Pages (JSP)

First released in 1999, Java Server Pages are an extension of Java Servlets technology which was introduced in 1997.  JSPs are considered the presentation layer of the Java 2 Enterprise Edition technology stack.

The overriding benefit of JSP technology is its ability to separate presentation of information from business logic and data.  A JSP Page is essentially an HTML page with bits of Java-code mixed in, thereby enabling dynamic information to be displayed to an end-user. These bits of Java-code are generally referred to as Scripting Elements or Scriptlets for short.  The HTML code surrounding these elements acts as a template, while the Java-based scriptlets can fill portions of the page with dynamic content like shopping cart information, customer account information and other dynamic information.

Beyond the separation of presentation from business logic and data, JSP offers tremendous advantages around enterprise system integration, as many large scale systems have integration points that can be accessed with Java.  To enable platform independence these access points, or APIs, have been developed to use Java, thereby enabling JSPs to access and use these other systems.

Drawbacks of Java Server Pages
High Learning Curve - Java Server Pages and their related technologies often have a steep learning curve.  By virtue of the value provided from the decoupled architecture versus the Microsoft-style development stack (IIS, Visual Studio and SQL Server), the world of JSP requires a more thorough understanding of each individual technology that comes together to provide a complete solution for applications.