When used out of the box to run Web applications, Tomcat can serve HTML pages without any additional configuration. This works because Tomcat has been preconfigured with an HTTP Connector that can handle requests from a user's Web browser. Because of this Connector, Tomcat can function as a standalone Web server. It can serve static HTML pages, as well as handle servlets and JSP pages.
Tomcat Connectors provide the external interface (over HTTP or HTTPS) to Tomcat clients. There are two kinds of Connectors — those that implement an HTTP stack of their own (called HTTP Connectors) and those that tie Tomcat to an external Web server such as Apache or IIS (called Web server Connectors). This chapter examines in detail the configuration of the various HTTP Connectors available in Tomcat 6. Chapters 11 and 12 discuss Web server Connectors.
The Java-based HTTP/1.1 Connector is the default Connector configured for Tomcat 6. It is an evolved version of the Java-based HTTP/1.0 and HTTP/1.1 Connectors appearing earlier in Tomcat 5.x.x versions. An earlier version of this mature Java-based connector is called the Coyote Connector, and has been available as an add-on from as far back as Tomcat 3.x.
In addition to the default configured Java-based HTTP Connector, Tomcat 6 provides a variety of alternative HTTP Connectors. A Java HTTP Connector written to take advantage of the high performance IO features of the Java 5 NIO library is available. In addition, a native version ...