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What Is a Web Container?

By Troy Holmes
Updated May 16, 2024
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Internet-based computer applications require many types of hardware and software. A web container is a software program that manages the web pages and graphical content used on the Internet. These programs manage the interactions from customers throughout the world that rely on Internet software applications.

Web-based applications are typically divided into three container groups. These are commonly known as the client application container, the web container and data access container. Each container has a specific responsibility and communicates through specific protocols and interfaces. This makes Internet software programs easier to manage because the code is divided into specific groups, which are typically managed by experts who understand the nuances of that group.

The web container is also known as the servlet container. This container is responsible for displaying web pages on a computer's web browser. It is agnostic to the type of web browser used, which makes it more portable for Internet connected computers.

The Java® programming language has specific guidelines on how software applications should be designed and developed. These guidelines specifically define how a web container should be coded. This helps improve consistency and accuracy because developers are forced to follow the rules and guidelines of the code or the program will not function properly.

A web manages the requests made by users on web browsers. This code uses special interface protocols to communicate with external databases and networks on the Internet. This communication protocol is how the container presents screens and data onto the web browser of a computer.

Most enterprise application servers offer some form of the web container to render web pages. This container process follows the guidelines defined by the Java® enterprise application framework (J2EE). The primary responsibility of the container is to manage the communication and logic between the user screens and the backend databases.

The modules inside a web container are typically written as Java® server pages (JSP). This is a scripting language that provides some rudimentary data validation. It is good practice to use JSP scripting for simple input edits that can send immediate responses to users when the data is entered incorrectly.

The web container also controls session management of web pages. This is the process that creates and destroys web pages based on the requests made by users. The container is also responsible for navigations control, which creates and destroys web pages as the users navigate through a site.

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