Spring MVC: Multiple Row Form Submit using List of Beans

Recently I had a requirement where using Spring MVC we had to take inputs multiple rows of data from user. The form had many rows which user can edit and submit. Spring MVC provides very simple yet elegant way of collecting data from multiple rows from HTML form and store them in List of Beans in Java.

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Lets look at the requirement first. We have a screen where data for multiple Contacts is displayed. The Contact data is displayed in an HTML table. Each row in the table represents a single contact. Contact details consist of attributes such as Firstname, Lastname, Email and Phone number.

Related: Spring 3 MVC Tutorial Series (Must Read)

The Add Contact form would look like following:

Lets see the code behind this example.

Tools and Technologies used:

  1. Java 5 or above
  2. Eclipse 3.3 or above
  3. Spring MVC 3.0

Step 1: Create Project Structure

Open Eclipse and create a Dynamic Web Project.

Enter project name as SpringMVC_Multi_Row and press Finish.

Step 2: Copy Required JAR files

Once the Dynamic Web Project is created in Eclipse, copy the required JAR files under WEB-INF/lib folder. Following are the list of JAR files:


Step 3: Adding Spring MVC support

Once the basic project setup is done, we will add Spring 3 MVC support. For that first modify default web.xml and add springs DispatcherServlet.

File: /WebContent/WEB-INF/web.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<web-app xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee/web-app_2_5.xsd"
    id="WebApp_ID" version="2.5">

Related: Tutorial: Learn Spring MVC Lifecycle

Now add spring-servlet.xml file under WEB-INF folder.

File: /WebContent/WEB-INF/spring-servlet.xml

<?xml  version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans.xsd
        http://www.springframework.org/schema/context http://www.springframework.org/schema/context/spring-context.xsd
        http://www.springframework.org/schema/mvc http://www.springframework.org/schema/mvc/spring-mvc.xsd">
    <context:annotation-config />
    <context:component-scan base-package="net.viralpatel.spring3.controller" />  
    <bean id="jspViewResolver"
        <property name="viewClass"
            value="org.springframework.web.servlet.view.JstlView" />
        <property name="prefix" value="/WEB-INF/jsp/" />
        <property name="suffix" value=".jsp" />

Note that in above spring-servlet file, line 10, 11 defines context:annotation-config and component-scan tags. These tags let Spring MVC knows that the spring mvc annotations are used to map controllers and also the path from where the controller files needs to be loaded. All the files below package net.viralpatel.spring3.controller will be picked up and loaded by spring mvc.

Step 4: Add Spring Controller and Form classes

File: /src/net/viralpatel/spring3/form/Contact.java

package net.viralpatel.spring3.form;
public class Contact {
    private String firstname;
    private String lastname;
    private String email;
    private String phone;
    public Contact() {
    public Contact(String firstname, String lastname, String email, String phone) {
        this.firstname = firstname;
        this.lastname = lastname;
        this.email = email;
        this.phone = phone;
    // Getter and Setter methods

File: /src/net/viralpatel/spring3/form/ContactForm.java

package net.viralpatel.spring3.form;
import java.util.List;
public class ContactForm {
    private List<Contact> contacts;
    public List<Contact> getContacts() {
        return contacts;
    public void setContacts(List<Contact> contacts) {
        this.contacts = contacts;

Note line 7 in above code how we have defined a List of bean Contact which will hold the multi-row data for each Contact.

