Datatables with PrimeFaces

primefaces datatableThe dataTable is a key component of JSF architecture. It can display Objects in a Collection or an Array where each Object represents one row in the table and columns match instance variables in the Object. In this tutorial we will show how to create advanced datatable examples using PrimeFaces library.

Dynamic dataTable example

A common need for many applications is to create tabular data with a dynamic number of columns. Columns can be added programmaticaly, thus you can use the same dataTable for displaying different kind of models.

Creating a dynamic datatable with PrimeFaces is really easy: instead of using the standard <p:column> tag, use the <p:columns> which references the list of columns (via the value attribute) that are mantained in a Collection.

Here is a simple example:

<html xmlns=""



    <h:form id="form" prependId="false">

        <h3>Dynamic Data table example</h3>
        <p:dataTable var="data" value="#{tableBean.people}">
            <p:columns value="#{tableBean.columns}" var="column"
                <f:facet name="header">



This is the JSF Managed Bean used:

package com.sample.bean;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

import javax.faces.bean.ManagedBean;
import model.People;

public class TableBean implements Serializable {

    private List<ColumnModel> columns;
    private List<People> people;

    private String columnName;

    public TableBean() {

    private void addPeople() {
        people = new ArrayList<People>();

        People w1 = new People("Homer Simpson","The father",48);
        People w2 = new People("Marge Simpson","The mother",46);
        People w3 = new People("Bart Simpson","Oldest child",11);
        People w4 = new People("Lisa Simpson","Sister of Bart",8);


    private void createDynamicColumns() {

        columns = new ArrayList<ColumnModel>();
        columns.add(new ColumnModel("Name", "name"));
        columns.add(new ColumnModel("Role", "role"));
        columns.add(new ColumnModel("Age", "age"));

    public List<People> getPeople() {
        return people;

    public void setPeople(List<People> people) {
        this.people = people;

    public List<ColumnModel> getColumns() {
        return columns;

    public String getColumnName() {
        return columnName;

    public void setColumnName(String columnName) {
        this.columnName = columnName;

    static public class ColumnModel implements Serializable {

        private String header;
        private String property;

        public ColumnModel(String header, String property) {
            this.header = header;
   = property;

        public String getHeader() {
            return header;

        public String getProperty() {
            return property;

And here's the expected result:

primefaces datatable tutorial

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