How To Add BotDetect CAPTCHA Protection to Struts Forms

Protecting your Struts forms with BotDetect Java Captcha requires a few steps, outlined on this page.

First Time Here?

Check the BotDetect JSP Captcha Quickstart for key integration steps.

You can also see how BotDetect Captcha protection has been added to various kinds of Struts forms and projects by running the BotDetect Captcha Struts integration code examples coming with the BotDetect installation. You can also reuse the code example source code that fits your requirements.

CAPTCHA Integration Steps

To add BotDetect Captcha protection to a Struts application:

Add BotDetect Java CAPTCHA Library Dependency

Here is how to add BotDetect Java CAPTCHA Library dependency in various dependency management scenarios:

To manually add BotDetect Captcha library to classpath, copy the following three jar files from BotDetect Java download package to application's WEB-INF/lib folder:

  • botdetect-4.0.beta3.jar
  • botdetect-servlet-4.0.beta3.jar
  • botdetect-jsp20-4.0.beta3.jar

To share BotDetect Captcha among multiple applications, these BotDetect jar files above should be copied into 'lib' directory of web container or application server's domain.

Register CaptchaServlet

Update your application configuration (web.xml) file.

<servlet>
  <servlet-name>BotDetect Captcha</servlet-name>
  <servlet-class>com.captcha.botdetect.web.servlet.CaptchaServlet</servlet-class>
</servlet>
<servlet-mapping>
  <servlet-name>BotDetect Captcha</servlet-name>
  <url-pattern>/botdetectcaptcha</url-pattern>
</servlet-mapping>

Display Captcha Protection on the Struts Form

We'll assume you already have a form which can be posted (<form method="post" ...), with other fields in place.

BotDetect custom captcha tag is designed to add CAPTCHA protection to Struts form as simple as possible.

At the top of the file put BotDetect taglib declaration:

<%@taglib prefix="botDetect" uri="https://captcha.com/java/jsp"%>

To display the Captcha test on your form, you will need the following Html elements:

  • A textbox for the Captcha code user input, with a label displaying Captcha instructions
  • The Captcha markup including the image, sound and reload icons etc., which will be generated by the Captcha tag.

For example:

<botDetect:captcha id="exampleCaptcha"/>

<div class="validationDiv">
    <input id="captchaCode" type="text" name="captchaCode"
            value="${basicExample.captchaCode}"/>
    <input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit" />
    <span class="correct">${basicExample.captchaCorrect}</span>
    <span class="incorrect">${basicExample.captchaIncorrect}</span>
</div>

And you also need to add exclude directive for CaptchaServlet to Struts 2 filter by adding the following in your struts.xml configuration file:

<constant name="struts.action.excludePattern" value="/botdetectcaptcha"/>

When you open your form in a browser, the above declarations should render as:

BotDetect CAPTCHA added to an JSP page

If you are adding Captcha protection to multiple Struts forms in the same website, you should initialize each Captcha object with unique name (e.g. "registrationCaptcha", "commentCaptcha", ...).

Validate Captcha User Input During Struts Form Submission

Since we want to ensure only real human users can perform a certain action (e.g. account registration or comment submission), we also have to add Captcha validation code which will process form submissions, and only allow certain actions if Captcha validation succeeds.

Add CAPTCHA Validation Logic to Struts Action

When the form is submitted, the Captcha validation result must be checked and the protected action (user registration, comment posting, email sending, ...) only performed if the Captcha test was passed. You just have to create Captcha object instance with the same name as the one used on the form first. For example, this code should be part of or invoked from Struts action's validate method:

[...]
public class ExampleCaptchaAction extends ActionSupport {
  
  private String captchaCode;

  public String getCaptchaCode() {
    return captchaCode;
  }

  public void setCaptchaCode(String captchaCode) {
    this.captchaCode = captchaCode;
  }
  
  public String execute() {
    return SUCCESS;
  }
  
  public void validate() {
    Captcha captcha = Captcha.load(ServletActionContext.getRequest(), "exampleCaptcha");
    boolean isHuman = captcha.validate(captchaCode);
    if (!isHuman) {
      addFieldError("captchaCode", "Incorrect code");
    }
  }
}

This approach is shown in the BotDetect Struts Basic CAPTCHA integration code example included in the BotDetect download package.


Please Note

BotDetect Java Captcha Library v4.0.Beta3 is an in-progress port of BotDetect 4 Captcha, and we need you to guide our efforts towards a polished product. Please let us know if you encounter any bugs, implementation issues, or a usage scenario you would like to discuss.