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Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Developer's Guide 
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Chapter 7

Developing Web Applications

This chapter describes how web applications are supported in the Sun Java System Application Server and includes the following sections:

For general information about web applications, see the Java EE 5 Tutorial at http://java.sun.com/j2ee/1.4/docs/tutorial/doc/WebApp.html#wp76431.

Introducing Web Applications

This section includes summaries of the following topics:

Internationalization Issues

This section covers internationalization as it applies to the following:

The Server

To set the default locale of the entire Application Server, which determines the locale of the Admin Console, the logs, and so on, use the Admin Console. Select the Domain component, and type a value in the Locale field. For details, see the Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Administration Guide.

Servlets

This section explains how the Application Server determines the character encoding for the servlet request and the servlet response. For encodings you can use, see http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4/docs/guide/intl/encoding.doc.html.

Servlet Request

When processing a servlet request, the server uses the following order of precedence, first to last, to determine the request character encoding:

For details about the parameter-encoding element, see "parameter-encoding" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide.

Servlet Response

When processing a servlet response, the server uses the following order of precedence, first to last, to determine the response character encoding:

Virtual Servers

A virtual server, also called a virtual host, is a virtual web server that serves content targeted for a specific URL. Multiple virtual servers can serve content using the same or different host names, port numbers, or IP addresses. The HTTP service directs incoming web requests to different virtual servers based on the URL.

When you first install the Application Server, a default virtual server is created. (You can also assign a default virtual server to each new HTTP listener you create. For details, see the Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Administration Guide.)

Web applications and Java EE applications containing web components can be assigned to virtual servers.

ProcedureTo assign virtual servers

Steps
  1. Deploy the application or web module and assign the desired virtual server to it.

    For more information, see Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide.

  2. In the Admin Console, open the HTTP Service component under the relevant configuration.

  3. Open the Virtual Servers component under the HTTP Service component.

  4. Select the virtual server to which you want to assign a default web module.

  5. Select the application or web module from the Default Web Module drop-down list.

    For more information, see Default Web Modules.

See Also

For details, see the Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Administration Guide.

Default Web Modules

A default web module can be assigned to the default virtual server and to each new virtual server. For details, see Virtual Servers. To access the default web module for a virtual server, point the browser to the URL for the virtual server, but do not supply a context root. For example:

http://myvserver:3184/

A virtual server with no default web module assigned serves HTML or JSP content from its document root, which is usually domain-dir/docroot. To access this HTML or JSP content, point your browser to the URL for the virtual server, do not supply a context root, but specify the target file.

For example:

http://myvserver:3184/hellothere.jsp

Class Loader Delegation

The Servlet specification recommends that the Web Classloader look in the local class loader before delegating to its parent. To make the Web Classloader follow the delegation model in the Servlet specification, set delegate="false" in the class-loader element of the sun-web.xml file. It's safe to do this only for a web module that does not interact with any other modules.

The default value is delegate="true", which causes the Web Classloader to delegate in the same manner as the other class loaders. Use delegate="true" for a web application that accesses EJB components or that acts as a web service client or endpoint. For details about sun-web.xml, see "The sun-web.xml File" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide.

For general information about class loaders, see Chapter 2, Class Loaders.

Using the default-web.xml File

You can use the default-web.xml file to define features such as filters and security constraints that apply to all web applications.

ProcedureTo use the default-web.xml file

Steps
  1. Place the JAR file for the filter, security constraint, or other feature in the domain-dir/lib directory.

  2. Edit the domain-dir/config/default-web.xml file to refer to the JAR file.

  3. Restart the server.

Configuring Logging in the Web Container

For information about configuring logging and monitoring in the web container using the Admin Console, see the Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Administration Guide.

Configuring HTML Error Pages

To specify an error page (or URL to an error page) to be displayed to the end user, use the error-url attribute of the sun-web-app element in the sun-web.xml file. For example:

<sun-web-app error-url="webserver-install-dir/error/error1.html">
... subelements ...
</sun-web-app>

If the error-url attribute is specified, it overrides all other mechanisms configured for error reporting.


Note - This attribute should not point to a URL on the Application Server instance, because the error-url cannot be loaded if the server is down. Instead, specify a URL that points to a location on the web server.


For details, see "sun-web-app" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide.

The Application Server provides the following options for specifying the error page.

