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The Java EE 7 Tutorial: Getting Started with Web Applications

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This chapter introduces web applications, which typically use JavaServer Faces technology and/or Java Servlet technology.
This chapter is from the book

A web application is a dynamic extension of a web or application server. Web applications are of the following types:

  • Presentation-oriented: A presentation-oriented web application generates interactive web pages containing various types of markup language (HTML, XHTML, XML, and so on) and dynamic content in response to requests. Development of presentation-oriented web applications is covered in Chapter 7, “JavaServer Faces Technology,” through Chapter 20, “Internationalizing and Localizing Web Applications.”
  • Service-oriented: A service-oriented web application implements the endpoint of a web service. Presentation-oriented applications are often clients of service-oriented web applications. Development of service-oriented web applications is covered in Chapter 28, “Building Web Services with JAX-WS,” through Chapter 31, “JAX-RS: Advanced Topics and an Example,” in Part VI, “Web Services.”

The following topics are addressed here:

  • Web Applications
  • Web Application Lifecycle
  • A Web Module That Uses JavaServer Faces Technology: The hello1 Example
  • A Web Module That Uses Java Servlet Technology: The hello2 Example
  • Configuring Web Applications
  • Further Information about Web Applications

6.1 Web Applications

In the Java EE platform, web components provide the dynamic extension capabilities for a web server. Web components can be Java servlets, web pages implemented with JavaServer Faces technology, web service endpoints, or JSP pages. Figure 6–1 illustrates the interaction between a web client and a web application that uses a servlet. The client sends an HTTP request to the web server. A web server that implements Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages technology converts the request into an HTTPServletRequest object. This object is delivered to a web component, which can interact with JavaBeans components or a database to generate dynamic content. The web component can then generate an HTTPServletResponse or can pass the request to another web component. A web component eventually generates a HTTPServletResponse object. The web server converts this object to an HTTP response and returns it to the client.

Figure 6–1

Figure 6–1 Java Web Application Request Handling

Servlets are Java programming language classes that dynamically process requests and construct responses. Java technologies, such as JavaServer Faces and Facelets, are used for building interactive web applications. (Frameworks can also be used for this purpose.) Although servlets and JavaServer Faces and Facelets pages can be used to accomplish similar things, each has its own strengths. Servlets are best suited for service-oriented applications (web service endpoints can be implemented as servlets) and the control functions of a presentation-oriented application, such as dispatching requests and handling nontextual data. JavaServer Faces and Facelets pages are more appropriate for generating text-based markup, such as XHTML, and are generally used for presentation-oriented applications.

Web components are supported by the services of a runtime platform called a web container. A web container provides such services as request dispatching, security, concurrency, and lifecycle management. A web container also gives web components access to such APIs as naming, transactions, and email.

Certain aspects of web application behavior can be configured when the application is installed, or deployed, to the web container. The configuration information can be specified using Java EE annotations or can be maintained in a text file in XML format called a web application deployment descriptor (DD). A web application DD must conform to the schema described in the Java Servlet specification.

This chapter gives a brief overview of the activities involved in developing web applications. First, it summarizes the web application lifecycle and explains how to package and deploy very simple web applications on GlassFish Server. The chapter then moves on to configuring web applications and discusses how to specify the most commonly used configuration parameters.

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