Apache Tomcat Is A Web Server

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Is Tomcat is a web server or an application server? Let me tell you how I convinced my self regarding this.

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Apache Tomcat Web Server Installation

A web server is a server designed to serve files from the local system, like Apache. A Java enterprise application server is a full-blown implementation of the Java EE (now Jakarta EE ) specification.

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  • BOE with Apache as a Web server and Cluster of Tomcat as a App Server. This document would detail out the necessary implementation steps required for the Implementation of Apache as a Web server, Clustered Tomcats as a App server, BOE as the Central Processing server.
  • Tomcat is a web server also developed by the Apache Software Foundation, thus its official name is Apache Tomcat. It’s an HTTP server as well, however it powers Java applications instead of static websites. Tomcat can run several different Java specifications such as Java Servlet, JavaServer Pages (JSP), Java EL, and WebSocket.
  • Here the Apache Tomcat Server runs the snoop.jsp, which uses the Servlet API to inspect the incoming request. Purpose is the fundamental difference between Tomcat and the Apache web server. The purpose of the Apache HTTP Server is to simply serve static files such as text, HTML, images, audio and video files to web-based clients.
  • If you need a web server that provides a feature-rich environment with support for multiple sites (hosted in the same server), with such features as virtual hosting, and modular feature design, than Apache Web Server is right on the money. Less Well-Suited: Single page, small feature-set websites.

Many application developers do not focus much on the infrastructure on which their code runs. When it comes to web applications there are common confusions like what is the difference between webserver and applications server or when to go for a EAR vs WAR file deployment etc...

There are many good answers that differentiate between web servers and applications servers like this one. Most of the times the terms Web Server and Application server are used interchangeably. This article explains the working of a typical web server. Typically we get confused with the example of Tomcat Server (an example for a web server) having the capability to run the enterprise applications. So, tomcat is a web server or an application server? Let me tell you how I convinced my self regarding this.

Apache Tomcat Web Server Configuration

Some time back I was struck with the question What's the difference between JPA and Hibernate on stack overflow. I did answer it, but one of the comment lead me to a more detailed understanding of the JavaEE spec and certified servers. If you can understand this then differentiating between the web server and application server is easy. During my investigations I got this article, which discusses the advantages of both.

A more detailed look in to the meaning JavaEE specification will throw some light in to our discussions. As we know specifications are set of rules. Simply put they contain the interface. Any JavaEE servers which needs to comply to spec needs to have the implementation of these interfaces. You can find the certified JavaEE servers list here. If you are deploying your enterprise applications (means you have JPA, EJB or some technology which is part of Java EE) to the a server which comply to JavaEE then the lib need not contain the API implementation jars. But these are needed if you are using a web server like tomcat for deployment.

Apache Tomcat Is A Web Server Used

For example, if you use JPA in your applications and deploying it to the Jboss AS 7, then you need any additional jars in the lib. But the same application you want to deploy to the tomcat server then you need to have additional jars to lib that implements the JPA spec may be eclipselink or Hibernate. This is what makes JBoss AS 7 an application server and tomcat a web server. Another key difference is that we can not deploy an EAR file to tomcat, it could only handle WAR files.

Apache Tomcat Web Server Tutorial


Published at DZone with permission of Manu Pk. See the original article here.


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