W3C’s Jigsaw Web Server

Blane Warrene

Unknown to many a web developer is an experimental but robust and evolving alternative web server form the W3 — Jigsaw.

The project was started in 1996 and remains active and expanding with the release of version 2.2.4 this year. Jigsaw is a Java-based, platform neutral web server capable of running on just about any system that supports Java.

Jigsaw’s main mission is to demonstrate new protocol features, according to the W3 (i.e. HTTP/1.1). Thus — this is not necessarily the next Apache. However, the philosophy behind its architecture should be fascinating to any web admin. It is a bit like starting over as the approach to web sites, content and other facets of a typical web site is quite different from those of us used to Apache, Sun or Microsoft web servers.

True to the W3’s usability philosophy, a nice tool called JigAdmin is available for administration and configuration tasks – also Java driven.

Most interesting is that it supports SSL, can be run in a chroot jail and is also very extensible, with tutorials for programmers to add functionality to the application.

For those who groaned at the thought of a Java web server – the W3 benchmarked it and found it performed as well as the CERN server. It is important to remember though that this is not necessarily intended for production.