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Developing with Tomcat and Eclipse: the Definitive Guide

I'm a big fan of Jetty's clean APIs and I use it both for development and production depending on a project, but since I'm sick and tired of people bashing Tomcat just because they haven't used it or use it wrong, I put this guide together for developing webapps (but obviously mostly Tapestry) in Eclipse with Tomcat.

Here's the toolset that you should be using: Eclipse 3.6, Sysdeo's Tomcat Plugin and Tomcat 7.x ( + M2Eclipse 0.1.x depending on whether you are using Maven or not). Eclipse WTP's generic container support is dog slow and error prone, just don't use it. There are other Tomcat plugins for Eclipse but Sysdeo's plugin is the most comprehensive one. Generic tools that try to support more than one container or technology tend to copy files around for easier deployment but avoid all of that - it slows things down and is completely unnecessary given the right set of tools.

It's assumed you have Eclipse and Java installed. If you are otherwise starting pretty much from scratch, follow these steps:

In a nutshell:

  • Know your tools
  • Use the latest versions
  • If there's a problem, it's worth fixing it
  • Don't use the WTP integration - it's slow and error-prone
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