I'm having trouble understanding exactly how tomcat recognizes webapps. It seems different versions have completely different setups. I'm currently using 4.1.27 (lastest stable) and I would like it to recognize a web app once I create the directory structure and associated files. Do I need an entry in server.xml for every new webapp? Or to use the manager app every time? And if I do use the manager app is it modifying the server.xml file? There is no deploy tool so it is a real pain in the ass for testing phase deployments. I got the O'Reilly Tomcat book and it is the worst technical book I have read in a while (NOT recommended!). Do other app servers work this way? I'd hate to relaunch a production server to reload settings!!
if you drop the web applications war file into the webapps directory of tomcat then the container will load it up , if you want to host the web app outside of the container webapp directory then you will have to edit the server.xml file and place a context in there and enable reloadable ( not sure on syntax read docs ) then start tomcat up , then any changes to the directory where the webapp is hosted will restart that webapp in tomcat the tomcat documention is a good guide