Nested Tags Example - Break Tag for Loops

This section provides a tutorial example on how to create 2 tag classes to a support nested custom tags in JSP pages. As an example, a Loop tag and a Break tag is created to work together.

When tags are nested, JSP tag extension facility offers the child tag an access to the parent tag by the setParent() method call. You can take advantage of this access to design nested tags to work together to perform more complex functions.

As an example, I wrote two simple tags to perform a loop function with the ability to break out the loop conditionally.

Here is my loop tag class,

 * Copyright (c) 2012,, All Rights Reserved.
package herong;
import javax.servlet.jsp.tagext.*;
public class LoopTag extends TagSupport {
   public boolean stop = false; 
   public int doStartTag() {
      return EVAL_BODY_INCLUDE;
   public int doAfterBody() {
      if (!stop) return EVAL_BODY_AGAIN;
      else return SKIP_BODY;

The logic of the "loop" tag is very simple. It evaluates its body immediately once the tag is encountered. At the end of the evaluation, it checks its "stop" condition, if "stop" is false, it evaluates its body again. This loop will be stopped only if "stop" is set to true, during the body evaluation.

Here is the break tag class,

 * Copyright (c) 2012,, All Rights Reserved.
package herong;
import herong.*;
import javax.servlet.jsp.tagext.*;
public class BreakTag extends TagSupport {
   private Tag parent = null;
   public void setParent(Tag t) {
      parent = t;
   public int doStartTag() {
      if (parent!=null) {
         LoopTag grandParent = (LoopTag) parent.getParent();
         if (grandParent!=null) grandParent.stop = true;
      return SKIP_BODY;

The logic of the "break" tag is a little bit more complex. To break the "loop" tag conditionally, we are expecting an "if" tag will be nested inside the "loop" tag to control the condition, and the "break" tag will be nested inside the "if" tag to break the loop. So the "break" tag is actually nested 2 levels down inside the "loop" tag. This is why I have to use "parent.getParent()" to get the grand parent to access the "loop" tag.

Here is the TLD file:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
 "-//Sun Microsystems, Inc.//DTD JSP Tag Library 1.2//EN" 
<!-- HyTaglib.tld
 - Copyright (c) 2012,, All Rights Reserved.
<short-name>Herong's Tag Library</short-name> 
<!-- other tags -->

Here is a test page, LoopTagTest.jsp:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<jsp:root xmlns:jsp="" 
   xmlns:hy="urn:jsptld:/WEB-INF/tlds/HyTaglib.tld" version="2.1"> 
<!-- LoopTagTest.jspx
 - Copyright (c) 2012,, All Rights Reserved.
< contentType="text/html"/>
<c:set var="i" value="${1}"/>
<c:set var="s" value="${0}"/>
 <c:set var="s" value="${s+i}"/>
 <c:set var="i" value="${i+1}"/>
 <c:if test="${i gt 10}">
<c:out value="Sum = ${s}"/><br/>

I am sure you can read this page, and understand what I am doing with the loop. Warning, my "break" tag is not a perfect break statement. If there is any additional body content in the loop tag after the "break" tag, it will not be skipped.

Last update: 2012.

Table of Contents

 About This Book

 JSP (JavaServer Pages) Overview

 Tomcat 7 Installation on Windows Systems

 JSP Scripting Elements

 Java Servlet Introduction

 JSP Implicit Objects

 Syntax of JSP Pages and JSP Documents

 JSP Application Session

 Managing Cookies in JSP Pages

 JavaBean Objects and "useBean" Action Elements

 Managing HTTP Response Header Lines

 Non-ASCII Characters Support in JSP Pages

 Performance of JSP Pages

 EL (Expression Language)

 Overview of JSTL (JSP Standard Tag Libraries)

 JSTL Core Library

 JSP Custom Tags

 JSP Java Tag Interface

 Custom Tag Attributes

Multiple Tags Working Together

Nested Tags Example - Break Tag for Loops

 Sharing Data with Other Tags

 File Upload Test Application

 Outdated Tutorials


 PDF Printing Version