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java servlet specification v2.2

发表于2004/9/27 17:11:00  1992人阅读

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Table Of Contents
                                         Who Should Read This Specification 8
                                         API Reference 8
                                         Other Java™ Platform Specifications 8
                                         Other Important References 8
                                         Providing Feedback 9
                                         Acknowledgements 9
Overview 11
                                        What is a Servlet? 11
                                        What is a Servlet Container? 11
                                        An Example 11
                                        Comparing Servlets with Other Technologies 12
                                        Relationship to Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition 12
                                        Distributable Servlet Containers 12
                                        Changes Since Version 2.1 12
Terms Used 15
                                        Basic Terms 15
                                        Roles 16
                                        Security Terms 17
The Servlet Interface 19
                                         Request Handling Methods 19
                                         Number of Instances 20
                                         Servlet Life Cycle 20
Servlet Context 23
                                        Scope of a ServletContext 23
                                         Initialization Parameters 23
                                         Context Attributes 23
                                         Resources 24
                                         Multiple Hosts and Servlet Contexts 24
                                         Reloading Considerations 24
                                         Temporary Working Directories 25
The Request 27
                                         Parameters 27
                                        Attributes 27
                                        Headers 28
                                        Request Path Elements 28
                                        Path Translation Methods 29
                                        Cookies 29
                                        SSL Attributes 30
                                        Internationalization 30
The Response 31
                                        Buffering 31
                                        Headers 31
                                        Convenience Methods 32
                                        Internationalization 32
                                        Closure of Response Object 33
Sessions 35 
                                        Session Tracking Mechanisms 35
                                        Creating a Session 35
                                        Session Scope 36
                                        Binding Attributes into a Session 36
                                        Session Timeouts 36
                                        Last Accessed Times 36
                                        Important Session Semantics 37
Dispatching Requests 39
                                        Obtaining a RequestDispatcher 39
                                        Using a Request Dispatcher 40
                                        Include 40
                                        Forward 40
                                        Error Handling 41
Web Applications 43
                                       Relationship to ServletContext 43
                                       Elements of a Web Application 43
                                       Distinction Between Representations 43
                                       Directory Structure 43
                                       Web Application Archive File 44
                                       Web Application Configuration Descriptor 44
                                       Replacing a Web Application 45
                                       Error Handling 45
                                       Web Application Environment 45
Mapping Requests to Servlets 47
                                        Use of URL Paths 47
                                        Specification of Mappings 47
Security 49
                                       Introduction 49
                                       Declarative Security 49
                                       Programmatic Security 49
                                       Roles 50
                                       Authentication 50
                                       Server Tracking of Authentication Information 52
                                       Specifying Security Constraints 52
Application Programming Interface 53
                                       Package javax.servlet 53
                                       Package javax.servlet.http 57
Deployment Descriptor 63
                                       Deployment Descriptor Elements 63
                                       DTD 63
                                       Examples 73
Futures 77



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Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 11
1 Overview
1.1 What is a Servlet?
A servlet is a web component, managed by a container, that generates dynamic content. Servlets are
small, platform independent Java classes compiled to an architecture neutral bytecode that can be
loaded dynamically into and run by a web server. Servlets interact with web clients via a request
response paradigm implemented by the servlet container. This request-response model is based on
the behavior of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
1.2 What is a Servlet Container?
The servlet container, in conjunction with a web server or application server, provides the network
services over which requests and responses are set, decodes MIME based requests, and formats
MIME based responses. A servlet container also contains and manages servlets through their
lifecycle.
A servlet container can either be built into a host web server or installed as an add-on component to
a Web Server via that server’s native extension API. Servlet Containers can also be built into or
possibly installed into web-enabled Application Servers.
All servlet containers must support HTTP as a protocol for requests and responses, but may also
support additional request / response based protocols such as HTTPS (HTTP over SSL). The
minimum required version of the HTTP specification that a container must implement is HTTP/1.0.
It is strongly suggested that containers implement the HTTP/1.1 specification as well.
A Servlet Container may place security restrictions on the environment that a servlet executes in. In
a Java 2 Platform Standard Edition 1.2 (J2SE) or Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition 1.2 (J2EE)
environment, these restrictions should be placed using the permission architecture defined by Java 2
Platform. For example, high end application servers may limit certain action, such as the creation of
a Thread object, to insure that other components of the container are not negatively impacted.
1.3 An Example
A client program, such as a web browser, accesses a web server and makes an HTTP request. This
request is processed by the web server and is handed off to the servlet container. The servlet
container determines which servlet to invoke based on its internal configuration and calls it with
objects representing the request and response. The servlet container can run in the same process as
the host web server, in a different process on the same host, or on a different host from the web
server for which it processes requests.
The servlet uses the request object to find out who the remote user is, what HTML form parameters
may have been sent as part of this request, and other relevant data. The servlet can then perform
whatever logic it was programmed with and can generate data to send back to the client. It sends
this data back to the client via the response object.
Once the servlet is done with the request, the servlet container ensures that the response is properly
flushed and returns control back to the host web server.
Overview
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 12
1.4 Comparing Servlets with Other Technologies
In functionality, servlets lie somewhere between Common Gateway Interface (CGI) programs and
proprietary server extensions such as the Netscape Server API (NSAPI) or Apache Modules.
Servlets have the following advantages over other server extension mechanisms:
• They are generally much faster than CGI scripts because a different process model is used.
• They use a standard API that is supported by many web servers.
• They have all the advantages of the Java programming language, including ease of development
and platform independence.
• They can access the large set of APIs available for the Java platform.
1.5 Relationship to Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition
The Servlet API is a required API of the Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition, v1.21. The J2EE
specification describes additional requirements for servlet containers, and servlets that are deployed
into them, that are executing in a J2EE environment.
1.6 Distributable Servlet Containers
New in this version of the specification is the ability to mark a web application as distributable.
This indication allows servlet container vendors to deploy the servlets in a web application across
multiple Java Virtual Machines running on the same host or on different hosts. An application
marked as distributable must obey a few restrictions so that containers that support distributable
applications can implement features such as clustering and failover.
All web applications that may need to run in a high performance environment, one that allows for
scalability, clustering, and failover (such as a compliant J2EE implementation), should be written as
distributable web applications. This will allow applications to take maximum advantage of servers
that provide these features. If a non distributable application is deployed into such a server, then it
cannot take full advantage of the features that are given by such servers.
1.7 Changes Since Version 2.1
The following major changes have been made to the specification since version 2.1:
• The introduction of the web application concept
• The introduction of the web application archive files
• The introduction of response buffering
• The introduction of distributable servlets
• The ability to get a RequestDispatcher by name
• The ability to get a RequestDispather using a relative path
• Internationalization improvements
• Many clarifications of distributed servlet engine semantics
The following changes have been made to the API:
• Added the getServletName method to the ServletConfig interface to allow a servlet to
obtain the name by which it is known to the system, if any.
1. Please see the Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition specification available at
http://java.sun.com/j2ee/
Overview
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 13
• Added the getInitParameter and getInitParameterNames method to the
ServletContext interface so that initialization parameters can be set at the application level
to be shared by all servlets that are part of that application.
• Added the getLocale method to the ServletRequest interface to aid in determining what
locale the client is in.
• Added the isSecure method to the ServletRequest interface to indicate whether or not
the request was transmitted via a secure transport such as HTTPS.
• Replaced the construction methods of UnavailableException as existing constructor
signatures caused some amount of developer confusion. These constructors have been replaced
by simpler signatures.
• Added the getHeaders method to the HttpServletRequest interface to allow all the
headers associated with a particular name to be retrieved from the request.
• Added the getContextPath method to the HttpServletRequest interface so that the
part of the request path associated with a web application can be obtained.
• Added the isUserInRole and getUserPrinciple methods to the
HttpServletRequest method to allow servlets to use an abstract role based authentication.
• Added the addHeader, addIntHeader, and addDateHeader methods to the
HttpServletResponse interface to allow multiple headers to be created with the same
header name.
• Added the getAttribute, getAttributeNames, setAttribute, and
removeAttribute methods to the HttpSession interface to improve the naming
conventions of the API. The getValue, getValueNames, setValue, and removeValue
methods are deprecated as part of this change.
In addition, a large number of clarifications have been made to spec.
Overview
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 14
Terms Used
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 15
2 Terms Used
These terms are widely used throughout the rest of this specification.
2.1 Basic Terms
2.1.1 Uniform Resource Locators
A Uniform Resource Locators (URL) is a compact string representation of resources available via
the network. Once the resource represented by a URL has been accessed, various operations may be
performed on that resource.1 URLs are a form of a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). URLs are
typically of the form:
<protocol>//<servername>/<resource>
For the purposes of this specification, we are primarily interested in HTTP based URLs which are
of the form:
http[s]://<servername>[:port]/<url-path>[?<query-string>]
For example:
http://java.sun.com/products/servlet/index.html
https://javashop.sun.com/purchase
In HTTP based URLs, the ‘/’ character is reserved for use to separate a hierarchical path structure
in the url-path portion of the URL. The server is responsible for determining the meaning of the
hierarchical structure. There is no correspondence between a url-path and a given file system path.
2.1.2 Servlet Definition
A servlet definition is a unique name associated with a fully qualified class name of a class
implementing the Servlet interface. A set of initialization parameters can be associated with a
servlet definition.
2.1.3 Servlet Mapping
A servlet mapping is a servlet definition that is associated by a servlet container with a URL path
pattern. All requests to that path pattern are handled by the servlet associated with the Servlet
Definition.
2.1.4 Web Application
A web application is a collection of servlets, JavaServer Pages2, HTML documents, and other web
resources which might include image files, compressed archives, and other data. A web application
may be packaged into an archive or exist in an open directory structure.
All compatible servlet containers must accept a web application and perform a deployment of its
contents into their runtime. This may mean that a container can run the application directly from a
1. See RFC 1738
2. See the JavaServer Pages specification at http://java.sun.com/products/jsp
Terms Used
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 16
web application archive file or it may mean that it will move the contents of a web application into
the appropriate locations for that particular container.
2.1.5 Web Application Archive
A web application archive is a single file which contains all of the components of a web
application. This archive file is created by using standard JAR tools which allow any or all of the
web components to be signed.
Web application archive files are identified by the .war extension. A new extension is used instead
of .jar because that extension is reserved for files which contain a set of class files and that can be
placed in the classpath or double clicked using a GUI to launch an application. As the contents of a
web application archive are not suitable for such use, a new extension was in order.
2.2 Roles
The following roles are defined to aid in identifying the actions and responsibilities taken by
various parties during the development, deployment, and running of a Servlet based application. In
some scenarios, a single party may perform several roles; in others, each role may be performed by
a different party.
2.2.1 Application Developer
The Application Developer is the producer of a web based application. His or her output is a set of
servlet classes, JSP pages, HTML pages, and supporting libraries and files (such as images,
compressed archive files, etc.) for the web application. The Application Developer is typically an
application domain expert. The developer is required to be aware of the servlet environment and its
consequences when programming, including concurrency considerations, and create the web
application accordingly.
2.2.2 Application Assembler
The Application Assembler takes the work done by the developer and ensures that it is a deployable
unit. The input of the Application Assembler is the servlet classes, JSP pages, HTML pages, and
other supporting libraries and files for the web application. The output of the application assembler
is a Web Application Archive or a Web Application in an open directory structure.
2.2.3 Deployer
The Deployer takes one or more web application archive files or other directory structures provided
by an Application Developer and deploys the application into a specific operational environment.
The operational environment includes a specific servlet container and web server. The Deployer
must resolve all the external dependencies declared by the developer. To perform his role, the
deployer uses tools provided by the Servlet Container.
The Deployer is an expert in a specific operational environment. For example, the Deployer is
responsible for mapping the security roles defined by the Application Developer to the user groups
and accounts that exist in the operational environment where the web application is deployed.
2.2.4 System Administrator
The System Administrator is responsible for the configuration and administration of the servlet
container and web server. The administrator is also responsible for overseeing the well-being of the
deployed web applications at run time.
Terms Used
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 17
This specification does not define the contracts for system management and administration. The
administrator typically uses runtime monitoring and management tools provided by the Container
Provider and server vendors to accomplish these tasks.
2.2.5 Servlet Container Provider
The Servlet Container Provider is responsible for providing the runtime environment, namely the
servlet container and possibly the web server, in which a web application runs as well as the tools
necessary to deploy web applications.
The expertise of the Container Provider is in HTTP level programming. Since this specification
does not specify the interface between the web server and the servlet container, it is left to the
Container Provider to split the implementation of the required functionality between the container
and the server.
2.3 Security Terms
2.3.1 Principal
A principal is an entity that can be authenticated by an authentication protocol. A principal is
identified by a principal name and authenticated by using authentication data. The content and
format of the principal name and the authentication data depend on the authentication protocol.
2.3.2 Security Policy Domain
A security policy domain is a scope over which security policies are defined and enforced by a
security administrator of the security service. A security policy domain is also sometimes referred
to as a realm.
2.3.3 Security Technology Domain
A security technology domain is the scope over which the same security mechanism, such as
Kerberos, is used to enforce a security policy. Multiple security policy domains can exist within a
single technology domain.
2.3.4 Role
A role is an abstract notion used by a developer in an application that can be mapped by the
deployer to a user, or group of users, in a security policy domain.
Terms Used
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 18
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 19
3 The Servlet Interface
The Servlet interface is the central abstraction of the Servlet API. All servlets implement this
interface either directly, or more commonly, by extending a class that implements the interface. The
two classes in the API that implement the Servlet interface are GenericServlet and
HttpServlet. For most purposes, developers will typically extend HttpServlet to
implement their servlets.
3.1 Request Handling Methods
The basic Servlet interface defines a service method for handling client requests. This
method is called for each request that the servlet container routes to an instance of a servlet.
Multiple request threads may be executing within the service method at any time.
3.1.1 HTTP Specific Request Handling Methods
The HttpServlet abstract subclass adds additional methods which are automatically called by
the service method in the HttpServlet class to aid in processing HTTP based requests.
These methods are:
• doGet for handling HTTP GET requests
• doPost for handling HTTP POST requests
• doPut for handling HTTP PUT requests
• doDelete for handling HTTP DELETE requests
• doHead for handling HTTP HEAD requests
• doOptions for handling HTTP OPTIONS requests
• doTrace for handling HTTP TRACE requests
Typically when developing HTTP based servlets, a Servlet Developer will only concern himself
with the doGet and doPost methods. The rest of these methods are considered to be advanced
methods for use by programmers very familiar with HTTP programming.
The doPut and doDelete methods allow Servlet Developers to support HTTP/1.1 clients which
support these features. The doHead method in HttpServlet is a specialized method that will
execute the doGet method, but only return the headers produced by the doGet method to the
client. The doOptions method automatically determines which HTTP methods are directly
supported by the servlet and returns that information to the client. The doTrace method causes a
response with a message containing all of the headers sent in the TRACE request.
In containers that only support HTTP/1.0, only the doGet, doHead and doPost methods will be
used as HTTP/1.0 does not define the PUT, DELETE, OPTIONS, or TRACE methods.
3.1.2 Conditional GET Support
The HttpServlet interface defines the getLastModified method to support conditional get
operations. A conditional get operation is one in which the client requests a resource with the
HTTP GET method and adds a header that indicates that the content body should only be sent if it
has been modified since a specified time.
Servlets that implement the doGet method and that provide content that does not necessarily
change from request to request should implement this method to aid in efficient utilization of
network resources.
The Servlet Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 20
3.2 Number of Instances
By default, there must be only one instance of a servlet class per servlet definition in a container.
In the case of a servlet that implements the SingleThreadModel interface, the servlet container
may instantiate multiple instances of that servlet so that it can handle a heavy request load while
still serializing requests to a single instance.
In the case where a servlet was deployed as part of an application that is marked in the deployment
descriptor as distributable, there is one instance of a servlet class per servlet definition per VM in a
container. If the servlet implements the SingleThreadModel interface as well as is part of a
distributable web application, the container may instantiate multiple instances of that servlet in
each VM of the container.
3.2.1 Note about SingleThreadModel
The use of the SingleThreadModel interface guarantees that one thread at a time will execute
through a given servlet instance’s service method. It is important to note that this guarantee only
applies to servlet instance. Objects that can be accessible to more than one servlet instance at a
time, such as instances of HttpSession, may be available to multiple servlets, including those
that implement SingleThreadModel, at any particular time.
3.3 Servlet Life Cycle
A servlet is managed through a well defined life cycle that defines how it is loaded, instantiated and
initialized, handles requests from clients, and how it is taken out of service. This life cycle is
expressed in the API by the init, service, and destroy methods of the
javax.servlet.Servlet interface that all servlets must, directly or indirectly through the
GenericServlet or HttpServlet abstract classes, implement.
3.3.1 Loading and Instantiation
The servlet container is responsible for loading and instantiating a servlet. The instantiation and
loading can occur when the engine is started or it can be delayed until the container determines that
it needs the servlet to service a request.
First, a class of the servlet’s type must be located by the servlet container. If needed, the servlet
container loads a servlet using normal Java class loading facilities from a local file system, a remote
file system, or other network services.
After the container has loaded the Servlet class, it instantiates an object instance of that class for
use.
It is important to note that there can be more than one instance of a given Servlet class in the
servlet container. For example, this can occur where there was more than one servlet definition that
utilized a specific servlet class with different initialization parameters. This can also occur when a
servlet implements the SingleThreadModel interface and the container creates a pool of
servlet instances to use.
3.3.2 Initialization
After the servlet object is loaded and instantiated, the container must initialize the servlet before it
can handle requests from clients. Initialization is provided so that a servlet can read any persistent
configuration data, initialize costly resources (such as JDBC™ based connection), and perform any
other one-time activities. The container initializes the servlet by calling the init method of the
Servlet interface with a unique (per servlet definition) object implementing the
The Servlet Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 21
ServletConfig interface. This configuration object allows the servlet to access name-value
initialization parameters from the servlet container’s configuration information. The configuration
object also gives the servlet access to an object implementing the ServletContext interface
which describes the runtime environment that the servlet is running within. See section 4 titled
“Servlet Context” on page 23 for more information about the ServletContext interface.
3.3.2.1 Error Conditions on Initialization
During initialization, the servlet instance can signal that it is not to be placed into active service by
throwing an UnavailableException or ServletException. If a servlet instance throws
an exception of this type, it must not be placed into active service and the instance must be
immediately released by the servlet container. The destroy method is not called in this case as
initialization was not considered to be successful.
After the instance of the failed servlet is released, a new instance may be instantiated and initialized
by the container at any time. The only exception to this rule is if the UnavailableException
thrown by the failed servlet which indicates the minimum time of unavailability. In this case, the
container must wait for the minimum time of unavailability to pass before creating and initializing a
new servlet instance.
3.3.2.2 Tool Considerations
When a tool loads and introspects a web application, it may load and introspect member classes of
the web application. This will trigger static initialization methods to be executed. Because of this
behavior, a Developer should not assume that a servlet is in an active container runtime unless the
init method of the Servlet interface is called. For example, this means that a servlet should not
try to establish connections to databases or Enterprise JavaBeans™ compenent architecture
containers when its static (class) initialization methods are invoked.
3.3.3 Request Handling
After the servlet is properly initialized, the servlet container may use it to handle requests. Each
request is represented by a request object of type ServletRequest and the servlet can create a
response to the request by using the provided object of type ServletResponse. These objects
are passed as parameters to the service method of the Servlet interface. In the case of an
HTTP request, the container must provide the request and response objects as implementations of
HttpServletRequest and HttpServletResponse.
It is important to note that a servlet instance may be created and placed into service by a servlet
container but may handle no requests during its lifetime.
3.3.3.1 Multithreading Issues
During the course of servicing requests from clients, a servlet container may send multiple requests
from multiple clients through the service method of the servlet at any one time. This means that
the Developer must take care to make sure that the servlet is properly programmed for concurrency.
If a Developer wants to prevent this default behavior, he can program the servlet to implement the
SingleThreadModel interface. Implementing this interface will guarantee that only one
request thread at a time will be allowed in the service method. A servlet container may satisfy this
guarantee by serializing requests on a servlet or by maintaining a pool of servlet instances. If the
servlet is part of an application that has been marked as distributable, the container may maintain a
pool of servlet instances in each VM that the application is distributed across.
If a Developer defines a service method (or methods such as doGet or doPost which are
dispatched to from the service method of the HttpServlet abstract class) with the
The Servlet Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 22
synchronized keyword, the servlet container will, by necessity of the underlying Java runtime,
serialize requests through it. However, the container must not create an instance pool as it does for
servlets that implement the SingleThreadModel. It is strongly recommended that developers
not synchronize the service method or any of the HttpServlet service methods such as doGet,
doPost, etc.
3.3.3.2 Exceptions During Request Handling
A servlet may throw either a ServletException or an UnavailableException during
the service of a request. A ServletException signals that some error occurred during the
processing of the request and that the container should take appropriate measures to clean up the
request. An UnavailableException signals that the servlet is unable to handle requests either
temporarily or permanently.
If a permanent unavailability is indicated by the UnavailableException, the servlet
container must remove the servlet from service, call its destroy method, and release the servlet
instance.
If temporary unavailability is indicated by the UnavailableException, then the container
may choose to not route any requests through the servlet during the time period of the temporary
unavailability. Any requests refused by the container during this period must be returned with a
SERVICE_UNAVAILABLE (503) response status along with a Retry-After header indicating
when the unavailability will terminate. The container may choose to ignore the distinction between
a permanent and temporary unavailability and treat all UnavailableExceptions as
permanent, thereby removing a servlet that throws any UnavailableException from service.
3.3.3.3 Thread Safety
A Developer should note that implementations of the request and response objects are not
guaranteed to be thread safe. This means that they should only be used in the scope of the request
handling thread. References to the request and response objects should not be given to objects
executing in other threads as the behavior may be nondeterministic.
3.3.4 End of Service
The servlet container is not required to keep a servlet loaded for any period of time. A servlet
instance may be kept active in a servlet container for a period of only milliseconds, for the lifetime
of the servlet container (which could be measured in days, months, or years), or any amount of time
in between.
When the servlet container determines that a servlet should be removed from service (for example,
when a container wants to conserve memory resources, or when it itself is being shut down), it must
allow the servlet to release any resources it is using and save any persistent state. To do this the
servlet container calls the destroy method of the Servlet interface.
Before the servlet container can call the destroy method, it must allow any threads that are
currently running in the service method of the servlet to either complete, or exceed a server
defined time limit, before the container can proceed with calling the destroy method.
Once the destroy method is called on a servlet instance, the container may not route any more
requests to that particular instance of the servlet. If the container needs to enable the servlet again, it
must do so with a new instance of the servlet’s class.
After the destroy method completes, the servlet container must release the servlet instance so
that it is eligible for garbage collection
Servlet Context
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 23
4 Servlet Context
The ServletContext defines a servlet’s view of the web application within which the servlet is
running. The ServletContext also allows a servlet to access resources available to it. Using
such an object, a servlet can log events, obtain URL references to resources, and set and store
attributes that other servlets in the context can use. The Container Provider is responsible for
providing an implementation of the ServletContext interface in the servlet container.
