WARNING!!! Configuration with initialization parameters is deprecated! If you still want to use it, please refer to 2.1 version of this page.

Configuring Tiles

Your application needs to be configured to work with Tiles. There are various options, depending on your needs, your application type, etc.

Starting Tiles in a web application

Tiles has always been a web application package, usually used in conjunction with Struts. Tiles 2 evolved to the point of being technology-independent, but its use in a Servlet-based web application will be the most frequent use case.

Starting Tiles engine

To start Tiles you can either extend AbstractTilesListener or AbstractTilesServlet, in particular implement the createTilesServletInitializer method:

protected TilesInitializer createTilesInitializer() {
    return new MyCustomTilesInitializer();

You can use AbstractTilesInitializer as a basis.

Configuration of the startup class

  • If you created a servlet, load i at startup. You can do it by specifying it in your web.xml file:

    Note: The Tiles servlet is just a startup servlet and it does not serve any request. Therefore, a mapping is not needed.

  • If you created a listener, load it by specifing it in your web.xml file:

Starting Tiles in a portlet application


Configuring Tiles internals

The container and the application context must be configured to allow custom behaviour and to load definitions from various sources.

Custom Tiles container factory

Custom Tiles containers can be created by custom Tiles container factories. You have to create a class that extends AbstractTilesContainerFactory. In particular you can use BasicTilesContainerFactory as a basis for your extended configuration. BasicTilesContainerFactory is the configuration that replicates the default configuration of Tiles, i.e. the one that assumes when no additional parameter is provided. The Javadoc documentation of BasicTilesContainerFactory documents all the methods that can be overridden to use your own configuration.

Custom Tiles application context factory

Custom Tiles application context can be provided by implementing TilesApplicationContext. If you are under a servlet environment, you can override ServletTilesApplicationContext.

To use it, you need to override the createTilesApplicationContext method of AbstractTilesInitializer.

The reason to use a custom Tiles application context could be:

  • supporting a platform not supported yet;
  • providing custom behaviour, such as loading resources in a different manner.

Ready-made configuration classes

There are some classes that allows to play with Tiles without writing custom code.

Simple configuration

SimpleTilesInitializerServlet and SimpleTilesListener are two ways to load Tiles in the "simple" way. This was the default for Tiles 2.1 and prior versions.

This configuration has the following characteristics:

  • loads the "/WEB-INF/tiles.xml" file;
  • allows support for JSP, Servlets and Portlets;
  • no expression language is allowed;
  • wildcard expressions can be used to declare definition names.

Feature-Complete configuration

It is possible to startup Tiles turning all the new features on by using CompleteAutoloadTilesListener or CompleteAutoloadTilesInitializer available in the tiles-extras module. This initializer turns on:

Modular initialization

It is possible to startup Tiles in a modular way, that is loading modules of independent Tiles configuration.

To turn it on, you need to use ModularTilesListener or ModularTilesInitializer available in the tiles-extras module.

Add in your manifest file, under the META-INF/MANIFEST.MF path, the Tiles-Initializer property, whose value is the name of the class of the needed initializer. For example:

Manifest-Version: 1.0
Tiles-Initializer: org.apache.tiles.extras.module.ModularTilesInitializerTest$TilesInitializer1

Every initializer that is found will be loaded and "initialized", and destroyed when the main initializer is destroyed.