How do I obtain ServletContext of another application?

The ServletContext.getContext(String uripath) enable us to access servlet context of another web application deployed on the same application server. A configuration need to be added to enable this feature.

In the example below we will forward the request from the current application to the /otherapp/hello.jsp page. We place a string in the request object attribute of the current application and going to show it in the hello.jsp page.

package org.kodejava.example.servlet;

import javax.servlet.RequestDispatcher;
import javax.servlet.ServletContext;
import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.annotation.WebServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
import java.io.IOException;

@WebServlet(urlPatterns = {"/context"})
public class GetAnotherContextServlet extends HttpServlet {
    protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
            throws ServletException, IOException {

        // Get ServletContext of another application on the same Servlet
        // container. This allow us to forward request to another application
        // on the same application server.
        ServletContext ctx = request.getServletContext().getContext("/otherapp");

        // Set a request attribute and forward to hello.jsp page on another 
        // context.
        request.setAttribute("MESSAGE", "Hello There!");
        RequestDispatcher dispatcher = ctx.getRequestDispatcher("/hello.jsp");
        dispatcher.forward(request, response);
    }
}

To enable this feature in Tomcat we need to enable the crossContext attribute by setting the value to true, the default value is false. Update the server.xml file to add the following configuration.

...
<Context path="/webapp" debug="0" reloadable="true" crossContext="true"/>
...

How do I define a servlet with @WebServlet annotation?

Annotations is one new feature introduces in the Servlet 3.0 Specification. Previously to declare servlets, listeners or filters we must do it in the web.xml file. Now, with the new annotations feature we can just annotate servlet classes using the @WebServlet annotation.

package org.kodejava.example.servlet;

import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.annotation.WebInitParam;
import javax.servlet.annotation.WebServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.PrintWriter;

@WebServlet(
        name = "HelloAnnotationServlet",
        urlPatterns = {"/hello", "/helloanno"},
        asyncSupported = false,
        initParams = {
                @WebInitParam(name = "name", value = "admin"),
                @WebInitParam(name = "param1", value = "value1"),
                @WebInitParam(name = "param2", value = "value2")
        }
)
public class HelloAnnotationServlet extends HttpServlet {
    @Override
    protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
            throws ServletException, IOException {
        response.setContentType("text/html");

        PrintWriter out = response.getWriter();
        out.write("<html><head><title>WebServlet Annotation</title></head>");
        out.write("<body>");
        out.write("<h1>Servlet Hello Annotation</h1>");
        out.write("<hr/>");
        out.write("Welcome " + getServletConfig().getInitParameter("name"));
        out.write("</body></html>");
        out.close();
    }
}

After you’ve deploy the servlet you’ll be able to access it either using the /hello or /helloanno url.

The table below give a brief information about the attributes accepted by the @WebServlet annotation and their purposes.

ATTRIBUTE DESCRIPTION
name The servlet name, this attribute is optional.
description The servlet description and it is an optional attribute.
displayName The servlet display name, this attribute is optional.
urlPatterns An array of url patterns use for accessing the servlet, this attribute is required and should at least register one url pattern.
asyncSupported Specifies whether the servlet supports asynchronous processing or not, the value can be true or false.
initParams An array of @WebInitParam, that can be used to pass servlet configuration parameters. This attribute is optional.
loadOnStartup An integer value that indicates servlet initialization order, this attribute is optional.
smallIcon A small icon image for the servlet, this attribute is optional.
largeIcon A large icon image for the servlet, this attribute is optional.

How do I create zip file in Servlet for download?

The example below is a servlet that shows you how to create a zip file and send the generated zip file for user to download. The compressing process is done by the zipFiles method of this class.

For a servlet to work you need to configure it in the web.xml file of your web application which can be found after the code snippet below.

package org.kodejava.example.servlet;

import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.ServletOutputStream;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
import java.io.*;
import java.util.zip.ZipEntry;
import java.util.zip.ZipOutputStream;

public class ZipDownloadServlet extends HttpServlet {
    public static final String FILE_SEPARATOR = System.getProperty("file.separator");

    protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) 
            throws ServletException, IOException {
        doGet(request, response);
    }

    protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) 
            throws ServletException, IOException {
        try {
            // The path below is the root directory of data to be
            // compressed.
            String path = getServletContext().getRealPath("data");

            File directory = new File(path);
            String[] files = directory.list();

            // Checks to see if the directory contains some files.
            if (files != null && files.length > 0) {

                // Call the zipFiles method for creating a zip stream.
                byte[] zip = zipFiles(directory, files);

                // Sends the response back to the user / browser. The
                // content for zip file type is "application/zip". We
                // also set the content disposition as attachment for
                // the browser to show a dialog that will let user 
                // choose what action will he do to the sent content.
                ServletOutputStream sos = response.getOutputStream();
                response.setContentType("application/zip");
                response.setHeader("Content-Disposition", "attachment; filename="DATA.ZIP"");

                sos.write(zip);
                sos.flush();
            }
        }
        catch (Exception e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }
    }

