W3C Releases Jigsaw 2.0 Web Server

Author(s) and publish date


http://www.w3.org/ -- 21 January 1999 -- W3C released a stable open source version of Jigsaw, the award-winning Java Web server it developed for experimenting with new server technologies. Jigsaw version 2.0 provides an architecture that greatly facilitates evaluation of new Web protocols. Furthermore, Jigsaw offers faster Web access through the use of HTTP/1.1 and an open source implementation of the Java servlet interface. "Jigsaw allows anybody to try out ideas on how to make the Web faster", says Yves Lafon, Chief Architect of Jigsaw. "This open competition of ideas is needed to keep the Web successful".

Jigsaw is implemented in Java, so will run on most platforms out of the box. Jigsaw 2.0 has been tested on Windows 95, Windows NT and Solaris 2.x. Successful installations on OS/2, MacOS, BeOS, and AIX have also been reported. Thanks to smart caching mechanisms, Jigsaw runs at least as fast as other popular Web servers.

Designed for New Ideas

Evaluating specifications of Web technology by implementation is a very important part of W3C's mission. Jigsaw is designed to make it easy to implement and evaluate new ideas for Web protocols and servers. New protocol parts can be added to the server without restarting it or affecting the served content.

W3C has been using Jigsaw for to evaluate many of its technologies. These include:

Development of new HTTP/1.1 protocol standard.
Designed in the IETF with significant contributions by the W3C Team, HTTP/1.1 provides significant performance benefits over the previous version. The HTTP/1.1 implementation in Jigsaw has been used to demonstrate these performance benefits.
Distributed publishing.
Jigsaw provides a simple interface for publishing documents on the Web. The W3C Team and external editors of W3C specifications use Jigsaw in their day-to-day work to publish documents on the W3C web site.
Base for PICS label bureau.
PICS is the W3C technology for content-labeling, and a label bureau allows third parties to label Web content. Jigsaw can be used to run a PICS label bureau.
RDF syntax checker.
RDF is the W3C technology for describing metadata. W3C offers a Jigsaw-based public service to validate the syntax of RDF documents.
HTTP extension testbed.
W3C has developed a framework for systematic extensions to the HTTP protocol. The technology is currently under review by the IETF, and an implementation in Jigsaw is used to test it.
Shared Web caches via IP multicast.
Sharing different Web caches between users can greatly improve their performance. Jigsaw contains an IP multicast-based protocol for cache sharing.

There are also numerous Jigsaw-based experiments outside of W3C. The fact that Jigsaw has been available as free open-source software from the beginning allows everyone to benefit from its extensibility and contribute to its development.

Better Performance through HTTP/1.1 Standard

Users served by Jigsaw 2.0 will welcome the performance gain provided by the HTTP/1.1 standard, which makes better use of Internet resources than HTTP 1.0.

The HTTP 1.1 protocol:

  • Allows persistent connections ("keep alive") so that several HTTP requests may be sent over the same connection. This reduces time spent on redundant connections.
  • Fills IP packets more effectively (reducing the number of packets sent),
  • Implements pipelining, which means multiple requests may be sent without waiting for replies from the server (reducing the total elapsed time between the initial request and the final reply).

Note that since Jigsaw and HTTP are both W3C Activities, their architects worked closely to fine-tune Jigsaw's implementation of the latest version of the protocol.

For more information about performance benefits offered by HTTP 1.1., please consult W3C's investigation of performance effects of HTTP 1.1, CSS1, and PNG. There is also a more general discussion of benefits in an article entitled W3C Recommendations Reduce 'World Wide Wait'

Servlets Support

Jigsaw 2.0 supports the latest version of the Java servlet API.

Jigsaw also supports CGI scripts, server-side includes, and "Jigsaw Resources", which provide a fast and most powerful way to perform server-side tasks.

Easy Administration

The JigAdmin tool that comes with Jigsaw 2.0 gives administrators control over all the resources handled by the server as well as the server's own configuration (timeouts, etc.). JigAdmin provides a simple interface so that administrators don't need to edit configuration files by hand. And, they don't have to restart the server every time they change the configuration or add new resources to be served. Jigsaw is also a snap to configure to run as a proxy server.

For more information about Jigsaw, see http://www.w3.org/Jigsaw/


About the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, reference code implementations to embody and promote standards, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 300 organizations are Members of the Consortium.

For more information about the World Wide Web Consortium, see http://www.w3.org/


Josef Dietl, <jdietl@w3.org>, +33
America --
Ian Jacobs, <jacobs@w3.org>, +1.212.684.1814
Europe --
Ned Mitchell, <ned@ala.com>, +33 1 43 22 79 56
Andrew Lloyd, <allo@ala.com>, +44 127 367 5100

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