I know exactly what he's talking about. He wants his servlets to automagically reload when he changes them and he doesn't want to restart the server because that is not intuitive and not something that seems logical. I got tripped up on this when I started and I just couldn't figure out why Tomcat wouldn't reload my web app by default.
Would I restart apache everytime I change a php script? I think not.
The way you have to do this is to set up a context for your web application then set it's reloadable property to true. I won't tell you exactly how to do this because I am also starting out and I don't want to tell you the wrong way to go about it and there are many tutorials on google.com which describe how to do this.
I also beleive that <DefaultContext reloadable="True"> inside conf/web.xml will also do it but don't quote me on it.
Check this out: http://www.jspbook.com/freechapters.jsp
There is an entire free JSP/Servlet book for download. I have been reading through this and it's given me the exact information I needed to understand what the hell this server side java stuff is all about. I suggest you also read this. It's worth the price of free!!!
[ February 21, 2005: Message edited by: Frank Hale ]