File: /src/net/viralpatel/spring3/controller/ContactController.java

package net.viralpatel.spring3.controller;
import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;
import net.viralpatel.spring3.form.Contact;
import net.viralpatel.spring3.form.ContactForm;
import org.springframework.stereotype.Controller;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.ModelAttribute;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMethod;
import org.springframework.web.servlet.ModelAndView;
public class ContactController {
    private static List<Contact> contacts = new ArrayList<Contact>();
    static {
        contacts.add(new Contact("Barack", "Obama", "barack.o@whitehouse.com", "147-852-965"));
        contacts.add(new Contact("George", "Bush", "george.b@whitehouse.com", "785-985-652"));
        contacts.add(new Contact("Bill", "Clinton", "bill.c@whitehouse.com", "236-587-412"));
        contacts.add(new Contact("Ronald", "Reagan", "ronald.r@whitehouse.com", "369-852-452"));
    @RequestMapping(value = "/get", method = RequestMethod.GET)
    public ModelAndView get() {
        ContactForm contactForm = new ContactForm();
        return new ModelAndView("add_contact" , "contactForm", contactForm);
    @RequestMapping(value = "/save", method = RequestMethod.POST)
    public ModelAndView save(@ModelAttribute("contactForm") ContactForm contactForm) {
        List<Contact> contacts = contactForm.getContacts();
        if(null != contacts && contacts.size() > 0) {
            ContactController.contacts = contacts;
            for (Contact contact : contacts) {
                System.out.printf("%s t %s n", contact.getFirstname(), contact.getLastname());
        return new ModelAndView("show_contact", "contactForm", contactForm);

In above ContactController class, we have defile two methods: get() and save().

get() method: This method is used to display Contact form with pre-populated values. Note we added a list of contacts (Contacts are initialize in static block) in ContactForm bean object and set this inside a ModelAndView object. The add_contact.jsp is displayed which in turns display all contacts in tabular form to edit.

save() method: This method is used to fetch contact data from the form submitted and save it in the static array. Also it renders show_contact.jsp file to display contacts in tabular form.

Step 5: Add JSP View files

Add following files under WebContent/WEB-INF/jsp/ directory.

File: /WebContent/WEB-INF/jsp/add_contact.jsp

<%@taglib uri="http://www.springframework.org/tags" prefix="spring"%>
<%@taglib uri="http://www.springframework.org/tags/form" prefix="form"%>
<%@taglib uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/core" prefix="c"%>
    <title>Spring 3 MVC Multipe Row Submit - viralpatel.net</title>
<h2>Spring MVC Multiple Row Form Submit example</h2>
<form:form method="post" action="save.html" modelAttribute="contactForm">
    <c:forEach items="${contactForm.contacts}" var="contact" varStatus="status">
            <td align="center">${status.count}</td>
            <td><input name="contacts[${status.index}].firstname" value="${contact.firstname}"/></td>
            <td><input name="contacts[${status.index}].lastname" value="${contact.lastname}"/></td>
            <td><input name="contacts[${status.index}].email" value="${contact.email}"/></td>
            <td><input name="contacts[${status.index}].phone" value="${contact.phone}"/></td>
<input type="submit" value="Save" />

In above JSP file, we display contact details in a table. Also each attribute is displayed in a textbox. Note that modelAttribute=”contactForm” is defined in <form:form /> tag. This tag defines the modelAttribute name for Spring mapping. On form submission, Spring will parse the values from request and fill the ContactForm bean and pass it to the controller.

Also note how we defined textboxes name. It is in form contacts[i].a. Thus Spring knows that we want to display the List item with index i and its attribute a.

contacts[${status.index}].firstname will generate each rows as follows:

contacts[0].firstname // mapped to first item in contacts list
contacts[1].firstname // mapped to second item in contacts list
contacts[2].firstname // mapped to third item in contacts list

Spring 3 MVC and path attribute and square bracket

One thing here is worth noting that we haven’t used Spring’s
tag to render textboxes. This is because Spring MVC 3 has a unique way of handling path attribute for
tag. If we define the textbox as follows:

<form:input path="contacts[${status.index}].firstname" />

Then instead of converting it to following HTML code:

<input name="contacts[0].firstname" />
<input name="contacts[1].firstname" />
<input name="contacts[2].firstname" />

It converts it into following:

<input name="contacts0.firstname" />
<input name="contacts1.firstname" />
<input name="contacts2.firstname" />

Note how it removed square brackets [ ] from name attribute. In previous versions of Spring (before 2.5) the square bracket were allowed in name attribute.

It seems w3c has later changed the HTML specification and removed [ ] from html input name.
Read the specification http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/types.html#type-name. It clearly says that:

ID and NAME tokens must begin with a letter ([A-Za-z]) and may be followed by any number of letters, digits ([0-9]), hyphens (“-”), underscores (“_”), colons (“:”), and periods (“.”).