A ServletContext is rooted at a specific path within a web server. For example a context could
be located at http://www.mycorp.com/catalog. All requests that start with the /
catalog request path, which is known as the context path, will be routed to this servlet context.
Only one instance of a ServletContext may be available to the servlets in a web application.
In cases where the web application indicates that it is distributable, there must only be one instance
of the ServletContext object in use per application per Java Virtual Machine.
4.1 Scope of a ServletContext
There is one instance of the ServletContext interface associated with each web application
deployed into a container. In cases where the container is distributed over many virtual machines,
there is one instance per web application per VM.
Servlets that exist in a container that were not deployed as part of a web application are implicitly
part of a “default” web application and are contained by a default ServletContext. In a
distributed container, the default ServletContext is non-distributable and must only exist on
one VM.
4.2 Initialization Parameters
A set of context initialization parameters can be associated with a web application and are made
available by the following methods of the ServletContext interface:
• getInitParameter
• getInitParameterNames
Initialization parameters can be used by an application developer to convey setup information, such
as a webmaster’s e-mail address or the name of a system that holds critical data.
4.3 Context Attributes
A servlet can bind an object attribute into the context by name. Any object bound into a context is
available to any other servlet that is part of the same web application. The following methods of
ServletContext interface allow access to this functionality:
• setAttribute
• getAttribute
• getAttributeNames
• removeAttribute
Servlet Context
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 24
4.3.1 Context Attributes in a Distributed Container
Context attributes exist locally to the VM in which they were created and placed. This prevents the
ServletContext from being used as a distributed shared memory store. If information needs to
be shared between servlets running in a distributed environment, that information should be placed
into a session (See section 7 titled “Sessions” on page 35), a database or set in an Enterprise
JavaBean.
4.4 Resources
The ServletContext interface allows direct access to the static document hierarchy of content
documents, such as HTML, GIF, and JPEG files, that are part of the web application via the
following methods of the ServletContext interface:
• getResource
• getResourceAsStream
Both the getResource and getResourceAsStream methods take a String argument
giving the path of the resource relative to the root of the context.
It is important to note that these methods give access to static resources from whatever repository
the server uses. This hierarchy of documents may exist in a file system, in a web application archive
file, on a remote server, or some other location. These methods are not used to obtain dynamic
content. For example, in a container supporting the JavaServer Pages specification1, a method call
of the form getResource("/index.jsp") would return the JSP source code and not the
processed output. See section 8 titled “Dispatching Requests” on page 39 for more information
about accessing dynamic content.
4.5 Multiple Hosts and Servlet Contexts
Many web servers support the ability for multiple logical hosts to share the same IP address on a
server. This capability is sometimes referred to as "virtual hosting". If a servlet container’s host web
server has this capability, each unique logical host must have its own servlet context or set of servlet
contexts. A servlet context can not be shared across virtual hosts.
4.6 Reloading Considerations
Many servlet containers support servlet reloading for ease of development. Reloading of servlet
classes has been accomplished by previous generations of servlet containers by creating a new class
loader to load the servlet which is distinct from class loaders used to load other servlets or the
classes that they use in the servlet context. This can have the undesirable side effect of causing
object references within a servlet context to point at a different class or object than expected which
can cause unexpected behavior.
Therefore, when a Container Provider implements a class reloading scheme for ease of
development, they must ensure that all servlets, and classes that they may use, are loaded in the
scope of a single class loader guaranteeing that the application will behave as expected by the
Developer.
1. The JavaServer Pages specification can be found at http://java.sun.com/products/jsp
Servlet Context
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 25
4.7 Temporary Working Directories
It is often useful for Application Developers to have a temporary working area on the local
filesystem. All servlet containers must provide a private temporary directory per servlet context and
make it available via the context attribute of javax.servlet.context.tempdir. The
object associated with the attribute must be of type java.io.File.
Servlet Context
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 26
The Request
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 27
5 The Request
The request object encapsulates all information from the client request. In the HTTP protocol, this
information is transmitted from the client to the server by the HTTP headers and the message body
of the request.
5.1 Parameters
Request parameters are strings sent by the client to a servlet container as part of a request. When
the request is a HttpServletRequest, the attributes are populated from the URI query string
and possibly posted form data. The parameters are stored by the servlet container as a set of namevalue
pairs. Multiple parameter values can exist for any given parameter name. The following
methods of the ServletRequest interface are available to access parameters:
• getParameter
• getParameterNames
• getParameterValues
The getParameterValues method returns an array of String objects containing all the
parameter values associated with a parameter name. The value returned from the getParameter
method must always equal the first value in the array of String objects returned by
getParameterValues.
All form data from both the query string and the post body are aggregated into the request
parameter set. The order of this aggregation is that query string data takes precedence over post
body parameter data. For example, if a request is made with a query string of a=hello and a post
body of a=goodbye&a=world, the resulting parameter set would be ordered a=(hello,
goodbye, world).
Posted form data is only read from the input stream of the request and used to populate the
parameter set when all of the following conditions are met:
1. The request is an HTTP or HTTPS request.
2. The HTTP method is POST
3. The content type is application/x-www-form-urlencoded
4. The servlet calls any of the getParameter family of methods on the request object.
If any of the getParameter family of methods is not called, or not all of the above conditions
are met, the post data must remain available for the servlet to read via the request’s input stream.
5.2 Attributes
Attributes are objects associated with a request. Attributes may be set by the container to express
information that otherwise could not be expressed via the API, or may be set by a servlet to
communicate information to another servlet (via RequestDispatcher). Attributes are accessed
with the following methods of the ServletRequest interface:
• getAttribute
• getAttributeNames
• setAttribute
The Request
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 28
Only one attribute value may be associated with an attribute name.
Attribute names beginning with the prefixes of “java.” and “javax.” are reserved for
definition by this specification. Similarly attribute names beginning with the prefixes of “sun.”,
and “com.sun.” are reserved for definition by Sun Microsystems. It is suggested that all
attributes placed into the attribute set be named in accordance with the reverse package name
convention suggested by the Java Programming Language Specification1 for package naming.
5.3 Headers
A servlet can access the headers of an HTTP request through the following methods of the
HttpServletRequest interface:
• getHeader
• getHeaders
• getHeaderNames
The getHeader method allows access to the value of a header given the name of the header.
Multiple headers, such as the Cache-Control header, can be present in an HTTP request. If
there are multiple headers with the same name in a request, the getHeader method returns the
first header contained in the request. The getHeaders method allow access to all the header
values associated with a particular header name returning an Enumeration of String objects.
Headers may contain data that is better expressed as an int or a Date object. The following
convenience methods of the HttpServletRequest interface provide access to header data in a
one of these formats:
• getIntHeader
• getDateHeader
If the getIntHeader method cannot translate the header value to an int, a
NumberFormatException is thrown. If the getDateHeader method cannot translate the
header to a Date object, an IllegalArgumentException is thrown.
5.4 Request Path Elements
The request path that leads to a servlet servicing a request is composed of many important sections.
The following elements are obtained from the request URI path and exposed via the request object:
• Context Path: The path prefix associated with the ServletContext that this servlet is a part
of. If this context is the “default” context rooted at the base of the web server’s URL namespace,
this path will be an empty string. Otherwise, this path starts with a’/’ character but does not
end with a’/’ character.
• Servlet Path: The path section that directly corresponds to the mapping which activated this
request. This path starts with a’/’ character.
• PathInfo: The part of the request path that is not part of the Context Path or the Servlet Path.
The following methods exist in the HttpServletRequest interface to access this information:
• getContextPath
• getServletPath
• getPathInfo
It is important to note that, except for URL encoding differences between the request URI and the
path parts, the following equation is always true:
1. The Java Programming Language Specification is available at http://java.sun.com/docs/books/jls
The Request
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 29
requestURI = contextPath + servletPath + pathInfo
To give a few examples to clarify the above points, consider the following:
The following behavior is observed:
5.5 Path Translation Methods
There are two convenience methods in the HttpServletRequest interface which allow the
Developer to obtain the file system path equivalent to a particular path. These methods are:
• getRealPath
• getPathTranslated
The getRealPath method takes a String argument and returns a String representation of a
file on the local file system to which that path corresponds. The getPathTranslated method
computes the real path of the pathInfo of this request.
In situations where the servlet container cannot determine a valid file path for these methods, such
as when the web application is executed from an archive, on a remote file system not accessible
locally, or in a database, these methods must return null.
5.6 Cookies
The HttpServletRequest interface provides the getCookies method to obtain an array of
cookies that are present in the request. These cookies are data sent from the client to the server on
every request that the client makes. Typically, the only information that the client sends back as part
Table 1: Example Context Set Up
ContextPath /catalog
Servlet Mapping Pattern: /lawn
Servlet: LawnServlet
Servlet Mapping Pattern: /garden
Servlet: GardenServlet
Servlet Mapping Pattern: *.jsp
Servlet: JSPServlet
Table 2: Observed Path Element Behavior
Request Path Path Elements
/catalog/lawn/index.html ContextPath: /catalog
ServletPath: /lawn
PathInfo: /index.html
/catalog/garden/implements/ ContextPath: /catalog
ServletPath: /garden
PathInfo: /implements/
/catalog/help/feedback.jsp ContextPath: /catalog
ServletPath: /help/feedback.jsp
PathInfo: null
The Request
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 30
of a cookie is the cookie name and the cookie value. Other cookie attributes that can be set when
the cookie is sent to the browser, such as comments, are not typically returned.
5.7 SSL Attributes
If a request has been transmitted over a secure protocol, such as HTTPS, this information must be
exposed via the isSecure method of the ServletRequest interface.
In servlet containers that are running in a Java 2 Standard Edition, v 1.2 or Java 2 Enterprise
Edition, v 1.2 environment, if there is an SSL certificate associated with the request, it must be
exposed to the servlet programmer as an array of objects of type
java.security.cert.X509Certificate and accessible via a ServletRequest
attribute of javax.servlet.request.X509Certificate.
For a servlet container that is not running in a Java2 Standard Edition 1.2 environment, vendors
may provide vendor specific request attributes to access SSL certificate information.
5.8 Internationalization
Clients may optionally indicate to a web server what language they would prefer the response be
given in. This information can be communicated from the client using the Accept-Language
header along with other mechanisms described in the HTTP/1.1 specification. The following
methods are provided in the ServletRequest interface to determine the preferred locale of the
sender:
• getLocale
• getLocales
The getLocale method will return the preferred locale that the client will accept content in. See
section 14.4 of RFC 2616 (HTTP/1.1) for more information about how the Accept-Language
header must interpreted to determine the preferred language of the client.
The getLocales method will return an Enumeration of Locale objects indicating, in
decreasing order starting with the preferred locale, the locales that are acceptable to the client.
If no preferred locale is specified by the client, the locale returned by the getLocale method
must be the default locale for the servlet container and the getLocales method must contain an
enumeration of a single Locale element of the default locale.
The Response
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 31
6 The Response
The response object encapsulates all information to be returned from the server to the client. In the
HTTP protocol, this information is transmitted from the server to the client either by HTTP headers
or the message body of the request.
6.1 Buffering
In order to improve efficiency, a servlet container is allowed, but not required to by default, to
buffer output going to the client. The following methods are provided via the
ServletResponse interface to allow a servlet access to, and the setting of, buffering
information:
• getBufferSize
• setBufferSize
• isCommitted
• reset
• flushBuffer
These methods are provided on the ServletResponse interface to allow buffering operations to
be performed whether the servlet is using a ServletOutputStream or a Writer.
The getBufferSize method returns the size of the underlying buffer being used. If no buffering
is being used for this response, this method must return the int value of 0 (zero).
