Firstly, the symbol request cannot be resolved because it is an implicit variable only available to the body (service() method to be specific) of the JSP.
Secondly, creating declarations like this destroys the thread-safety of your JSP. Since the declaration creates an instance variable, and there is only one instance of the servlet created on behalf of the JSP, every single request for the JSP will share the value of the variable. Obviously not a good thing! [ February 14, 2006: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]