Thus, square brackets aren’t allowed in name attribute! And thus Spring 3 onwards this was implemented.

So far I haven’t got any workaround to use springs <form:input /> tag instead of plain html <input /> to render and fetch data from multiple rows.

File: /WebContent/WEB-INF/jsp/show_contact.jsp

<%@taglib uri="http://www.springframework.org/tags" prefix="spring"%>
<%@taglib uri="http://www.springframework.org/tags/form" prefix="form"%>
<%@taglib uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/core" prefix="c"%>
    <title>Spring 3 MVC Multipe Row Submit - viralpatel.net</title>
<h2>Show Contacts</h2>
<table width="50%">
    <c:forEach items="${contactForm.contacts}" var="contact" varStatus="status">
<input type="button" value="Back" onclick="javascript:history.back()"/>

File: /WebContent/index.jsp

<jsp:forward page="get.html"></jsp:forward>


Final Project Structure

Once we have added all relevant source files and jar files, the project structure should look like following:


Step 6: Execute it

Execute the web application Right click on project > Run As > Run on Server.

Add Contact page

Show Contact page

Download Source Code

Spring-MVC-Multiple-Row-List-example.zip (2.9 MB)

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Deploying Java Servlet applications on Windows with IIS


Java platform is extremely successful in building robust and high performance web applications. Platform independence is one of the strength of Java engine and Helicon Zoo now provides a convenient way to deploy and run Java web applications on Windows platform with Microsoft IIS. To deploy Java Servlet application on IIS 7 you will only need to follow this simple instruction:

Platfrom installation

  1. Download and install Web Platform Installer.
  2. Run Web Platform Installer and click “Options”.
  3. Add Helicon Zoo feed into Display additional scenarios box:  http://www.helicontech.com/zoo/feed. New “Zoo” tab will appear.
  4. Go to the Zoo, Packages and install Java Hosting Package.
  5. Accept licenses to start installation process.

Alternatively, instead of installing Java Hosting Package you can install Modules –> Helicon Zoo Module and Engines –> Jetty separately. This is minimal requirement to run Java Servlet applications under Microsoft IIS web server. If you want to run Java Servlets under IIS Express and WebMatrix in your development environment, then you will also need to install Helicon Zoo Module for IIS Express form Engines section.

This is enough configuration to run most of Java Servlet applications directly form IIS.

Installing application

Launch IIS Manager and create new web-site or an application within a web-site. Copy your Java application into the root folder of this IIS application. Java application could be either a single .war file or set of unpacked files with directory structure, including web-inf folder. Then just create the following web.config:

 <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
      <application name="jetty.project" >
          <!-- Uncomment line below if you want to set contexts directory -->
          <!--  <add name="CONTEXTS_DIR" value="%APPL_VIRTUAL_PATH%" /> -->

          <!-- Optional variables: -->
          <!-- <add name="CONTEXT_PATH" value="%APPL_VIRTUAL_PATH%" /> -->
          <!-- <add name="WAR_EXTRACT_PATH" value="%APPL_PHYSICAL_PATH%" /> -->

          <!-- A WAR file or start directory to run -->
          <add name="WAR_FILE" value="my_application.war" />

          <add name="jetty.project#x86" scriptProcessor="java.jetty"
            path="*" verb="*" modules="HeliconZoo_x86"
            preCondition="bitness32" resourceType="Unspecified"
            requireAccess="Script" />
          <add name="jetty.project#x64" scriptProcessor="java.jetty"
            path="*" verb="*" modules="HeliconZoo_x64"
            preCondition="bitness64" resourceType="Unspecified"
            requireAccess="Script" />

Please take a look at <environmentVariables> section.

  • CONTEXTS_DIR — optional path to directory with .xml files which describe Jetty contexts. If this variable isn’t set, Zoo looks for “contexts” folder in the root of application. If no such folder found, Zoo presumes the application has single context and uses variables described below.
  • CONTEXT_PATH — optional virtual path of the application. Default value is taken from APPL_VIRTUAL_PATH variable.
  • WAR_FILE — optional path to a .war file or directory with extracted application.
  • WAR_EXTRACT_PATH — optional .war file extraction path. Is set to application’s root folder by default.

