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From "Craig R. McClanahan" <>
Subject Re: Configuring contexts and using separate web servers / connectors
Date Mon, 03 Sep 2001 18:20:38 GMT
Hi Colin,

Thanks for the contribution!  See below for some comments on your

On Mon, 3 Sep 2001, Colin Wilson-Salt wrote:

> Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2001 10:06:59 +0100
> From: Colin Wilson-Salt <>
> Reply-To:
> To:
> Subject: Configuring contexts and using separate web servers / connectors
> I hope some of you will bear with me through this email as I share my
> thoughts and try to be persuasive.
> In a live environment, I probably would not have any HTTP connector enabled
> in Tomcat, instead Apache or iPlanet would listen to HTTP and talk a fast,
> efficient and proprietary protocol to Tomcat for any web-application
> requests.
> Let's say that I have an application deployed in Tomcat. Let's call it
> "classbrowser". I can deploy it with a line in server.xml like:
> <Context path="/urlprefix"
>          docBase="/home/colin/work/classbrowser.war"/>
> I can then point my browser to http://localhost:8080/urlprefix/ and get
> pages back from my application. Woohoo.
> Now I go to configure my webserver (in this case iPlanet with a plugin based
> on the mod_webapp stuff). I give it this configuration:
> WebAppConnection conn warp localhost:8008
> WebAppDeploy classbrowser conn /classbrowser
> Which means deploy an application, named "classbrowser" to appear below the
> URL /classbrowser on the port that my iPlanet is listening to. So I should
> be able to point my browser to http://localhost:81/classbrowser/ and have
> stuff work.
> However, although the iPlanet / mod_webapp stuff knows that that means an
> application named "classbrowser" that needs to be delegated to Tomcat,
> Tomcat doesn't know what I'm talking about.

In the Apache-connected case, you need to have the appropriate <Context>
entry in your server.xml file (or let Tomcat auto-configure the context if
it's in the "webapps" directory).  Wouldn't the same thing work here?

> I need to be able to give an application a name when I deploy it to Tomcat,
> and have that name and the name used to configure the mod_webapp stuff used
> to connect the two halves together.

The context path ("/classbrowser") can do that for you.

> In the case where Tomcat is not doing HTTP itself, the path attribute in the
> Context entry is irrelevant, and should be able to be replaced with a name
> attribute. This name attribute, plus any extra path information after the
> url-prefix used to match requests on the web server side, should be what
> gets sent to Tomcat.
> The above example would then become:
> <Context name="classbrowser"
>          docBase="/home/colin/work/classbrowser.war"/>
> Is this something that people generally agree with?

The servlet API requires that a web application have a context path
(visible to the application via request.getContextPath()).  So, Tomcat
would have to create such a context path based on this entry, and it's not
clear how you would define the rules.  If it's something simple like "add
a slash at the beginning", it seems to me that this entry is equivalent:

  <Context path="/classbrowser"

and the "path" attribute serves two purposes:
* It provides the context path to which this app will be attached
* It provides a unique identifier that can be used by a web connector
  to select this application.

I guess I'm not understanding why this might not be sufficient.


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