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Subject Deployment Problem using context.xml
Date Thu, 02 Nov 2006 14:18:15 GMT
I'm indirectly involved in a web application that we are deploying to a
Tomcat 5 environment.  When I say 'indirect', it's because I originally
wrote most of the application, but now other people are responsible for
it.  Anyway, the application has had no problem working with Tomcat when
it was deployed in the webapps directory.  However, now they want to
deploy the app using a context.xml file.  In addition, they want to run
things such that the .WAR file doesn't get unpacked.  

The main problem with this new deployment is that certain classes aren't
being found.  For example, upon startup, the app reads some properties
to get class names to be used as factory objects.  The name is read and
the code does a 'class.forName(..factory class name..)'.  However, the
class isn't found.  In another situation, there seem to be some classes
whose static initializers haven't been executed.  Our code does some
initialization in certain circumstances and it is crucial that the
static initializers get executed.  We had seen similar behavior before
which we attributed to a problem with class loader scoping issues (i.e.
classes loaded by one loader not being visible to classes loaded by a
different class loader). 

Anyway, I find it odd that code which works fine when deployed in a .WAR
file in the webapps directory suddenly stops working in strange ways
(all involving 'missing' classes) when deployed via a context.xml file. 
I also find it odd that the behavior is different when the war file is
allowed to be unpacked vs. when it isn't.  Has anyone seen similar
issues in deploying a web application to a Tomcat 5 environment?  Does
anyone have any suggestions of ways that we can figure out what is going
on and hopefully correct the situation?   Are there any useful debugging
settings that might help us identify the problem?

Any help would be appreciated.

  James Howe

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