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Chapter 19. Jetty Runner

Table of Contents

Use Jetty Without an Installed Distribution

This chapter explains how to use the jetty-runner to run your webapps without needing an installation of Jetty.

Use Jetty Without an Installed Distribution

The idea of the jetty-runner is extremely simple – run a webapp directly from the command line using a single jar file and as much default configuration as possible. Of course, if your webapp is not as straightforward, the jetty-runner has command line options which allow you to customize the execution environment.


You will need the jetty-runner jar:

  1. Download the jetty-runner jar available at Maven Central.

Deploying a Simple Context

Let’s assume we have a very simple webapp that does not need any resources from its environment, nor any configuration apart from the defaults. Starting it is as simple as performing the following:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar simple.war

This will start Jetty on port 8080, and deploy the webapp to /.

Your webapp does not have to be packed into a war, you can deploy a webapp that is a directory instead in the same way:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar simple

In fact, the webapp does not have to be a war or even a directory, it can simply be a Jetty context xml file that describes your webapp:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar simple-context.xml


When using a context xml file, the application being deployed is not even required to be a fully-fledged webapp. It can simply be a Jetty context.

By default, jetty-runner implements all Configuration Classes so that users can set up and deploy new instances with as little configuration as possible. If you wish to only implement certain Configuration Classes, they will need to be defined in the context xml for the webapp/context. The default Configuration Classes are:

org.eclipse.jetty.webapp.WebInfConfiguration org.eclipse.jetty.webapp.WebXmlConfiguration org.eclipse.jetty.webapp.MetaInfConfiguration org.eclipse.jetty.webapp.FragmentConfiguration org.eclipse.jetty.webapp.JettyWebXmlConfiguration org.eclipse.jetty.annotations.AnnotationConfiguration

You can learn more about implementing specific Configuration Classes here.

Deploying Multiple Contexts

If you have more than one webapp that must be deployed, simply provide them all on the command line. You can control the context paths for them using the --path parameter. Here’s an example of deploying 2 wars (although either or both of them could be unpacked directories instead):

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --path /one my1.war --path /two my2.war

If you have context xml files that describe your webapps, you can fully configure your webapps in them and hence you won’t need to use the command line switches. Just provide the list of context files like so:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar my-first-context.xml my-second-context.xml my-third-context.xml


Switched used on the command line override configuration file settings. So, for example, you could set the context path for the webapp inside the context xml file, and use the --path switch to override it on the command line.

Changing the Default Port

By default the jetty-runner will listen on port 8080. You can easily change this on the command line using the --port command. Here’s an example that runs our simple.war on port 9090:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --port 9090 simple.war

Using jetty.xml Files

Instead of, or in addition to, using command line switches, you can use one or more jetty.xml files to configure the environment for your webapps. Here’s an example where we apply two different jetty.xml files:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --config jetty.xml --config jetty-https.xml simple.war

Full Configuration Reference

You can see the fill set of configuration options using the --help switch:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --help

Here’s what the output will look like:

Usage: java [-Djetty.home=dir] -jar jetty-runner.jar [--help|--version] [ server opts] [[ context opts] context ...]
Server opts:
 --version                           - display version and exit
 --log file                          - request log filename (with optional 'yyyy_mm_dd' wildcard
 --out file                          - info/warn/debug log filename (with optional 'yyyy_mm_dd' wildcard
 --host name|ip                      - interface to listen on (default is all interfaces)
 --port n                            - port to listen on (default 8080)
 --stop-port n                       - port to listen for stop command (or -DSTOP.PORT=n)
 --stop-key n                        - security string for stop command (required if --stop-port is present) (or -DSTOP.KEY=n)
 [--jar file]*n                      - each tuple specifies an extra jar to be added to the classloader
 [--lib dir]*n                       - each tuple specifies an extra directory of jars to be added to the classloader
 [--classes dir]*n                   - each tuple specifies an extra directory of classes to be added to the classloader
 --stats [unsecure|] - enable stats gathering servlet context
 [--config file]*n                   - each tuple specifies the name of a jetty xml config file to apply (in the order defined)
Context opts:
 [[--path /path] context]*n          - WAR file, web app dir or context xml file, optionally with a context path

Printing the Version

Print out the version of Jetty and then exit immediately.

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --version

Configuring a Request Log

Cause Jetty to write a request log with the given name. If the file is prefixed with yyyy_mm_dd then the file will be automatically rolled over. Note that for finer grained configuration of the request log, you will need to use a Jetty xml file instead.

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --log yyyy_mm_dd-requests.log  my.war

Configuring the Output Log

Redirect the output of jetty logging to the named file. If the file is prefixed with yyyy_mm_dd then the file will be automatically rolled over.