    /**
     * Compress the given directory with all its files.
     */
    private byte[] zipFiles(File directory, String[] files) throws IOException {
        ByteArrayOutputStream baos = new ByteArrayOutputStream();
        ZipOutputStream zos = new ZipOutputStream(baos);
        byte bytes[] = new byte[2048];

        for (String fileName : files) {
            FileInputStream fis = new FileInputStream(directory.getPath() + 
                ZipDownloadServlet.FILE_SEPARATOR + fileName);
            BufferedInputStream bis = new BufferedInputStream(fis);

            zos.putNextEntry(new ZipEntry(fileName));

            int bytesRead;
            while ((bytesRead = bis.read(bytes)) != -1) {
                zos.write(bytes, 0, bytesRead);
            }
            zos.closeEntry();
            bis.close();
            fis.close();
        }
        zos.flush();
        baos.flush();
        zos.close();
        baos.close();

        return baos.toByteArray();
    }
}

The web.xml configuration:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<web-app xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" 
         xmlns="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee"
         xmlns:web="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee/web-app_2_5.xsd"
         xsi:schemaLocation="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee/web-app_2_5.xsd"
         id="WebApp_ID" version="2.5">
    <servlet>
        <servlet-name>ZipDownloadServlet</servlet-name>
        <servlet-class>org.kodejava.example.servlet.ZipDownloadServlet</servlet-class>
    </servlet>

    <servlet-mapping>
        <servlet-name>ZipDownloadServlet</servlet-name>
        <url-pattern>/zipservlet</url-pattern>
    </servlet-mapping>
</web-app>

How do I get web application context path?

The context path always comes first in a request URI. The path starts with a “/” character but does not end with a “/” character. When I have a web application with the URL like http://localhost:8080/myapps then /myapps is the context path.

For servlets in the default (root) context, this method returns "" (empty string).

package org.kodejava.example.servlet;

import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.PrintWriter;

public class ContextPathDemo extends HttpServlet {
    protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest req, HttpServletResponse res)
            throws ServletException, IOException {

        // HttpServletRequest.getContextPath() returns the portion 
        // of the request URI that indicates the context of the 
        // request.
        String contextPath = req.getContextPath();

        PrintWriter pw = res.getWriter();
        pw.print("Context Path: " + contextPath);
    }
}

Register your servlet in the web.xml file and map it to the ctxpath as the url-pattern. Let say you’ve deployed your servlet into a web application named webapp then you can access your servlet using the following url: http://localhost:8080/webapp/ctxpath.

You’ll get the following information in your browser:

Context Path: /webapp

How do I get servlet request URL information?

In the example below we extract information about the request object path information. We extract the protocol user, server and and its assigned port number. We extract our application context path, servlet path, path info and the query string information. If we combaine all the information below we’ll get someting equals to the request.getRequestURL().

package org.kodejava.example.servlet;

import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.PrintWriter;

public class ServletUrlInformation extends HttpServlet {
    protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
            throws ServletException, IOException {
        doPost(request, response);
    }

    protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest request,
                          HttpServletResponse response)
            throws ServletException, IOException {
        // Getting servlet request URL
        String url = request.getRequestURL().toString();

        // Getting servlet request query string.
        String queryString = request.getQueryString();

        // Getting request information without the hostname.
        String uri = request.getRequestURI();

        // Below we extract information about the request object path
        // information.
        String scheme = request.getScheme();
        String serverName = request.getServerName();
        int portNumber = request.getServerPort();
        String contextPath = request.getContextPath();
        String servletPath = request.getServletPath();
        String pathInfo = request.getPathInfo();
        String query = request.getQueryString();

        response.setContentType("text/html");
        PrintWriter pw = response.getWriter();
        pw.print("Url: " + url + "<br/>");
        pw.print("Uri: " + uri + "<br/>");
        pw.print("Scheme: " + scheme + "<br/>");
        pw.print("Server Name: " + serverName + "<br/>");
        pw.print("Port: " + portNumber + "<br/>");
        pw.print("Context Path: " + contextPath + "<br/>");
        pw.print("Servlet Path: " + servletPath + "<br/>");
        pw.print("Path Info: " + pathInfo + "<br/>");
        pw.print("Query: " + query);
    }
}

Register the servlet in the web.xml file and define the url-pattern to urlinfo in the servlet-mapping. When you access this servlet using the following url http://localhost:8080/urlinfo?x=1&y=1, you’ll get the following output on your browser:

Url: http://localhost:8080/urlinfo
Uri: /urlinfo
Scheme: http
Server Name: localhost
Port: 8080
Context Path: 
Servlet Path: /urlinfo
Path Info: null
Query: x=1&y=1

How do I read servlet context initilization parameters?

