Apr 142008

For under $10 a month, my (shared) hosting provider Dreamhost provides 500 GB disk space, 5 Terabytes bandwidth, full unix shell, wordpress, phpBB, mediawiki, joomla, gallery, webdav, rails, quicktime streaming, real audio and video, email, spamassasin and a lot more. Disk space quota and bandwidth increase weekly by 2 GB and 40 GB respectively. But like the visa advertisement that says “They don’t take American Express”, “Dreamhost doesn’t take Java”. At least not all of it. They support applets.

Dreamhost doesn’t support:

  • Java Servlets
  • JSP, Tomcat
  • EJB
  • J2EE

Regarding servlets they say

While certainly a useful technology, Apache JServ has been in maintenance mode for quite some time now (the last release as of this writing was on June 17th, 2000), and as time goes on it will be more and more difficult to integrate it with other technologies we operate on. We have closely evaluated the most obvious alternative (Jakarta Tomcat), but due to an inherent limitation in the way Tomcat was designed it is not a feasible alternative when used in a shared web hosting environment, even by their own admission. We’ve also evaluated a number of commercial solutions, but have not found a viable, cost-effective replacement that will work on all of our shared hosting servers.

There are many other shared hosting providers who take the same position as Dreamhost. Sun should work with these providers and answer their questions. Is the argument against tomcat/servlets/jsp that the hosting providers make still valid? If they can support PHP and RAILS but cannot support server-side Java, is it because Java is a resource hog? What solutions can Sun offer that will make server-side Java as palatable to the hosting providers as RAILS?

If one wants to implement Google Web Toolkit (GWT) apps that make calls to the server, you cannot deploy them on most shared hosting providers if the server-side component is Java. You can use RAILS. As I mentioned in a previous post on GWT, the GWT-on-Rails project integrates GWT client side compiled Javascript with Rails REST web services. For this, you need GWT-REST which is an asynchronous RESTful client implementation for GWT.

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