The servlet can request a preferred buffer size for the response by using the setBufferSize
method. The actual buffer assigned to this request is not required to be the same size as requested
by the servlet, but must be at least as large as the buffer size requested. This allows the container to
reuse a set of fixed size buffers, providing a larger buffer than requested if appropriate. This method
must be called before any content is written using a ServletOutputStream or Writer. If any
content has been written, this method must throw an IllegalStateException.
The isCommitted method returns a boolean value indicating whether or not any bytes from the
response have yet been returned to the client. The flushBuffer method forces any content in
the buffer to be written to the client.
The reset method clears any data that exists in the buffer as long as the response is not
considered to be committed. All headers and the status code set by the servlet previous to the reset
called must be cleared as well.
If the response is committed and the reset method is called, an IllegalStateException
must be thrown. In this case, the response and its associated buffer will be unchanged.
When buffering is in use is filled, the container must immediatly flush the contents of the buffer to
the client. If this is the first time for this request that data is sent to the client, the response is
considered to be committed at this point.
6.2 Headers
A servlet can set headers of an HTTP response via the following methods of the
HttpServletResponse interface:
• setHeader
The Response
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 32
• addHeader
The setHeader method sets a header with a given name and value. If a previous header exists, it
is replaced by the new header. In the case where a set of header values exist for the given name, all
values are cleared and replaced with the new value.
The addHeader method adds a header value to the set of headers with a given name. If there are
no headers already associated with the given name, this method will create a new set.
Headers may contain data that is better expressed as an int or a Date object. The following
convenience methods of the HttpServletResponse interface allow a servlet to set a header
using the correct formatting for the appropriate data type:
• setIntHeader
• setDateHeader
• addIntHeader
• addDateHeader
In order to be successfully transmitted back to the client, headers must be set before the response is
committed. Any headers set after the response is committed will be ignored by the servlet
container.
6.3 Convenience Methods
The following convenience methods exist in the HttpServletResponse interface:
• sendRedirect
• sendError
The sendRedirect method will set the appropriate headers and content body to redirect the
client to a different URL. It is legal to call this method with a relative URL path, however the
underlying container must translate the relative path to a fully qualified URL for transmission back
to the client. If a partial URL is given and, for whatever reason, cannot be converted into a valid
URL, then this method must throw an IllegalArgumentException.
The sendError method will set the appropriate headers and content body to return to the client.
An optional String argument can be provided to the sendError method which can be used in
the content body of the error.
These methods will have the side effect of committing the response, if it had not already been
committed, and terminating it. No further output to the client should be made by the servlet after
these methods are called. If data is written to the response after these methods are called, the data is
ignored.
If data has been written to the response buffer, but not returned to the client (i.e. the response is not
committed), the data in the response buffer must be cleared and replaced with the data set by these
methods. If the response is committed, these methods must throw an
IllegalStateException.
6.4 Internationalization
In response to a request by a client to obtain a document of a particular language, or perhaps due to
preference setting by a client, a servlet can set the language attributes of a response back to a client.
This information is communicated via the Content-Language header along with other
mechanisms described in the HTTP/1.1 specification. The language of a response can be set with
the setLocale method of the ServletResponse interface. This method must correctly set
the appropriate HTTP headers to accurately communicate the Locale to the client.
The Response
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 33
For maximum benefit, the setLocale method should be called by the Developer before the
getWriter method of the ServletResponse interface is called. This will ensure that the
returned PrintWriter is configured appropriately for the target Locale.
If the setContentType method is called after the setLocale method and there is a
charset component to the given content type, the charset specified in the content type
overrides the value set via the call to setLocale.
6.5 Closure of Response Object
A number of events can indicate that the servlet has provided all of the content to satisfy the request
and that the response object can be considered to be closed. The events are:
• The termination of the service method of the servlet.
• When the amount of content specified in the setContentLength method of the response has
been written to the response.
• The sendError method is called.
• The sendRedirect method is called.
When a response is closed, all content in the response buffer, if any remains, must be immediately
flushed to the client.
The Response
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 34
Sessions
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 35
7 Sessions
The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is by design a stateless protocol. To build effective web
applications, it is imperative that a series of different requests from a particular client can be
associated with each other. Many strategies for session tracking have evolved over time, but all are
difficult or troublesome for the programmer to use directly.
This specification defines a simple HttpSession interface that allows a servlet container to use
any number of approaches to track a user’s session without involving the Developer in the nuances
of any one approach.
7.1 Session Tracking Mechanisms
7.1.1 URL Rewriting
URL rewriting is the lowest common denominator of session tracking. In cases where a client will
not accept a cookie, URL rewriting may be used by the server to establish session tracking. URL
rewriting involves adding data to the URL path that can be interpreted by the container on the next
request to associate the request with a session.
The session id must be encoded as a path parameter in the resulting URL string. The name of the
parameter must be jsessionid. Here is an example of a URL containing encoded path
information:
http://www.myserver.com/catalog/index.html;jsessionid=1234
7.1.2 Cookies
Session tracking through HTTP cookies is the most used session tracking mechanism and is
required to be supported by all servlet containers. The container sends a cookie to the client. The
client will then return the cookie on each subsequent request to the server unambiguously
associating the request with a session. The name of the session tracking cookie must be
JSESSIONID.
7.1.3 SSL Sessions
Secure Sockets Layer, the encryption technology which is used in the HTTPS protocol, has a
mechanism built into it allowing multiple requests from a client to be unambiguously identified as
being part of an accepted session. A servlet container can easily use this data to serve as the
mechanism for defining a session.
7.2 Creating a Session
Because HTTP is a request-response based protocol, a session is considered to be new until a client
“joins” it. A client joins a session when session tracking information has been successfully returned
to the server indicating that a session has been established. Until the client joins a session, it cannot
be assumed that the next request from the client will be recognized as part of the session.
The session is considered to be “new” if either of the following is true:
• The client does not yet know about the session
Sessions
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 36
• The client chooses not to join a session. This implies that the servlet container has no mechanism
by which to associate a request with a previous request.
A Servlet Developer must design their application to handle a situation where a client has not, can
not, or will not join a session.
7.3 Session Scope
HttpSession objects must be scoped at the application / servlet context level. The underlying
mechanism, such as the cookie used to establish the session, can be shared between contexts, but
the object exposed, and more importantly the attributes in that object, must not be shared between
contexts.
7.4 Binding Attributes into a Session
A servlet can bind an object attribute into an HttpSession implementation by name. Any object
bound into a session is available to any other servlet that belongs to the same ServletContext
and that handles a request identified as being a part of the same session.
Some objects may require notification when they are placed into, or removed from, a session. This
information can be obtained by having the object implement the
HttpSessionBindingListener interface. This interface defines the following methods that
will signal an object being bound into, or being unbound from, a session.
• valueBound
• valueUnbound
The valueBound method must be called before the object is made available via the
getAttribute method of the HttpSession interface. The valueUnbound method must be
called after the object is no longer available via the getAttribute method of the
HttpSession interface.
7.5 Session Timeouts
In the HTTP protocol, there is no explicit termination signal when a client is no longer active. This
means that the only mechanism that can be used to indicate when a client is no longer active is a
timeout period.
The default timeout period for sessions is defined by the servlet container and can be obtained via
the getMaxInactiveInterval method of the HttpSession interface. This timeout can be
changed by the Developer using the setMaxInactiveInterval of the HttpSession
interface. The timeout periods used by these methods is defined in seconds. If the timeout period
for a session is set to -1, the session will never expire.
7.6 Last Accessed Times
The getLastAccessedTime method of the HttpSession interface allows a servlet to
determine the last time the session was accessed before the current request. The session is
considered to be accessed when a request that is part of the session is handled by the servlet
context.
Sessions
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 37
7.7 Important Session Semantics
7.7.1 Threading Issues
Multiple servlets executing request threads may have active access to a single session object at the
same time. The Developer has the responsibility to synchronize access to resources stored in the
session as appropriate.
7.7.2 Distributed Environments
Within an application that is marked as distributable, all requests that are part of a session can only
be handled on a single VM at any one time. In addition all objects placed into instances of the
HttpSession class using the setAttribute or putValue methods must implement the
Serializable interface. The servlet container may throw an
IllegalArgumentException if a non serializable object is placed into the session.
These restrictions mean that the Developer is ensured that there are no additional concurrency
issues beyond those encountered in a non-distributed container. In addition, the Container Provider
can ensure scalability by having the ability to move a session object, and its contents, from any
active node of the distributed system to a different node of the system.
7.7.3 Client Semantics
Due to the fact that cookies or SSL certificates are typically controlled by the web browser process
and are not associated with any particular window of a the browser, requests from all windows of a
client application to a servlet container might be part of the same session. For maximum portability,
the Developer should always assume that all windows of a client are participating in the same
session.
Sessions
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 38
Dispatching Requests
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 39
8 Dispatching Requests
When building a web application, it is often useful to forward processing of a request to another
servlet, or to include the output of another servlet in the response. The RequestDispatcher
interface provides a mechanism to accomplish this.
8.1 Obtaining a RequestDispatcher
An object implementing the RequestDispather interface may be obtained from the
ServletContext via the following methods:
• getRequestDispatcher
• getNamedDispatcher
The getRequestDispatcher method takes a String argument describing a path within the
scope of the ServletContext. This path must be relative to the root of the
ServletContext. This path is used to look up a servlet, wrap it with a
RequestDispatcher object, and return it. If no servlet can be resolved based on the given path,
a RequestDispatcher is provided that simply returns the content for that path.
The getNamedDispatcher method takes a String argument indicating the name of a servlet
known to the ServletContext. If a servlet is known to the ServletContext by the given
name, it is wrapped with a RequestDispatcher object and returned. If no servlet is associated
with the given name, the method must return null.
To allow RequestDispatcher objects to be obtained using relative paths, paths which are not
relative to the root of the ServletContext but instead are relative to the path of the current
request, the following method is provided in the ServletRequest interface:
• getRequestDispatcher
The behavior of this method is similar to the method of the same name in the ServletContext,
however it does not require a complete path within the context to be given as part of the argument to
operate. The servlet container can use the information in the request object to transform the given
relative path to a complete path. For example, in a context rooted at ’/’, a request to
/garden/tools.html, a request dispatcher obtained via
ServletRequest.getRequestDispatcher("header.html") will behave exactly like
a call to ServletContext.getRequestDispatcher("/garden/header.html").
8.1.1 Query Strings in Request Dispatcher Paths
In the ServletContext and ServletRequest methods which allow the creation of a
RequestDispatcher using path information, optional query string information may be
attached to the path. For example, a Developer may obtain a RequestDispatcher by using the
following code:
String path = “/raisons.jsp?orderno=5”;
RequestDispatcher rd = context.getRequestDispatcher(path);
rd.include(request, response);
The contents of the query string are added to the parameter set that the included servlet has access
to. The parameters are ordered so that any parameters specified in the query string used to create
Dispatching Requests
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 40
the RequestDispatcher take precedence. The parameters associated with a
RequestDispatcher are only scoped for the duration of the include or forward call.
8.2 Using a Request Dispatcher
To use a request dispatcher, a developer needs to call either the include or forward method of
the RequestDispatcher interface using the request and response arguments that were
passed in via the service method of the Servlet interface.
The Container Provider must ensure that the dispatch to a target servlet occurs in the same thread of
the same VM as the original request.
8.3 Include
The include method of the RequestDispatcher interface may be called at any time. The
target servlet has access to all aspects of the request object, but can only write information to the
ServletOutputStream or Writer of the response object as well as the ability to commit a
response by either writing content past the end of the response buffer or explicitly calling the
flush method of the ServletResponse interface. The included servlet cannot set headers or
call any method that affects the headers of the response. Any attempt to do so should be ignored.
