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Standard JSF Tags

Development of compelling JSF applications requires a good grasp of the JSF tag libraries. This chapter covers the core library and most of the HTML tags in the standard library.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Development of compelling JSF applications requires a good grasp of the JSF tag libraries. JSF 1.2 had two tag libraries: core and HTML. As of JSF 2.0, there are six libraries with over 100 tags—see Table 4–1. In this chapter, we cover the core library and most of the HTML library. One HTML library component—the data table—is so complex that it is covered separately in Chapter 6.

Table 4–1. JSF Tag Libraries


Namespace Identifier

Commonly Used Prefix

Number of Tags

See Chapter





See Table 4–2





4 and 6

Facelets jsf-2-0.jpg





Composite Components jsf-2-0.jpg





JSTL Core jsf-2-0.jpg





JSTL Functions jsf-2-0.jpg





An Overview of the JSF Core Tags

The core library contains the tags that are independent of HTML rendering. The core tags are listed in Table 4–2.

Table 4–2. JSF Core Tags



See Chapter


Sets an attribute (key/value) in its parent component.



Adds a parameter child component to its parent component.



Adds a facet to a component.



Adds an action listener to a component.


setPropertyActionListener jsf-1-2.jpg

Adds an action listener that sets a property.



Adds a value change listener to a component.


phaseListener jsf-1-2.jpg

Adds a phase listener to the parent view.


event jsf-2-0.jpg

Adds a component system event listener.



Adds an arbitrary converter to a component.



Adds a datetime converter to a component.



Adds a number converter to a component.



Adds a validator to a component.



Validates a double range for a component's value.



Validates the length of a component's value.



Validates a long range for a component's value.


validateRequired jsf-2-0.jpg

Checks that a value is present.


validateRegex jsf-2-0.jpg

Validates a value against a regular expression.


validateBean jsf-2-0.jpg

Uses the Bean Validation API (JSR 303) for validation.



Loads a resource bundle, stores properties as a Map.



Specifies items for a select one or select many component.



Specifies an item for a select one or select many component.



Turns text containing markup into a component.


viewParam jsf-2-0.jpg

Defines a "view parameter" that can be initialized with a request parameter.


metadata jsf-2-0.jpg

Holds view parameters. May hold other metadata in the future.


ajax jsf-2-0.jpg

Enables Ajax behavior for components.



Use for specifying the page locale or a phase listener.

2 and 7


Not needed with facelets.

Most of the core tags represent objects you add to components, such as the following:

  • Attributes
  • Parameters
  • Facets
  • Listeners
  • Converters
  • Validators
  • Selection items

All of the core tags are discussed at length in different places in this book, as shown in Table 4–1.

Attributes, Parameters, and Facets

The f:attribute, f:param, and f:facet tags are general-purpose tags to add information to a component. Any component can store arbitrary name/value pairs in its attribute map. You can set an attribute in a page and later retrieve it programatically. For example, in "Supplying Attributes to Converters" on page 289 of Chapter 7, we set the separator character for credit card digit groups like this:

<h:outputText value="#{payment.card}">
   <f:attribute name="separator" value="-" />

The converter that formats the output retrieves the attribute from the component.

The f:param tag also lets you define a name/value pair, but the value is placed in a separate child component, a much bulkier storage mechanism. However, the child components form a list, not a map. You use f:param if you need to supply a number of values with the same name (or no name at all). You saw an example in "Messages with Variable Parts" on page 42 of Chapter 2, where the h:outputFormat component contains a list of f:param children.

Finally, f:facet adds a named component to a component's facet map. A facet is not a child component; each component has both a list of child components and a map of named facet components. The facet components are usually rendered in a special place. The root of a Facelets page has two facets named "head" and "body". You will see in "Headers, Footers, and Captions" on page 212 of Chapter 6 how to use facets named "header" and "footer" in data tables.

Table 4–3 shows the attributes for the f:attribute, f:param, and f:facet tags.

Table 4–3. Attributes for f:attribute, f:param, and f:facet




The attribute, parameter component, or facet name


The attribute or parameter component value (does not apply to f:facet)

binding, id

See Table 4–5 on page 107 (f:param only)

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