Q: How do I use Axis without an application server?
A: Axis has a secret standalone mode. It is a secret because it primarily exists for standalone testing and is not in active development. It has a very crude implementation of the servlet API, so that it can host the AxisServlet that implements the HTTP transport.
For more information and further warnings about how it is unsupported look in the SimpleAxisServer class in the axis.transport.http package.
Note: The following messages imply that the simple axis server (for Axis2 anyway. I am not sure if these changes were backported to Axis 1.x) was modified to be more robust than previously and that the above caveats about it not being for production use might no longer be accurate: