Make JSF intuitive, with bookmarkable and pretty URLs
What makes Pretty URLs in JSF so hard, and so slow?Speed up development, reduce bandwidth, enhance user experience. This article gives a brief overview of JSF navigation, some of the problems, and potentially how to solve them by enabling bookmarkable, pretty URLs. Put simply… in my view, out of the box, JSF is a web framework designed for web-applications, not designed for web-sites. PrettyFaces addresses most of these issues.
Target audience for this article:
- The reader is familiar with JSF navigation.
- The reader is attempting to create a JSF app with bookmarkable “pretty” URLs. E.g.: …/mysite/archives/2008/11/11/
- The reader is familiar with HTTP request/response at a basic level.
The difference between a web-application / web-site
When I think of a web-site, I think of a group of pages having:
- Multiple points of entry
- Navigation via <a href> or <form> HTML elements.
- Mostly stateless; the application may care who you are, but usually does not care where you came from, or where you have been.
When I think of a web-application, I think of a group of pages having:
- One or only a few points of entry (login page, etc. No direct links.)
- Navigation via page-flows.
- Mostly stateful; the application cares who you are and where you have been.
<h:form> – the root of the problemForms in JSF are rendered by the <h:form> component, and each form must post back to the viewId from which it was rendered (aptly named a postback.) Once the form has been submitted back to the requested URL, JSF will determine which page the user should see next, and either render that view, or redirect the client’s browser to a new URL.
- An example view Id: …/mysite/faces/articles/viewArchives.jsf
- Restfaces – solely intended to manage Pretty/Bookmarkable JSF navigation
- PrettyUrlPhaseListener – a small utility provided in the sandbox for Mojarra Scales
- UrlRewriteFilterCannot process unordered query-parameters reliably: ‘?foo=1&bar=2’ vs. ‘?bar=2&foo=1’
- When you submit a form, the JSF view ID is shown in the URL bar instead of the Pretty URL. This occurs for validation and also standard navigation without server-side redirects.
- When form validation occurs, the view ID is again shown in the URL bar. This causes contextual information contained in the URL to be lost. The information must instead be rendered as hidden form input fields, and re-submitted with the form. The developer must now manually process these values and reload them in every action method. The other option is to make your managed beans “session” scoped, which causes other problems.
- Mulitple requests to preserve the URL mean wasted bandwidth, longer client wait times, and higher CPU utilization.
A proposed solutionIt’s simple, really… Modify JSF to submit the form to the pretty URL (/mapped/page) instead of the view Id (/faces/page.jsf)
- An example PrettyFaces URL: …/mysite/archives/2008/11/11/
How to make JSF bookmarkable like a web-site, not behave like an application.
Bookmarkable JSF: Pretty4JSF
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: jsf url)
Conclusion:When the form is submitted to the pretty URL instead of the JSF view ID, you gain performance, save resources, and make life for the developer easier; parameter values are not lost, and do not need to be coded into the form or session scoped beans. Try PrettyFaces, an opensource solution by OcpSoft. (Check the project homepage, here).
Posted in JSF, OpenSource, Uncategorized
Great post i am looking for this kind of post for JSF application.I have few JSF application which is not based on Seam but there is performance issue so this post fulfill all my need.Thanks one again.
hey lincoln — way cool! if i understood more of it, even more cool!! : )
Do you have a Maven artifact deployed anywhere?
Thanks for the comment. As of right now we don’t have any Maven Artifacts created, but we will let you know when we do.
It is amazing.. I am impatiently waiting for the new release which handles & supports passed parameters with GET method.
@Onur – It’s almost ready! Just a few more days and it should be released as part of version 1.2, which includes a few new features.
PrettyFaces 1.2 is released, and includes the new managed parameters facility.
Congratulations Lincoln, good job.
Thank you! Please let me know your feedback, as I’m always trying to make a better product.
I would also appreciate a Maven build in the public repository.
Great job. Lack of java doc for component. it would be very userful ;). Docs for tags and java classes.
Lincoln , JSF 2.0 has come up with bookmarked URL’s . Will that solve the url issues with JSF applications ?
JSF 2 enables simple bookmarking with query-parameters. If you want full control of the URL, path-parameters, navigation, page actions, and rewriting, then you should use PrettyFaces.
We are halfway through JSF2 and spring webflow 2. It might give me some flexibility but not to the same extent as pretty faces gives.
I will keep on updating the blog with my findings for other users to benefit.
Thanks for creating this wonderful utility.
I am able to create book mark url. If my url was
it is now
How do I get rid of application name skill ?
I want the url to be
You need to deploy your app as the ROOT application. It’s different depending on which server you use.
Could you ask future questions in the support forums? http://ocpsoft.com/forums/
In the documentation it sais that
// Redisplay the current page via redirect.
Delete this item.
This dose NOT work… I tried even on a basic example using ocpsoft-pretty-faces-1.1.3.jar
is there anything wrong with it ?