8.3.1 Included Request Parameters
When a servlet is being used from within an include, it is sometimes necessary for that servlet to
know the path by which it was invoked and not the original request paths. The following request
attributes are set:
javax.servlet.include.request_uri
javax.servlet.include.context_path
javax.servlet.include.servlet_path
javax.servlet.include.path_info
javax.servlet.include.query_string
These attributes are accessible from the included servlet via the getAttribute method on the
request object.
If the included servlet was obtained by using a NamedDispatcher, these attributes are not set.
8.4 Forward
The forward method of the RequestDispatcher interface may only be called by the calling
servlet if no output has been committed to the client. If output exists in the response buffer that has
not been committed, it must be reset (clearing the buffer) before the target servlet’s service
method is called. If the response has been committed, an IllegalStateException must be
thrown.
The path elements of the request object exposed to the target servlet must reflect the path used to
obtain the RequestDispatcher. The only exception to this is if the RequestDispatcher
was obtained via the getNamedDispatcher method. In this case, the path elements of the
request object reflect those of the original request.
Before the forward method of the RequestDispatcher interface returns, the response must
be committed and closed by the servlet container.
Dispatching Requests
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 41
8.5 Error Handling
Only runtime exceptions and checked exceptions of type ServletException or
IOException should be propagated to the calling servlet if thrown by the target of a request
dispatcher. All other exceptions should be wrapped as a ServletException and the root cause
of the exception set to the original exception.
Dispatching Requests
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 42
Web Applications
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 43
9 Web Applications
A web application is a collection of servlets, html pages, classes, and other resources that can be
bundled and run on multiple containers from multiple vendors. A web application is rooted at a
specific path within a web server. For example, a catalog application could be located at http://
www.mycorp.com/catalog. All requests that start with this prefix will be routed to the
ServletContext which represents the catalog application.
A servlet container can also establish rules for automatic generation of web applications. For
example a ~user/ mapping could be used to map to a web application based at /home/user/
public_html/.
By default an instance of a web application must only be run on one VM at any one time. This
behavior can be overridden if the application is marked as “distributable” via its the deployment
descriptor. When an application is marked as distributable, the Developer must obey a more
restrictive set of rules than is expected of a normal web application. These specific rules are called
out throughout this specification.
9.1 Relationship to ServletContext
The servlet container must enforce a one to one correspondence between a web application and a
ServletContext. A ServletContext object can be viewed as a Servlet’s view onto its
application.
9.2 Elements of a Web Application
A web application may consist of the following items:
• Servlets
• JavaServer Pages1
• Utility Classes
• Static documents (html, images, sounds, etc.)
• Client side applets, beans, and classes
• Descriptive meta information which ties all of the above elements together.
9.3 Distinction Between Representations
This specification defines a hierarchical structure which can exist in an open file system, an archive
file, or some other form for deployment purposes. It is recommended, but not required, that servlet
containers support this structure as a runtime representation.
9.4 Directory Structure
A web application exists as a structured hierarchy of directories. The root of this hierarchy serves as
a document root for serving files that are part of this context. For example, for a web application
located at /catalog in a web server, the index.html file located at the base of the web
application hierarchy can be served to satisfy a request to /catalog/index.html.
1. See the JavaServer Pages specification available from http://java.sun.com/products/jsp.
Web Applications
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 44
A special directory exists within the application hierarchy named “WEB-INF”. This directory
contains all things related to the application that aren’t in the document root of the application. It is
important to note that the WEB-INF node is not part of the public document tree of the application.
No file contained in the WEB-INF directory may be served directly to a client.
The contents of the WEB-INF directory are:
• /WEB-INF/web.xml deployment descriptor
• /WEB-INF/classes/* directory for servlet and utility classes. The classes in this directory
are used by the application class loader to load classes from.
• /WEB-INF/lib/*.jar area for Java ARchive files which contain servlets, beans, and other
utility classes useful to the web application. All such archive files are used by the web
application class loader to load classes from.
9.4.1 Sample Web Application Directory Structure
Illustrated here is a listing of all the files in a sample web application:
/index.html
/howto.jsp
/feedback.jsp
/images/banner.gif
/images/jumping.gif
/WEB-INF/web.xml
/WEB-INF/lib/jspbean.jar
/WEB-INF/classes/com/mycorp/servlets/MyServlet.class
/WEB-INF/classes/com/mycorp/util/MyUtils.class
9.5 Web Application Archive File
Web applications can be packaged and signed, using the standard Java Archive tools, into a Web
ARchive format (war) file. For example, an application for issue tracking could be distributed in an
archive with the filename issuetrack.war.
When packaged into such a form, a META-INF directory will be present which contains
information useful to the Java Archive tools. If this directory is present, the servlet container must
not allow it be served as content to a web client’s request.
9.6 Web Application Configuration Descriptor
The following types of configuration and deployment information exist in the web application
deployment descriptor:
• ServletContext Init Parameters
• Session Configuration
• Servlet / JSP Definitions
• Servlet / JSP Mappings
• Mime Type Mappings
• Welcome File list
• Error Pages
• Security
All of these types of information are conveyed in the deployment descriptor (See section 13 titled
“Deployment Descriptor” on page 63).
Web Applications
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 45
9.7 Replacing a Web Application
Applications evolve and must occasionally be replaced. In a long running server it is ideal to be
able to load a new web application and shut down the old one without restarting the container.
When an application is replaced, a container should provide a robust approach to preserving session
data within that application.
9.8 Error Handling
A web application may specify that when errors occur, other resources in the application are used.
These resources are specified in the deployment descriptor (See section 13 titled “Deployment
Descriptor” on page 63). If the location of the error handler is a servlet or a JSP, the following
request attributes can be set:
• javax.servlet.error.status_code
• javax.servlet.error.exception_type
• javax.servlet.error.message
These attributes allow the servlet to generate specialized content depending on the status code,
exception type and message of the error.
9.9 Web Application Environment
Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition, v 1.2 defines a naming environment that allows applications to
easily access resources and external information without the explicit knowledge of how the external
information is named or organized.
As servlets are an integral component type of J2EE, provision has been made in the web application
deployment descriptor for specifying information allowing a servlet to obtain references to
resources and enterprise beans. The deployment elements that contain this information are:
• env-entry
• ejb-ref
• resource-ref
The env-entry element contains information to set up basic environment entry names relative to
the java:comp/env context, the expected Java type of the environment entry value (the type of
object returned from the JNDI lookup method), and an optional environment entry value. The
ejb-ref element contains the information needed to allow a servlet to locate the home interfaces
of a enterprise bean. The resource-ref element contains the information needed to set up a
resource factory.
The requirements of the J2EE environment with regards to setting up the environment are described
in Chapter 5 of the Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition v 1.2 specification1. Servlet containers that
are not part of a J2EE compliant implementation are encouraged, but not required, to implement the
application environment functionality described in the J2EE specification.
1. The J2EE specification is available at http://java.sun.com/j2ee
Web Applications
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 46
Mapping Requests to Servlets
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 47
10 Mapping Requests to Servlets
Previous versions of this specification have allowed servlet containers a great deal of flexibility in
mapping client requests to servlets only defining a set a suggested mapping techniques. This
specification now requires a set of mapping techniques to be used for web applications which are
deployed via the Web Application Deployment mechanism. Just as it is highly recommended that
servlet containers use the deployment representations as their runtime representation, it is highly
recommended that they use these path mapping rules in their servers for all purposes and not just as
part of deploying a web application.
10.1 Use of URL Paths
Servlet containers must use URL paths to map requests to servlets. The container uses the
RequestURI from the request, minus the Context Path, as the path to map to a servlet. The URL
path mapping rules are as follows (where the first match wins and no further rules are attempted):
1. The servlet container will try to match the exact path of the request to a servlet.
2. The container will then try to recursively match the longest path prefix mapping. This process
occurs by stepping down the path tree a directory at a time, using the ’/’ character as a path
separator, and determining if there is a match with a servlet.
3. If the last node of the url-path contains an extension (.jsp for example), the servlet container
will try to match a servlet that handles requests for the extension. An extension is defined as the
part of the path after the last ’.’ character.
4. If neither of the previous two rules result in a servlet match, the container will attempt to serve
content appropriate for the resource requested. If a "default" servlet is defined for the application,
it will be used in this case.
10.2 Specification of Mappings
In the web application deployment descriptor, the following syntax is used to define mappings:
• A string beginning with a ‘/’ character and ending with a ‘/*’ postfix is used as a path
mapping.
• A string beginning with a ‘*.’ prefix is used as an extension mapping.
• All other strings are used as exact matches only
• A string containing only the ’/’ character indicates that servlet specified by the mapping
becomes the "default" servlet of the application.
10.2.1 Implicit Mappings
If the container has an internal JSP container, the *.jsp extension is implicitly mapped to it so
that JSP pages may be executed on demand. If the web application defines a *.jsp mapping, its
mapping takes precedence over this implicit mapping.
A servlet container is allowed to make other implicit mappings as long as explicit mappings take
precedence. For example, an implicit mapping of *.shtml could be mapped by a container to a
server side include functionality.
Mapping Requests to Servlets
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 48
10.2.2 Example Mapping Set
Consider the following set of mappings:
The following behavior would result:
Note that in the case of /catalog/index.html and /catalog/racecar.bop, the servlet
mapped to “/catalog” is not used as it is not an exact match and the rule doesn’t include the ’*’
character.
Table 3: Example Set of Maps
path pattern servlet
/foo/bar/* servlet1
/baz/* servlet2
/catalog servlet3
*.bop servlet4
Table 4: Incoming Paths applied to Example Maps
incoming path servlet handling request
/foo/bar/index.html servlet1
/foo/bar/index.bop servlet1
/baz servlet2
/baz/index.html servlet2
/catalog servlet3
/catalog/index.html “default” servlet
/catalog/racecar.bop servlet4
/index.bop servlet4
Security
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 49
11 Security
Web applications are created by a Developer, who then gives, sells, or otherwise transfers the
application to the Deployer for installation into a runtime environment. It is useful for the
Developer to communicate attributes about how the security should be set up for a deployed
application.
As with the web application directory layout and deployment descriptor, the elements of this
section are only required as a deployment representation, not a runtime representation. However, it
is recommended that containers implement these elements as part of their runtime representation.
11.1 Introduction
A web application contains many resources that can be accessed by many users. Sensitive
information often traverses unprotected open networks, such as the Internet. In such an
environment, there is a substantial number web applications that have some level of security
requirements. Most servlet containers have the specific mechanisms and infrastructure to meet
these requirements. Although the quality assurances and implementation details may vary, all of
these mechanisms share some of the following characteristics:
• Authentication: The mechanism by which communicating entities prove to one another that
they are acting on behalf of specific identities.
• Access control for resources: The mechanism by which interactions with resources are limited
to collections of users or programs for the purpose of enforcing availability, integrity, or
confidentiality.
• Data Integrity: The mechanism used to prove that information could not have been modified by
a third party while in transit.
• Confidentiality or Data Privacy: The mechanism used to ensure that the information is only
made available to users who are authorized to access it and is not compromised during
transmission.
11.2 Declarative Security
Declarative security refers to the means of expressing an application’s security structure, including
roles, access control, and authentication requirements in a form external to the application. The
deployment descriptor is the primary vehicle for declarative security in web applications.
The Deployer maps the application’s logical security requirements to a representation of the
security policy that is specific to the runtime environment. At runtime, the servlet container uses the
security policy that was derived from the deployment descriptor and configured by the deployer to
enforce authentication.
11.3 Programmatic Security
Programmatic security is used by security aware applications when declarative security alone is not
sufficient to express the security model of the application. Programmatic security consists of the
following methods of the HttpServletRequest interface:
• getRemoteUser
• isUserInRole
Security
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 50
• getUserPrincipal
The getRemoteUser method returns the user name that the client authenticated with. The
isUserInRole queries the underlying security mechanism of the container to determine if a
particular user is in a given security role. The getUserPrinciple method returns a
java.security.Pricipal object.
