The Apache Tomcat® software is an open source implementation of the Java Servlet, JavaServer Pages, Java Expression Language, and Java WebSocket technologies. The Java Servlet, JavaServer Pages, Java Expression Language, and Java WebSocket specifications are developed under the Java Community Process.
The Apache Tomcat software is developed in an open and participatory environment and released under the Apache License version 2. The Apache Tomcat project is intended to be a collaboration of the best-of-breed developers from around the world. We invite you to participate in this open development project. To learn more about getting involved, click here.
Apache Tomcat software powers numerous large-scale, mission-critical web applications across a diverse range of industries and organizations. Some of these users and their stories are listed on the PoweredBy wiki page.
Apache Tomcat, Tomcat, Apache, the Apache feather, and the Apache Tomcat project logo are trademarks of the Apache Software Foundation.
Tomcat 4.x was released with Catalina (a servlet container), Coyote (an HTTP connector) and Jasper (a JSP engine).
Catalina is Tomcat’s servlet container. Catalina implements Sun Microsystems’s specifications for servlet and JavaServer Pages (JSP). In Tomcat, a Realm element represents a “database” of usernames, passwords, and roles (similar to Unix groups) assigned to those users. Different implementations of Realm allow Catalina to be integrated into environments where such authentication information is already being created and maintained, and then use that information to implement Container Managed Security as described in the Servlet Specification.
Coyote is a Connector component for Tomcat that supports the HTTP 1.1 protocol as a web server. This allows Catalina, nominally a Java Servlet or JSP container, to also act as a plain web server that serves local files as HTTP documents.
Coyote listens for incoming connections to the server on a specific TCP port and forwards the request to the Tomcat Engine to process the request and send back a response to the requesting client. Another Coyote Connector, Coyote JK, listens similarly but instead forwards its requests to another web server, such as Apache, using the JK protocol. This usually offers better performance.
Jasper is Tomcat’s JSP Engine. Jasper parses JSP files to compile them into Java code as servlets (that can be handled by Catalina). At runtime, Jasper detects changes to JSP files and recompiles them.
As of version 5, Tomcat uses Jasper 2, which is an implementation of the Sun Microsystems’s JSP 2.0 specification. From Jasper to Jasper 2, important features were added:
This component has been added to manage large applications. It is used for load balancing that can be achieved through many techniques. Clustering support currently requires the JDK version 1.5 or higher.
A high-availability feature has been added to facilitate the scheduling of system upgrades (e.g. new releases, change requests) without affecting the live environment. This is done by dispatching live traffic requests to a temporary server on a different port while the main server is upgraded to the main port. It is very useful in handling user requests on high-traffic web applications.
It has also added the user- as well as system-based web applications enhancement to add support for deployment across the variety of environments. It also tries to manage sessions as well as applications across the network.
Tomcat is building additional components. A number of additional components may be used with Apache Tomcat. These components may be built by users should they need them or they can be downloaded from one of the mirrors.
Tomcat 7.x implements the Servlet 3.0 and JSP 2.2 specifications.It requires Java version 1.6, although previous versions have run on Java 1.1 through 1.5. Versions 5 through 6 saw improvements in garbage collection, JSP parsing, performance, and scalability. Native wrappers, known as “Tomcat Native”, are available for Microsoft Windows and Unix for platform integration.
Tomcat 8.x implements the Servlet 3.1 and JSP 2.4 Specifications. Apache Tomcat 8.5.x is intended to replace 8.0.x and includes new features pulled forward from Tomcat 9.0.x. The minimum Java version and implemented specification versions remain unchanged.
Apache software is built as part of a community process that involves both user and developer mailing lists. The developer list is where discussion on building and testing the next release takes place, while the user list is where users can discuss their problems with the developers and other users.
Some of the free Apache Tomcat resources and communities include Tomcatexpert.com (a SpringSource sponsored community for developers and operators who are running Apache Tomcat in large-scale production environments) and MuleSoft’s Apache Tomcat Resource Center (which has instructional guides on installing, updating, configuring, monitoring, troubleshooting and securing various versions of Tomcat).
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