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From Danno Ferrin <>
Subject Re: [PROPOSAL] <Servlet> tag
Date Sat, 12 Feb 2000 00:44:06 GMT
> Okay, clarified.  It's *not* part of the Servlet API.  But it *is*
> supported by many popular web servers and add on servlet engines
> (including Apache through use of JSSI).  I would suggest that Tomcat
> supports this as well, since I don't think that these other products are
> going to deprecate the tag just because JSP is now available.
> Many sites that use servlets *do not use JSP* (see
> or
> If we are going to supply *the* servlet engine, it would be helpful to
> support common extensions offered by other broadly used products, thus
> facilitating the switch to Apache Tomcat by having these common
> extensions available.  (Especially when they are as simple to implement
> as the SERVLET tag.)

Tomcat does not want to be the one and only servlet engine, much as
apache (to my knowledge) does not want to be the one and only http
server.  The tomcat core is facing a serious limitation in the regard of
what you want it to do by adding defacto standards to tomcat.  Tomcat is
a reference implementation of a published standard, servlet 2.2 and JSP
1.1.  Support for defacto standards are a possibility but unfortunately
most of these would force tomcat to violate the spec.

But Tomcat is just the core implementation.  There is nothing to prevent
anyone from forking the tomcat code base and adding these features.  In
fact the license practically encourages it! (just as long as the name
makes it unmistakably separate from apache names).  Once Tomcat reaches
performance parity with JServ and other implementations you will see
some of this forking happening, perhaps even on a commercial level (like
apache->stronghold).  If you want to add those extensions go ahead, go
to town on it.  Let us and other people know because I am sure that
there are other people who would love to see it.  But as for the apache
core it won't be put in the code base, because the very premise of the
jakarta project essentially forbids it.

> > Furthermore, the JWs has *NEVER* been the reference implementation of
> > the servlet platform, the JSDK and JWSDK have been, and now tomcat is
> > for Servlet 2.2 and JSP1.1.
> You're right, I didn't correctly remember what I had read.
>   "Sun's Java Web Server (formerly called "Jeeves"), unofficially
> considered
>   the reference implementation for how a servlet engine should support
>   servlets."  -- pg. 8, Java Servlet Programming by Jason Hunter,
> O'Reilly
> Of course the opperative word here is "unofficially."  My bad.
> > > ...I usually don't believe in supporting mutliple interfaces.  But in
> > > this case, I feel that an exception should be made.  The user would have to
> > > familiar with Java Server Pages to know about--and how to use--JSP:INCLUDE.
> > ...if the user can use tags
> > like <servlet> then they can learn a tag that is now a standard part of
> > the java platform for the enterprise.
> See my other mail regarding data limitations in HTTP GET requests, and
> above regarding the fact that not everyone uses JSP (or is willing to
> switch to it).
> > </rant>
> I'm not trying to argue, so please don't rant at me.  I'm trying to have
> a discussion.  Your input is obviously valuable (you pointed out several
> things that I didn't know or was mistaken about).  I hope that you can
> limit your rants in the future, as they greatly discourage my
> participation in this project.  Thank you for your time and your efforts
> to make this a world class piece of software.

If it wasn't for the fact that this very same question has been asked a
whole bunch of times in the past week I wouldn't have been ranting (but
I was ranting in a good way, I save flames for personal mail).  Another
popular question has been where is the web archives for the list.  There
is none, which if there was one I believe there would be a lot less
duplication of questions.  Another thing is that I have a pet peeve when
people say tomcat needs to support feature X because commercial
application supports feature Y, especially when it involves violating
the spec.  You are just one of many who have and I did not direct it to
you (or it would have been in a personal mail).

One of the biggest issue with the the number of people requesting or
demanding features is increasing much faster than the number of people
willing to contribute time and effort to tomcat.  The most immediate
need is for someone to get a web based archive of the list up.  Since I
am running off of a dilaup or behind a firewall that is outside of my
resources to provide, but I would do it if I could.  


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