These APIs allow servlets to make business logic decisions based on the logical role of the remote
user. They also allow the servlet to determine the principal name of the current user.
If getRemoteUser returns null (which means that no user has been authenticated), the
isUserInRole method will always return false and the getUserPrincipal will always
return null.
11.4 Roles
A role is an abstract logical grouping of users that is defined by the Application Developer or
Assembler. When the application is deployed, these roles are mapped by a Deployer to security
identities, such as principals or groups, in the runtime environment.
A servlet container enforces declarative or programmatic security for the principal associated with
an incoming request based on the security attributes of that calling principal. For example,
1. When a deployer has mapped a security role to a user group in the operational environment. The
user group to which the calling principal belongs is retrieved from its security attributes. If the
principal’s user group matches the user group in the operational environment that the security
role has been mapped to, the principal is in the security role.
2. When a deployer has mapped a security role to a principal name in a security policy domain, the
principal name of the calling principal is retrieved from its security attributes. If the principal is
the same as the principal to which the security role was mapped, the calling principal is in the
security role.
11.5 Authentication
A web client can authenticate a user to a web server using one of the following mechanisms:
• HTTP Basic Authentication
• HTTP Digest Authentication
• HTTPS Client Authentication
• Form Based Authentication
11.5.1 HTTP Basic Authentication
HTTP Basic Authentication is the authentication mechanism defined in the HTTP/1.1 specification.
This mechanism is based on a username and password. A web server requests a web client to
authenticate the user. As part of the request, the web server passes the string called the realm of the
request in which the user is to be authenticated. It is important to note that the realm string of the
Basic Authentication mechanism does not have to reflect any particular security policy domain
(which confusingly, can also be referred to as a realm). The web client obtains the username and the
password from the user an transmits them to the web server. The web server then authenticates the
user in the specified realm.
Basic Authentication is not a secure authentication protocol as the user password is transmitted
with a simple base64 encoding and the target server is not authenticated. However, additional
protection, such as applying a secure transport mechanism (HTTPS) or using security at the
network level (such as the IPSEC protocol or VPN strategies) can alleviate some of these concerns.
Security
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 51
11.5.2 HTTP Digest Authentication
Like HTTP Basic Authentication, HTTP Digest Authentication authenticates a user based on a
username and a password. However the authentication is performed by transmitting the password in
an encrypted form which is much more secure than the simple base64 encoding used by Basic
Authentication. This authentication method is not as secure as any private key scheme such as
HTTPS Client Authentication. As Digest Authentication is not currently in widespread use, servlet
containers are not required, but are encouraged, to support it.
11.5.3 Form Based Authentication
The look and feel of the “login screen” cannot be controlled with an HTTP browser’s built in
authentication mechanisms. Therefore this specification defines a form based authentication
mechanism which allows a Developer to control the look and feel of the login screens.
The web application deployment descriptor contains entries for a login form and error page to be
used with this mechanism. The login form must contain fields for the user to specify username and
password. These fields must be named ’j_username’ and ’j_password’, respectively.
When a user attempts to access a protected web resource, the container checks if the user has been
authenticated. If so, and dependent on the user’s authority to access the resource, the requested web
resource is activated and returned. If the user is not authenticated, all of the following steps occur:
1. The login form associated with the security constraint is returned to the client. The URL path
which triggered the authentication is stored by the container.
2. The client fills out the form, including the username and password fields.
3. The form is posted back to the server.
4. The container processes the form to authenticate the user. If authentication fails, the error page is
returned.
5. The authenticated principal is checked to see if it is in an authorized role for accessing the original
web request.
6. The client is redirected to the original resource using the original stored URL path.
If the user is not successfully authenticated, the error page is returned to the client. It is
recommended that the error page contains information that allows the user to determine that the
authorization failed.
Like Basic Authentication, this is not a secure authentication protocol as the user password is
transmitted as plain text and the target server is not authenticated. However, additional protection,
such as applying a secure transport mechanism (HTTPS) or using security at the network level
(IPSEC or VPN) can alleviate some of these concerns.
11.5.3.1 Login Form Notes
Form based login and URL based session tracking can be problematic to implement. It is strongly
recommended that form based login only be used when the session is being maintained by cookies
or by SSL session information.
In order for the authentication to proceed appropriately, the action of the login form must always be
“j_security_check”. This restriction is made so that the login form will always work no
matter what the resource is that requests it and avoids requiring that the server to process the
outbound form to correct the action field.
Here is an HTML sample showing how the form should be coded into the HTML page:
Security
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 52
<form method=”POST” action=”j_security_check”>
<input type=”text” name=”j_username”>
<input type=”password” name=”j_password”>
</form>
11.5.4 HTTPS Client Authentication
End user authentication using HTTPS (HTTP over SSL) is a strong authentication mechanism. This
mechanism requires the user to possess a Public Key Certificate (PKC). Currently, PKCs are useful
in e-commerce applications and also for single-signon from within the browser in an enterprise.
Servlet containers that are not J2EE compliant are not required to support the HTTPS protocol.
11.6 Server Tracking of Authentication Information
As the underlying security identities (such as users and groups) to which roles are mapped in a
runtime environment are environment specific rather than application specific, it is desirable to:
1. Make login mechanisms and policies a property of the environment the web application is
deployed in.
2. Be able to use the same authentication information to represent a principal to all applications
that are deployed in the same container.
3. Require the user to re-authenticate only when crossing a security policy domain.
Therefore, a servlet container is required to track authentication information at the container level
and not at the web application level allowing a user who is authenticated against one web
application to access any other resource managed by the container which is restricted to the same
security identity.
11.7 Specifying Security Constraints
Security constraints are a declarative way of annotating the intended protection of web content. A
constraint consists of the following elements:
• web resource collection
• authorization constraint
• user data constraint
A web resource collection is a set of URL patterns and HTTP methods that describe a set of
resources to be protected. All requests that contain a request path that matches the URL pattern
described in the web resource collection is subject to the constraint.
An authorization constraint is a set of roles that users must be a part of to access the resources
described by the web resource collection. If the user is not part of a allowed role, the user is denied
access to that resource.
A user data constraint indicates that the transport layer of the client server communication process
satisfy the requirement of either guaranteeing content integrity (preventing tampering in transit) or
guaranteeing confidentiality (preventing reading while in transit).
11.7.1 Default Policies
By default, authentication is not needed to access resources. Authentication is only needed for
requests in a specific web resource collection when specified by the deployment descriptor.
Application Programming Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 53
12 Application Programming Interface
This is a listing of the interfaces, classes, and exceptions that compose the Servlet API. For detailed
descriptions of these members and their methods, please see the Java Servlet API Reference, v2.2.
Items in bold face are new in this version of the specification.
12.1 Package javax.servlet
12.1.1 RequestDispatcher
public interface RequestDispatcher
public void forward(ServletRequest req, ServletResponse res);
public void include(ServletRequest req, ServletResponse res);
12.1.2 Servlet
public interface Servlet
public void init(ServletConfig config) throws ServletException;
public ServletConfig getServletConfig();
public void service(ServletRequest req, ServletResponse res)
throws IOException, ServletException;
public String getServletInfo();
Table 5: Servlet API Package Summary
Package javax.servlet Package javax.serlvet.http
RequestDispatcher HttpServletRequest
Servlet HttpServletResponse
ServletConfig HttpSession
ServletContext HttpSessionBindingListener
ServletRequest HttpSessionContext
ServletResponse Cookie
SingleThreadModel HttpServlet
GenericServlet HttpSessionBindingEvent
ServletInputStream HttpUtils
ServletOutputStream
ServletException
UnavailableException
Application Programming Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 54
public void destroy();
12.1.3 ServletConfig
public interface ServletConfig
public ServletContext getServletContext();
public String getInitParameter(String name);
public Enumeration getInitParameterNames();
public String getServletName();
12.1.4 ServletContext
public interface ServletContext
public String getMimeType(String filename);
public URL getResource(String path) throws MalformedURLException;
public InputStream getResourceAsStream(String path);
public RequestDispatcher getRequestDispatcher(String path);
public RequestDispatcher getNamedDispatcher(String name);
public String getRealPath(String path);
public ServletContext getContext(String uripath);
public String getServerInfo();
public String getInitParameter(String name);
public Enumeration getInitParameterNames();
public Object getAttribute(String name);
public Enumeration getAttributeNames();
public void setAttribute(String name, Object attribute);
public void removeAttribute(String name);
public int getMajorVersion();
public int getMinorVersion();
public void log(String message);
public void log(String message, Throwable cause);
// deprecated methods
public Servlet getServlet(String name) throws ServletException;
public Enumeration getServlets();
public Enumeration getServletNames();
public void log(Exception exception, String message);
12.1.5 ServletRequest
public interface ServletRequest
public Object getAttribute(String name);
public Object setAttribute(String name, Object attribute);
public Enumeration getAttributeNames();
public void removeAttribute(String name);
public Locale getLocale();
public Enumeration getLocales();
public String getCharacterEncoding();
public int getContentLength();
public String getContentType();
public ServletInputStream getInputStream() throws IOException;
Application Programming Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 55
public String getParameter(String name);
public String getParameterNames();
public String getParameterValues();
public String getProtocol();
public String getScheme();
public String getServerName();
public int getServerPort();
public BufferedReader getReader() throws IOException;
public String getRemoteAddr();
public String getRemoteHost();
public boolean isSecure();
public RequestDispatcher getRequestDispatcher(String path);
// deprecated methods
public String getRealPath();
12.1.6 ServletResponse
public interface ServletResponse
public String getCharacterEncoding();
public ServletOutputStream getOutputStream() throws IOException
public PrintWriter getWriter throws IOException
public void setContentLength(int length);
public void setContentType(String type);
public void setBufferSize(int size);
public int getBufferSize();
public void reset();
public boolean isCommitted();
public void flushBuffer() throws IOException;
public void setLocale(Locale locale);
public Locale getLocale();
12.1.7 SingleThreadModel
public interface SingleThreadModel
// no methods
12.1.8 GenericServlet
public abstract class GenericServlet implements Servlet
public GenericServlet();
public String getInitParameter();
public Enumeration getInitParameterNames();
public ServletConfig getServletConfig();
public ServletContext getServletContext();
public String getServletInfo();
public void init();
public void init(ServletConfig config) throws ServletException;
public void log(String message);
public void log(String message, Throwable cause);
Application Programming Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 56
public abstract void service(ServletRequest req,
ServletResponse res) throws ServletException, IOException.;
public void destroy();
12.1.9 ServletInputStream
public abstract class ServletInputStream extends InputStream
public ServletInputStream();
public int readLine(byte[] buffer, int offset, int length)
throws IOException;
12.1.10 ServletOutputStream
public abstract class ServletOutputStream extends OutputStream
public ServletOutputStream();
public void print(String s) throws IOException;
public void print(boolean b) throws IOException;
public void print(char c) throws IOException;
public void print(int i) throws IOException;
public void print(long l) throws IOException;
public void print(float f) throws IOException;
public void print(double d) throws IOException;
public void println() throws IOException;
public void println(String s) throws IOException;
public void println(boolean b) throwsIOException;
public void println(char c) throws IOException;
public void println(int i) throws IOException;
