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MySQL Cookbook by Paul DuBois

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Web Application Structure

Each web application corresponds to a single servlet context and exists as a collection of resources. Some of these resources are visible to clients, while others are not. For example, an application’s JSP pages may be available to clients, but the configuration, property, or class files that are used by the JSP pages can be hidden. The location of components within the application hierarchy determines whether or not clients can see them. This allows you to make resources public or private depending on where you put them.

Java Servlet Specification 2.3 defines the standard for web application layout. This helps application developers by providing conventions that indicate where to put what, along with rules that define which parts of the application the container will make available to clients and which parts are hidden.

Each web application corresponds to a single servlet context. In Tomcat, these are represented by directories under the webapps directory that serves as the “parent” of all web applications. Within an application directory, you’ll find a WEB-INF subdirectory, and usually other files such as HTML pages, JSP pages, or image files. The files that are located in the application’s top-level directory are public and may be requested by clients. The WEB-INF directory has special significance. Its mere presence signifies to Tomcat that its parent directory actually represents an application. WEB-INF is thus the only required component of a web ...

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