Monday, May 04, 2009

Installing and configuring Tomcat for Eclipse

Note: below description uses Tomcat 7.0.40.

Probably You always wanted to write your own web-based application in Java (ok, read: writing another Facebook-like portal and live in luxury in Dubai to the end of Your life ;-)). Of course it is possible, but before that inevitable moment occurs, You have to do much more simple thing - configure the environment for developing web applications (unless You are headmaster in Your own company and someone else does it for you...).

So let's look at how to configure Apache Tomcat which is professionally defined as the servlet container (i.e. for JSP). I will show how to configure it under Eclipse.

Recall that so far we have managed to install Java and set up Eclipse to work with it. It is time for Tomcat. 

Step 1: download the Tomcat binary distribution (core version as a .zip file) from here

Step 2: Unpack the .zip from step 1 to the C:\Development\Tomcat directory. We should get something like this:

Step 3: Open Eclipse IDE and the Java EE perspective (Window menu -> Open Perspective -> Other -> Java EE). This will be the default perspective for our work. Using this perspective, at the bottom in the "Servers" tab we add a new server:

Step 4: Configure the new server. Select the type of the server (Tomcat 7) and leave the name set to localhost:

Step 5: Further configuration of the new server. Select the server's installation directory (in our case C:\Development\Tomcat) and Java virtual machine which will be used - in this case it will be the same virtual machine which we configured to work with Eclipse (see this article).

After pressing Next, Eclipse will display a window asking You to add some web applications to the newly defined server. Ignore this by pressing Finish.

Step 6: Basic configuration of a server. Open server configuration panel by double click on the server name on Servers tab.

We allow the Eclipse to manage Tomcat installation and use wtpwebapps  folder (in Tomcat directory structure) for deploying our applications. In addition we change the way Tomcat publish applications on the server - each application will have a separate xml configuration file in Tomcat (so-called "context" file).

Tomcat is ready and configured to work. We can start and stop it using the icons on the right side in the "Servers" tab. The results of these operations (logs), are visible in the "Console" tab.