Cross-Context Dispatch reintroduced to Jetty-12

With the release of Jetty 12.0.8, we’re excited to announce the (re)implementation of a somewhat maligned and deprecated feature: Cross-Context Dispatch. This feature, while having been part of the Servlet specification for many years, has seen varied levels of use and support. Its re-introduction in Jetty 12.0.8, however, marks a significant step forward in our commitment to supporting the diverse needs of our users, especially those with complex legacy and modern web applications.

Understanding Cross-Context Dispatch

Cross-Context Dispatch allows a web application to forward requests to or include responses from another web application within the same Jetty server. Although it has been available as part of the Servlet specification for an extended period, it was deemed optional with Servlet 6.0 of EE10, reflecting its status as a somewhat niche feature.

Initially, Jetty 12 moved away from supporting Cross-Context Dispatch, driven by a desire to simplify the server architecture amidst substantial changes, including support for multiple environments (EE8, EE9, and EE10). These updates mean Jetty can now deploy web applications using either the javax namespace (EE8) or the jakarta namespace (EE9 and EE10), all using the latest optimized jetty core implementations of HTTP: v1, v2 or v3.

Reintroducing Cross-Context Dispatch

The decision to reintegrate Cross-Context Dispatch in Jetty 12.0.8 was influenced significantly by the needs of our commercial clients, some who still leveraging this feature in their legacy applications. Our commitment to supporting our clients’ requirements, including the need to maintain and extend legacy systems, remains a top priority.

One of the standout features of the newly implemented Cross-Context Dispatch is its ability to bridge applications across different environments. This means a web application based on the javax namespace (EE8) can now dispatch requests to, or include responses from, a web application based on the jakarta namespace (EE9 or EE10). This functionality opens up new pathways for integrating legacy applications with newer, modern systems.

Looking Ahead

The reintroduction of Cross-Context Dispatch in Jetty 12.0.8 is more than just a nod to legacy systems; it can be used as a bridge to the future of Java web development. By allowing for seamless interactions between applications across different Servlet environments, Jetty-12 opens the possibility of incremental migration away from legacy web applications.


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