Forecast Cloudy – Developing Simple Java Servlet Application for Google App Engine


I realize that this post is pretty basic, however I think it may be useful to someone starting to develop Web applications on Google App Engine. In my previous post I shown you  how you can use NetBeans to develop for App Engine, this time however I will use Eclipse as with real Google plug-in it’s a lot more slick, despite my preference for NetBeans as Java IDE. In general I am a server side vs. UI guy so my servlet will be very basic, but that I don’t think is the point here as servlets in general are quite easy to do and make more more functional.

So you decided to build Web App on App Engine?  First you need to install Google Plug-In for Eclipse for AppEngine. Installation instructions are available here. In Eclipse Go To Help Menu –>Install Software and add proper link as per table in Google doc: If you are using latest Eclipse (Luna) full instructions are here –

After you install Plug-In you will see new icon on your toolbar in Eclipse:


Next I will create a Dynamic Web Project in Eclipse to house my Servlet. Go To File –> New –>Dynamic Web Project. Resulting dialog looks like this:


After you complete this step, the project-creation wizard will create a simple servlet-based application featuring a Hello World-type servlet.  After you set that up you should see your project structure:


Now on to Java Servlets.  Java servlet is a Java programming language program that extends the capabilities of a server. Although servlets can respond to any types of requests, they most commonly implement applications hosted on Web servers. Such Web servlets are the Java counterpart to other dynamic Web content technologies such as PHP and ASP.NET.

servlet is a Java class that implements the Servlet interface. This interface has three methods that define the servlet’s life cycle:

public void init(ServletConfig config) throws ServletException
This method is called once when the servlet is loaded into the servlet engine, before the servlet is asked to process its first request.

public void service(ServletRequest request, ServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException
This method is called to process a request. It can be called zero, one or many times until the servlet is unloaded. Multiple threads (one per request) can execute this method in parallel so it must be thread safe.

public void destroy()
This method is called once just before the servlet is unloaded and taken out of service.

The init method has a ServletConfig attribute. The servlet can read its initialization arguments through the ServletConfig object. How the initialization arguments are set is servlet engine dependent but they are usually defined in a configuration file.

The doGet method has two interesting parameters: HttpServletRequest and HttpServletResponse. These two objects give you full access to all information about the request and let you control the output sent to the client as the response to the request.

My Servlet as stated is pretty basic:

package com.example.myproject;

import javax.servlet.http.*;

public class HelloAppEngineServletServlet extends HttpServlet {
	public void doGet(HttpServletRequest req, HttpServletResponse resp)
			throws IOException {
		resp.getWriter().println("Hello, AppEngine from GennadyK");

The servlet gets mapped under the URI /simpleservletapp in the web.xml, as you can see below:


The project-creation wizard also provides an index.html file that has a link to the new servlet.

Before I deploy this to App Engine I probably want to debug it locally. Lets find Debug button on toolbar

Hit dropdown arrow and you can setup local server for debugging. If your application uses App Engine but not GWT, the only indication that the App Engine development server is running will be output in the Console view. App Engine-only launches will not appear in the development mode view. The console output includes the URL of the server, which by default is http://localhost:8888/. You can change the port number via Eclipse’s launch configuration dialog by selecting your Web Application launch and editing the Port value on the Main tab.


Simple result here:


Now lets upload this “application” to App Engine. Since I already configured development server I used Google Engine WPT Deploy. Right click on the project and you can pick that option:


I can now watch my status in the status bar:


And read logged messages in Eclipse Console:

May 29, 2015 7:34:53 PM java.util.prefs.WindowsPreferences 
WARNING: Could not open/create prefs root node Software\JavaSoft\Prefs at root 0x80000002. Windows RegCreateKeyEx(...) returned error code 5.
Reading application configuration data...
May 29, 2015 7:34:54 PM readAppEngineWebXml
INFO: Successfully processed C:/Users/gennadyk/workspace/.metadata/.plugins/org.eclipse.wst.server.core/tmp0/helloAppEngineServlet\WEB-INF/appengine-web.xml
May 29, 2015 7:34:54 PM readConfigXml
INFO: Successfully processed C:/Users/gennadyk/workspace/.metadata/.plugins/org.eclipse.wst.server.core/tmp0/helloAppEngineServlet\WEB-INF/web.xml

Beginning interaction for module default...
0% Created staging directory at: 'C:\Users\gennadyk\AppData\Local\Temp\appcfg8550091122421213739.tmp'
5% Scanning for jsp files.
20% Scanning files on local disk.
25% Initiating update.
28% Cloning 3 static files.
31% Cloning 13 application files.
40% Uploading 4 files.
52% Uploaded 1 files.
61% Uploaded 2 files.
68% Uploaded 3 files.
73% Uploaded 4 files.
77% Initializing precompilation...
80% Sending batch containing 4 file(s) totaling 5KB.
90% Deploying new version.
95% Closing update: new version is ready to start serving.
98% Uploading index definitions.

Update for module default completed successfully.
Cleaning up temporary files for module default

Now let me open my browser and go to App Engine Console at


Something I learned along the way – At this time you cannot run Java 8 on GAE. My IT department is a stickler for latest Java installed on my work laptop. Therefore I am running Java 8 SDK and JRE. However when I first build this application in Java 8 and deployed to App Engine trying to run it I got http 500 result. Looking at the logs in dashboard I can see following error:

2015-05-29 16:49:22.442  
Uncaught exception from servlet
java.lang.UnsupportedClassVersionError: com/example/myproject/HelloAppEngineServletServlet : Unsupported major.minor version 52.0
	at java.lang.ClassLoader.defineClass1(Native Method)
	at java.lang.ClassLoader.defineClass(
	at sun.reflect.GeneratedMethodAccessor5.invoke(Unknown Source)
	at sun.reflect.DelegatingMethodAccessorImpl.invoke(
	at java.lang.reflect.Method.invoke(
	at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(
	at org.mortbay.util.Loader.loadClass(
	at org.mortbay.util.Loader.loadClass(
	at org.mortbay.jetty.servlet.Holder.doStart(
	at org.mortbay.jetty.servlet.ServletHolder.doStart(
	at org.mortbay.component.AbstractLifeCycle.start(
	at org.mortbay.jetty.servlet.ServletHandler.initialize(
	at org.mortbay.jetty.servlet.Context.startContext(
	at org.mortbay.jetty.webapp.WebAppContext.startContext(
	at org.mortbay.jetty.handler.ContextHandler.doStart(
	at org.mortbay.jetty.webapp.WebAppContext.doStart(
	at org.mortbay.component.AbstractLifeCycle.start(

Did a bit of digging and here is what I found out.

I believe these are the current version numbers:

J2SE 7 = 51,  //Note this one

J2SE 6.0 = 50,

J2SE 5.0 = 49,

JDK 1.4 = 48,

JDK 1.3 = 47,

JDK 1.2 = 46,

JDK 1.1 = 45

51.0 appears to be Java 7, which would mean in my case I am using 8 as its seeing 52. So issue here is that I compiled on higher version JDK (52 = Java 8) and then execute it on lower JRE version (GAE uses java 7). Repointing PATH to Java 7 did the trick, moreover as it was suggested elsewhere on the web I just created a batch file for this purpose as

SET JAVA_HOME="C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0_55"
START eclipse.exe

For more information see –,,,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s