How do I debug my web project in Tomcat from Eclipse?
Author: Deron Eriksson
Description: This Java tutorial describes how to debug a web project in Eclipse without using plug-ins.
Tutorial created using: Windows XP || JDK 1.5.0_09 || Eclipse Web Tools Platform 1.5.1 || Tomcat 5.5.20

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EclipseSW, in particular the Web Tools Platform version, makes it very easy to get a project up and running in TomcatSW. As an example, with WTP, you can create a new Project of type Dynamic Web Project. Much of the tedious set-up work is done for you, and you can do things such as run a Tomcat server 'inside' of Eclipse.

Additionally, the Sysdeo Eclipse Tomcat Launcher plugin is a great plug-in for Eclipse/Tomcat integration. This plug-in can be downloaded from

These really are great tools for web app development in Eclipse. However, one drawback to these approaches is that the tools can actually hide some of the underlying details involved in Eclipse/Tomcat integration. As a result, there may be something seemingly simple but slightly 'outside the box' that you may try to do with these tools, and you may end up getting stuck for a frustrating amount of time. Therefore, I thought it would be useful to throw together a little tutorial that demonstrates debugging an Eclipse project in Tomcat without any Tomcat plugins.

The nice thing about this approach is that it is quite simple and it avoids the frustrations that can happen from trying to use a plug-in or the server functionality that comes with Eclipe WTP, since they can hide a lot of the configuration details from you. The bad thing about this approach is that you lose the ability to perform some of handy functionality that comes with plug-ins. Personally I like this approach, but others may feel differently.

First, create a new project.

New Project

Let's create a JavaSW Project.

New Java Project

I'll call the project 'tomcat-demo', and I'll separate the source and output folders.

Naming project 'tomcat-demo'

Click Finish to finish creating the project.

Click Finish

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