The Java EE 5 Tutorial

Properties for SelectItems Composed of SelectItem Instances

Using the selectItems Tag describes how the newsletters list of the Duke’s Bookstore application is populated using the application configuration resource file. You can also populate the SelectItems with SelectItem instances programmatically in the backing bean. This section explains how to do this.

In your backing bean, you create a list that is bound to the SelectItem component. Then you define a set of SelectItem objects, set their values, and populate the list with the SelectItem objects. Here is an example code snippet that shows how to create a SelectItems property:

import javax.faces.component.SelectItem;
protected ArrayList options = null;
protected SelectItem newsletter0 =
     new SelectItem("200", "Duke’s Quarterly", "");
//in constructor, populate the list
public SelectItem getNewsletter0(){
    return newsletter0;

void setNewsletter0(SelectItem firstNL) {
    newsletter0 = firstNL;
// Other SelectItem properties

public Collection[] getOptions(){
    return options;
public void setOptions(Collection[] options){
    this.options = new ArrayList(options);

The code first initializes options as a list. Each newsletter property is defined with values. Then, each newsletter SelectItem is added to the list. Finally, the code includes the obligatory setOptions and getOptions accessor methods.