The error page is displayed according to the following rules:

Header Management

In all Editions of the Application Server, the Enumeration from request.getHeaders() contains multiple elements instead of a single, aggregated value.

The header names used in HttpServletResponse.addXXXHeader() and HttpServletResponse.setXXXHeader() are returned as they were created.

Using Servlets

Application Server supports the Java Servlet Specification version 2.5.


Note - Servlet API version 2.5 is fully backward compatible with versions 2.3 and 2.4, so all existing servlets should work without modification or recompilation.


To develop servlets, use Sun Microsystems' Java Servlet API. For information about using the Java Servlet API, see the documentation provided by Sun Microsystems at http://java.sun.com/products/servlet/index.html.

The Application Server provides the wscompile and wsdeploy tools to help you implement a web service endpoint as a servlet. For more information about these tools, see the Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 2006Q1 Reference Manual.

This section describes how to create effective servlets to control application interactions running on an Application Server, including standard-based servlets. In addition, this section describes the Application Server features to use to augment the standards.

This section contains the following topics:

Invoking a Servlet with a URL

You can call a servlet deployed to the Application Server by using a URL in a browser or embedded as a link in an HTML or JSP file. The format of a servlet invocation URL is as follows:

http://server:port/context-root/servlet-mapping?name=value

The following table describes each URL section.

Table 7-1 URL Fields for Servlets Within an Application

URL element

Description

server:port

The IP address (or host name) and optional port number.

To access the default web module for a virtual server, specify only this URL section. You do not need to specify the context-root or servlet-name unless you also wish to specify name-value parameters.

context-root

For an application, the context root is defined in the context-root element of the application.xml or sun-application.xml file. For an individually deployed web module, the context root is specified during deployment.

For both applications and individually deployed web modules, the default context root is the name of the WAR file minus the .war suffix.

servlet-mapping

The servlet-mapping as configured in the web.xml file.

?name=value...

Optional request parameters.

In this example, localhost is the host name, MortPages is the context root, and calcMortgage is the servlet mapping:

http://localhost:8080/MortPages/calcMortgage?rate=8.0&per=360&bal=180000

When invoking a servlet from within a JSP file, you can use a relative path. For example:

<jsp:forward page="TestServlet"/>
<jsp:include page="TestServlet"/>

Servlet Output

ServletContext.log messages are sent to the server log.

By default, the System.out and System.err output of servlets are sent to the server log, and during startup server log messages are echoed to the System.err output. Also by default, there is no Windows-only console for the System.err output.

To change these defaults using the Admin Console, select the Logger Settings component under the relevant configuration, then check or uncheck these boxes:

For more information, see the Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Administration Guide.

Caching Servlet Results

The Application Server can cache the results of invoking a servlet, a JSP, or any URL pattern to make subsequent invocations of the same servlet, JSP, or URL pattern faster. The Application Server caches the request results for a specific amount of time. In this way, if another data call occurs, the Application Server can return the cached data instead of performing the operation again. For example, if your servlet returns a stock quote that updates every 5 minutes, you set the cache to expire after 300 seconds.

Whether to cache results and how to cache them depends on the data involved. For example, it makes no sense to cache the results of a quiz submission, because the input to the servlet is different each time. However, it makes sense to cache a high level report showing demographic data taken from quiz results that is updated once an hour.

To define how an Application Server web application handles response caching, you edit specific fields in the sun-web.xml file.


Note - A servlet that uses caching is not portable.


A sample caching application is in install-dir/samples/webapps/apps/caching.

For more information about JSP caching, see JSP Caching.

The rest of this section covers the following topics:

Caching Features

The Application Server has the following web application response caching capabilities:

Default Cache Configuration

If you enable caching but do not provide any special configuration for a servlet or JSP, the default cache configuration is as follows:

Caching Example

Here is an example cache element in the sun-web.xml file:

