This How To describes the following:

  1. invoking a servlet that runs outside Cocoon (e.g. in a separate webapp) and process the results in a Cocoon pipeline.
  2. add an existing custom servlet to Cocoon, and similarly process its output

This is a common requirement if you have an existing servlet that generates XML data using custom logic and you'd rather not have to turn it into a Generator or an XSP page.

Invoking A Servlet

Invoking a servlet, or indeed any other kind of web accessible resource (e.g. a CGI app) from a Cocoon Pipeline is simple: you just provide its URL to a Generator.

If you servlet (or CGI) produces XML then just use the default XML generator:

<map:pipeline match="...">
  <map:generate src=""/>
  <!-- rest of pipeline to process results -->

If your servlet produces HTML then you may want to use the HTML Generator instead, as this uses JTidy to produce well-formed output. Simply add a type="html" attribute to the above example.

If you need to pass parameters through to the servlet, then you can use the Request Parameter Action as follows:

<map:pipeline match="...">
  <map:act type="request">
    <map:parameter name="parameters" value="true"/>
    <map:generate src="{requestQuery}"/>  
  <!-- rest of pipeline to process results -->

Notice that the query string is passed through to the servlet by adding the requestQuery sitemap parameter, created by the Action, to the end of the URL.

Adding a Servlet to the Cocoon Webapp

Add the Classes

Firstly you need to ensure the classes for your application are available from the CLASSPATH. You can either put the classes in $COCOON_HOME/WEB-INF/classes or package it up as a jar file and place it in $COCOON_HOME/WEB-INF/lib

Declare the Servlet

You then need to declare that the servlet should be loaded into the Cocoon webapp by editing $COCOON_HOME/WEB-INF/web.xml. You'll need to add XML similar to this:

 <!-- name used to refer to servlet -->
 <!-- fully-specified class name of servlet -->
  <!-- the URL path at which the servlet is mounted -->

This is all standard Java web application config, so consult a reference if you have problems.

When you reload the Cocoon webapp (e.g. restart Tomcat) your new servlet will be accessible from /internal/myServlet.

Integrating the Servlet

Integrating the servlet into your pipeline then follows the procedure outlined at the start of the document. For example you might reference it as:

<map:pipeline match="some/url/path/foo.xml">
  <map:generate src="/internal/myServlet"/>
  <!-- rest of pipeline to process results -->

The key thing to understand is that your servlet has to be mounted at a URL (configured by web.xml) before it can be called from a pipeline.

This How To is basically an edited form of an exchange that took place between Kavitha Ramesh and Everett (Skip) Carter on the cocoon-users mailing list. kavitha confirmed that the advice was correct.

The only changes have been to present the information in a more readable form, and some tweaking of the examples.

IntegrateAServlet (last edited 2009-09-20 23:40:08 by localhost)