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How to pass an action name using hyperlink in Struts 2?

I have a hyperlink named "Click for new User". Once I click the link, I got NullPointerException instead of opening RegisterPage.jsp page.

I post my code here, I can’t find my mistake

index.jsp:

<s:form action="verify">
<s:textfield name="username" key="label.uname"  required="true"/>
<s:password name="password" key="label.pass" required="true"/>
<s:submit value="Login" align="center"/> 
</s:form>
<a href="<s:url action='register'/>">Click for New User</a>

struts.xml:

<struts>
<package name="a" extends="struts-default">
<action name="verify" class="java4s.Login"  method="execute">
<result name="success">loginsuccess.jsp</result>
<result name="error">error.jsp</result>
<result name="input">index.jsp</result>
</action>
<action name="register" class="java4s.Login" method="register">
<result name="success">RegisterPage.jsp</result>
</action>
</package>
</struts>

Login.java(Action Class):

package java4s;

import com.opensymphony.xwork2.ActionSupport;

public class Login extends ActionSupport {

private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;
private String username,password;
public String getUsername() {
    return username;
}
public void setUsername(String username) {
    this.username = username;
}
public String getPassword() {
    return password;
}
public void setPassword(String password) {
    this.password = password;
}
public String register(){
    System.out.println("register ()");
    return SUCCESS;
}
public String execute(){
    if (getUsername().equals("java4s")&&getPassword().equals("java4s")) {
        return SUCCESS;
    } else {
        this.addActionError(getText("u.p.wrong"));
        return ERROR;
    }   
}
@Override
public void validate() {
        if (getUsername().equals("")||getUsername().length()==0)
        this.addFieldError("username",getText("error.uname"));
        if(getPassword().equals("")||getPassword().length()==0) 
        this.addFieldError("password", getText("error.pass"));

}
}

Exception:

 javax.servlet.ServletException: java.lang.NullPointerException
 org.apache.struts2.dispatcher.Dispatcher.serviceAction(Dispatcher.java:515)
 org.apache.struts2.dispatcher.FilterDispatcher.doFilter(FilterDispatcher.java:4‌​19)
 java.lang.NullPointerException
java4s.Login.validate(Login.java:38)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.DefaultWorkflowInterceptor.doIntercept(DefaultWorkflowInterceptor.java:200)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.MethodFilterInterceptor.intercept(MethodFilterInterceptor.java:86)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.validator.ValidationInterceptor.doIntercept(ValidationInterceptor.java:150)
org.apache.struts2.interceptor.validation.AnnotationValidationInterceptor.doIntercept(AnnotationValidationInterceptor.java:48)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.MethodFilterInterceptor.intercept(MethodFilterInterceptor.java:86)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ConversionErrorInterceptor.intercept(ConversionErrorInterceptor.java:123)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ParametersInterceptor.doIntercept(ParametersInterceptor.java:167)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.MethodFilterInterceptor.intercept(MethodFilterInterceptor.java:86)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.StaticParametersInterceptor.intercept(StaticParametersInterceptor.java:105)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
org.apache.struts2.interceptor.CheckboxInterceptor.intercept(CheckboxInterceptor.java:83)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
org.apache.struts2.interceptor.FileUploadInterceptor.intercept(FileUploadInterceptor.java:207)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ModelDrivenInterceptor.intercept(ModelDrivenInterceptor.java:74)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ScopedModelDrivenInterceptor.intercept(ScopedModelDrivenInterceptor.java:127)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
org.apache.struts2.interceptor.ProfilingActivationInterceptor.intercept(ProfilingActivationInterceptor.java:107)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
org.apache.struts2.interceptor.debugging.DebuggingInterceptor.intercept(DebuggingInterceptor.java:206)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ChainingInterceptor.intercept(ChainingInterceptor.java:115)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.I18nInterceptor.intercept(I18nInterceptor.java:143)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.PrepareInterceptor.doIntercept(PrepareInterceptor.java:121)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.MethodFilterInterceptor.intercept(MethodFilterInterceptor.java:86)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
org.apache.struts2.interceptor.ServletConfigInterceptor.intercept(ServletConfigInterceptor.java:170)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.AliasInterceptor.intercept(AliasInterceptor.java:123)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ExceptionMappingInterceptor.intercept(ExceptionMappingInterceptor.java:176) 
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:224)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation$2.doProfiling(DefaultActionInvocation.java:223)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.util.profiling.UtilTimerStack.profile(UtilTimerStack.java:455)
com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:221)
org.apache.struts2.impl.StrutsActionProxy.execute(StrutsActionProxy.java:50)
org.apache.struts2.dispatcher.Dispatcher.serviceAction(Dispatcher.java:504)
org.apache.struts2.dispatcher.FilterDispatcher.doFilter(FilterDispatcher.java:419)

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Answer

When you click on hyperlink you don’t supply the request URL with parameters username and password (the parameters aren’t set by the params interceptor), so the values of this properties are null but the validate() method is called before the action is executed because your action extend ActionSupport which implemented Validateable and ValidationAware that allows the validation interceptor (which is a part of the defaultStack) execute validate() method where you could perform manual checks and provide ActionErrors, FieldErrors, and ActionMessages. But there’s no reason to do so if you don’t provide the values for the properties. You should either submit the form or set the parameters in the url like

<a id="myLink" href="#">Click for New User</a>
<script type="text/javascript>
$(document).ready(function(){
  $('#myLink').click(function(e) {
    window.location="<s:url action='register'/>"+"?username="+$('username').val()+"&password="+$('password').val();
    return false;
  });
});
</script>

But the problem is the parameter values (username and password) are sensitive information and shouldn’t pass in the URL. And you should use either Ajax post or submit the form with the POST request like in this example.

When using manual validations very useful to utilize the Apache commons validator

if (GenericValidator.isBlankOrNull(value))
  addFieldError("FieldLabel", MessageFormat.format(getText("ErrorKey"),
    getText("FieldLabel"), new Object {}));

The similar code could be done for ActionErrors and/or ActionMessages. Other validators are available in the commons-validator package, or you could use Struts2 validators that is out of this question.

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