<cache max-capacity="8192" timeout="60">
<cache-helper name="myHelper" class-name="MyCacheHelper"/>
<cache-mapping>
<servlet-name>myservlet</servlet-name>
<timeout name="timefield">120</timeout>
<http-method>GET</http-method>
<http-method>POST</http-method>
</cache-mapping>
<cache-mapping>
<url-pattern> /catalog/* </url-pattern>
<!-- cache the best selling category; cache the responses to
-- this resource only when the given parameters exist. Cache
-- only when the catalog parameter has 'lilies' or 'roses'
-- but no other catalog varieties:
-- /orchard/catalog?best&category='lilies'
-- /orchard/catalog?best&category='roses'
-- but not the result of
-- /orchard/catalog?best&category='wild'
-->
<constraint-field name='best' scope='request.parameter'/>
<constraint-field name='category' scope='request.parameter'>
<value> roses </value>
<value> lilies </value>
</constraint-field>
<!-- Specify that a particular field is of given range but the
-- field doesn't need to be present in all the requests -->
<constraint-field name='SKUnum' scope='request.parameter'>
<value match-expr='in-range'> 1000 - 2000 </value>
</constraint-field>
<!-- cache when the category matches with any value other than
-- a specific value -->
<constraint-field name="category" scope="request.parameter>
<value match-expr="equals" cache-on-match-failure="true">
bogus
</value>
</constraint-field>
</cache-mapping>
<cache-mapping>
<servlet-name> InfoServlet </servlet-name>
<cache-helper-ref>myHelper</cache-helper-ref>
</cache-mapping>
</cache>

For more information about the sun-web.xml caching settings, see "cache" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide.

CacheKeyGenerator Interface

The built-in default CacheHelper implementation allows web applications to customize the key generation. An application component (in a servlet or JSP) can set up a custom CacheKeyGenerator implementation as an attribute in the ServletContext.

The name of the context attribute is configurable as the value of the cacheKeyGeneratorAttrName property in the default-helper element of the sun-web.xml deployment descriptor. For more information, see "default-helper" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide.

About the Servlet Engine

Servlets exist in and are managed by the servlet engine in the Application Server. The servlet engine is an internal object that handles all servlet meta functions. These functions include instantiation, initialization, destruction, access from other components, and configuration management. This section covers the following topics:

Instantiating and Removing Servlets

After the servlet engine instantiates the servlet, the servlet engine calls the servlet's init() method to perform any necessary initialization. You can override this method to perform an initialization function for the servlet's life, such as initializing a counter.

When a servlet is removed from service, the servlet engine calls the destroy() method in the servlet so that the servlet can perform any final tasks and deallocate resources. You can override this method to write log messages or clean up any lingering connections that won't be caught in garbage collection.

Request Handling

When a request is made, the Application Server hands the incoming data to the servlet engine. The servlet engine processes the request's input data, such as form data, cookies, session information, and URL name-value pairs, into an HttpServletRequest request object type.

The servlet engine also creates an HttpServletResponse response object type. The engine then passes both as parameters to the servlet's service() method.

In an HTTP servlet, the default service() method routes requests to another method based on the HTTP transfer method: POST, GET, DELETE, HEAD, OPTIONS, PUT, or TRACE. For example, HTTP POST requests are sent to the doPost() method, HTTP GET requests are sent to the doGet() method, and so on. This enables the servlet to process request data differently, depending on which transfer method is used. Since the routing takes place in the service method, you generally do not override service() in an HTTP servlet. Instead, override doGet(), doPost(), and so on, depending on the request type you expect.

To perform the tasks to answer a request, override the service() method for generic servlets, and the doGet() or doPost() methods for HTTP servlets. Very often, this means accessing EJB components to perform business transactions, then collating the information in the request object or in a JDBC ResultSet object.

Using JavaServer Pages

The Application Server supports the following JSP features:

For information about creating JSP files, see Sun Microsystem's JavaServer Pages web site at http://java.sun.com/products/jsp/index.html.

For information about Java Beans, see Sun Microsystem's JavaBeans web page at http://java.sun.com/beans/index.html.

This section describes how to use JavaServer Pages (JSP files) as page templates in an Application Server web application. This section contains the following topics:

JSP Tag Libraries and Standard Portable Tags

Application Server supports tag libraries and standard portable tags. For more information, see the JavaServer Pages Standard Tag Library (JSTL) page at http://java.sun.com/products/jsp/jstl/index.jsp.

Web applications don't need to bundle copies of the jsf-impl.jar or appserv-jstl.jar JSP tag libraries (in install-dir/lib) to use JavaServer™ Faces technology or JSTL, respectively. These tag libraries are automatically available to all web applications.

However, the install-dir/lib/appserv-tags.jar tag library for JSP caching is not automatically available to web applications. See JSP Caching, next.

