I suspect the answer is no, j2ee has no support for anything like this, but I'll ask anyway.
I have a webapp that is getting unweildy because pretty much everything keeps getting added to it.
I have a new project that needs to run on the same machine as that webapp and share all the object caches as that webapp and forward to a few of the jsps in that webapp. But, I'd like to keep it separate so that it doesn't take so long to do a clean compile and so that I can deploy it separately without having to worry about changes to the rest of the webapp.
I'm pretty sure it's not possible. Yes, I could create a 2nd webapp and deploy that separately and then use getContext to get the context of the first app if I wanted to forward to jsps or call servlets. But I don't think there's any way to use the same caches (like static object caches).
In fact, what I'd like is webapp server support for the equivalent of copying the entire second webapp into the first webapp and the just deploying the combined app.
The major issues here are:
- You can't just unzip a war inside of another war and expect it to work. Doing that with a jar works, but a war has a web.xml which cannot be split up.
Or, to put it another way, the web.xml cannot be split up within the same webapp so that parts of the webapp could be replaced without messing with the rest of it.
- two different webapps are loaded with separate classloaders so that all static objects are loaded twice and all statically executed code is executed twice which means that all singletons will exist twice and all singleton background threads will be executing twice.
If I only cared about this on the server than I could accomplish this by having the build.xml combine the two webapps with a separate special web.xml and then deploy that war. But, this would obviously not be helpful when developing with Eclipse or any other ide. If I did that then the webapp wouldn't work until it was combined. In that case there's no point in ever keeping it separate.
I thought that EAR files might help out, but it looks to me like they're just for deployment.
Struts sort of has a thing in it that allows for multiple sub-applications to exist. I haven't looked into that very deeply. Is there something there that might be worth looking into? I've only ever used struts in a single webapp.
I'm hoping that there's technology out there that I'm not aware of that will allow me to get away from the stuff-it-all-in-one-webapp approach without the penalties that seem inherant in doing that.