After some struggle - I've tried to get it to work with Tomcat 4.1.10 at first which is not supported - I've got it running with Tomcat 4.0.6 and IDEA #661. Here comes the first impressions:
1. The documentation for this plugin - when it will be available - should mention, that there is no need to install the web-app into Tomcat's wepapps-folder and that this folder is ignored. It should be clear that only the web-app-dir in IDEA and optionally the project classpath is used. Took me some minutes to get this clear.
2. When stepping through a JSP, IDFEA sometimes forgets to stop on the next line. This has the same effect as if clicking the run button. This is very strange. I first thought that IDEA hung or something unit I looked into my browser window to find out that the page has been sent and was now visible.
3. Don't know how far you want to go with this. It's a simplification of the development process since there is no need to build a war, stop Tomcat, deploy the war and restart Tomcat. It's all inside IDEA. That's wonderful, but ... But I'm not yet really impressed by the JSP debugging functionality. You know, Visual Age was a huge pile of crap, but one thing that was good in it was the JSP debugger. It used a window that had three parts. The upper left part contained the JSP, the upper right part contained the Java code for the JSP up to the position of the cursor in the JSP. Lastly the lower part cotained the HTML code up to the position of the cursor in the JSP. Having such a JSP debugger in IDEA would be cool. You would always see what tag in the JSP corresponds to what Java code and what HTML code.
4. Since Tomcat writes the logfiles into a directory IDEA knows of, would it be possible to have a mini-browser in the debugger area, in which one could open any of those logfiles?
Haven't put this into the tracker, yet. I think that points should be discussed, first.