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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is JSP?
3.
What is Servlet?
4.
Difference between Servlet vs JSP
5.
Why use Servlet?
6.
Why use JSP?
7.
Servlet Life Cycle
8.
Java Server Pages(JSP) Life Cycle
9.
Servlet Advantages
10.
Servlet Disadvantages
11.
JSP Advantages
12.
JSP Disadvantages
13.
Frequently Asked Questions
13.1.
Which is better, JSP or Servlet?
13.2.
What is the difference between JSP and servlet?
13.3.
Are JSP and servlets still used? 
13.4.
What is the difference between servlet and Java application?
13.5.
What are the differences between JSP and HTML?
14.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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Difference Between Servlet and JSP

Author Kanak Rana
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Introduction

JSP and servlet are two popular technologies used for developing web applications. Both these technologies have their own advantages and disadvantages.

difference between jsp and servlet

Java Servlets and JavaServer Pages (JSP) are technologies for creating dynamic web pages in Java. Both are part of the Java EE(Enterprise Edition) platform and have been widely used in web development for years. Although they are often used together, they work differently and have different purposes. This article will explore the difference between JSP and Servlet and their properties. 

Also read, Hashcode Method in Java.

What is JSP?

JSP stands for Java Server Pages. It is a technology for developing attractive and dynamic web pages in Java. JSP combine HTML, Java code, and JSP tags. The JSP are compiled into Java Servlets and executed on the server side. It also allows you to separate the presentation and business logic using JavaBeans and custom tags. It is widely used in developing web applications that require dynamic content.

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What is Servlet?

Servlets are classes in Java that make servers better for hosting web applications that work using a request-response model. They are very important for making Java web applications. Servlets are classes that help servers do more when users ask for things. In Java web development, servlets are often used with JSP pages to make web pages that can change based on what users do.

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Difference between Servlet vs JSP

JSP

Servlet

A combination of HTML and Java Java
Generates dynamic HTML Generates dynamic content
Presentation logic, used to create dynamic web pages with server-side processing. Backend logic is used to handle server-side requests and generate dynamic content.
View component Controller component
Shorter and easier to read Longer and more complicated
Slower than servlets Faster than JSP
.jsp .java

Why use Servlet?

  • It helps to manage what happens on the server side of web applications.
  • It is a platform-independent and highly portable.
  • They are good at handling lots of requests efficiently.
  • A servlet is perfect for building big business applications with Java.
  • They support useful web features like saving user information and cookies.

Why use JSP?

  • It facilitates the creation of reusable components using custom tags.
  • It simplifies the development of dynamic user interfaces.
  • It makes it easy to reuse parts of a webpage.
  • It is excellent for creating dynamic web pages that change.
  • It works well with Servlets, which handle the smarts.
  • It's a standard tool that works on most web servers.

Servlet Life Cycle

The Servlet Life Cycle encompasses the stages a servlet goes through from its initialization to handling client requests and finally, its destruction:

  1. Initialization: When a servlet is first loaded by the servlet container, it initializes by invoking its init() method. This phase allows the servlet to perform any necessary setup tasks, like initializing variables, establishing database connections, or loading configuration settings.
  2. Service: Once initialized, the servlet is ready to handle client requests. During the service phase, the servlet container calls the service() method of the servlet to process each client request. In this phase, the servlet typically interacts with the request, performs processing based on the request parameters, and generates an appropriate response.
  3. Destruction: When the servlet container decides to unload the servlet, typically during application shutdown or when the servlet is no longer needed, it invokes the servlet's destroy() method. This allows the servlet to release any held resources, such as closing database connections or releasing file handles, before being removed from memory.

Java Server Pages(JSP) Life Cycle

The Java Server Pages (JSP) Life Cycle involves several stages from the initial creation of a JSP file to its processing by the servlet container:

  1. Translation: When a JSP file is accessed for the first time, the servlet container translates it into a Java servlet. This involves converting JSP elements into Java code, essentially creating a servlet class that corresponds to the JSP.
  2. Compilation: The generated servlet code is compiled into bytecode by the servlet container's compiler. This bytecode is then loaded and executed by the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) when the JSP is accessed by clients.
  3. Initialization: After compilation, the servlet container loads the compiled servlet class and initializes it. During initialization, any necessary resources are allocated and initialization code within the servlet's init() method is executed.
  4. Request Processing: Once initialized, the servlet is ready to process client requests. When a client sends a request for the JSP page, the servlet container invokes the servlet's service() method. The servlet then processes the request, generates dynamic content, and sends the response back to the client.
  5. Destruction: When the JSP is no longer needed or when the servlet container shuts down, the servlet is destroyed. The servlet container calls the servlet's destroy() method, allowing it to release any held resources and perform cleanup tasks.

