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<title>Building SiteMesh Decorators</title>
<p>Once SiteMesh has been <a href="install.html">installed and
configured</a>, you can begin writing decorators for your web
Decorators are the pages that "decorate" the original, requested page (the
page that is <a href="flow.html">handed to the SiteMesh filter from the web
container</a>). Most (HTML) decorators are a combination of:
<li>meta tags (keywords, description, author)</li>
<li>stylesheet (CSS)</li>
<li>copyright notice</li>
First, define what different navigation/layout schemes you need. For
example: Do I need a default decorator (a standard one for all pages)? Do I
have a special layout for the index page? Is the header needed for my
documentation files? Do I need printable version of my website?
<h3>Web Application Structure</h3>
<p>Here is an example structure of a web application. This is not needed for SiteMesh to work.</p>
<table align="center" width="80%" cellpadding="4" style="background: #eeeeee; border: 1 black solid;">
<td width="15%"><b><code>/decorators</code></b></td>
<td><p>Directory containing all decorator files (e.g. <code>main.jsp</code>, <code>printable.jsp</code>).</p></td>
<td width="15%"><b><code>/includes</code></b></td>
<td><p>Directory containing all files to be included into other files (e.g. <code>header.jsp</code>, <code>footer.jsp</code>, <code>copyright.jsp</code>).</p></td>
<td width="15%"><b><code>/images</code></b></td>
<td><p>Directory containing all images (e.g. <code>background.gif</code>, <code>logo.gif</code>).</p></td>
<td width="15%"><b><code>/styles</code></b></td>
<td><p>Directory containing all .CSS styles (e.g. <code>ie4.css</code>, <code>ns4.css</code>).</p></td>
<td width="15%"><b><code>/scripts</code></b></td>
<td><p>Directory containing all scripts (JavaScript, VBScript files).</p></td>
<p>Good practices:</p>
<li>Define a stylesheet to use in the entire application and include it using <a href="style.jsp.txt">this script</a>.</li>
<li>Use includes in your decorators (e.g. <code>includes/navigation.jsp</code>, <code>includes/style.jsp</code>).</li>
<li>Try not to refer to the absolute root ("<code>/</code>") path. Use <code>&lt;%=request.getContextPath()%&gt;/</code> instead.
This will make life easier when moving your web application under another context path.</li>
<li>Making your decorators compatible with multiple browsers (IE, Mozilla, Opera, ...) will (probably) make your entire application (all decorated pages) compatible.</li>
<li>Be careful when using frames, because decorators may NOT be applied to frames (<a href="api/com/opensymphony/module/sitemesh/mapper/FrameSetDecoratorMapper.html">FrameSetDecoratorMapper</a>).</li>
<h3>My First Decorator</h3>
Basically, all you need to know is what <a href="tags.html">decorator tags</a> you can use.
