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Overview of Servlets

Servlets are modules that extend request/response-oriented servers, such as Java-enabled web servers. For example, a servlet might be responsible for taking data in an HTML order-entry form and applying the business logic used to update a company's order database.

Servlets are to servers what applets are to browsers. Unlike applets, however, servlets have no graphical user interface.

Servlets can be embedded in many different servers because the servlet API, which you use to write servlets, assumes nothing about the server's environment or protocol. Servlets have become most widely used within HTTP servers; many web servers support the Servlet API.


Use Servlets instead of CGI Scripts!

Servlets are an effective replacement for CGI scripts. They provide a way to generate dynamic documents that is both easier to write and faster to run. Servlets also address the problem of doing server-side programming with platform-specific APIs: they are developed with the Java Servlet API, a standard Java extension.

So use servlets to handle HTTP client requests. For example, have servlets process data POSTed over HTTPS using an HTML form, including purchase order or credit card data. A servlet like this could be part of an order-entry and processing system, working with product and inventory databases, and perhaps an on-line payment system.


Other Uses for Servlets

Here are a few more of the many applications for servlets:


Get Ready to Write

To prepare you to write servlets, this lesson discusses:

Architecture of the Servlet Package

Discusses the purposes of the main interfaces and objects in the Servlet package.

A simple servlet

Shows you what the code for a very simple servlet looks like.

The trail's servlets

Tells you about the example used in the rest of this trail.

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