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The quickest way to setup SiteMesh is to import sitemesh-blank.war into your development environment or server.

Having said that, manually setting up SiteMesh is also a very straightforward process. These steps are also useful for setting up SiteMesh on an existing Web Application.


If you are using technology older than 2009 you should verify that your environment meets the SiteMesh requirements.

Completely Newbie

If you are a complete newbie to Java Web Application Development you should here is list of topics that you might want to Google before starting,

  • What is an Java Application Server
  • How to Setup the Eclipse with Tomcat
  • How to Setup a Default Web Application

Maybe just direct them to a website instead of choosing specific technologies.

Install SiteMesh Manually

Manually installing SiteMesh into your web application consists of three steps,

  1. Add the SiteMesh library file to WEB-INF/lib
  2. Add the SiteMesh filter to web.xml
  3. Create a blank decorators.xml file

Setup Library File

Copy the SiteMesh jar file into your web application's WEB-INF/lib directory. In this example we downloaded SiteMesh 2.4.1 which uses the jar name, sitemesh-2.4.1.jar.

Add SiteMesh Filter

Add the following to WEB-INF/web.xml within the <web-app> tag,

Create the a decorators.xml file in your WEB-INF directory,

If you start up your application server (container) At this stage, SiteMesh is ready to go. However, SiteMesh will not do anything yet.

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