Notes on Benjy's Guide for Constructing CD-Based Dynamic Web Sites


After receiving some inquires about Benjy's Guide for Constructing CD-Based Dynamic Web Sites, I decided to add this notes page.

  • My technique is not the only way to produce a dynamic web site on CD. My two primary constraints were that no software installation would be required and that the system be Java servlet/JSP based. If you relax the either of these constraints, then there are more options for constructing a dynamic site.

  • I used Jetty as the servlet engine because it is small and easy to install and use. Other servlet containers will probably work, too, if they are pure java applications and can be configured to run from a read-only CD.

  • Making a portable CD that will run under Windows, Mac OS/X, and Unix operating systems is a bit tricker than I indicated. With Windows, the JVM will run off the CD. On recent versions of Mac OS/X, it appears that a JVM is installed with the OS, so there is no need to put a copy of the Java JVM on a CD that will run under OS/X.  I do not know if the Linux Java JVM will run off CD or needs to be installed.

  • In my technique, Jetty is run from CD, and it starts the default browser during its startup. This process can be very slow, and the user can be left waiting a significant amount of time with no feedback. Also, starting the default browser from Jetty is OS dependent and has potential for failure depending on the browser configuration.

    Christian d'Heureuse developed a different solution in his ServletViewer Java application that embeds Jetty and an HTML browser widget from the SWT - The Standard Widget Toolkit. While the widget is not portable,  there are runtime libraries for major operating systems.  This type of approach has several benefits. The application can quickly produce a feedback window for the user, and it removes any problems with locating and launching a browser or the need to support multiple browsers.


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