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --out yyyy_mm_dd-output.log my.war

Configuring the Interface for HTTP

Like Jetty standalone, the default is for the connectors to listen on all interfaces on a machine. You can control that by specifying the name or ip address of the particular interface you wish to use with the --host argument:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --host my.war

Configuring the Port for HTTP

The default port number is 8080. To configure a https connector, use a Jetty xml config file instead.

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --port 9090  my.war

Configuring Stop

You can configure a port number for Jetty to listen on for a stop command, so you are able to stop it from a different terminal. This requires the use of a "secret" key, to prevent malicious or accidental termination. Use the --stop-port and --stop-key (or -DSTOP.PORT= and -DSTOP.KEY=, respectively) parameters as arguments to the jetty-runner:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --stop-port 8181 --stop-key abc123

Then, to stop Jetty from a different terminal, you need to supply the same port and key information. For this you’ll either need a local installation of Jetty, the jetty-maven-plugin, the jetty-ant plugin, or a custom class. Here’s how to use a Jetty installation to perform a stop:

> java -jar start.jar -DSTOP.PORT=8181 -DSTOP.KEY=abc123 --stop

Configuring the Container Classpath

With a local installation of Jetty, you add jars and classes to the container’s classpath by putting them in the {$jetty.base}/lib directory. With the jetty-runner, you can use the --lib, --jar and --classes arguments instead to achieve the same thing.

--lib adds the location of a directory which contains jars to add to the container classpath. You can add 1 or more. Here’s an example of configuring 2 directories:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --lib /usr/local/external/lib --lib $HOME/external-other/lib my.war

--jar adds a single jar file to the container classpath. You can add 1 or more. Here’s an example of configuring 3 extra jars:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --jar /opt/stuff/jars/jar1.jar --jar $HOME/jars/jar2.jar --jar /usr/local/proj/jars/jar3.jar  my.war

--classes add the location of a directory containing classes to add to the container classpath. You can add 1 or more. Here’s an example of configuring a single extra classes dir:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --classes /opt/stuff/classes my.war


When using the --jar and/or --lib arguments, by default these will not be inspected for META-INF information such as META-INF/resources, META-INF/web-fragment.xml, or META-INF/taglib.tld. If you require these jar files inspected you will need to define the jar pattern in your context xml file. Jetty-Runner automatically provides and appends a suitable pattern for jtsl taglibs (this pattern is different than the one in the standard Jetty distribution).

Gathering Statistics

If statistics gathering is enabled, then they are viewable by surfing to the context /stats. You may optionally protect access to that context with a password. Here’s an example of enabling statistics, with no password protection:

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --stats unsecure my.war

If we wished to protect access to the /stats context, we would provide the location of a Jetty realm configuration file containing authentication and authorization information. For example, we could use the following example realm file from the Jetty distribution:

jetty: MD5:164c88b302622e17050af52c89945d44,user
admin: CRYPT:adpexzg3FUZAk,server-administrator,content-administrator,admin
other: OBF:1xmk1w261u9r1w1c1xmq,user
plain: plain,user
user: password,user
# This entry is for digest auth.  The credential is a MD5 hash of username:realmname:password
digest: MD5:6e120743ad67abfbc385bc2bb754e297,user

Assuming we’ve copied it into the local directory, we would apply it like so

> java -jar jetty-runner.jar --stats my.war

After navigating to http://localhost:8080/ a few times, we can point to the stats servlet on http://localhost:8080/stats to see the output:

Statistics gathering started 1490627ms ago

Total requests: 9
Active requests: 1
Max active requests: 1
Total requests time: 63
Mean request time: 7.875
Max request time: 26
Request time standard deviation: 8.349764752888037

Total dispatched: 9
Active dispatched: 1
Max active dispatched: 1
Total dispatched time: 63
Mean dispatched time: 7.875
Max dispatched time: 26
Dispatched time standard deviation: 8.349764752888037
Total requests suspended: 0
Total requests expired: 0
Total requests resumed: 0

1xx responses: 0
2xx responses: 7
3xx responses: 1
4xx responses: 0
5xx responses: 0
Bytes sent total: 1453

Statistics gathering started 1490606ms ago
Total connections: 7
Current connections open: 1
Max concurrent connections open: 2
Total connections duration: 72883
Mean connection duration: 12147.166666666666
Max connection duration: 65591
Connection duration standard deviation: 23912.40292977684
Total messages in: 7
Total messages out: 7

Heap memory usage: 49194840 bytes
Non-heap memory usage: 12611696 bytes

See an error or something missing? Contribute to this documentation at Github!(Generated: 2020-07-23)