Program Report

Using JSPs, Tiles, & Struts for Online Help

Implementing and Updating Branded Content

By Carol Macbain

Chris Boucher  
Chris Boucher  

Chris Boucher, Principal Technical Writer at S1 Corporation, spoke at the April Boston Chapter STC meeting on "New Ways of Developing Help: Using JSPs, Tiles, and Struts." S1 is a global provider of brandable e-Finance software solutions that allow current or prospective customers to receive[RF1] quotes, view documents, request changes, and complete forms online. The challenge was to find a way to make it easier to brand and maintain the product.

Efficient Branding Process Needed

In the past, the S1 documentation team used a copy-and-paste method to reuse content. They lacked [RF2]a quick way to upgrade content [RF3]during implementation. Their current method of using Java Server Pages (JSPs), Tiles, and Struts allows global replacement of customer names, logos, headers, and other dynamic content. The implementation process was reduced from a period of three to six months, to a period of one month.

New Approach

The new S1 approach consists of:

  Chris Boucher
  Chris Boucher

Chris stated that using the new system of JSPs, Tiles, and Struts makes branding easier because all configurable Help strings are in one location. The number of files has increased but maintenance is faster due to the unique content and smaller file sizes.

References

For more about this topic, Chris recommends the following Web sites and publications:

Official Struts Web site http://jakarta.apache.org/struts/
Tiles proponent,
Cedric Dumoulin's Web site
http://www.lifl.fr/~dumoulin/tiles/
"UI Design with Tiles and Struts"
by Prakash Malani
http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-01-2002/jw-0104-tilestrut_p.html
Programming Jakarta Struts
O'Reilly Associates
by Chuck Caveness
Struts in Action
Manning Publications
by Ted Husted, Cedric Dumoulin, George Franciscus, David Winterfeldt

Primus Sponsors Meeting

Primus Knowledge Solutions sponsored the April meeting. The Primus eServer knowledge base enables company support staff to continually capture, create, and refine solutions and make them available to anyone with access to the knowledge base. The Answer Engine searches for answers to typed questions in corporate documents and databases, including reporting tools for tracking usage patterns.

Doug Mann at Primus table  
Doug Mann at Primus table  

Primus representative Doug Mann answered members' questions at the Primus information table.


Carol Macbain is a technical writer interested in working with international users and developers. You can reach her at