Creating master-detail pages for entities, how to link them and which bean scope to choose

What is the correct usage of session scope

Use it for session scoped data only, nothing else. For example, the logged-in user, its settings, the chosen language, etcetera.

See also:

  • How to choose the right bean scope?

And every time I visit the page, the product list will be created from the latest entries in the database. How can I handle this?

Typically you use the request or view scope for it. Loading of the list should happen in a @PostConstruct method. If the page doesn’t contain any <h:form>, then the request scope is fine. A view scoped bean would behave like a request scoped when there’s no <h:form> anyway.

All “view product” and “edit product” links/buttons which just retrieve information (i.e. idempotent) whould be just plain GET <h:link> / <h:button> wherein you pass the entity identifier as a request parameter by <f:param>.

All “delete product” and “save product” links/buttons which will manipulate information (i.e. non-idempotent) should perform POST by <h:commandLink>/<h:commandButton> (you don’t want them to be bookmarkable/searchbot-indexable!). This in turn requires a <h:form>. In order to preserve the data for validations and ajax requests (so that you don’t need to reload/preinitialize the entity on every request), the bean should preferably be view scoped.

Note that you should basically have a separate bean for each view and also note that those beans doesn’t necessarily need to reference each other.

So, given this “product” entity:

@Entity
public class Product {

    @Id
    private Long id;
    private String name;
    private String description;

    // ...
}

And this “product service” EJB:

@Stateless
public class ProductService {

    @PersistenceContext
    private EntityManager em;

    public Product find(Long id) {
        return em.find(Product.class, id);
    }

    public List<Product> list() {
        return em.createQuery("SELECT p FROM Product p", Product.class).getResultList();
    }

    public void create(Product product) {
        em.persist(product);
    }

    public void update(Product product) {
        em.merge(product);
    }

    public void delete(Product product) {
        em.remove(em.contains(product) ? product : em.merge(product));
    }

    // ...
}

You can have this “view products” on /products.xhtml:

<h:dataTable value="#{viewProducts.products}" var="product">
    <h:column>#{product.id}</h:column>
    <h:column>#{product.name}</h:column>
    <h:column>#{product.description}</h:column>
    <h:column>
        <h:link value="Edit" outcome="/products/edit">
            <f:param name="id" value="#{product.id}" />
        </h:link>
    </h:column>
</h:dataTable>
@Named
@RequestScoped
public class ViewProducts {

    private List<Product> products; // +getter

    @EJB
    private ProductService productService;

    @PostConstruct
    public void init() {
        products = productService.list();
    }

    // ...
}

And you can have this “edit product” on /products/edit.xhtml:

<f:metadata>
    <f:viewParam name="id" value="#{editProduct.product}" 
        converter="#{productConverter}" converterMessage="Unknown product, please use a link from within the system."
        required="true" requiredMessage="Bad request, please use a link from within the system."
    />
</f:metadata>

<h:messages />

<h:form rendered="#{not empty editProduct.product}>
    <h:inputText value="#{editProduct.product.name}" />
    <h:inputTextarea value="#{editProduct.product.description}" />
    ...
    <h:commandButton value="save" action="#{editProduct.save}" />
</h:form>
@Named
@ViewScoped
public class EditProduct {

    private Product product; // +getter +setter

    @EJB
    private ProductService productService;

    public String save() {
        productService.update(product);
        return "/products?faces-redirect=true";
    }

    // ...
}

And this converter for <f:viewParam> of “edit product”:

@Named
@RequestScoped
public class ProductConverter implements Converter {

    @EJB
    private ProductService productService;

    @Override
    public Object getAsObject(FacesContext context, UIComponent component, String value) {
        if (value == null || value.isEmpty()) {
            return null;
        }

        try {
            Long id = Long.valueOf(value);
            return productService.find(id);
        } catch (NumberFormatException e) {
            throw new ConverterException("The value is not a valid Product ID: " + value, e);
        }
    }

    @Override    
    public String getAsString(FacesContext context, UIComponent component, Object value) {        
        if (value == null) {
            return "";
        }

        if (value instanceof Product) {
            Long id = ((Product) value).getId();
            return (id != null) ? String.valueOf(id) : null;
        } else {
            throw new ConverterException("The value is not a valid Product instance: " + value);
        }
    }

}

You can even use a generic converter, this is explained in Implement converters for entities with Java Generics.

See also:

  • How to navigate in JSF? How to make URL reflect current page (and not previous one)
  • JSF Controller, Service and DAO
  • JSF Service Layer
  • How to inject @EJB, @PersistenceContext, @Inject, @Autowired, etc in @FacesConverter?
  • Communication in JSF 2.0 – Contains several examples/hints

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