3. GreenPages Highlights

This chapter picks out some notable features of the GreenPages sample code from the greenpages.* folders.

3.1 Web Application Bundle Highlights

The GreenPages Web Application Bundle (WAB) is built using Spring MVC configured with Spring annotations and component scanning. The Bundlor tool is used to generate the bundle manifest of the WAB and a service is injected into the code using Spring DM in combination with Spring autowiring.

For more information on Spring, Spring MVC, Bundlor and Spring DM, please see Projects..


The web deployment descriptor file web.xml is in the src/main/webapp/WEB_INF folder of the greenpages.web project. It defines a servlet, a servlet context parameter, and a servlet context listener.

Spring's dispatcher servlet is used to dispatch web requests to handlers.


The contextClass servlet parameter declares the implementation of WebApplicationContext that Spring instantiates. The application context acts as a root application context and each servlet in the web application, which in the case of GreenPages is just the dispatcher servlet, has its own application context which is a child of the root application context. ServerOsgiBundleXmlWebApplicationContext is provided by Virgo and will hold beans created by Spring DM, which are then available in child application contexts.


A servlet context listener is defined which will start up the root application context for the web application when the servlet context is initialised.


Controller Class

In the src/main/java source folder of the greenpages.web project the package greenpages.web contains the controller class GreenPagesController.

Spring annotations are used to add web behaviour to the class. The @Controller annotation tells Spring that the class serves the role of a controller and that the class should be scanned for request mappings. Request mappings are defined using the @RequestMapping annotation. For instance, the URL /home.htm is mapped to the handler method home.

public class GreenPagesController {
    public void home() {

Note that request mappings can also be specified at the class level.

Component Scanning

Spring will detect the @Controller annotation and create a bean of type controller, provided that it scans the classpath for these. Spring’s component scanning is enabled by the presence of a context tag in one of the Spring bean definition files.

The WEB-INF/greenpages-servlet.xml file in the src/main/webapp folder contains the following lines:

<!-- enable classpath scanning -->
<context:component-scan base-package="greenpages.web" />

Notice the convention embodied in the filename WEB-INF/greenpages-servlet.xml. During dispatcher servlet initialisation, Spring looks for a file named [servlet-name]-servlet.xml in the WEB-INF directory of the web application and creates the beans defined there.

Bundle Manifest

The Virgo Tomcat Server has special support for WABs. To take advantage of this support, the greenpages.web bundle must be declared to be a WAB and a context path must be defined.

The Bundlor template (the file template.mf at the top level under the greenpages.web project) is input to the Bundlor tool which generates the manifest of the bundle.

The Bundlor template defines the context path as follows (and this is what declares the bundle to be a WAB):

Web-ContextPath: greenpages

The Bundlor template also ensures Spring packages and greenpages packages from other bundles are imported with suitable version ranges:

 org.springframework.*;version="[3.0, 3.1)",
 greenpages.*;version="[2.3, 2.4)"

Service Injection

The file webapp/WEB-INF/applicationContext.xml declares a reference to a greenpages.Directory service in the service registry using Spring DM as follows:

<osgi:reference id="directory" interface="greenpages.Directory"/>

The resultant bean resides in the root web application context.

The GreenPagesController class uses Spring autowiring to inject the service:

private Directory directory;

The controller's bean resides in the web application context associated with the Spring dispatcher servlet and so has access to the directory service bean in the root web application context.