Binding Component Values and Instances to Managed Bean Properties
Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) 8
The Java EE Tutorial

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Binding Component Values and Instances to Managed Bean Properties

A component tag can wire its data to a managed bean by one of the following methods:

  • Binding its component’s value to a bean property

  • Binding its component’s instance to a bean property

To bind a component’s value to a managed bean property, a component tag’s value attribute uses an EL value expression. To bind a component instance to a bean property, a component tag’s binding attribute uses a value expression.

When a component instance is bound to a managed bean property, the property holds the component’s local value. Conversely, when a component’s value is bound to a managed bean property, the property holds the value stored in the managed bean. This value is updated with the local value during the Update Model Values phase of the lifecycle. There are advantages to both of these methods.

Binding a component instance to a bean property has the following advantages.

  • The managed bean can programmatically modify component attributes.

  • The managed bean can instantiate components rather than let the page author do so.

Binding a component’s value to a bean property has the following advantages.

  • The page author has more control over the component attributes.

  • The managed bean has no dependencies on the JavaServer Faces API (such as the component classes), allowing for greater separation of the presentation layer from the model layer.

  • The JavaServer Faces implementation can perform conversions on the data based on the type of the bean property without the developer needing to apply a converter.

In most situations, you will bind a component’s value rather than its instance to a bean property. You’ll need to use a component binding only when you need to change one of the component’s attributes dynamically. For example, if an application renders a component only under certain conditions, it can set the component’s rendered property accordingly by accessing the property to which the component is bound.

When referencing the property using the component tag’s value attribute, you need to use the proper syntax. For example, suppose a managed bean called MyBean has this int property:

protected int currentOption = null;
public int getCurrentOption(){...}
public void setCurrentOption(int option){...}

The value attribute that references this property must have this value-binding expression:

#{myBean.currentOption}

In addition to binding a component’s value to a bean property, the value attribute can specify a literal value or can map the component’s data to any primitive (such as int), structure (such as an array), or collection (such as a list), independent of a JavaBeans component. Table 15-3 lists some example value-binding expressions that you can use with the value attribute.

Table 15-3 Examples of Value-Binding Expressions

Value

Expression

A Boolean

cart.numberOfItems> 0

A property initialized from a context initialization parameter

initParam.quantity

A bean property

cashierBean.name

A value in an array

books[3]

A value in a collection

books["fiction"]

A property of an object in an array of objects

books[3].price

The next two sections explain how to use the value attribute to bind a component’s value to a bean property or other data objects and how to use the binding attribute to bind a component instance to a bean property.

Binding a Component Value to a Property

To bind a component’s value to a managed bean property, you specify the name of the bean and the property using the value attribute.

This means that the first part of the EL value expression must match the name of the managed bean up to the first period (.) and the part of the value expression after the period must match the property of the managed bean.

For example, in the Duke’s Bookstore case study, the h:dataTable tag in bookcatalog.xhtml sets the value of the component to the value of the books property of the BookstoreBean backing bean, whose name is store:

<h:dataTable id="books"
             value="#{store.books}"
             var="book"
             headerClass="list-header"
             styleClass="list-background"
             rowClasses="list-row-even, list-row-odd"
             border="1"
             summary="#{bundle.BookCatalog}">

The value is obtained by calling the backing bean’s getBooks method, which in turn calls the BookRequestBean session bean’s getBooks method.

If you use the application configuration resource file to configure managed beans instead of defining them in managed bean classes, the name of the bean in the value expression must match the managed-bean-name element of the managed bean declaration up to the first period (.) in the expression. Similarly, the part of the value expression after the period must match the name specified in the corresponding property-name element in the application configuration resource file.

