First impressions of Tomcat integration

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.

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Hi Robert,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

See my comments below:

item 1 : Completely agreed, our docs department will take care of this.

item 2 : The reason is that current Tomcat integration plugin (which is a
reference implementation of the OpenApi btw) uses the comments generated by
Jasper for line number mapping. This approach is far from ideal mainly
because it fails to recal, but this is the only available at the moment for
the quick reference implementation of the open API. We are waiting with
impatience JSR045-aware servers (Tomcat 5 was announced to be the one) in
order to implement generic JSR045-compatible server integration.

item 3: What app server was VisualAge using? Was it possible to take any app
server and start debugging in a way you described?

item 4: yep, a good feature-request to submit to our tracker :)

--

Best regards,
Eugene Zhuravlev
JetBrains, Inc, http://www.intellij.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

"Robert F. Beeger" <jiveadmin@intellij.net> wrote in message
news:3281576.1034869725587.JavaMail.jrun@is.intellij.net...

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.


0
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item 3: What app server was VisualAge using? Was it
possible to take any app
server and start debugging in a way you described?

It came bundled with WepShere 3.5 and you could not replace it by some other server. Maybe it will be possible to provide something similar to the JSP Debugger in VA when Tomcat 5 is out. I did not say that the Tomcat integration in IDEA is bad, but it would be sort of cool, if it moved in the described direction sometime.


item 4: yep, a good feature-request to submit to our
tracker :)

Ok, I will post it there.

0
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>JSP Debugger in VA when Tomcat 5 is out. I did not say that the Tomcat
integration in IDEA is bad, but it would be sort of cool, if it moved in the
>described direction sometime.

Yes, looks like in order to provide such tight integration we also need to
bundle Tomcat together with IDEA (perhaps that would be slightly modified
version of Tomcat or whatever) . The main disadvantage of this approach is
that we restrict debugging to one app server (moreover to the particulat
version of this app server). Isn't it a serious limitation since a lot of
people/companies use other servers?

However, another approach is to broaden the OpenApi so that it is possible
to implement powerful app server integration and have Tomcat integration as
a reference one (like it is currently done now, though the OpenApi is not
too strong yet)
--

Best regards,
Eugene Zhuravlev
JetBrains, Inc, http://www.intellij.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

"Robert F. Beeger" <jiveadmin@intellij.net> wrote in message
news:7395317.1034933954060.JavaMail.jrun@is.intellij.net...

item 3: What app server was VisualAge using? Was it
possible to take any app
server and start debugging in a way you described?

It came bundled with WepShere 3.5 and you could not replace it by some

other server. Maybe it will be possible to provide something similar to the
JSP Debugger in VA when Tomcat 5 is out. I did not say that the Tomcat
integration in IDEA is bad, but it would be sort of cool, if it moved in the
described direction sometime.
>

>

item 4: yep, a good feature-request to submit to our
tracker :)

Ok, I will post it there.



0
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However, another approach is to broaden the OpenApi
so that it is possible
to implement powerful app server integration and have
Tomcat integration as
a reference one (like it is currently done now,
though the OpenApi is not
too strong yet)

I think this one would be better. So we could have one plugin for Tomcat, one for WebLogic, one for WebSphere, .... It would make IDEA more versatile. Whatever app-server, IDEA would have the plugin for it, a plugin with real killer features.

0

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