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Chapter 1. Setting Up a Servlet and JSP ... > A Quick History of Web Development

A Quick History of Web Development

The Servlet and JSP environment extends past the need for basic Java support. Any computer running JSP or Servlets needs to also have a container. A container is a piece of software responsible for loading, executing, and unloading the Servlets and JSP. The reasons for this are largely related to the history of server-side Web development. A quick overview of one of the earliest and most prominent server-side dynamic content solutions, CGI, and the differences between it and Servlets is very helpful in understanding why a JSP/Servlet container is required. The exact life cycle events that are managed by a container are discussed in Chapter 2.

CGI

The Common Gateway Interface, or CGI, is commonly referred to as one of the first practical technologies for creating dynamic server-side content. With CGI a server passes a client's request to an external program. This program executes, creates some content, and sends a response to the client. When first developed, this functionality was a vast improvement over static content and greatly expanded the functionality available to a Web developer. Needless to say CGI quickly grew in popularity and became a standard method for creating dynamic Web pages. However, CGI is not perfect.


  

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