Automatic jsp recompile on Jboss AS 7

Most of the applications I work on are based on jsp's and usually run on Jboss AS of various versions. And even though the newer applications are maven based and run on Jboss AS 7, almost nothing have changed in a matter of development. At least I thought that nothing have changed, but that was only because my carelessness.
When you are developing web tier, there is no compiler telling you what is wrong in the real time, you depend on syntax validation only. And that enables you to do a lot of small mistakes that usually end up with error 500 and a need to redeploy the application.
But this is the case only until you discover the right configuration!
We are currently using Jboss AS 7.1.1.Final as our target runtime, but as soon as I have searched for automatic jsp recompiling, I found a known issue which affects the very same version.
This leaves you with a handful of solutions. These are the ones I find viable.
  • use the version 7.1.0.Final for development
  • use the version 6.1.0 Alpha (EAP alpha built from AS7)
  • modify your Jboss 7.1.1.Final according to this post
I personally chose to use EAP 6.1.0 Alpha, mostly because I did not wanted to use older version (7.1.0.Final) and I prefer not to tamper with core server libraries. And I generally assume that newer is better. EAP 6.1.0 Alpha corresponds to Jboss AS version 7.2.0.Alpha and I have not found any compatibility issues yet. And if you are wondering why I have not chosen the version 6.1.0 Final, it is because only the Alpha is easily downloadable (without registration).

Now the configuration itself. You can either edit standalone.xml or you can use the server's web console.

Manual standalone.xml edit. You just need to insert these three lines into subsystem "urn:jboss:domain:web". This configuration is nearly the same whether you chose Jboss AS 7.1.x or EAP 6.1.0 (the only difference is the version of the subsystem: EAP 6.1 runs 1.4 while AS 7.1.x runs 1.1).
<!-- the next line already exists -->
<subsystem xmlns="urn:jboss:domain:web:1.4" default-virtual-server="default-host" native="false">
   <jsp-configuration development="true" check-interval="1" modification-test-interval="1" recompile-on-fail="true"/>

Web console approach is a bit easier and more transparent. The only thing you need is an user with web-console access. Than is is only a matter of a few steps.
  1. select the Profile tab on top
  2. select the Web in the menu on the right
  3. select Servlet/HTTP
  4. click Edit button
  5. check the Development? checkbox
  6. (optional) under the Advanced choose a custom Check Interval
  7. click Save button
  8. restart/reload the server

That's it! All you need to do now is to start up the server and modify your jsp's all you want without the need for the redeployment. Cheers!


  1. I am using jboss-as-7.1.1 and after making the changes it is not working.

    1. Hey, are you sure you have done what suggests? Modifications in my post apply only to EAP 6.1.0 Alpha. If you want to use jboss-as-7.1.1, you have to replace one library as mobiarch propose.

  2. Great Article on JSP recompile. DO you have any article on JSF compilation process please

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  10. Hi
    I dont find this line <subsystem xmlns="urn:jboss:domain:web:1.4" on jboss7.0. can any one pls point out where can i find that tag in standalone.xml

    Ravi S.P


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