Tomcat Manager : New Features Request


I would like to Tomcat Manager Module, so we can easily configure Tomcat…



I’m a year late, but that actually sounds nice!

What would a Tomcat manager do, exactly? (I’ve never used Tomcat, so I’m unsure of what management of it would entail.)

My meager understanding is that it is an application server for Java applications. So, it runs independently of Apache, kinda like Mongrel does for Ruby on Rails apps. Am I right? So we’d want an install interface (or maybe just insure packages are available), a start/stop button for each instance of Tomcat (I assume they are independent per-domain?), and maybe a form for auto-installing applications that run in Tomcat (there is some sort of standard package for Tomcat apps, right?).

You can think of Tomcat as an application server for Java applications. I have not set it up to run congruently with Apache, although I hear it is done.

I’m new enough with Java that I’ve always placed my applications directly into the Tomcat directory structure and run them using Tomcat alone. I’m not even sure how well Tomcat plays with virtual domains. But, if you guys happened to learn more about it than I do, it would be wonderful to have some sort of automatic Tomcat setup feature that combines directory locations for virtual servers.

Tomcat uses a deployment descriptor file that can include runtime and control parameters for the application. It would be nice to provide for maintenance of such a file. I currently must restart Tomcat each time I deploy something under it. If we could deploy from a remote location and hit a "Restart" button, that could be beneficial.

This is not a high priority to me … it’s just a “if you know the system better than I, it would be nice” type of thing. I’m sure there are people out there laughing their heads off about my meager attempts to describe this thing.

Hehehe…Well, since nobody is using Tomcat enough to be able to give us some guidance, I would ordinarily have to guess that not enough people are using it to make it worth our time. :wink:

But, in reality, we have recently had a few other conversations with Java developers at a recent Sun-sponsored event, that seem to indicate that one of the reasons we’re not hearing anything about Java in virtual hosting environments is because nobody offers it. So, it’s a self-reinforcing situation. Nobody who hosts in a shared hosting environment develops in Java because nobody will host it for them, and nobody asks us about it because nobody is using Java in a shared environment. So, we hear more and more about PHP, because it is so pervasive, and less about Java, because nobody uses it.

Anyway, I won’t make any promises, but I think Java as a platform is becoming really interesting again. I don’t really care for Java as a language, but it’s hard to ignore that massive library of existing functionality, and with Jython, JRuby, Groovy, Scala and other dynamic languages that run on the JVM, it’s becoming a pretty cool platform again. It’s also got some interesting possibilities as a VM for running hosted applications (ala Google App Engine and Heroku), and we find that space really interesting.

I know this thread is pretty old but is there anything in development for tomcat/java to be managed via VM? I only ask because we have had a few request from clients about hosting java/jboss/tomcat apps.

Like Joe said, not enough people ask for it but that’s because most assume no one will ever host it so they don’t bother.


It’s something I’d like to tinker with (I’ve been wanting to play with Rhino and server-side JavaScript), but it’s had to take a place on the back burner. They’re just isn’t much demand for it…and thought I talked to some Java developers, nothing ever came of any of those conversations, as far as customers that would be interested in using Virtualmin in their Java-based deployments. The strengths of Virtualmin (shared hosting management) just didn’t play into the way they were deploying (dedicated, large-scale appserver farms). Maybe when VM2 gets out in the field, we’ll run into more people who want the strength of integration of our large scale mass-server management tool with the web hosting related capabilities of Virtualmin…and that might trigger enough demand to make doing some Java-related work worthwhile.


I agree. We have been comfortable telling customers we don’t support it on a shared hosting environment for one reason: If you are running tomcat/java apps, it’s obvious that it’s resource intensive and the apps could be big/huge. Therefore, it would require a dedicated environment anyway. Even a VPS wouldn’t do the job unless if your VPS packages/plans offer lots of system resources which the price of that VS a true dedicated system pretty much speak for itself.

I guess we are all excited about VM2 :-)…At least we are ;-…that would be the best way to offer those apps.


Is there a way to do it manually?

How would i get tomcat to look into the folders for each domain for the jsp files.

It looks like it just supports one web root location for all files and dosnt match the virtual capabilities of apache2

This here…

looks like the deal of how to make tomcat run with virtual host on apache.

Does it look easy to automate within the virutalmin environs?


I’m not a java developer, I develop all my applications in CFML (Coldfusion). It used to be that if you wanted Coldfusion you had to use Adobe (Macromedia/Alliare) and it was a self contained install. With the now production-ready open-source CFML engines (Railo & Open Bluedragon) this has changed, as has the way developers think about CF.

CF is now just a J2EE application that i can drop onto Tomcat, Jetty or whatever and have it run my code. Increasingly i’m looking at services like Google Appengine (for OpenBD-GAE) or to run my CFML applications.

A tomcat manager that allowed me to deploy war files would be great. There really wouldn’t be much to it, providing a form for editing some xml config files (we know you can do that), adding a < host> & < alias> blocks to the config for each virtual host and enabling apache to proxy requests for a specified context (uri) to tomcat. Its all documented and pretty straight forward.

I have noticed that Plesk 9 now has a “Deploy J2EE Application” option (with Tomcat logo), which i believe is part of their power pack.


Would this be something folks would be interested in seeing as a new product? (As with the Power Pack from Plesk.)

We could, perhaps, justify the expense of maintenance and development, even though it’s for a quite low demand option…if the folks that need/want it, were paying extra for it.

If so, what sort of pricing would you want to see? Power Pack from Plesk appears to be $299, so it would obviously be lower-priced than that (since we’re talking about a pretty specific set of features; and Virtualmin Professional already includes most of what the Power Pack provides).

I guess it would depend on the features you could provide, but $25-$50pa if it was all tightly integrated.

Has anyone looked at Ngasi App Server? It seems to provide all the functionalities (and more) that a Plesk or Cpanel Tomcat offers, and integrates nicely into Plesk, Cpanel and Helm. if it would integrate nicely with virtualmin, it surely would add value for the java people out there. Maybe it’s an option to have a chat with these guys?

Some of my customers and I really need Tomcat integration.
I think it will be easy to integrate in Virtualmin: I advice you to use tomcat-admin (manager) as example.
And it will be better as a normal module, not as a new paid product.

Tomcat provides absolutely better performance.


We would definitely be interested in support for Railo for our CF applications. Having this integrated wth VM would be awesome.

There is now an open source set of tools for automatically configuring tomcat hosts available at

theres two parts to it, a httpd perl module and a tomcat valve. The httpd module adds a custom header to the request, then its passed to tomcat. If the request doesn’t match an existing host it will hit the default host with the valve in it. The valve detects the custom header and creates the new tomcat host, setting the docroot etc on the fly.

So right now you can install this on your VM system and have it support new hosts with out having to manually configure each new host in tomcat’s server.xml.

Could VM use this to provide tomcat support out of the box? It really does simplify things a whole lot