Persist PrimeFaces DataTable State Across Requests

May 14, 2012

Persist PrimeFaces DataTable State Across Requests

PrimeFaces is well known for its wide array of useful AJAX components for JSF. <p:dataTable>, in particular, is an extremely useful component. One problem with <p:dataTable>, however, is that it can mostly only be manipulated with AJAX. Its state, including current page, column sorted and filter criteria, is reverted to the default after page refreshes. In addition, there is currently no documented way to programmatically set the state, aside from first row and sort order, for the data table.

The solution I have come up with provides a simple way to programmatically set the state for <p:dataTable>. It has the following use cases.

  • Persist the state of data table across page refreshes.
  • Provide a means to programmatically control the state of data table.
  • The above enables a wide array of possibilities, such as controlling the state of data table via View/GET parameters.

However, this solution was created not by relying on the public API of PrimeFaces, but by looking at how the component library works internally. For example, filter parameters are passed in by setting request parameters. The solution is therefore a bit hack-ish and may break in future PrimeFaces releases. The posted solution here currently works with PrimeFaces 3.4.x. I do not guarantee that it will work for sure with future releases, but I will try to keep the solution updated when new versions are released. (For 3.2 & 3.3, use this version for

A sample app is available on GitHub.

Step 1—Implement PersistStateDataModel<T>

Below is my code for PersistStateDataModel<T>. Current I name it so because that is my intended use for it. Feel free to name it differently and/or create an independent class from my code, so your existing data models do not need to change.

Just implement your LazyDataModel<T> as usual, and do the following.

  • Change the parent class from LazyDataModel<T> to PersistStateDataModel<T>.
  • Default state for the data table, such as default sort field, sort order and page size can be set in constructor.
  • If you would like to persist the state across requests, make the bean’s scope longer than request. (This should hardly be a surprise.)
  • Store the values of first, page size, sort field, sort order and filters passed into the load() method.
  • Implement the abstract getters for the above values.

Step 2—Install WrapRequestFilter

Because my solution requires modification to the request parameter map, the use of a request wrapper is required. Add the following Java classes.

Install the filter in web.xml like so. Change <filter-class> to whatever makes sense.

Step3—Modifications to xhtml

Open your xhtml page, and do the following.

  • Add binding="#{data.dataTable}" attribute to <p:dataTable>. Note that #{data} is the bean you implement in Step 1.
  • Place <f:event type="preRenderComponent" listener="#{data.preRenderComponent}" />. Inside <p:dataTable>. Once again change #{data} to whatever you use.

That’s it! Enjoy.

Edit May 22, 2012: The code above is broken in PrimeFaces 3.3.RC1. DataTable appears to have a different lifecycle and does initialization at a different rendering stage. Fix has been made, but I will release it after I have more time to test and refine it.

Edit May 23, 2012: The code has been updated. This version is compatible with both PrimeFaces 3.2 and 3.3.RC1. Note that somehow <p:dataTable> in 3.3.RC1 requires lazy="true" attribute to be set again. It needs to be added for sorting to work.

Edit May 29, 2012: As expected, the same code that works for 3.3.RC1 works for 3.3 Final.

Edit Sep. 4, 2012: Code that works for 3.4 has been added.

Edit Dec. 4, 2012: A forum post and an issue have been created. Let’s see if PrimeFaces will create an official and cleaner way to achieve this effect.


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