The Apache Tomcat Servlet/JSP Container

Apache Tomcat 6.0

Version 6.0.39, Jan 27 2014
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User Guide


Apache Tomcat Development

Apache Tomcat 6.0

Building Tomcat

Table of Contents

Building Apache Tomcat from SVN is very easy, and is the first step to contributing to Tomcat. The following is a step by step TODO list.

Download a Java Development Kit (JDK) release (version 5)

The JDK can be downloaded following the "Previous Releases" link from here.

IMPORTANT: Set an environment variable JAVA_HOME to the pathname of the directory into which you installed the JDK release.

Install Apache Ant 1.6.5 or later

Download a binary distribution of Ant 1.6.5 or later from here.

Unpack the binary distribution into a convenient location so that the Ant release resides in its own directory (conventionally named "apache-ant-1.6.x"). For the purposes of the remainder of this document, the symbolic name "${ant.home}" is used to refer to the full pathname of the release directory.

Create an ANT_HOME environment variable to point the directory ${ant.home}, and modify the PATH environment variable to include directory "${ant.home}/bin" in its list. This makes the "ant" command line script available, which will be used to actually perform the build.

Checkout or obtain the source code for Tomcat 6.0

Tomcat 6.0 SVN repository URL:

Download a source package from:

Checkout the source using SVN, selecting a tag for released version or trunk for the current development code, or download and unpack a source package. The location where the source has been placed will be referred as ${tomcat.source}.

Building Tomcat

Use the following commands:
cd ${tomcat.source}
ant download

WARNING: Running "ant download" command will download libraries required to build Tomcat to the /usr/share/java directory by default. On a typical Linux or MacOX system, an ordinary user will not have access to write to this directory, and, even if you do, it may not be appropriate for you to write there. On Windows this usually corresponds to the C:\usr\share\java directory, unless Cygwin is used. Read below to learn how to customize the directory used to download the binaries.

NOTE: Users accessing the Internet through a proxy must use a properties file to indicate to Ant the proxy configuration. Read below.

The build can be controlled by creating a ${tomcat.source}/ file, and adding the following content to it:
# ----- Proxy setup -----
# Uncomment if using a proxy server.

# ----- Default Base Path for Dependent Packages -----
# Replace this path with the directory path where
# dependencies binaries should be downloaded.

Building with Eclipse

Important: This is not a supported means of building Tomcat; this information is provided without warranty :-). The only supported means of building Tomcat is with the "ant build" described above. However, some developers like to work on Java code with a Java IDE, and the following steps have been used by some developers.

Note that you must complete all the above steps to fetch dependent libraries and build some JAR files the first time. After you have completed the above steps, you can set up an Eclipse project. Note that this will not let you build everything under Eclipse; the build process requires use of Ant for the many stages that aren't simple Java compilations. However, it will allow you to view and edit the Java code, get warnings, reformat code, perform refactorings, run Tomcat under the IDE, and so on.

Use Windows->Preferences and then Java->Build Path->Classpath Variables to add two new Classpath variables:

TOMCAT_LIBS_BASEthe base path where the binary dependencies have been downloaded
ANT_HOMEthe base path of Ant 1.6.2 or later

There are two files in the root directory, eclipse.classpath and eclipse.project. Create their copies with new names, .classpath and .project respectively.

Use File->Import and chose "Existing Projects into Workspace". From there import the root directory where you have checked out tomcat.

Eclipse .project and .classpath files provided in the root directory of tomcat repository should allow Eclipse to find all source trees and jars, and hopefully compile without problems. Note that these files assume you are using Eclipse with a 5.0 or later JDK.

To run Tomcat without a special IDE plug-in, you can simply use Run->Run... enter "org.apache.catalina.startup.Catalina" as the main class, "start" as program arguments, and "-Dcatalina.home=..." (with the name of your build directory) as VM arguments.

Building with other IDEs

The same caveats apply as for Eclipse, above.

The same general idea should work in most IDEs; it has been reported to work in Idea, for example.

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