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"Java Servlet
Second Edition"

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Best Practices"

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The Book
Changes in the 2nd Edition

This excerpt from the Preface explains what's new in the 2nd Edition.

Servlet API 2.2 and 2.3

This edition of the book covers Version 2.2 of the Servlet API, which went to “public release” status in August 1999 and to “final release” status in December 1999. The first edition of this book covered Version 2.0. Changes between Versions 2.0 and 2.2 have been substantial:

  • Rules have been provided that define how servlets can be distributed across multiple backend servers.
  • Servlets now make use of pluggable web applications, which can be configured and deployed in a server-independent manner.
  • Servlet security has been greatly improved.
  • Servlets can now delegate request handling to other server components.
  • Servlets can now share information using their ServletContext.
  • There's a way to abstract servlet resources to support distributed access.
  • Servlets now have more control over session management.
  • Response output buffering has been added.
  • Control over HTTP headers has been enhanced.
  • More advanced error handling can now be used.
  • The API has been “cleaned up” to make method names more consistent and
  • The Servlet API is now defined by a formal specification document, with
    future API updates managed by the formal Java Specification Request (JSR) process.
  • Servlets are now integrated into the umbrella Java 2 platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE), specification.
All these changes, and many other more minor changes, are fully explained in this new edition. This second edition also has extensive coverage of the most exciting area of servlet development: techniques for building on the servlet base to easily and efficiently create dynamic content for real-world sites. In this edition you’ll find tutorials on five of the most popular open source servlet-based content creation technologies:
  • JavaServer Pages (JSP), the Sun standard, developed and released in conjunc-tion with servlets
  • Tea, created by the Walt Disney Internet Group (formerly, used for high-traffic sites like,,,, GO. com, and
  • WebMacro, created by Semiotek and used by the search engine AltaVista
  • XMLC, created by Lutris Technologies to leverage the power of XML technology for the Web, used by innovative sites like
  • The Element Construction Set (ECS), created by Apache to handle the most demanding programming needs
This second edition also introduces WAP, the Wireless Application Protocol, and explains how to create servlet-based web applications for wireless devices.

Servlet API 2.3

At the time of the writing, Servlet API 2.3 is under development. However, it has not yet been finalized. Consequently, the text in this edition includes in various places a brief mention of the changes expected in the Servlet API 2.3. In addition, the final chapter of this book takes a thorough look at the October 2000 draft specification of the Servlet API 2.3, which should help you become familiar with the latest features that the Servlet API 2.3 will offer. We should point out, however, that these specifications are still subject to change, and the released version may differ slightly from the material presented here.

Readers of the First Edition

Readers of Java Servlet Programming, 1st ed. will find this book comprehensively updated for Servlet API 2.2 and, where possible, Servlet 2.3. Every chapter has enjoyed substantial improvement from the first edition, and there are six new chapters covering servlet-based content creation techniques, as well a seventh new chapter, Enterprise Servlets and J2EE, that explains how servlets integrate into the J2EE platform.

Due to the significant impact the pluggable web application model has made across all aspects of servlet programming, we recommend readers of the first edition read each chapter of interest and take note of the new mechanisms that exist for accomplishing the traditional tasks. For readers whose time is limited, we include for your convenience a list of the most significant changes in the "Organization" section.


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Last updated: March 1, 2009