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Tomcat: The Definitive Guide by Ian F. Darwin, Jason Brittain

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Chapter 3. Deploying Servlet and JSP Web Applications in Tomcat

Now that you have Tomcat installed, you will almost invariably need to deploy web applications. This chapter shows you web applications composed of servlets, JSPs, and other files, and then discusses several approaches for deploying them. It ends with a discussion of the Manager web application, which can handle some deployment operations for you.

Before Java servlets, web applications were mostly written in C/C++ or Perl. Usually they were made up mainly of static HTML pages and a few CGI [1] scripts to generate the dynamic content portions of the web application. Those CGI scripts could be written in a platform-independent way, although they didn’t need to be (and for that reason often weren’t). Also, since CGI was an accepted industry standard across all web server brands and implementations, CGI scripts could be written to be web server implementation-independent. In practice, some are and some aren’t. The biggest problem with CGI was that the design made it inherently slow[2] and unscalable.

Another approach to generating dynamic content is web server modules. For instance, the Apache httpd web server allows dynamically loadable modules to run on startup. These modules can answer on preconfigured HTTP request patterns, sending dynamic content to the HTTP client/browser. This high-performance method of generating dynamic web application content has enjoyed some success over the years, but it has its issues as well. ...

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