public void println(long l) throws IOException;
public void println(float f) throws IOException;
public void println(double d) throws IOException;
12.1.11 ServletException
public class ServletException extends Exception;
public ServletException();
public ServletException(String message);
public ServletException(String message, Throwable cause);
public ServletException(Throwable cause);
public Throwable getRootCause();
12.1.12 UnavailableException
public class UnavailableException extends ServletException
public UnavailableException(String message);
public UnavailableException(String message, int sec);
public int getUnavailableException();
public boolean isPermanent();
Application Programming Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 57
// newly deprecated methods
public UnavailableException(Servlet servlet, String message);
public UnavailableException(int sec, Servlet servlet, String msg);
public Servlet getServlet();
12.2 Package javax.servlet.http
interface HttpServletRequest
interface HttpServletResponse
interface HttpSession
interface HttpSessionBindingListener
interface HttpSessionContext
class Cookie
class HttpServlet
class HttpSessionBindingEvent
class HttpUtils
12.2.1 HttpServletRequest
public interface HttpServletRequest extends ServletRequest;
public String getAuthType();
public Cookie[] getCookies();
public long getDateHeader(String name);
public String getHeader(String name);
public Enumeration getHeaders(String name);
public Enumeration getHeaderNames();
public int getIntHeader(String name);
public String getMethod();
public String getContextPath();
public String getPathInfo();
public String getPathTranslated();
public String getQueryString();
public String getRemoteUser();
public boolean isUserInRole(String role);
public java.security.Principal getUserPrincipal();
public String getRequestedSessionId();
public boolean isRequestedSessionIdValid();
public boolean isRequestedSessionIdFromCookie();
public boolean isRequestedSessionIdFromURL();
public String getRequestURI();
public String getServletPath();
public HttpSession getSession();
public HttpSession getSession(boolean create);
// deprecated methods
public boolean isRequestSessionIdFromUrl();
Application Programming Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 58
12.2.2 HttpServletResponse
public interface HttpServletResponse extends ServletResponse
<<< STATUS CODES 416 AND 417 REPORTED MISSING>>>
public static final int SC_CONTINUE;
public static final int SC_SWITCHING_PROTOCOLS;
public static final int SC_OK;
public static final int SC_CREATED;
public static final int SC_ACCEPTED;
public static final int SC_NON_AUTHORITATIVE_INFORMATION;
public static final int SC_NO_CONTENT;
public static final int SC_RESET_CONTENT;
public static final int SC_PARTIAL_CONTENT;
public static final int SC_MULTIPLE_CHOICES;
public static final int SC_MOVED_PERMANENTLY;
public static final int SC_MOVED_TEMPORARILY;
public static final int SC_SEE_OTHER;
public static final int SC_NOT_MODIFIED;
public static final int SC_USE_PROXY;
public static final int SC_BAD_REQUEST;
public static final int SC_UNAUTHORIZED;
public static final int SC_PAYMENT_REQUIRED;
public static final int SC_FORBIDDEN;
public static final int SC_NOT_FOUND;
public static final int SC_METH0D_NOT_ALLOWED;
public static final int SC_NOT_ACCEPTABLE;
public static final int SC_PROXY_AUTHENTICATION_REQUIRED;
public static final int SC_REQUEST_TIMEOUT;
public static final int SC_CONFLICT;
public static final int SC_GONE;
public static final int SC_LENGTH_REQUIRED;
public static final int SC_PRECONDITION_FAILED;
public static final int SC_REQUEST_ENTITY_TOO_LARGE;
public static final int SC_REQUEST_URI_TOO_LONG;
public static final int SC_UNSUPPORTED_MEDIA_TYPE;
public static final int SC_REQUESTED_RANGE_NOT_SATISFIABLE;
public static final int SC_EXPECTATION_FAILED;
public static final int SC_INTERNAL_SERVER_ERROR;
public static final int SC_NOT_IMPLEMENTED;
public static final int SC_BAD_GATEWAY;
public static final int SC_SERVICE_UNAVAILABLE;
public static final int SC_GATEWAY_TIMEOUT;
public static final int SC_VERSION_NOT_SUPPORTED;
public void addCookie(Cookie cookie);
public boolean containsHeader(String name);
public String encodeURL(String url);
public String encodeRedirectURL(String url);
public void sendError(int status) throws IOException;
public void sendError(int status, String message)
throws IOException;
public void sendRedirect(String location) throws IOException;
Application Programming Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 59
public void setDateHeader(String headername, long date);
public void setHeader(String headername, String value);
public void addHeader(String headername, String value);
public void addDateHeader(String headername, long date);
public void addIntHeader(String headername, int value);
public void setIntHeader(String headername, int value);
public void setStatus(int statuscode);
// deprecated methods
public void setStatus(int statuscode, String message);
public String encodeUrl(String url);
public String encodeRedirectUrl(String url);
12.2.3 HttpSession
public interface HttpSession
public long getCreationTime();
public String getId();
public long getLastAccessedTime();
public boolean isNew();
public int getMaxInactiveInterval();
public void setMaxInactiveInterval(int interval);
public Object getAttribute(String name);
public Enumeration getAttributeNames();
public void setAttribute(String name, Object attribute);
public void removeAttribute(String name);
public void invalidate();
// deprecated methods
public Object getValue(String name);
public String[] getValueNames();
public void putValue(String name, Object value);
public void removeValue(String name);
public HttpSessionContext getSessionContext();
12.2.4 HttpSessionBindingListener
public interface HttpSessionBindingListener extends EventListener
public void valueBound(HttpSessionBindingEvent event);
public void valueUnbound(HttpSessionBindingEvent event);
12.2.5 HttpSessionContext
// deprecated
public abstract interface HttpSessionContext
// deprecated methods
public void Enumeration getIds();
public HttpSession getSession(String id);
Application Programming Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 60
12.2.6 Cookie
public class Cookie implements Cloneable
public Cookie(String name, String value);
public void setComment(String comment);
public String getComment();
public void setDomain(String domain);
public String getDomain();
public void setMaxAge(int expiry);
public int getMaxAge();
public void setPath(String uriPath);
public String getPath();
public void setSecure();
public boolean getSecure();
public String getName();
public void setValue(String value);
public String getValue();
public int getVersion();
public void setVersion(int version);
public Object clone();
12.2.7 HttpServlet
public abstract class HttpServlet extends GenericServlet
implements Serializable
public HttpServlet();
protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest req,
HttpServletResponse res) throws ServletException, IOException;
protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest req,
HttpServletResponse res) throws ServletException, IOException;
protected void doPut(HttpServletRequest req,
HttpServletResponse res) throws ServletException, IOException;
protected void doDelete(HttpServletRequest req,
HttpServletResponse res) throws ServletException, IOException;
protected void doOptions(HttpServletRequest req,
HttpServletResponse res) throws ServletException, IOException;
protected void doTrace(HttpServletRequest req,
HttpServletResponse res) throws ServletException, IOException;
protected void service(HttpServletRequest req,
HttpServletResponse res) throws ServletException, IOException;
public void service(ServletRequest req, ServletResponse res)
throws ServletException, IOException;
protected long getLastModifed(HttpServletRequest req);
12.2.8 HttpSessionBindingEvent
public class HttpSessionBindingEvent extends EventObject
public HttpSessionBindingEvent(HttpSession session, String name);
public String getName();
Application Programming Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 61
public HttpSession getSession();
12.2.9 HttpUtils
public class HttpUtils
public HttpUtils();
public static Hashtable parseQueryString(String queryString);
public static Hashtable parsePostData(int length,
ServletInputStream in);
public static StringBuffer getRequestURL(HttpServletRequest req);
Application Programming Interface
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 62
Deployment Descriptor
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 63
13 Deployment Descriptor
The Deployment Descriptor conveys the elements and configuration information of a web
application between Developers, Assemblers, and Deployers.
13.1 Deployment Descriptor Elements
The following types of configuration and deployment information exist in the web application
deployment descriptor:
• ServletContext Init Parameters
• Session Configuration
• Servlet / JSP Definitions
• Servlet / JSP Mappings
• Mime Type Mappings
• Welcome File list
• Error Pages
• Security
See the DTD comments for further description of these elements.
13.1.1 Deployment Descriptor DOCTYPE
All valid web application deployment descriptors must contain the following DOCTYPE
declaration:
<!DOCTYPE web-app PUBLIC "-//Sun Microsystems, Inc.//DTD Web Application
2.2//EN" "http://java.sun.com/j2ee/dtds/web-app_2_2.dtd">
13.2 DTD
The DTD that follows defines the XML grammar for a web application deployment descriptor.
<!--
The web-app element is the root of the deployment descriptor for
a web application
-->
<!ELEMENT web-app (icon?, display-name?, description?, distributable?,
context-param*, servlet*, servlet-mapping*, session-config?,
mime-mapping*, welcome-file-list?, error-page*, taglib*,
resource-ref*, security-constraint*, login-config?, security-role*,
env-entry*, ejb-ref*)>
<!--
The icon element contains a small-icon and a large-icon element
which specify the location within the web application for a small and
large image used to represent the web application in a GUI tool. At a
minimum, tools must accept GIF and JPEG format images.
-->
<!ELEMENT icon (small-icon?, large-icon?)>
Deployment Descriptor
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 64
<!--
The small-icon element contains the location within the web
application of a file containing a small (16x16 pixel) icon image.
-->
<!ELEMENT small-icon (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The large-icon element contains the location within the web
application of a file containing a large (32x32 pixel) icon image.
-->
<!ELEMENT large-icon (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The display-name element contains a short name that is intended
to be displayed by GUI tools
-->
<!ELEMENT display-name (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The description element is used to provide descriptive text about
the parent element.
-->
<!ELEMENT description (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The distributable element, by its presence in a web application
deployment descriptor, indicates that this web application is
programmed appropriately to be deployed into a distributed servlet
container
-->
<!ELEMENT distributable EMPTY>
<!--
The context-param element contains the declaration of a web
application’s servlet context initialization parameters.
-->
<!ELEMENT context-param (param-name, param-value, description?)>
<!--
The param-name element contains the name of a parameter.
-->
<!ELEMENT param-name (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The param-value element contains the value of a parameter.
-->
<!ELEMENT param-value (#PCDATA)>
Deployment Descriptor
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 65
<!--
The servlet element contains the declarative data of a
servlet. If a jsp-file is specified and the load-on-startup element is
present, then the JSP should be precompiled and loaded.
-->
<!ELEMENT servlet (icon?, servlet-name, display-name?, description?,
(servlet-class|jsp-file), init-param*, load-on-startup?, security-roleref*)>
<!--
The servlet-name element contains the canonical name of the
servlet.
-->
<!ELEMENT servlet-name (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The servlet-class element contains the fully qualified class name
of the servlet.
-->
<!ELEMENT servlet-class (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The jsp-file element contains the full path to a JSP file within
the web application.
-->
<!ELEMENT jsp-file (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The init-param element contains a name/value pair as an
initialization param of the servlet
-->
<!ELEMENT init-param (param-name, param-value, description?)>
<!--
The load-on-startup element indicates that this servlet should be
loaded on the startup of the web application. The optional contents of
these element must be a positive integer indicating the order in which
the servlet should be loaded. Lower integers are loaded before higher
integers. If no value is specified, or if the value specified is not a
positive integer, the container is free to load it at any time in the
startup sequence.
-->
<!ELEMENT load-on-startup (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The servlet-mapping element defines a mapping between a servlet
and a url pattern
-->
<!ELEMENT servlet-mapping (servlet-name, url-pattern)>
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Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 66
<!--
The url-pattern element contains the url pattern of the
mapping. Must follow the rules specified in Section 10 of the Servlet
API Specification.
-->
<!ELEMENT url-pattern (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The session-config element defines the session parameters for
this web application.
-->
<!ELEMENT session-config (session-timeout?)>
<!--
The session-timeout element defines the default session timeout
interval for all sessions created in this web application. The
specified timeout must be expressed in a whole number of minutes.
-->
<!ELEMENT session-timeout (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The mime-mapping element defines a mapping between an extension
and a mime type.
-->
<!ELEMENT mime-mapping (extension, mime-type)>
<!--
The extension element contains a string describing an
extension. example: "txt"
-->
<!ELEMENT extension (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The mime-type element contains a defined mime type. example:
"text/plain"
-->
<!ELEMENT mime-type (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The welcome-file-list contains an ordered list of welcome files
elements.