Servlet Advantages

The Servlet advantages are:

  • Efficiency: Servlets are efficient in handling HTTP requests due to their multithreaded model and direct access to the Java API.
  • Platform Independence: Being written in Java, servlets are inherently platform-independent, running on any platform supporting Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
  • Robustness: Servlets benefit from the robustness and security features of the Java platform, including exception handling and memory management.
  • Scalability: Servlets can be easily scaled by deploying them across multiple servers and leveraging load balancing techniques.
  • Flexibility: Servlets provide flexibility in handling various types of requests and protocols beyond HTTP, such as FTP, SMTP, and more.

Servlet Disadvantages

The Servlet disadvantages are:

  • Complexity: Servlets can be complex to develop and maintain, especially for handling low-level HTTP interactions and managing request/response cycles.
  • Mixing Logic with Presentation: Servlets often mix business logic with presentation code, potentially leading to poor code organization and maintainability.
  • Performance Overhead: Each servlet instance consumes memory, and the creation of new instances can impact performance, especially in high-traffic applications.
  • Concurrency Challenges: Developers need to be cautious about managing concurrency issues in servlets, ensuring thread safety and avoiding race conditions.
  • Limited Reusability: Servlets may lack reusability due to their tight coupling with the HTTP protocol and servlet container environment.

JSP Advantages

The JSP advantages are:

  • Simplified Development: JSP allows for the separation of dynamic content from static HTML, simplifying the development of dynamic web pages.
  • Code Reusability: JSP enables the reuse of Java code through custom tags, JavaBeans, and other components, promoting modular and reusable code.
  • Rapid Prototyping: JSP facilitates rapid prototyping and development iterations by providing an intuitive syntax for embedding Java code directly into HTML.
  • Easy Integration: JSP seamlessly integrates with Java technologies, frameworks, and libraries, leveraging the vast ecosystem of Java enterprise development.
  • Clearer Separation of Concerns: JSP encourages a clearer separation of presentation logic from business logic, enhancing code maintainability and readability.

JSP Disadvantages

The JSP disadvantages are:

  • Performance Overhead: JSP incurs performance overhead due to the translation and compilation process, impacting response times, especially for large applications.
  • Debugging Complexity: Debugging JSP pages can be challenging, as errors may originate from both HTML markup and embedded Java code.
  • Limited Separation of Concerns: Despite its intent, JSP may still lead to mixing presentation and business logic if not used judiciously, leading to maintainability issues.
  • Steep Learning Curve: Mastering JSP and understanding its intricacies, including tag libraries, custom tags, and expression languages, requires time and effort.
  • Dependency on Servlet Container: JSP relies on servlet containers for execution, limiting its portability outside Java web environments and increasing deployment complexity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, JSP or Servlet?

It depends on your project requirements. If your project requires dynamic HTML, then JSP is a better choice. If your project requires backend logic, then Servlet is a better choice.

What is the difference between JSP and servlet?

JSP (JavaServer Pages) is a technology that allows embedding Java code into HTML pages, while servlets are Java classes that handle requests and responses on the server-side. Servlets are pure Java, whereas JSP combines Java code and HTML for dynamic web page generation.

Are JSP and servlets still used? 

Servlets are still used as the basis for web frameworks.JSP (JavaServer Pages) and servlets are still widely used in web development, especially in Java-based web applications. They provide a powerful combination for dynamic web page generation and server-side processing.

What is the difference between servlet and Java application?

Servlets are Java programs running on a web server, handling HTTP requests, while Java applications run independently, typically as standalone programs or services.

What are the differences between JSP and HTML?

JSP allows dynamic content generation with Java code embedded within HTML, while HTML is static, defining the structure and presentation of web pages without dynamic server-side processing.

Conclusion

JSP and Servlet are two important tools used in creating Java web applications. They have many advantages, such as handling many users, reliability, and security features. Choosing which one to use depends on the specific needs of your web application, and sometimes using both can be a good idea to get the features you want.

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