Here is an example of context.xml file that you may use instead of setting WAR file name explicitly. This allows to run multiple applications and contexts in a single IIS web site.


<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE Configure PUBLIC "-//Jetty//Configure//EN" "http://www.eclipse.org/jetty/configure.dtd">

<Configure class="org.eclipse.jetty.webapp.WebAppContext">

   <Set name="contextPath">/application</Set>
   <Set name="war">my_application.war</Set>
   <Set name="tempDirectory">application_dir</Set>


WARNING: Since WAR files need to be extracted before execution you will need to have a folder with write permissions.  In default IIS installation all application pools are executed with permissions of IIS_IUSRS group which does not have write permissions to the web application folders. You will need to provide write permissions to the user running Application Pool or IIS_IUSRS group to the folder containing Java application or specify other folder using WAR_EXTRACT_PATH variable with write permissions provided.Now you can open IIS web site in the browser and see your Java web application running.

That’s it! Installation process is clear and automatic and will only take several minutes.

5 Responses to Deploying Java Servlet applications on Windows with IIS

  1. Peter says:

    Downloaded and installed as described in the article (http://www.helicontech.com/articles/deploying-java-servlet-applications-on-windows-with-iis/).

    However for some weird reason I can successfully view the Java app via IIS when using http://localhost/appname but if I do the same thing http:///appname on another machine I get a a 404 from IIS and if I do it on the server itself I get a 404 from Jetty instead.

    This is running on a 64bit Win2008R2 Std server VM with an IIS app set up to use a ASP.NET 4.0 integrated app pool.
    The folder the IIS app points to contains the contents of the WAR file, i.e. \web-inf and \xforms-jsp and the web.config with the described contents from the article.

    Any ideas on what could be wrong would be much appreciated.

    • Slavik says:

      Please try and use CONTEXT_PATH variable as follows:
      <add name=”CONTEXTS_PATH” value=”/appname” />

      Make sure “appname” is an application. If it’s not, open IIS manager, navigate to that folder and in the context menu click “Convert to Application”.

  2. jules says:

    I installed on a Windows 7 64 bit machine and then downloaded the jenkins.war file and tried to deploy it:
    But I get:
    HTTP ERROR: 503
    Problem accessing /test. Reason:
    Service Unavailable
    Powered by Jetty://


    • Slov says:

      I think installing Jenkins on IIS may deserve a separate article.
      First you will need to upgrade your Jetty installation as we have fixed some functions. Just delete C:\jetty folder and install again using Helicon Zoo feed.
      Then you will need to use contexts folder, instead of setting WAR file explicitly as Jenkins require additional configurations.
      Please remove all “environmentVariables” from web.config, create contexts folder, and create context.xml file in this folder with the following content:

      < ?xml version=”1.0″?>
      < !DOCTYPE Configure PUBLIC “-//Jetty//Configure//EN” “http://www.eclipse.org/jetty/configure.dtd”&gt;

      Test Realm

      After that navigate to http://localhost/jenkins (not to the root folder). It should work now.

      • Slov says:

        A bug with tags. Try again:

        <?xml version=”1.0″?>
        <!–DOCTYPE Configure PUBLIC “-//Jetty//Configure//EN” “http://www.eclipse.org/jetty/configure.dtd”>–>

        <Configure class=”org.eclipse.jetty.webapp.WebAppContext”>
        <Get name=”securityHandler”>
        <Set name=”loginService”>
        <New class=”org.eclipse.jetty.security.HashLoginService”>
        <Set name=”name”>Test Realm</Set>

        <Set name=”contextPath”>/jenkins</Set>
        <Set name=”war”>jenkins.war</Set>
        <Set name=”tempDirectory”>jenkins</Set>

Reference :http://www.helicontech.com/articles/deploying-java-servlet-applications-on-windows-with-iis/