Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Changing the root web application in Tomcat 6

These days I am very busy developing a large and complex web application, which is nearing its first release. This web based product runs on Tomcat 6 and will be deployed on http://www.mydomain.com
But if I deploy my web application on Tomcat 6, I need to specify the context root. Well this is no good, why will the users of this website be willing to remember the context root. What if the context root changes. In other words the users would not be interest in typing the following - http://www.mydomain.com/myappcontext to visit this site.
Hence it is necessary that I change the default / root web application of Tomcat and point it to my application. I wanted to try and test this on localhost first. As always I Googled and found a number of posts and none seem to work. I also read the documentation it was helpful in understanding the concepts but was not effective as I could not get it working. Finally after few hours of trial and error one of my colleague Joyeeta Majumdar found the solution. Here it is step by step account.
1> I use Maven 2 + Eclipse 3.4 to build my web application. If I run the Maven 'install' goal the web application is generated in the target folder. It is available both as .war file and in exploded form. In my case it generated as Jing-Web-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT and Jing-Web-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.war in the folder c:\jingworkspace\Jing-Web-Main\Jing-Web\target
2> Create a folder <engine>/<hostname>. In my case - Catalina\localhost. This folder is created under <Tomcat_Home>/conf. In my case this is C:\tomcat6\conf.
3> Create a file named ROOT.xml (case-sensitive) in the C:\tomcat6\conf\Catalina\localhost folder.
4> Here is the content of my ROOT.xml file
You will need to change the docBase attribute to the location of the exploded web application.
No changes to be made either in server.xml or context.xml located in c:\tomcat6\conf folder.
Now try http://localhost:8080/ and it should take us to Jing-Web application. You may need to delete the contents of your browser cache(press F5) to view the changes. You may also need to delete the contents of <Tomcat_Home>/work directory to get this working.


  1. Very interesting post. This sounds as if I can have a JEE using Tomcat deployed to the http://www.mydomain.com, is it true?

    That is, I am now developing an application in JEE using Spring+Spring JDBC+Spring Web MVC but it is locally running and my client will want to host the application on internet but I don't seem to know Java Hosting so far, will you guide me through finding good Java hosting which is not very expensive.

  2. Yes you can. I can definitely help you.

  3. ^^ 謝謝你的分享,祝你生活永遠多彩多姿!.........................