In this article, we are going to understand how to associate initialization parameters with a filter which is itself associated with a web resource. The web resource could be a Servlet, JSP or a static html webpage.
As you know that we can create a Filter class by implementing the Filter interface. With this Filter class, we can associate one or multiple initialization parameters
by specifying these initialization parameters in the deployment descriptor(web.xml) file.
After specifying the initialization parameters of a Filter class.
When a user make a request to this web resource,
the Filter class associated with this resource is executed and its initialization parameters could be read and used before and after the web resource requested by the user
is executed, hence providing filtering to the user request and response.
Methods of Filter interface
In order to create a filter class we must implement the three methods of javax.servlet.Filter interface.
This method is called by the web container when a client requests for a web resource
which could be a Servlet or a JSP page .
This method destroys the Filter instance.
Creating a webpage which calls the Servlet
We are creating a webpage which asks the user to enter his name and click the submit button,
which when clicked, will call a Servlet, but before this Servlet is executed, the filter associated with it
will be executed and the initialization parameters associated with this filter(specified in the deployment descriptor file(web.xml) are displayed.
<title> Filters Demo </title>
<b> Please enter your name : ? </b>
<form action ="MyServ">
Name : <input type = "text" name = "name" />
<input type = "submit" name = "submit" />
We are creating a Filter by implementing the Filter interface and by implementing its three methods -
Within the doFilter(ServletRequest, ServletResponse, FilterChain) method, we must make a call to doFilter(request, response) method of FilterChain interface.
The call to doFilter(request, response) method calls any additional Filter attached to the Servlet.
If there is no more Filter attached to the Servlet then the requested Servlet is finally executed.
After the servlet has finished its executed, the doFilter(request,response) method returns, enabling you to handle Servlet output in the response object.
public class MyFilter1 implements Filter
public void init(FilterConfig filterConfig)
config = filterConfig; //initializing the FilterConfig object
public void destroy()
//This method is called each time a client requests for a web resource i.e. preprocessing request
public void doFilter(ServletRequest request, ServletResponse response, FilterChain chain) throws ServletException, IOException
PrintWriter out = response.getWriter();
out.println("<b> <i>Filter1 - Filtering request</i> </b> <br/>");
out.println("Hello " + request.getParameter("name") + "!");
//Reading all the filter initialization parameters using FilterConfig object
out.println("<i>Reading all filter initialization parameters </i> <br/>");
Enumeration enum1 = config.getInitParameterNames();
String paramName = (String)enum1.nextElement();
String paramValue = config.getInitParameter(paramName);
out.println("Parameter "+ "<i>"+ paramName + "</i>" + " has a value " + "<i> " + paramValue + "</i>");
//Calling doFilter() calls the next filter in the chain or
//if there is no filter then the requested web resource is executed.
//post-processing the request and after the requested web resource is called.
out.println(" <b> <i> Filter1 - Filtering response</i> </b> <br/>");
out.println("Bye " + request.getParameter("name") + "!");
MyServlet1.java is a Servlet class, which is executed after its associated filter is executed.
public class MyServlet1 extends GenericServlet
public void service(ServletRequest request, ServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException
PrintWriter out = response.getWriter();
out.println("The requested Servlet is being executed.");
Directory Structure of Servlet files
The diagram above depicts how to arrange the Servlet files in a specific directory structure, as per Java Servlet Specification-
Project Folder - We have created a project folder named FilterInitParam within
the webapps folder of Tomcat installation folder. This folder contains the Servlet class(.java) file and WEB-INF folder.
WEB-INF - Within your project folder, you create another folder named WEB-INF and this folder should contain the deployment descriptor file(web.xml) of your Java Servlet program.
classes - Within the WEB-INF folder you should create a folder named classes. This folder should contain the compiled(.class) form of your Java Servlet class.
Creating the Deployment Descriptor file
As per the Java Servlet specifications, every web application based on Servlet must have a Deployment Descriptor file(an XML file) named web.xml.
So, let's create one and this time, associate our two filter classes with our Servlet class -
In deployment descriptor file, The <filter> has two child tags <filter-name> and <filter-class>.
<filter-name> tag is used to specify a unique name for our filter class, we have given it a unique name Filter1.
<filter-class> tag is used to specify the full qualified name of the filter class and in our example our filter class is named
We have also specified three initialization parameters specific to our Filter using <init-param> tag.
This tag has two child tags <param-name> and <param-value> :
<param-name> tag is used to specify the name of a parameter.
<param-value> tag is used to specify the value of this parameter associated with our Servlet class named MyFilter1.
<servlet> has two child tags <servlet-name> and <servlet-class> :
<servlet-name> tag is used to specify a unique name for our Servlet class, we have given it a unique name Servlet.
<servlet-class> tag is used to specify the full qualified name of the Servlet class and in our example our Servlet class is named MyServlet1.
The child tag <filter-name> of <filter> tag is matched with the <filter-name> child tag of
<url-pattern> child tag of <filter-mapping>should be the same
as the <url-pattern> for our servlet i.e. MyServ.
The child tag <servlet-name> of <servlet> tag is matched with the <servlet-name> child tag of
<url-pattern> child tag is used to specify the URL to access Servlet and we have named this URL MyServ.
The order in which these Filters are executed depends on the order of <filter-mapping>
tag described in the web.xml file. Hence, first the Filter1 is executed and then Filter2 is executed.
Setting the classpath
Much of the support for developing the web applications based on the Java Servlet technology does not come with the core Java.
Hence, in order to compile the Servlet programs, we have to set the classpath to a jar file named
This jar file provides all the classes that are required for the Servlet programming and it comes within the lib Folder of
Tomcat installation folder.
For example, in our case we have installed Tomcat Web Server within the C: Drive, hence the path to our lib folder containing the servlet-api.jar is - C:\apache-tomcat-9.0.2\lib
There are two ways to set the classpath -
You could set the classpath by entering this command at the Command Prompt, but this only temporarily sets the classpath to the path of servlet-api.jar file. If you restart your system, you will have to set the classpath again.