The Tomcat Servlet/JSP Container

The Apache Tomcat 5.5 Servlet/JSP Container

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Application Developer's Guide



Congratulations! You've decided to (or been told to) learn how to build web applications using servlets and JSP pages, and picked the Tomcat server to use for your learning and development. But now what do you do?

This manual is a primer covering the basic steps of using Tomcat to set up a development environment, organize your source code, and then build and test your application. It does not discuss architectures or recommended coding practices for web application development, or provide in depth instructions on operating the development tools that are discussed. References to sources of additional information are included in the following subsections.

The discussion in this manual is aimed at developers who will be using a text editor along with command line tools to develop and debug their applications. As such, the recommendations are fairly generic -- but you should easily be able to apply them in either a Windows-based or Unix-based development environment. If you are utilizing an Interactive Development Environment (IDE) tool, you will need to adapt the advice given here to the details of your particular environment.


The following links provide access to selected sources of online information, documentation, and software that is useful in developing web applications with Tomcat.

  • - JavaServer Pages (JSP) Specification, Version 2.0. Describes the programming environment provided by standard implementations of the JavaServer Pages (JSP) technology. In conjunction with the Servlet API Specification (see below), this document describes what a portable API page is allowed to contain. Specific information on scripting (Chapter 6), tag extensions (Chapter 7), and packaging JSP pages (Appendix A) is useful. The Javadoc API Documentation is included in the specification, and with the Tomcat download.

  • - Servlet API Specification, Version 2.4. Describes the programming environment that must be provided by all servlet containers conforming to this specification. In particular, you will need this document to understand the web application directory structure and deployment file (Chapter 9), methods of mapping request URIs to servlets (Chapter 11), container managed security (Chapter 12), and the syntax of the web.xml Web Application Deployment Descriptor (Chapter 13). The Javadoc API Documentation is included in the specification, and with the Tomcat download.

  • - Sun BluePrints (tm) Design Guidelines for J2EE. Comprehensive advice and examples on application design for the Java2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) platform, which includes servlets and JSP pages. The chapters on servlet and JSP design are useful even when your application does not require other J2EE platform components.

  • TODO -- Add more entries here!

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