JSP Caching

JSP caching lets you cache tag invocation results within the Java engine. Each can be cached using different cache criteria. For example, suppose you have invocations to view stock quotes, weather information, and so on. The stock quote result can be cached for 10 minutes, the weather report result for 30 minutes, and so on. JSP caching is described in the following topics:

For more information about response caching as it pertains to servlets, see Caching Servlet Results.

The appserv-tags.jar File

JSP caching is implemented by a tag library packaged into the install-dir/lib/appserv-tags.jar file, which you can copy into the WEB-INF/lib directory of your web application. The appserv-tags.tld tag library descriptor file is in the META-INF directory of this JAR file.


Note - Web applications that use this tag library are not portable.


To allow all web applications to share this tag library, change the following elements in the domain.xml file. Change this:

<jvm-options>
-Dcom.sun.enterprise.taglibs=appserv-jstl.jar,jsf-impl.jar
</jvm-options>

to this:

<jvm-options>
-Dcom.sun.enterprise.taglibs=appserv-jstl.jar,jsf-impl.jar,appserv-tags.jar
</jvm-options>

and this:

<jvm-options>
-Dcom.sun.enterprise.taglisteners=jsf-impl.jar
</jvm-options>

to this:

<jvm-options>
-Dcom.sun.enterprise.taglisteners=jsf-impl.jar,appserv-tags.jar
</jvm-options>

For more information about the domain.xml file, see the Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Administration Reference.

Refer to these tags in JSP files as follows:

<%@ taglib prefix="prefix" uri="Sun ONE Application Server Tags" %>

Subsequently, the cache tags are available as <prefix:cache> and <prefix:flush>. For example, if your prefix is mypfx, the cache tags are available as <mypfx:cache> and <mypfx:flush>.

Caching Scope

JSP caching is available in three different scopes: request, session, and application. The default is application. To use a cache in request scope, a web application must specify the com.sun.appserv.web.taglibs.cache.CacheRequestListener in its web.xml deployment descriptor, as follows:

<listener>
<listener-class>
com.sun.appserv.web.taglibs.cache.CacheRequestListener
</listener-class>
</listener>

Likewise, for a web application to utilize a cache in session scope, it must specify the com.sun.appserv.web.taglibs.cache.CacheSessionListener in its web.xml deployment descriptor, as follows:

<listener>
<listener-class>
com.sun.appserv.web.taglibs.cache.CacheSessionListener
</listener-class>
</listener>

To utilize a cache in application scope, a web application need not specify any listener. The com.sun.appserv.web.taglibs.cache.CacheContextListener is already specified in the appserv-tags.tld file.

The cache Tag

The cache tag caches the body between the beginning and ending tags according to the attributes specified. The first time the tag is encountered, the body content is executed and cached. Each subsequent time it is run, the cached content is checked to see if it needs to be refreshed and if so, it is executed again, and the cached data is refreshed. Otherwise, the cached data is served.

Attributes

The following table describes attributes for the cache tag.

Table 7-2 cache Attributes

Attribute

Default

Description

key

ServletPath_Suffix

(optional) The name used by the container to access the cached entry. The cache key is suffixed to the servlet path to generate a key to access the cached entry. If no key is specified, a number is generated according to the position of the tag in the page.

timeout

60s

(optional) The time in seconds after which the body of the tag is executed and the cache is refreshed. By default, this value is interpreted in seconds. To specify a different unit of time, add a suffix to the timeout value as follows: s for seconds, m for minutes, h for hours, d for days. For example, 2h specifies two hours.

nocache

false

(optional) If set to true, the body content is executed and served as if there were no cache tag. This offers a way to programmatically decide whether the cached response is sent or whether the body has to be executed, though the response is not cached.

refresh

false

(optional) If set to true, the body content is executed and the response is cached again. This lets you programmatically refresh the cache immediately regardless of the timeout setting.

scope

application

(optional) The scope of the cache. Can be request, session, or application. See Caching Scope.

Example

The following example represents a cached JSP file:

<%@ taglib prefix="mypfx" uri="Sun ONE Application Server Tags" %>
<%@ taglib prefix="c" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/core" %>
<mypfx:cache key="${sessionScope.loginId}"
nocache="${param.nocache}"
refresh="${param.refresh}"
timeout="10m">
<c:choose>
<c:when test="${param.page == 'frontPage'}">
<%-- get headlines from database --%>
</c:when>
<c:otherwise>
...
</c:otherwise>
</c:choose>
</mypfx:cache>
<mypfx:cache timeout="1h">
<h2> Local News </h2>
<%-- get the headline news and cache them --%>
</mypfx:cache>

The flush Tag

Forces the cache to be flushed. If a key is specified, only the entry with that key is flushed. If no key is specified, the entire cache is flushed.

