What Is Scripting in JSP?


Scott Campbell

Scripting in JSP (JavaServer Pages) allows you to embed Java code within an HTML page. This powerful feature brings dynamic and interactive functionality to your web applications. In this article, we will explore what scripting in JSP is all about, how it works, and why it is essential.

What is Scripting in JSP?

Scripting in JSP refers to the ability to write Java code within special tags inside an HTML document. These special tags are known as scriptlets and allow you to include dynamic content or perform calculations directly in your web pages. This combination of HTML and Java creates a seamless integration between the presentation layer and the server-side logic.

How does Scripting Work in JSP?

To begin scripting in JSP, you need to enclose your Java code within scriptlet tags: <% .. %>. Any valid Java code can be placed inside these tags, allowing you to perform complex tasks such as database operations, calculations, or even generating dynamic HTML content.

Here’s an example of a simple scriptlet that outputs the current date and time:

<% java.util.Date currentDate = new java.Date(); out.println("The current date and time is: " + currentDate); %>

In the above example, we create a new instance of the java.Date class using the ‘new’ keyword and assign it to the ‘currentDate’ variable. We then use the ‘out’ object’s ‘println()’ method to display a message along with the value of ‘currentDate’.

  • Advantages of Scripting in JSP:

    • You can easily access server-side data and logic.
    • It allows for dynamic generation of HTML content.
    • JSP scripting supports conditional statements (if-else), loops (for, while), and other control structures.
    • It provides a simple way to integrate Java code with HTML.
  • Disadvantages of Scripting in JSP:

    • Scripting can make the HTML page more complex and harder to maintain.
    • Overuse of scriptlets can lead to poor separation of concerns between the presentation layer and business logic.
    • Scripting in JSP can be less efficient compared to using JSP custom tags or Expression Language (EL).

Scripting Elements in JSP

JSP provides various scripting elements that allow you to perform different tasks:


The declaration element <%! . %> is used to define global variables, methods, or classes that can be accessed throughout the JSP page.


The expression element <%= . %> allows you to evaluate an expression and display its result within the HTML output.


As mentioned earlier, the scriptlet element <% . %> is used to include arbitrary Java code directly within the HTML page.

JSP Standard Actions:

JSP also provides standard actions that allow you to perform common tasks without writing Java code. These actions include things like including other files (), forwarding requests (), or iterating over collections ().

In conclusion, scripting in JSP empowers developers to create dynamic web applications by seamlessly integrating Java code within HTML pages. While it offers flexibility and power, it’s important to use scripting judiciously and consider alternatives like custom tags or Expression Language when appropriate. With proper usage, scripting in JSP can enhance the interactivity and functionality of your web applications.

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