Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Eclipse: Sysdeo Tomcat Launcher

I have found myself in the position to work on a lot of J2EE based web solutions as of late. While not necessarily the area that I like to work in, it is paying the bills. So to continue with my Eclipse focused articles leading up to EclipseCon, I wanted to look at the Sysdeo Apache Tomcat launcher.

I like the Eclipse J2EE tools a lot. In fact, outside of BIRT, WTP is probably one of my more used toolsets in the Eclipse environment. There are just times where it is “overkill”. Also, every now and again I run into library loading issues when launching an app in Eclipse for a web environment where Sysdeo works around that. Sometimes you don’t want a huge Eclipse environment, so a small, 3rd part plug-in fits the bill nicely, and this is where Sysdeo comes into play..



Extract to Eclipse Plugins folder

That’s it, your installed and ready to rock and roll. There are additional steps involved with getting the DevLoader classes installed, but I never use those.

When done, you will see a set of icons for starting, stopping, and restarting Tomcat from within Eclipse.

Now, I need to set up my Tomcat location. I go to Window/Preferences

In the dialog, I go to the Tomcat section, and choose the options to locate Tomcat and the version I am using.

Next, I go to the JVM settings option and set up the Java Virtual Machine.

Now, it is ready for use.


In the following example, I am going to import a web project I use as a baseline. The app consists of several JSP pages, and some core libraries. I will skip the steps of importing the actual application since they don’t apply, I will just jump into the configuration of the project for Tomcat.

The first thing I want to do is right-mouse click on my project, and go to properties. Under the property dialog, I want to go to the Tomcat section, and check the option that this is a Tomcat project. I also want to set up the context I will use.

When I hit OK, a new menu will appear for my project when I right-mouse click on it in the Project Explorer. From this menu, I want to choose to add the Tomcat Libraries to my project.

I also will choose the Update context definition to add this project to Tomcat. I do hit one other snag at this point before I can actually run my project. I need to manually copy my Java libraries and compiled class files to the Tomcat folder physically. I copy all the class structures under my BIN folder to /Shared/classes and all the JAR files to /Shared/lib. That takes care of it, now I can start Tomcat and work with my app.

I typically use Sysdeo for simple web apps, JSP based solutions, or solutions with simple classes. Anything more and I will fall back to using WTP.

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