Ditchnet JSP Tabs Taglib Beta


The Ditchnet JSP Tabs Taglib provides an incredibly simple toolkit for adding rich, sophisticated tabbed-pane GUI components to web-based user interfaces. The Tabs Taglib combines the powerful features of DHTML, Java, and JSP to allow you to create web-based tabbed interfaces that behave in a manner remarkably similar to what you would expect from a rich client toolkit like Java Swing.

The Tabs Taglib utilizes JavaScript and DHTML to respond to client-side, user-initiated events, while leveraging JSP and the Servlet API for rendering the tabbed components and persisting the state of individual selected tabs.

This means that the Tab components respond to user events without annoying round-trips to the server, but still manage to persist their state in the user's session -- accessed through the Servlet API's HttpSession. So the Tabs respond and repaint immediately but effortlessly persist their state!

Page authoring with the Tabs Taglib is extremely simple, and installing the toolkit is even easier. The Tabs Taglib comes with pre-built skins, and allows the use of custom CSS for entirely customized styles.

Tabs can be nested and combined with other JSP and JSTL custom tags -- there is even a mechanism included for simply targeting a specific selected tab (on the current page or another page) via a hyperlink.

What about accessibility? Doesn't excessive use of JavaScript limit the types of clients that can interact with your web site? Normally, yes... but we've taken great care to make sure that the Tabs Taglib exhibits Graceful Degredation. In other words, if the user has JavaScript turned off, the tabs still work.

All of the JavaScript-powered tab switching is automatically replaced with traditional (slower) hyperlinks and HTTP request/response cycles if the user has scripting disabled in his browser! Thus the Tabs Taglib is compatable with non-JavaScript enabled browsers, and text-based browsers such as Lynx. Try disabling JavaScript in your browser and click around the tabs on this page to see what we mean... All of the DHTML, none of the guilt.

The Tabs taglib is released under the very liberal BSD License. Go crazy and do whatever you like with it. The Tabs taglib is currently beta software, and not meant for production systems. The 1.0 version will include documentation beyond what is found on this website.

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