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Compile, deploy and start Tomcat with Ant script

I often post about Ant and Tomcat on Twitter. Follow me here

Introduction

Apache ant is a tool used to automate repetitive development tasks. One task that is particularly useful is the compile and deploy of a web application. However, the process can be automated a little further by starting the Tomcat server after the final deploy task has finished.

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Example Script

This example shows how to automate the starting of the Tomcat server. I use Apache Tomcat 7.0.27 (tomcat.apache.org) and Ant 1.8.4 (ant.apache.org).

The assumptions are that the penultimate task is called war and that there is a build.properties file that defines the required directories.

The Build Properties

Here is my build.properties file:

root.dir=..
server.location=E:/Development/servers
server.name=apache-tomcat-7.0.27
server.webapp=webapps
lib.dir=lib
src.dir=src
conf.dir=etc
web.content=web
project.name=shoppingCart
build.dir=build
dist.dir=dist

Define The Class Path

Firstly you must tell Ant where the Tomcat classpath is located. We use the path task as follows:

<path id="tomcat.class.path">
    <fileset dir="${server.location}/${server.name}/lib">
        <include name="**/*.jar"/>
        <include name="**/*.zip"/>
    </fileset>
    <pathelement location="${server.location}/${server.name}
    /bin/bootstrap.jar"/>
    <pathelement location="${server.location}/${server.name}
    /bin/tomcat-juli.jar"/>
</path>

Tomcat Stop and Start Targets

We must then define the start and stop Tomcat targets as follows:

<target name="tomcat-start">
    <echo>Stop Tomcat</echo>
    <java classname="org.apache.catalina.startup.Bootstrap" fork="true"
        classpathref="tomcat.class.path">
        <jvmarg value="-Dcatalina.home=${server.location}/${server.name}"/>
    </java>
</target>
 
<target name="tomcat-stop" depends="tomcat-check-status" if="tomcat.started">
    <echo>Start Tomcat</echo>
    <java classname="org.apache.catalina.startup.Bootstrap" fork="true"
        classpathref="tomcat.class.path">
        <jvmarg value="-Dcatalina.home=${server.location}/${server.name}"/>
        <arg line="stop"/>
    </java>
    <sleep seconds="5"/>
</target>
 
<target name="tomcat-check-status">
    <condition property="tomcat.started">
        <socket server="localhost" port="8000"/>
    </condition>
</target>

Check Tomcat Status

The final target called “tomcat-check-status” is called by the “tomcat-stop” and Tomcat is only stopped if the target returns that Tomcat is running.

Deploy Task

The last target we need to write is “deploy”. This target is dependent on the “war” target. A call to “tomcat-stop” is made before the application is deployed to the server. After the deployment, a call to “tomcat-start” is made and the server is started.

<target name="deploy" depends="war">
    <sequential>
        <antcall target="tomcat-stop"/>
            <echo>Deploy to server</echo>
            <copy todir="${server.location}/${server.name}/${server.webapp}/
                ${project.name}">
                <fileset dir="${build.dir}"/>
            </copy>
        <antcall target="tomcat-start"/>
    </sequential>
</target>

This is a very useful addition to the normal ant tasks that deploy web applications.

Interesting Links

If you want to learn more about the power of Apache Ant then consider the following books:

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Apache ant can be used to automate the compilation, deployment and launch of Tomcat all with a simple Ant script. Find out how to automate these task in my article: Compile, deploy and start Tomcat with Ant script.

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I often post about Ant and Tomcat on Twitter. Follow me here

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