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January 20, 2020

What is Apache Tomcat? Introducing the Widely Used Java Servlet and JSP Container

"Apache Tomcat project is intended to be a collaboration of the best-of-breed developers from around the world"

By CBR Staff Writer

What is Apache Tomcat? Essentially it’s an open-source Java servlet and Java Server Page container that lets developers implement an array of enterprise Java applications. Tomcat also runs a HTTP web server environment in which Java code can run.

Three years after the original release of Java in 1995, Sun Microsystems architect James Duncan Davidson developed an open-source servlet reference implementation for the first Java Servlet API. Java servlets are small Java programs that define how responses and requests are handled by the server. A developer would write their servlet or JSP and let Tomcat conduct all of the routing and backend work.

Now 22 years later Tomcat is a leading top-level project at the Apache Software Foundation, and has been downloaded more than 10 million times. It has hugely diverse penetration across the data centre, with wide use-cases/

Tomcat is maintained by a host of developers in its community and its current most stable version is series 9.0, which is the first Apache Tomcat release to support Servlet 4.0 specifications. Tomcat also comes with the Coyote engine, a webserver that allows developers to connect an array of Java enterprise applications and capabilities.

What is Apache Tomcat? A Few Use Cases

What is Apache Tomcat

Credit: Hannah Troupe via Unsplash

The use cases for Apache Tomcat are quite broad as it is one of the most widely used Java servers. For instance; Java based shopping cart application KonaKart runs on Tomcat and uses it as a Java API and SOAP Web Service interface.

Due to its open-source nature Tomcat has been adapted and reshaped by numerous developers; distributions include Springsource’s Enterprise Ready Server (ERS)

Tomcat is also used within cloud environments such as Axon datacentres which are powered in part by Tomcat.

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The Team behind Apache Tomcat note that: The Apache Tomcat project is intended to be a collaboration of the best-of-breed developers from around the world…Apache Tomcat software powers numerous large-scale, mission-critical web applications across a diverse range of industries and organizations.

As Mulesoft notes however, it ships with fairly pared back administrative capabilities and tooling.  When using Tomcat in a large scale production environment, most administrators implement some form of additional monitoring/deployment/configuration management tactics.

See Also: The Top Five Apache Software Projects in 2019: From Kafka to Zookeeper

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