Attributes

The following table describes attributes for the flush tag.

Table 7-3 flush Attributes

Attribute

Default

Description

key

ServletPath_Suffix

(optional) The name used by the container to access the cached entry. The cache key is suffixed to the servlet path to generate a key to access the cached entry. If no key is specified, a number is generated according to the position of the tag in the page.

scope

application

(optional) The scope of the cache. Can be request, session, or application. See Caching Scope.

Examples

To flush the entry with key="foobar":

<mypfx:flush key="foobar"/>

To flush the entire cache:

<c:if test="${empty sessionScope.clearCache}">
<mypfx:flush />
</c:if>

Options for Compiling JSP Files

Application Server provides the following ways of compiling JSP 2.1 compliant source files into servlets:

Creating and Managing HTTP Sessions

This chapter describes how to create and manage a session that allows users and transaction information to persist between interactions.

This chapter contains the following sections:

Configuring Sessions

This section covers the following topics:

Sessions, Cookies, and URL Rewriting

To configure whether and how sessions use cookies and URL rewriting, edit the session-properties and cookie-properties elements in the sun-web.xml file for an individual web application. For more about the properties you can configure, see "session-properties" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide and "cookie-properties" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide.

For information about configuring default session properties for the entire web container, see the Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Administration Guide.

Coordinating Session Access

Make sure that multiple threads don't simultaneously modify the same session object in conflicting ways.

This is especially likely to occur in web applications that use HTML frames where multiple servlets are executing simultaneously on behalf of the same client. A good solution is to ensure that one of the servlets modifies the session and the others have read-only access.

Session Managers

A session manager automatically creates new session objects whenever a new session starts. In some circumstances, clients do not join the session, for example, if the session manager uses cookies and the client does not accept cookies.

Application Server offers these session management options, determined by the session-manager element's persistence-type attribute in the sun-web.xml file:


Note - If the session manager configuration contains an error, the error is written to the server log and the default (memory) configuration is used.


For more information, see "session-manager" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide.

The memory Persistence Type

This persistence type is not designed for a production environment that requires session persistence. It provides no session persistence. However, you can configure it so that the session state in memory is written to the file system prior to server shutdown.

To specify the memory persistence type for the entire web container, use the configure-ha-persistence command. For details, see the Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 2006Q1 Reference Manual.

To specify the memory persistence type for a specific web application, edit the sun-web.xml file as in the following example. The persistence-type property is optional, but must be set to memory if included. This overrides the web container availability settings for the web application.

<sun-web-app>
...
<session-config>
<session-manager persistence-type=memory />
<manager-properties>
<property name="sessionFilename" value="sessionstate" />
</manager-properties>
</session-manager>
...
</session-config>
...
</sun-web-app>

The only manager property that the memory persistence type supports is sessionFilename, which is listed under "manager-properties" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide.

For more information about the sun-web.xml file, see "The sun-web.xml File" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide.

The file Persistence Type

This persistence type provides session persistence to the local file system, and allows a single server domain to recover the session state after a failure and restart. The session state is persisted in the background, and the rate at which this occurs is configurable. The store also provides passivation and activation of the session state to help control the amount of memory used. This option is not supported in a production environment. However, it is useful for a development system with a single server instance.


Note - Make sure the delete option is set in the server.policy file, or expired file-based sessions might not be deleted properly. For more information about server.policy, see The server.policy File.


To specify the file persistence type for the entire web container, use the configure-ha-persistence command. For details, see the Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 2006Q1 Reference Manual.

To specify the file persistence type for a specific web application, edit the sun-web.xml file as in the following example. Note that persistence-type must be set to file. This overrides the web container availability settings for the web application.

<sun-web-app>
...
<session-config>
<session-manager persistence-type=file>
<store-properties>
<property name=directory value=sessiondir />
</store-properties>
</session-manager>
...
</session-config>
...
</sun-web-app>

The file persistence type supports all the manager properties listed under "manager-properties" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide except sessionFilename, and supports the directory store property listed under "store-properties" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide.

For more information about the sun-web.xml file, see "The sun-web.xml File" in Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 Application Deployment Guide.


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