I am not really a beginner, but I am fairly sure this is a simple question, and I am just missing something simple.
I am running a web server on a VPS. I want to check if there are any new files on the server and if there are, add some records to a database. I have writen a java app. and a script  that sets the CLASSPATH and runs the app. This runs fine from the command line, but fails when run as a cron job. I have writen a little test app. that demonstates the problem . The exception is at  with some more debugging info from the script.
 firstname.lastname@example.org [~/public_html]# ll /home/server/lib/mysql-connector-java-3.0.15-ga-bin.jar -rwxrwxrwx 1 server server 235712 Aug 7 13:17 /home/server/lib/mysql-connector-java-3.0.15-ga-bin.jar*
[ August 09, 2006: Message edited by: Huw Morgan ] [ August 09, 2006: Message edited by: Huw Morgan ]
I've seen this, check the permissions on the /home/server/lib/mysql-connector-java-3.0.15-ga-bin.jar and the folders leading to it. If the user that is running the Cron jobs doesn't have read permission on everything, you can get this.
As I posted in  above, I have put a copy of the .jar in a directory owned by the user "server", and it has all permisions (-rwxrwxrwx 1 server server 235712 Aug 7 13:17 /home/server/lib/mysql-connector-java-3.0.15-ga-bin.jar).
I have put whoami in the script, and this returns "server", so it must be that user who is running it.
One thought on why your solution worked. It has been a while since I played with UNIX, but I seem to recall having a similar issue going from running a script manually to running it in the cron task. The issue, as I recall, appeared to be that the classpath was never picked up from the shell script by the java routine.
Try doing an "export" of the CLASSPATH environmental variable. I believe the issue came down to either a problem being allowed to set the environmental variable or the need for the CLASSPATH to be known outside of the shell.