In this article we will create a small web application that uses the Model View Controller (MVC) pattern with Java Server Pages (JSP) and JSP Standard Template Library (JSTL). A container like Tomcat is needed to run this combination.

Thanks go out to the author of the JSP – MVC Tutorial, who thought of the sample application that we will use here, the coffee advisor. The user is first presented with a choice in coffee taste she prefers. Pressing a button moves on to a page with advise about the type of coffee to drink based on that taste.

An MVC application has three parts:

  • Model. The model is the domain-specific representation of the data upon which the application operates. In our case this is implemented in the CoffeeExpert class.
  • View. The view renders the model into a form suitable for interaction, typically a user interface element. In our case this is implemented in a JSP file called coffee.jsp.
  • Controller. The controller receives input and initiates a response by making calls on model objects. In our case this is implemented in the CoffeeSelect class.

In addition to these three file we need a web.xml file that tells the container how to map a URL (e.g. / into a class to run (e.g. com.example.web.CoffeeSelect). We also need a start page for the user input, which we will call coffee.html. In total this means we should create a  .war file with the following structure:


        <h2>Coffee Advisor Input</h2>
        <form method="POST" action="">
            <select name="taste" size=1">
                <option value="milky">Milky</option>
                <option value="froffy">Froffy</option>
                <option value="icey">Icey</option>
                <option value="strong">Spaced Out</option>
            <input type="Submit"/>

package com.example.model;

import java.util.*;

public class CoffeeExpert {
    public List<String> getTypes(String taste) {
        List<String> result = new ArrayList<String>();
        if (taste.equals("milky")) {
        } else if (taste.equals("froffy")) {
        } else if (taste.equals("icey")) {
        } else if (taste.equals("strong")) {
            result.add("Double espresso");
        } else {
            result.add("Vending machine");
        return (result);

package com.example.web;

import java.util.List;

import javax.servlet.RequestDispatcher;
import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;

import com.example.model.CoffeeExpert;

public class CoffeeSelect extends HttpServlet {

    private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;

    public void doPost(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) throws IOException, ServletException {
        List<String> types = new CoffeeExpert().getTypes(request.getParameter("taste"));
        request.setAttribute("types", types);
        RequestDispatcher view = request.getRequestDispatcher("coffee.jsp");
        view.forward(request, response);


<%@ taglib uri="" prefix="c" %>

        <h2>Coffee Advisor Output</h2>
        <c:forEach var="type" items="${types}">
            <c:out value="${type}"/>
            <br />


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<web-app xmlns=""


Model View Controller (MVC) with JSP and JSTL
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