Render a Wicket page to a string for HTML email

Something that's very desirable to do in Apache Wicket is create HTML emails using Wicket's brilliant component-oriented markup.

I've been working on this problem on and off for ages -- it's tricky because of teh way that markup rendering is so deeply tied to the requestcycle, which in turn is deeply dependent on the httpservletrequest -- with good reason, too. That's where Wicket gets its autoconfiguring magic from!

So in order to use Wicket to create HTML emails, we need to fake the request/response cycle. I wrote this convenient method that renders a bookmarkable page (pageclass + pageparameters) to a string:

protected String renderPage(Class extends Page> pageClass, PageParameters pageParameters) {

//get the servlet context
WebApplication application = (WebApplication) WebApplication.get();

ServletContext context = application.getServletContext();

//fake a request/response cycle
MockHttpSession servletSession = new MockHttpSession(context);

MockHttpServletRequest servletRequest = new MockHttpServletRequest(
application, servletSession, context);
MockHttpServletResponse servletResponse = new MockHttpServletResponse(

//initialize request and response

WebRequest webRequest = new WebRequest(servletRequest);

BufferedWebResponse webResponse = new BufferedWebResponse(servletResponse);

WebRequestCycle requestCycle = new WebRequestCycle(
application, webRequest, webResponse);

requestCycle.setRequestTarget(new BookmarkablePageRequestTarget(pageClass, pageParameters));

try {

log.warn("Response after request: "+webResponse.toString());

if (requestCycle.wasHandled() == false) {
requestCycle.setRequestTarget(new WebErrorCodeResponseTarget(

} finally {
} return webResponse.toString();

One other thing that's desirable to do is change all relative links in the email to absolute URLs -- something that Wicket makes super-easy, if you know how. That will be the subject of my next post.

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  • published this page in Blog 2008-10-21 21:13:43 -0400