-->
<!ELEMENT welcome-file-list (welcome-file+)>
<!--
The welcome-file element contains file name to use as a default
welcome file, such as index.html
-->
<!ELEMENT welcome-file (#PCDATA)>
Deployment Descriptor
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 67
<!--
The taglib element is used to describe a JSP tag library.
-->
<!ELEMENT taglib (taglib-uri, taglib-location)>
<!--
The taglib-uri element describes a URI, relative to the location
of the web.xml document, identifying a Tag Library used in the Web
Application.
-->
<!ELEMENT taglib-uri (#PCDATA)>
<!--
the taglib-location element contains the location (as a resource
relative to the root of the web application) where to find the Tag
Libary Description file for the tag library.
-->
<!ELEMENT taglib-location (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The error-page element contains a mapping between an error code
or exception type to the path of a resource in the web application
-->
<!ELEMENT error-page ((error-code | exception-type), location)>
<!--
The error-code contains an HTTP error code, ex: 404
-->
<!ELEMENT error-code (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The exception type contains a fully qualified class name of a
Java exception type.
-->
<!ELEMENT exception-type (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The location element contains the location of the resource in the
web application
-->
<!ELEMENT location (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The resource-ref element contains a declaration of a Web
Application’s reference to an external resource.
-->
<!ELEMENT resource-ref (description?, res-ref-name, res-type, res-auth)>
Deployment Descriptor
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 68
<!--
The res-ref-name element specifies the name of the resource
factory reference name.
-->
<!ELEMENT res-ref-name (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The res-type element specifies the (Java class) type of the data
source.
-->
<!ELEMENT res-type (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The res-auth element indicates whether the application component
code performs resource signon programmatically or whether the
container signs onto the resource based on the principle mapping
information supplied by the deployer. Must be CONTAINER or SERVLET
-->
<!ELEMENT res-auth (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The security-constraint element is used to associate security
constraints with one or more web resource collections
-->
<!ELEMENT security-constraint (web-resource-collection+,
auth-constraint?, user-data-constraint?)>
<!--
The web-resource-collection element is used to identify a subset
of the resources and HTTP methods on those resources within a web
application to which a security constraint applies. If no HTTP methods
are specified, then the security constraint applies to all HTTP
methods.
-->
<!ELEMENT web-resource-collection (web-resource-name, description?,
url-pattern*, http-method*)>
<!--
The web-resource-name contains the name of this web resource
collection
-->
<!ELEMENT web-resource-name (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The http-method contains an HTTP method (GET | POST |...)
-->
<!ELEMENT http-method (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The user-data-constraint element is used to indicate how data
Deployment Descriptor
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 69
communicated between the client and container should be protected
-->
<!ELEMENT user-data-constraint (description?, transport-guarantee)>
<!--
The transport-guarantee element specifies that the communication
between client and server should be NONE, INTEGRAL, or
CONFIDENTIAL. NONE means that the application does not require any
transport guarantees. A value of INTEGRAL means that the application
requires that the data sent between the client and server be sent in
such a way that it can’t be changed in transit. CONFIDENTIAL means
that the application requires that the data be transmitted in a
fashion that prevents other entities from observing the contents of
the transmission. In most cases, the presence of the INTEGRAL or
CONFIDENTIAL flag will indicate that the use of SSL is required.
-->
<!ELEMENT transport-guarantee (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The auth-constraint element indicates the user roles that should
be permitted access to this resource collection. The role used here
must appear in a security-role-ref element.
-->
<!ELEMENT auth-constraint (description?, role-name*)>
<!--
The role-name element contains the name of a security role.
-->
<!ELEMENT role-name (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The login-config element is used to configure the authentication
method that should be used, the realm name that should be used for
this application, and the attributes that are needed by the form login
mechanism.
-->
<!ELEMENT login-config (auth-method?, realm-name?, form-login-config?)>
<!--
The realm name element specifies the realm name to use in HTTP
Basic authorization
-->
<!ELEMENT realm-name (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The form-login-config element specifies the login and error pages
that should be used in form based login. If form based authentication
is not used, these elements are ignored.
-->
<!ELEMENT form-login-config (form-login-page, form-error-page)>
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Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 70
<!--
The form-login-page element defines the location in the web app
where the page that can be used for login can be found
-->
<!ELEMENT form-login-page (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The form-error-page element defines the location in the web app
where the error page that is displayed when login is not successful
can be found
-->
<!ELEMENT form-error-page (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The auth-method element is used to configure the authentication
mechanism for the web application. As a prerequisite to gaining access
to any web resources which are protected by an authorization
constraint, a user must have authenticated using the configured
mechanism. Legal values for this element are "BASIC", "DIGEST",
"FORM", or "CLIENT-CERT".
-->
<!ELEMENT auth-method (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The security-role element contains the declaration of a security
role which is used in the security-constraints placed on the web
application.
-->
<!ELEMENT security-role (description?, role-name)>
<!--
The role-name element contains the name of a role. This element
must contain a non-empty string.
-->
<!ELEMENT security-role-ref (description?, role-name, role-link)>
<!--
The role-link element is used to link a security role reference
to a defined security role. The role-link element must contain the
name of one of the security roles defined in the security-role
elements.
-->
<!ELEMENT role-link (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The env-entry element contains the declaration of an
application’s environment entry. This element is required to be
honored on in J2EE compliant servlet containers.
-->
Deployment Descriptor
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 71
<!ELEMENT env-entry (description?, env-entry-name, env-entry-value?,
env-entry-type)>
<!--
The env-entry-name contains the name of an application’s
environment entry
-->
<!ELEMENT env-entry-name (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The env-entry-value element contains the value of an
application’s environment entry
-->
<!ELEMENT env-entry-value (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The env-entry-type element contains the fully qualified Java type
of the environment entry value that is expected by the application
code. The following are the legal values of env-entry-type:
java.lang.Boolean, java.lang.String, java.lang.Integer,
java.lang.Double, java.lang.Float.
-->
<!ELEMENT env-entry-type (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The ejb-ref element is used to declare a reference to an
enterprise bean.
-->
<!ELEMENT ejb-ref (description?, ejb-ref-name, ejb-ref-type, home,
remote,
ejb-link?)>
<!--
The ejb-ref-name element contains the name of an EJB
reference. This is the JNDI name that the servlet code uses to get a
reference to the enterprise bean.
-->
<!ELEMENT ejb-ref-name (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The ejb-ref-type element contains the expected java class type of
the referenced EJB.
-->
<!ELEMENT ejb-ref-type (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The ejb-home element contains the fully qualified name of the
EJB’s home interface
-->
<!ELEMENT home (#PCDATA)>
Deployment Descriptor
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 72
<!--
The ejb-remote element contains the fully qualified name of the
EJB’s remote interface
-->
<!ELEMENT remote (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The ejb-link element is used in the ejb-ref element to specify
that an EJB reference is linked to an EJB in an encompassing Java2
Enterprise Edition (J2EE) application package. The value of the
ejb-link element must be the ejb-name of and EJB in the J2EE
application package.
-->
<!ELEMENT ejb-link (#PCDATA)>
<!--
The ID mechanism is to allow tools to easily make tool-specific
references to the elements of the deployment descriptor. This allows
tools that produce additional deployment information (i.e information
beyond the standard deployment descriptor information) to store the
non-standard information in a separate file, and easily refer from
these tools-specific files to the information in the standard web-app
deployment descriptor.
-->
<!ATTLIST web-app id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST icon id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST small-icon id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST large-icon id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST display-name id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST description id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST distributable id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST context-param id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST param-name id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST param-value id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST servlet id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST servlet-name id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST servlet-class id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST jsp-file id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST init-param id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST load-on-startup id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST servlet-mapping id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST url-pattern id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST session-config id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST session-timeout id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST mime-mapping id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST extension id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST mime-type id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST welcome-file-list id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST welcome-file id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST taglib id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST taglib-uri id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST taglib-location id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST error-page id ID #IMPLIED>
Deployment Descriptor
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 73
<!ATTLIST error-code id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST exception-type id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST location id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST resource-ref id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST res-ref-name id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST res-type id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST res-auth id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST security-constraint id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST web-resource-collection id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST web-resource-name id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST http-method id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST user-data-constraint id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST transport-guarantee id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST auth-constraint id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST role-name id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST login-config id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST realm-name id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST form-login-config id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST form-login-page id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST form-error-page id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST auth-method id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST security-role id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST security-role-ref id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST role-link id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST env-entry id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST env-entry-name id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST env-entry-value id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST env-entry-type id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST ejb-ref id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST ejb-ref-name id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST ejb-ref-type id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST home id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST remote id ID #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST ejb-link id ID #IMPLIED>
13.3 Examples
The following examples illustrate the usage of the definitions listed above DTD.
13.3.1 A Basic Example
<!DOCTYPE web-app PUBLIC "-//Sun Microsystems, Inc.//DTD Web Application
2.2//EN" "http://java.sun.com/j2ee/dtds/web-app_2_2.dtd">
<web-app>
<display-name>A Simple Application</display-name>
<context-param>
<param-name>Webmaster</param-name>
<param-value>webmaster@mycorp.com</param-value>
</context-param>
<servlet>
<servlet-name>catalog</servlet-name>
<servlet-class>com.mycorp.CatalogServlet</servlet-class>
<init-param>
<param-name>catalog</param-name>
<param-value>Spring</param-value>
Deployment Descriptor
Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 74
</init-param>
</servlet>
<servlet-mapping>
<servlet-name>catalog</servlet-name>
<url-pattern>/catalog/*</url-pattern>
</servlet-mapping>
<session-config>
<session-timeout>30</session-timeout>
</session-config>
<mime-mapping>
<extension>pdf</extension>
<mime-type>application/pdf</mime-type>
</mime-mapping>
<welcome-file-list>
<welcome-file>index.jsp</welcome-file>
<welcome-file>index.html</welcome-file>
<welcome-file>index.htm</welcome-file>
<welcome-file-list>
<error-page>
<error-code>404</error-code>
<location>/404.html</location>
</error-page>
</web-app>
13.3.2 An Example of Security
<!DOCTYPE web-app PUBLIC "-//Sun Microsystems, Inc.//DTD Web
Application 2.2//EN" "http://java.sun.com/j2ee/dtds/web-app_2_2.dtd">
<web-app>
<display-name>A Secure Application</display-name>
<security-role>
<role-name>manager</role-name>
</security-role>
<servlet>
<servlet-name>catalog</servlet-name>
<servlet-class>com.mycorp.CatalogServlet</servlet-class>
<init-param>
<param-name>catalog</param-name>
<param-value>Spring</param-value>
</init-param>
<security-role-ref>
<role-name>MGR</role-name> <!-- role name used in code -->
<role-link>manager</role-link>
</security-role-ref>
</servlet>
<servlet-mapping>
<servlet-name>catalog</servlet-name>
<url-pattern>/catalog/*</url-pattern>
</servlet-mapping>
<security-constraint>
<web-resource-collection>
<web-resource-name>SalesInfo</web-resource-name>
<url-pattern>/salesinfo/*</url-pattern>
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Java™ Servlet Specification Version 2.2 75
<http-method>GET</http-method>
<http-method>POST</http-method>
<user-data-constraint>
<transport-guarantee>CONFIDENTIAL</transport-guarantee>
</user-data-constraint>
<auth-constraint>
<role-name>manager</role-name>
</auth-constraint>
</web-resource-collection>
</security-constraint>
</web-app>
Deployment Descriptor
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