The <a href="tags.html#decorator:title">title</a>, <a href="tags.html#decorator:head">head</a> and <a href="tags.html#decorator:body">body</a> tags are most used.<br>
Here is an example of a decorator (save it as /decorators/main.jsp):
1: &lt;%--<br>
2: % This is the main decorator for all SOMECOMPANY INTRANET pages.<br>
3: % It includes standard caching, style sheet, header, footer and copyright notice.<br>
4: --%&gt;<br>
5: <b>&lt;%@ taglib uri="" prefix="decorator" %&gt;</b><br>
6: &lt;%@ include file="<a href="cache.jsp.txt">/includes/cache.jsp</a>" %&gt;<br>
7: &lt;!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"&gt;<br>
8: &lt;html&gt;<br>
9: &lt;head&gt;<br>
10: &lt;title&gt;<b><font color="Maroon">&lt;decorator:title default="INTRANET" /&gt;</font></b>&lt;/title&gt;<br>
11: <b><font color="Maroon">&lt;decorator:head /&gt;</font></b><br>
12: <b>&lt;%@ include file="<a href="style.jsp.txt">/includes/style.jsp</a>" %&gt;</b><br>
13: &lt;/head&gt;<br>
14: &lt;body bgcolor="#FFFFFF" background="&lt;%=request.getContextPath()%&gt;/images/bg.gif"&gt;<br>
15: &lt;script type="text/javascript"&gt;window.status = "Loading: <b><font color="Maroon">&lt;decorator:title default="INTRANET" /&gt;</font></b>...";&lt;/script&gt;<br>
16: &lt;%@ include file="/includes/header.jsp"%&gt;<br>
17: &lt;table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"&gt;<br>
18: &lt;tr&gt;<br>
19: &lt;td height="20" nowrap&gt; &lt;/td&gt;<br>
20: &lt;/tr&gt;<br>
21: &lt;tr&gt;<br>
22: &lt;td width="1%" nowrap&gt; &lt;/td&gt;<br>
23: &lt;td width="16%" valign="top" nowrap&gt;<br>
23: &lt;script type="text/javascript"&gt;window.status = "Loading: Navigation...";&lt;/script&gt;<br>
24: &lt;%@ include file="/includes/navigation.jsp" %&gt;<br>
25: &lt;/td&gt;<br>
26: &lt;td width="2%" nowrap&gt; &lt;/td&gt;<br>
27: &lt;td valign="top"&gt;<br>
28: &lt;br&gt;<br>
29: &lt;script type="text/javascript"&gt;window.status = "Loading: Document body...";&lt;/script&gt;<br>
30: &lt;div class="docBody"&gt;<b><font color="Maroon">&lt;decorator:body /&gt;</font></b>&lt;/div&gt;<br>
31: &lt;/td&gt;<br>
32: &lt;td width="1%" nowrap&gt; &lt;/td&gt;<br>
33: &lt;/tr&gt;<br>
34: &lt;/table&gt;<br>
35: &lt;br&gt;<br>
36: <b>&lt;%@ include file="/includes/footer.jsp" %&gt;</b><br>
37: <b>&lt;%@ include file="/includes/copyright.jsp" %&gt;</b><br>
38: &lt;script type="text/javascript"&gt;window.status = "Done";&lt;/script&gt;<br>
39: &lt;/body&gt;<br>
40: &lt;/html&gt;<br>
<li>Line <strong>1-4</strong>:<br>An explanation of the decorator. This way different people working on the decorator are quickly up to speed.</li>
<li>Line <strong>5</strong>:<br>This is needed for the <code>decorator:</code> tags to work (also needed on all pages that work with inline decorators (<a href="tags.html#page:applyDecorator">page:applyDecorator</a>).</li>
<li>Line <strong>6</strong>:<br>Sets the necessary response headers to let the browser cache the page. Omit this line if your application is real dynamic (changing data).</li>
<li>Line <strong>10</strong>:<br>If the requested page doesn't have a title, the default title is used ("INTRANET").</li>
<li>Line <strong>15</strong>:<br>The status bar gets a message when the page is loading.</li>
<li>Line <strong>30</strong>:<br>The entire body of the requested page has the <code>docBody</code> class. This way the navigation and body do not have to have the same font.</li>
<p>Now open <code>WEB-INF/decorators.xml</code> with your favorite editor
and let SiteMesh know there is a decorator (with a mapping):</p>
<pre style="border: 1px solid #999999; padding: 5px">
&lt;decorators defaultdir="/decorators"&gt;
&lt;decorator name="main" page="<b>main.jsp</b>"&gt;
<p>Now deploy the web application, go to the welcome page, and the main decorator will be applied.</p>
<h3>More examples</h3>
<p>More examples are included with the SiteMesh distribution, under the
<a href="">src/example-webapp</a> directory.
If the examples don't give you enough to go on, take a look at SiteMesh in action, download the petsoar-app at
<a href=""></a>.</p>
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