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Application servers are system software upon which web applications or desktop applications run. Application servers consist of web server connectors, computer programming languages, runtime libraries, database connectors, and the administration code needed to deploy, configure, manage, and connect these components on a web host. An application server runs behind a web Server (e.g. Apache or Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS)) and (almost always) in front of an SQL database (e.g. PostgreSQL, MySQL, or Oracle). Web applications are computer code which run atop application servers and are written in the language(s) the application server supports and call the runtime libraries and components the application server offers.
Many application servers exist. The choice impacts the cost, performance, reliability, scalability, and maintainability of a web application.
Proprietary application servers provide system services in a well-defined but proprietary manner. The application developers develop programs according to the specification of the application server. Dependence on a particular vendor is the drawback of this approach.
An opposite but analogous case is the Java EE platform. Java EE application servers provide system services in a well-defined, open, industry standard. The application developers develop programs according to the Java EE specification and not according to the application server. A Java EE application developed according to Java EE standard can be deployed in any Java EE application server making it vendor independent.
This article compares the features and functionality of application servers, grouped by the hosting environment that is offered by that particular application server.
|Product||Vendor||Edition||Last release||Java EE
|ColdFusion||Adobe Systems||2016.0.1||2016-05-01||7 partial platform||3.1||2.3||No||Proprietary, commercial|
|Enterprise Server||Borland||6.7||2007-01||1.4||2.4||2.0||No||Proprietary, commercial|
|Geronimo||ASF||3.0.1||2013-05-28||6 full platform||3.0||2.2||No||Free, Apache|
|GlassFish||GlassFish Community||4.1.1||2015-10||7 full platform||3.1||2.3||No||Free, CDDL, GPL + classpath exception|
|iPlanet Web Server||Oracle Corporation||7.0.21||2015-04||Yes||2.5||2.1||No||Proprietary, commercial|
|JBoss Enterprise Application Platform||Red Hat||7.0.0||2016-05||7 full platform||3.1||2.3||Yes||Free, LGPL|
|Jetty||Eclipse Foundation||9.3.3||2015-08-27||7 partial platform||3.1||2.3||Yes||Free, Apache 2.0, EPL|
|JEUS||TmaxSoft||8||2013-08||7 full platform||3.0||2.2||No||Proprietary, commercial|
|5.3||2013-10-04||6 Web Profile||3.0||2.2||No||Free, LGPL|
|JRun||Adobe Systems||4 updater 7||2007-11-06||1.3||2.3||1.2||No||Proprietary, commercial|
|NetWeaver Application Server||SAP AG||7.4||2013-01-11||5||2.5||2.1||No||Proprietary, commercial|
|Oracle Containers for J2EE||Oracle Corporation||10.1.3.5.0||2009-08||1.4||2.4||2.0||No||Proprietary, commercial|
|Orion Application Server||IronFlare||2.0.7||2006-03-09||1.3||2.3||1.2||No||Proprietary, commercial|
|Payara||Payara||22.214.171.124||2017-05-22||7 full platform||3.1||2.3||No||Free, CDDL, GPL + classpath exception|
|Resin Servlet Container (open source)||Caucho Technology||4.0.36||2013-04-25||6 Web Profile||3.0||2.2||No||Free, GPL|
|Resin Professional Application Server||Caucho Technology||4.0.36||2013-04-25||6 Web Profile||3.0||2.2||No||Proprietary, commercial|
|Tomcat||ASF||8.5.9||2016-12-08||7 partial platform||3.1||2.3||Yes||Free, Apache v2|
|TomEE||ASF||1.7.4||2016-03||6 Web Profile||3.0||2.2||No||Free, Apache|
|WebLogic Server||Oracle Corporation
(formerly BEA Systems)
|126.96.36.199||2016-06-21 ||7 full platform||3.1||2.3||No||Proprietary, commercial|
|WebObjects||Apple Inc.||5.4.3||2008-09-15||Partial||No||Proprietary, commercial|
|IBM WebSphere Application Server||IBM||9.0||2016-06-24||6 & 7 full platform||3.1||2.3||No||Proprietary, commercial|
|WebSphere AS Community Edition||IBM||188.8.131.52||2013-06-21||6 full platform||3.0||2.2||No||Proprietary, commercial|
(formerly JBoss AS)
|10.1||2016-08-19||7 full platform||3.1||2.3||Yes||Free, LGPL|
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