For example, consider this managed bean configuration, which configures the ImageArea bean corresponding to the top-left book in the image map on the index.php page of the Duke’s Bookstore case study:

<managed-bean eager="true">
    ...
    <managed-bean-name>Book201</managed-bean-name>
    <managed-bean-class>dukesbookstore.model.ImageArea</managed-bean-class>
    <managed-bean-scope>application</managed-bean-scope>
    <managed-property>
        ...
        <property-name>shape</property-name>
        <value>rect</value>
    </managed-property>
    <managed-property>
        ...
        <property-name>alt</property-name>
        <value>Duke</value>
    </managed-property>
    ...

This example configures a bean called Book201, which has several properties, one of which is called shape.

Although the bookstore:area tags on the index.xhtml page do not bind to an ImageArea property (they bind to the bean itself), you could refer to the property using a value expression from the value attribute of the component’s tag:

<h:outputText value="#{Book201.shape}" />

See Configuring Managed Beans for information on how to configure beans in the application configuration resource file.

Binding a Component Value to an Implicit Object

One external data source that a value attribute can refer to is an implicit object.

The bookreceipt.xhtml page of the Duke’s Bookstore case study has a reference to an implicit object:

<h:outputFormat title="thanks"
                value="#{bundle.ThankYouParam}">
    <f:param value="#{sessionScope.name}"/>
</h:outputFormat>

This tag gets the name of the customer from the session scope and inserts it into the parameterized message at the key ThankYouParam from the resource bundle. For example, if the name of the customer is Gwen Canigetit, this tag will render:

Thank you, Gwen Canigetit, for purchasing your books from us.

Retrieving values from other implicit objects is done in a similar way to the example shown in this section. Table 15-4 lists the implicit objects to which a value attribute can refer. All of the implicit objects, except for the scope objects, are read-only and therefore should not be used as values for a UIInput component.

Table 15-4 Implicit Objects

Implicit Object

What It Is

applicationScope

A Map of the application scope attribute values, keyed by attribute name

cookie

A Map of the cookie values for the current request, keyed by cookie name

facesContext

The FacesContext instance for the current request

header

A Map of HTTP header values for the current request, keyed by header name

headerValues

A Map of String arrays containing all the header values for HTTP headers in the current request, keyed by header name

initParam

A Map of the context initialization parameters for this web application

param

A Map of the request parameters for this request, keyed by parameter name

paramValues

A Map of String arrays containing all the parameter values for request parameters in the current request, keyed by parameter name

requestScope

A Map of the request attributes for this request, keyed by attribute name

sessionScope

A Map of the session attributes for this request, keyed by attribute name

view

The root UIComponent in the current component tree stored in the FacesRequest for this request

Binding a Component Instance to a Bean Property

A component instance can be bound to a bean property using a value expression with the binding attribute of the component’s tag. You usually bind a component instance rather than its value to a bean property if the bean must dynamically change the component’s attributes.

Here are two tags from the bookcashier.xhtml page that bind components to bean properties:

<h:selectBooleanCheckbox id="fanClub"
                         rendered="false"
                         binding="#{cashierBean.specialOffer}" />
<h:outputLabel for="fanClub"
               rendered="false"
               binding="#{cashierBean.specialOfferText}"
               value="#{bundle.DukeFanClub}"/>
</h:outputLabel>

The h:selectBooleanCheckbox tag renders a check box and binds the fanClub UISelectBoolean component to the specialOffer property of the cashier bean. The h:outputLabel tag binds the component representing the check box’s label to the specialOfferText property of the cashier bean. If the application’s locale is English, the h:outputLabel tag renders

I'd like to join the Duke Fan Club, free with my purchase of over $100

The rendered attributes of both tags are set to false to prevent the check box and its label from being rendered. If the customer makes a large order and clicks the Submit button, the submit method of CashierBean sets both components' rendered properties to true, causing the check box and its label to be rendered.

These tags use component bindings rather than value bindings because the managed bean must dynamically set the values of the components' rendered properties.

If the tags were to use value bindings instead of component bindings, the managed bean would not have direct access to the components and would therefore require additional code to access the components from the FacesContext instance to change the components' rendered properties.

Writing Properties Bound to Component Instances explains how to write the bean properties bound to the example components.


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