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From Skijor <>
Subject context path confusion [RequestDispatcher, servlet-mapping, MVC]
Date Sun, 03 Jun 2007 15:40:28 GMT
There may be a work-around for this but I what I really want to know
is why it doesn't work.

I am following the MVC design pattern in building a simple test web
application using Tomcat 6.0.10 on Mac OS Tiger.

MVC pattern suggests every webapp request be handled by a servlet.
Static content rendered by forwarding the request to a jsp page.
Dynamic content is handled by java code and presentation by css (in my

I am confused over the apparent inconsistent behavior observed when
specifying a servlet-mapping in web.xml with a url-pattern = '/'
against other url-patterns.  Is this a bug in tomcat?

For Example:

I have a web application on my filesystem (deployed with default
build.xml) under: $CATALINA_HOME/webapps/ixania.

My web.xml file defines a servlet named BootStrap with a mapping like this:

</servlet-mapping >

The BootStrap servlet only does one thing on an http GET request:

RequestDispatcher dispatcher = request.getRequestDispatcher("/WEB-INF/tmp.jsp");
dispatcher.forward(request, response);

tmp.jsp only contains a single string as context in the <body>:  FOOBAR

When I navigate to http://localhost/ixania, I see FOOBAR in the browser.

When I add a <link> reference to tmp.jsp to locate a css file:

link href="<%= request.getContextPath() %>/css/tmp.css"
rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">

The css never gets resolved.  The css is on the filesystem at

When I change the url-pattern in web.xml to
<url-pattern>/ixania</url-pattern> and navigate to
http://localhost/ixania/ixania the context is display and the css is

This seems like a tomcat bug to me since I have simply substituted '/'
for '/ixania' in both the url-pattern and the actual URL.

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