My experiment with Railo + Tomcat, Part 1: Setup


My experiment with Railo + Tomcat, Part 1: Setup

by Logan Lynn

Today is my 6 month anniversary at Interworks and I’ve decided to commemorate it by showing off some of what I’ve been learning.  When I started at Interworks I didn’t know anything about web development and quickly realized I didn’t know much about programming either, so the last six months have essentially been IT/Dev boot camp for me.  I mainly do ColdFusion application development and I’ve really been trying hard to learn as much as I can about the language and environments that I work in.  I initially wasn’t sure what I thought about doing ColdFusion development, but as I have progressed and learned more I’ve started to discover that it is a great learning language and is actually quite powerful.  Unfortunately it’s way too expensive for a poor college student, such as myself, to do much with it.  On the whole it seems like CF hosting is much more expensive than hosting for similar languages. I’ve been mulling over a few ideas for side projects the last couple of months and realized I either need to learn a new language or shell out some serious cash to be able to use ColdFusion. I thought all was lost, until I discovered Railo.


What is Railo?

Railo is an open source CFML engine that does pretty much everything that CF server does.

Why Railo?

I particularly like the idea of being able to do CF development on my own time and have a cheap reliable alternative at my disposal.  I honestly haven’t worked with it enough to determine if it would be a viable solution for enterprise- level application development-but hey, it’s worth a try, right?


I am setting everything up on an Ubuntu 8.10 server and I am going to assume that you already have Apache installed.

Installing Tomcat

We need to install the Tomcat servlet container.  But before we do that you will want to make sure you have Java 6 installed.  To check if you have java installed use:

dpkg –get-selections | grep sun-java

If nothing appears then you will need to download it, simply run

sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jdk

Hit enter and it should install.

Once Java 6 is installed we can download tomcat, I decided to just download it from the apache site, since I haven’t always had the best luck with the repositories.  To download run:


Now we need to set the JAVA_HOME variable which we will set in the .bashrc file by running

vim  ~/.bashrc

We will now insert:

export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun

Now all we have to do is run the file in /apache-tomcat-6.0.20/bin/

Let’s check and make sure everything is running smoothly, go to http://localhost:8080/ in your browser, if you see the tomcat page you’re good to go.


Installing Railo

Installing Railo is simple, just download the WAR (web archive) from the Railo website into the webapps folder in your tomcat directory:


In a few seconds it will extract itself and is ready to go simply point your browser to


And that’s it, you now have a completely free test environment for ColdFusion development. 


I want to thank Sean Corfield for providing very detailed and informative tutorials on his blog about configuring Railo with Tomcat


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Logan Lynn

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