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Chapter 3. Setting Up the JSF Environment

You need two things to run a JSF application: a Java web container and an implementation of the JSF specification.

There are plenty of Java web containers available, including commercial offerings, such as Caucho Technology's Resin, the BEA WebLogic Server, the IBM WebSphere Application Server, and the Oracle Application Server, and open source products, such as the Apache Tomcat server, Mortbay's Jetty server, and Gefion Software's LiteWebServer. JSF requires a web container that implements at least the Servlet 2.3 and JSP 1.2 specifications (part of J2EE 1.3), but the examples in this book use some features introduced in JSP 2.0, so to run them as is, you need a web container that implements the Servlet 2.4 and JSP 2.0 specifications (part of J2EE 1.4). All examples have been tested with the open source Tomcat 5 server (on which the reference implementation for these specifications is based) and I recommend that you use it as you read this book and develop your own JSF applications.

JSF is such a new technology that as of this writing, there aren't many implementations besides the reference implementation from Sun Microsystems available yet.[1] This will change during 2004, though, so when you read this, your favorite web container may bundle a JSF implementation. The web application containing all the book examples includes a version of the reference implementation, and I recommend that you use it. You can always download the latest version of the JSF reference implementation from Sun's site at For deployment of your applications, you may want to use the JSF implementation supported by your production server instead, if any.

[1] As of this writing, there are two open source implementations that I know of, but none of them complies with the final version of the standard. That may have changed by the time you read this, so if you want to check them out, they are available at and

In this chapter, you will learn how to install the Tomcat server and deploy the web application containing all the examples used in this book. You can, of course, use any web server that supports JSP 2.0, but Tomcat is a good server for development and test purposes. You can learn more about the Jakarta project and Tomcat, as well as how you can participate in the development, at the Jakarta web site:

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