JSP - Overview
What is JavaServer Pages?
JavaServer Pages (JSP) is a technology for developing web pages that support dynamic content which helps developers insert java code in HTML pages by making use of special JSP tags, most of which start with <% and end with %>.
A JavaServer Pages component is a type of Java servlet that is designed to fulfill the role of a user interface for a Java web application. Web developers write JSPs as text files that combine HTML or XHTML code, XML elements, and embedded JSP actions and commands.
Using JSP, you can collect input from users through web page forms, present records from a database or another source, and create web pages dynamically.
JSP tags can be used for a variety of purposes, such as retrieving information from a database or registering user preferences, accessing JavaBeans components, passing control between pages and sharing information between requests, pages etc.
Why Use JSP?
JavaServer Pages often serve the same purpose as programs implemented using the Common Gateway Interface (CGI). But JSP offer several advantages in comparison with the CGI.
Performance is significantly better because JSP allows embedding Dynamic Elements in HTML Pages itself instead of having a separate CGI files.
JSP are always compiled before it's processed by the server unlike CGI/Perl which requires the server to load an interpreter and the target script each time the page is requested.
JavaServer Pages are built on top of the Java Servlets API, so like Servlets, JSP also has access to all the powerful Enterprise Java APIs, including JDBC, JNDI, EJB, JAXP etc.
JSP pages can be used in combination with servlets that handle the business logic, the model supported by Java servlet template engines.
Finally, JSP is an integral part of Java EE, a complete platform for enterprise class applications. This means that JSP can play a part in the simplest applications to the most complex and demanding.
Advantages of JSP:
Following is the list of other advantages of using JSP over other technologies:
vs. Active Server Pages (ASP): The advantages of JSP are twofold. First, the dynamic part is written in Java, not Visual Basic or other MS specific language, so it is more powerful and easier to use. Second, it is portable to other operating systems and non-Microsoft Web servers.
vs. Pure Servlets: It is more convenient to write (and to modify!) regular HTML than to have plenty of println statements that generate the HTML.
vs. Server-Side Includes (SSI): SSI is really only intended for simple inclusions, not for "real" programs that use form data, make database connections, and the like.
vs. Static HTML: Regular HTML, of course, cannot contain dynamic information.
What is Next?
I would take you step by step to set up your environment to start with JSP. I'm assuming you have good hands on with Java Programming to proceed with learning JSP.
If you are not aware of Java Programming Language then I would recommend to go through Java Tutorial to understand Java Programming.