A DataView is the direct way to return non-markup responses from RSF - this is primarily used for JSON payloads, but can also be used for any other form of custom response, such as images, PDF documents, Excel spreadsheets, etc.

A DataView is in outline extremely similar to a standard ViewProducer, only the return type, rather than being a component tree, is a plain Object which is interpreted by the system in a number of ways.

A simple JSON DataView#

To create a simple DataView returning JSON, implement the DataView interface to determine the JSON content type, return the viewID for the view, and then finally implement the getData method to return the object you want encoded.

Note that, just like a ViewProducer, a DataView may also implement ViewParamsReporter in order to determine a more detailed class of ViewParameters which is uses to represent its view state (URL) information.

public class JSONCatalogView implements DataView {
  public static final String VIEW_ID = "catalog";
  public String getViewID() {
    return VIEW_ID;
  private CatalogService catalogService;
  public void setCatalogService(CatalogService catalogService) {
    this.catalogService = catalogService;

  public String getContentType() {
    return ContentTypeInfoRegistry.JSON;

  public Object getData(ViewParameters viewparams) {
    return catalogService.getSalesItems();

Here we show a simple bean which has one dependency, a CatalogService from which we can fetch the data we want encoded. This is a sample DataView from the RSFAjaxJSON sample application which you can check out of SVN here. In this case, the return type of CatalogService is as from

public interface CatalogService {
	public SalesItem[] getSalesItems();
	public void setSalesItems(SalesItem[] items);

Essentially any Java object type is acceptable as ready to be encoded to JSON - as well as standard POJOs, the standard framework encoder will accept Lists, Maps and arrays of POJOs also.

Other content types#

As of RSF 0.7.3, DataViews are also the preferred way of returning most other non-markup responses. By returning the name of some other content type from the getContentType method, you can return data representing content of any other type --- the builtin framework content types are listed in ContentTypeInfoRegistry. If your content type is not listed there, instead return ContentTypeInfoRegistry.CUSTOM from getContentType, and you can then inject the HttpServletResponse object directly (available under the standard bean name httpServletResponseProxy and send any custom headers yourself.

Sending the data#

Practically any sensible form is appropriate for returning your data. RSF will accept either an InputStream, a Reader, a raw array of bytes, or a String, and appropriately relay these to the output stream in the environment. Note that character data will be encoded as UTF-8.

Accepting Input#

To create a view capable of receiving input, say, in the form of JSON, additionally implement DataInputHandler which allows you to determine a range of supported HTTP methods (typically POST, PUT) for accepting data. For example, here is the JSONCatalogView seen above, with additional methods for accepting input (the DataView methods have been skipped here):

public class JSONCatalogView implements DataView, DataInputHandler, TypeDecodable {


  public String getHandledMethods() {
    return "post, put";

  public void handleInput(ViewParameters viewparams, String method, Object data) {
    catalogService.setSalesItems((SalesItem[]) data);

  public Object getDecodeTarget() {
    return new SalesItem[] {};

getHandledMethods returns a comma-separated list of supported HTTP methods, and the handleInput method is called to actually accept the data. You will probably want to implement also the TypeDecodable interface to instruct the framework what kind of Java object you want the (JSON) data to be decoded into - this method returns an "exemplar" of the appropriate type. If you do not do this, you will receive the raw InputStream to perform the decoding yourself.

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« This page (revision-) was last changed on 18-Aug-2008 08:50 by UnknownAuthor