I have started a new front-end project, and lo and behold, the project is written in Java with JSP files!

I chuckle to myself because Java was the first language I learned way back in 1995, and after a short score as a chef , I'm working with it again! Full circle.

No big deal from a coding standpoint as the front end is still rendered using HTML/CSS. However the environment in which the coding happens isn't the same as my previous projects which were primarily React and React Native.  I decided it would be fun to detail the setup process which was not nearly as painful as I was expecting.

The computer I'm working on is a Windows 10 Pro, V. 1709,  OS Build 16299.967.

What I needed to build and run the Java app came down to three things. Java JRE and JDK, Apache Tomcat and Apache Netbeans.

The Java run-time Environment  (JRE) and  the Java Development Kit (JDK) is essentially Java itself and chances are you have it installed already.

NetBeans is a Java IDE, It's used primarily to write and build Java projects. When you build a  Java web application project in NetBeans its produces a  WAR file (Web application ARchive). I sort of think of it similar to an APK in the Android world, in that it is the entire application compressed into a single file. How accurate this line of thinking is, I'm not sure, so you may not want to take it to heart.  

Apache Tomcat is a server application that unpacks the war file into a functional application that is then served via local server.

The process ends up being:

  • Open the project in NetBeans
  • Build it
  • Move the resulting WAR file from the NetBeans /target directory to the /webapp directory in Tomcat
  • In Tomcat's /bin directory click on the startup.bat file

How cool is that? I hope this provides a little guidance. Thanks for reading!