Streaming Data as Downloadable Files in Struts Servlet

One way to stream data to the client, is to use the Print­Writer, a library which allows you to direct­ly manip­u­late the out­put stream which is sent to the client. One of the ben­e­fits of stream­ing the out­put to the client with Print­Writer, is the abil­i­ty to send data as it is gen­er­at­ed; instead of hav­ing to buffer all of the data on the server, then send the data to the client after the entire set is gen­er­at­ed.

For con­ve­nience and espe­cial­ly for large files, it is impor­tant to mod­i­fy the HTTP head­ers in HttpServle­tRe­spon­se, instruct­ing the client’s browser to save the file to disk.

The fol­low­ing is a min­i­mal  exam­ple, which shows how to dump a dum­my CSV text file as a down­load­able file in a struts Action Servlet.

public class CsvDataDumpAction extends Action {
	public ActionForward execute
	(ActionMapping mapping, ActionForm form, HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
		// declare the PrintWriter object for later instantiation
		PrintWriter pw = null;
		// modify the HTTP response header, so the file is downloaded as DataDump.txt
		response.setHeader("Content-disposition", "attachment; filename=DataDump.txt");
		// catch the IOException generated by the PrintWriter
		try {
			// Sample header with four fields
			String header = "Field1,Field2,Field3,Field4";
			// flush the buffer, sending the header line to the client
			// generate 1000 lines of dummy test data, with the field name, followed by the number of the row
			for(int i = 0; i < 1000; i++) {
				// flush the buffer after each line is generated,
				// sending the data to the client as it is generated
			// show stack traces for the PrintWriter in the logs
		} catch (IOException e) { 	e.printStackTrace(); 	}
		return null;