Railo Express on Tomcat

by kai on 20/04/2013

The other day, I tried to help someone on the Railo mailing list to get an installation of Railo 4 on OS X going.

Their problems were manyfold: They tried the OS X installer first, but ran into an issue with other file types besides CFML not properly being resolved by Tomcat (the OS X installer installs Railo on Tomcat and sets up a connection to Apache in case it’s running). The current installer for OS X has a few other issues (at least for me) that Jordan and Bilal are luckily going to look into soon, yay!

They then tried Railo Express on Jetty – which worked, but a few other issues when it comes to URL handling with Coldbox came up. Essentially fixing those issues required a few changes to Jetty’s config files.

As part of the process to help Eric (the person who started the thread on the mailing list) getting underway, I provided a “Railo Express on Tomcat”. Essentially, I took an instance on the current Apache Tomcat bundle, grabbed the Railo .jar files, put them into the correct place and modified/created the web.xml to pick up CFML files. Finally, I moved the Railo “Hello World” files from a “Railo Express proper” over to my Railo Express on Tomcat bundle. Done.

There are a few outcomes of this discussion (for me at least):

  1. CFML developers need to learn and know more about the underlying technologies of either Adobe CF or Railo. We as a community need to upskill on Servlets, Servlet containers and Java in general.
  2. For people who move to Railo (both from other non-JEE platforms or Adobe CF) it can still be hard to get certain things underway and the experience has to be improved to be as smooth as possible. It’s already quite good to be fair for the majority of people.
  3. There should be a Railo Express for Tomcat. The way I see it is that by supplying Railo Express on Jetty, Railo has a very simple and straight forward startup experience for the vast majority of new users. In reality most people would host or run applications on Tomcat though (Note: this is my opinion based on anecdotal knowledge and has not been properly researched. I might be totally wrong). Therefore we create another hurdle to take when people want to switch from playing around to development to production because they have to re-learn a lot making the step from Jetty to Tomcat

In regards to 1 and 2, there’s not much I can do right now. But because I’ve created a “Railo Express on Tomcat” bundle for Eric anyway and it was still sitting on my computer, I’ve decided to create, publish and maintain (on an irregular basis) an unofficial Railo Express on Tomcat OS X build for the time being.

So far, there’s a Wiki page, the actual bundle is currently uploading to my Mega account and I’ll share the link and some more info in the next blog post.

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