The volunteer developers behind Apache Tomcat have released version 7.0.6 of the open-source Java servlet container.
"This is the first stable release of the Tomcat 7 branch," developer Mark Thomas wrote in an e-mail announcing the release on various Tomcat developer mailing lists.
While not a full application server, Tomcat implements the functionality described in the Java Enterprise Edition Web profile specifications. Most notably, it supports version 3.0 of the Servlet API (application programming interface) and version 2.2 of JavaServer Pages, both part of the recently ratified JEE 6. A servlet container manages Java-based applications that can be accessed from a Web browser.
The use of Servlet 3.0 will bring a lot of new capabilities to Tomcat, noted Tomcat contributor Tim Funk, in a presentation at the ApacheCon conference in Atlanta in November.
One big area of improvement is in configuration management for Web applications. Previous versions required all Web app configuration changes to be entered in a central file called web.xml, a process that led to unwieldy web.xml files as well as security risks.
The new approach, called annotations, breaks configuration instructions into multiple files. Separate files are kept for security, for configuring new connections, for initial parameters and for handling third-party libraries.
Other benefits of Servlet 3.0 include advanced cookie management and asynchronous thread support, which should increase the number of connections Tomcat can handle.
In preparation for the release, various beta versions of Tomcat 7 have been distributed since April 2010. Version 7.0.6 fixes some longtime memory leak issues and includes a number of other bug fixes as well.
In addition to making the source code and various binaries available, the development team has packaged a version of the software that can be embedded in other applications.
Tomcat is one of almost 150 open-source projects maintained by the Apache Software Foundation.