JSP Copyright tag file example

This is a simple example in .tag files, the concepts can apply to many other uses.

I’ve chosen the following common usage example:

Websites often need to contain copyright date and information in their footer.

Add this to your existing JSP page (or JSPF fragment):

<%@ taglib prefix="webinf" tagdir="/WEB-INF/tags" %>
<webinf:copyrightyear />

Create the .tag file – /WEB-INF/tags/copyrightyear.tag

<%@ tag language="java" isELIgnored="true" trimDirectiveWhitespaces="true" description="dynamically calculates year" %>
&#169;<jsp:expression>java.util.Calendar.getInstance().get(java.util.Calendar.YEAR)</jsp:expression>&#160;<jsp:doBody />

NOTE: I’ve used the <jsp:doBody /> inside the tag file in this example, as such you can also use the following format on your page(s) to use the content between the open and close.


NOTE: if your server supports it, you can also use XML formatted tag file with:

<jsp:directive.tag language="java" isELIgnored="true" trimDirectiveWhitespaces="true" description="dynamically calculates year" />

HTML cleartype meta tag?

This tag allows for activation of ClearType in Mobile IE for smoothing fonts.

<!--[if IEMobile]><meta http-equiv="cleartype" content="on" /><![endif]-->

NOTE: Future use of this approach is questionable, as MSIE10 dropped support of conditional comments, and HTML5 validators (in general) do not “like” the http-equiv values as they are not standardized


HTA/.hta files

HTA/.hta files are a technology that Microsoft implemented in it’s browsers MSIE 5-9 to support rich web applications, MSIE 10 and newer do not implement it and must be forced into MSIE 9 compatibility mode.

Most often HTA was/is used to hide the browser controls (chrome) from the user to provide dialog windows.


<meta http-equiv="x-ua-compatible" content="ie=9" />
<!-- does not work in 10 or above, so force it back down -->
<hta:application id="example"

Apache MIME Type:

AddType application/hta .hta


HTML5 INPUT placeholder text

One of the great improvements for forms in HTML5 is the ability to display placeholder text in your INPUT fields. Traditionally, this has required developers to add a variety of JavaScript methods to dynamically update the field, now (for browsers that support it) you can use a simple attribute on your tag elements.

<input type="text" value="Search" onfocus="if(this.value == 'Search'){this.value = '';}" onblur="if(this.value == ''){this.value = 'Search';}" />

<input type="text" value="" placeholder="Search" />


XML formatted JSP source code

I’ve found that many developers still use the classic coding style on JSP’s, unfortunately this makes it difficult to use some common tools for validation and complicates matters when looking for improperly nested tags in the markup. Migrating the XML formatted JSP markup simplifies matters and makes it possible for developers to quickly identify many problem areas of code within the IDE.

<%@ page language="java" %> = <jsp:page.directive language="java" />

<%@ page contentType="text/html; charset=utf-8" %> = <jsp:page.directive contentType="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

<%@ page import="" %> = <jsp:page.directive import="" />

NOTE: you can combine page.directive’s to a single tag with all attributes.

<% //some scriptlet %> = <jsp:scriptlet>//some scriptlet</jsp:scriptlet>

<%! String somevalue="1"; %> = <jsp:declaration>String somevalue="1";</jsp:declaration>

<%= somevalue %> = <jsp:expression>somevalue</jsp:expression>

<jsp:include page="" />
<jsp:directive.include file="" />

<jsp:useBean id="" scope="" type="" />

<jsp:setProperty name="" />

Unfortunately, there’s one common type of tag that does not have an XML equivalent:

<%@ taglib prefix="c" uri="/WEB-INF/tlds/c.tld" %>


Happy coding