package org.kodejava.example.servlet;

import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.PrintWriter;
import java.util.Enumeration;

import javax.servlet.Servlet;
import javax.servlet.ServletContext;
import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;

public class ContextInitParameter extends HttpServlet implements Servlet {

    public ContextInitParameter() {
    }

    protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException {
    doPost(request, response);
    }

    protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException {
        response.setContentType("text/html");
        PrintWriter writer = response.getWriter();

        // Get an instance of ServletContext
        ServletContext context = getServletContext();

        // To read context initialization parameter we can call context.getInitParameter() 
        // and pass the name of initialization parameter to be read. If the named
        // parameter does not exists the returned value will be null. 
        //
        // In this example we read an initialization parameter called LOG.PATH
        String logPath = context.getInitParameter("LOG.PATH");
        writer.println("Log Path: " + logPath + "<br/>");

        // Reads all the name of servlet's initialization parameters. If the
        // servlet doesn't have any an empty enumeration will be returned.
        Enumeration enumeration = context.getInitParameterNames();
        while (enumeration.hasMoreElements()) {
            String paramName = (String) enumeration.nextElement();
            String paramValue = context.getInitParameter(paramName);               

            writer.println("Context Init Param: [" + paramName + " = " + paramValue + "]<br/>");
        }
    }
}

How do I know session last access time?

package org.kodejava.example.servlet;

import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpSession;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.PrintWriter;
import java.util.Date;

public class SessionLastAccessTime extends HttpServlet {
    protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
            throws ServletException, IOException {
        HttpSession session = request.getSession();
        Date date = new Date(session.getLastAccessedTime());

        PrintWriter writer = response.getWriter();
        writer.println("Last accessed time: " + date);
    }

    protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
            throws ServletException, IOException {
        doPost(request, response);
    }
}

This servlet will return a result like:

Last accessed time: Thu Jan 03 00:47:34 ICT 2008

How do I get a notification when session attribute was changed?

Implementing the HttpSessionAttributeListener will make the servlet container inform you about session attribute changes. The notification is in a form of HttpSessionBindingEvent object. The getName() on this object tell the name of the attribute while the getValue() method tell about the value that was added, replaced or removed.

package org.kodejava.example.servlet;

import javax.servlet.http.HttpSessionAttributeListener;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpSessionBindingEvent;

public class SessionAttributeListener implements HttpSessionAttributeListener {

    public void attributeAdded(HttpSessionBindingEvent event) {
        // This method is called when an attribute is added to a session.
        // The line below display session attribute name and its value.
        System.out.println("Session attribute added: ["
                + event.getName() + "] = [" + event.getValue() + "]");
    }

    public void attributeRemoved(HttpSessionBindingEvent event) {
        // This method is called when an attribute is removed from a session.
        System.out.println("Session attribute removed: ["
                + event.getName() + "] = [" + event.getValue() + "]");
    }

    public void attributeReplaced(HttpSessionBindingEvent event) {
        // This method is invoked when an attibute is replaced in a session.
        System.out.println("Session attribute replaced: ["
                + event.getName() + "] = [" + event.getValue() + "]");
    }
}

After your listener is ready don’t forget to configure it in the web application deployment descriptor, the web.xml file.

How do I capture session creation and removal events?

The Servlet specification define an HttpSessionListener interface that can be implemented if we want to listen to session creation and removal events.

package org.kodejava.example.servlet;

import javax.servlet.http.HttpSession;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpSessionEvent;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpSessionListener;
import java.util.Date;

public class MySessionListener implements HttpSessionListener {

    // Notification that a new session was created
    public void sessionCreated(HttpSessionEvent event) {
        HttpSession session = event.getSession();

        System.out.println("New session created  : " + session.getId());
        System.out.println("Session creation time: " + new Date(session.getCreationTime()));
    }

    // Notification that a session was invalidated
    public void sessionDestroyed(HttpSessionEvent event) {
        HttpSession session = event.getSession();

        System.out.println("Session destroyed  : " + session.getId());
    }
}

To make the listener works you need to configure in the the web.xml file. Below in a configuration example for our listener.

<listener>
    <listener-class>org.kodejava.example.servlet.MySessionListener</listener-class>
</listener>

How do I invalidate user’s session?

In a web application you might want to invalidate user session, for instance in a logout Servlet or JSP. There is an invalidate() method in the HttpSession interface, this method invalidates the session and it removes all attributes from the session object.

package org.kodejava.example.servlet;

import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpSession;
import java.io.IOException;

public class InvalidateSessionServlet extends HttpServlet {
    protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
            throws ServletException, IOException {

        HttpSession session = request.getSession();

        // Invalidate the session and removes any attribute related to it
        session.invalidate();

        // Get an HttpSession related to this request, if no session exist don't
        // create a new one. This is just a check to see after invalidation the
        // session will be null.
        session = request.getSession(false);

        response.getWriter().println("Session : " + session);
    }

    protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
            throws ServletException, IOException {
        doPost(request, response);
    }
}