Occassionally the need to do multiple side-by-side deployments of the same packaged application can arise. In a scenario recently faced, it was useful to have multiple versions of our packaged EAR deployed and configured slightly differently (for example: with and without security in QA environments). As the application is expected to run hot 24/7, the need for a simple side-by-side versioning (e.g. v1, v2) scheme was also important. Allowing us to deploy v1, and later breaking (incompatible) versions v2, v3, given our service consumers the freedom to upgrade when convenient.

The simple and elegant solution of context roots came to the rescue.

In the case of WebSphere:

The context root is combined with the defined servlet mapping (from the WAR file) to compose the full URL that users type to access the servlet. For example, if the context root is /gettingstarted/1.0 and the servlet mapping is MySession, then the URL is http://host:port/gettingstarted/1.0/MySession

To ensure the packaged application explicitly defines a root, the application deployment descriptor (see below) should define a context-root.

WEB-INF/ibm-web-ext.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<web-ext
xmlns="http://websphere.ibm.com/xml/ns/javaee"
xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
xsi:schemaLocation="http://websphere.ibm.com/xml/ns/javaee http://websphere.ibm.com/xml/ns/javaee/ibm-web-ext_1_1.xsd"
version="1.1">

<context-root uri="FooService/1.0" />
<enable-directory-browsing value="false" />
<enable-file-serving value="true" />

wsdl.version=1.0
<replace file="${web.info.dir}/ibm-web-ext.xml" token="FooService" value="FooService/${wsdl.version}" />