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The Great Java Application Server Debate with Tomcat, JBoss, GlassFish, Jetty and Liberty Profile

Documentation & Community


The Jetty team has done a  lot of work recently on improving and structurizing their docs. Currently there is a “Jetty Documentation Hub” available, which is easy to read and navigate. It features docs for different Jetty versions. There are different mailing lists for Jetty developers users available. No official forums that we could find, though.

To get some professional and commercial support you could find a third party company that can provide this. Unfortunately, the Jetty website does not have a list of such companies available.

Score: score3

Reason: There is no list of “real experts” or companies, who can provide support, provided.


The documentation for Tomcat is very good (particularly for new users) as is supported by a vast community. This same community is where the Tomcat support comes from, both as descriptive help as well as code changes and bug fixes. Most people will be comfortable with this, but if you need more of a guarantee, there are vendor support contracts available, which very often include Tomcat committers.

Score: score-5

Reason: Great, vibrant community, established over years. Responsive, docs are great, site is easy to use, support via the community, 3rd party vendors available for more guaranteed support.


The JBoss community is one of the best things one can think of regarding JBoss AS7. They have a myriad of projects under their wing and they work together well. If not, almost everything can be found on forums or discussion groups. If everything else fails you can read the documentation, which is quite good.

Score: score-4

Reason: Slower releases, but docs are good, large community.


Crawling through the docs, forums and mailing list gives you a secure feeling. The forum is quite active, there are many mailing lists specializing on different parts and areas of GlassFish and the documentation looks pretty good.

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Score: score-4

Reason: good docs, awkward to navigate to, some docs are outdated, good sized community, mailing lists, active forums.

Liberty Profile

Documentation can mostly be found on the new community site, It’s run by the development team so isn’t full of the usual fluff. There is also the traditional info center which provides more formal documentation for the product. You can get support from the WASdev forum which is reasonably active, and again, you’re talking with the development team. This is best can do support, without guarantees. If you choose to pay the big bucks you’ll also get the full IBM support where you can afford to scream at IBM and still get help :o)

Score: score-4

Reason: Good quality docs & sample code, small community, but growing good response times on forum, often very corporate answers as not much can be said about futures, slow bug fixes.


Now there is more to this report. You’ve read the part 1 of our findings, where we scored the servers based on their download and installation easy, community, documentation completentess, etc. However, we also did some performance measurements, tried to match the servers and their strength to the roles in a team to see who would prefer what server, and much more!

Download the full pdf of the report, read it through and find out what was the best application server!


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