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Using Tomcat Ant tasks

I’m now really loving Ant for compiling my Java projects together. It really has solved the problem of figuring out what to update, or going through countless commands to compile each package etc.

You could be wondering why I don’t just use a fancy IDE, like Eclipse to do all this for me? Well… I’ve tried. But… I just can’t ’like’ Eclipse. I admit, I was very impressed with it - tons of functionallity, but in the end, I just couldn’t give up using the beautiful TextMate. Eclipse felt cluttered and I was claustrophobic using it.

Pathetic excuse I know, but I need something I can get on and work with.

Anyway - enough side-tracking on talk of Eclipse.

Ant. Java compiling made easy. Bring on Tomcat extension tasks with it and that saves me another aspirin for working on my Tomcat coursework which is to develop a web based quiz. To install the Tomcat tasks for Ant on Mac OS X, you just need to copy them over:

cp /usr/local/apache-tomcat-5.5.16/server/lib/catalina-ant.jar /Developer/Java/Ant/lib

Note that this installs the Tomcat tasks to the default Developer Tools install of Ant. If you’ve installed Ant manually, you’ll need to change the paths above accordingly.

Once the .jar is copied over, in your build.xml files for your various projects, you’ll need to include the following tags:

<taskdef name="deploy" classname="org.apache.catalina.ant.DeployTask" />
<taskdef name="undeploy" classname="org.apache.catalina.ant.UndeployTask" />

These task definitions only cover deploy and undeploy tasks. To use them in your project:

<target name="undeploy">
	<undeploy url="${tomcat.manager}"
		path="/yourwebapp" />

Where tomcat.manager is your URL to your Tomcat manager. Usually http://localhost:8080/manager. tomcat.username and tomcat.password are self-explanatory. Then just substitute yourwebapp with the name of your tomcat application directory located inside the webapp directory. For my current coursework, this is webquiz.

The deploy task is very similar:

<target name="deploy" depends="war">
	<deploy url="${tomcat.manager}"
		localWar="${war.dir}/${}.war" />

I have another target that creates a WAR file of my entire web application. This is what I’ll use to deploy my application. The only additional attributes in the deploy task are update and localWar. update will replace an existing application if it already exists so that you have the latest working copy. localWar is the location of the WAR file you want to deploy.

Simple. Hope I’ve explained this clear enough.

As of writing this, I’m having some trouble getting this working with my iBook, which I assumed had the same set-up as my Intel iMac - of which, the above tasks are working perfectly.