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When we make some changes to .properties file in tomcat, the server should be restarted.

The question is why the server needs to be restarted ?

What should I do if I want to make on-the-fly changes ( i.e. without restarting tomcat server ) to tomcat server's properties, assume file ?

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Most applications only read configuration files once as it would be a performance overhead to continually re-check if they've been updated. Also, some configuration items may too complex to implement dynamically.

If you're using log4j then it's possible to update log levels and appenders using JMX. If you have control over the source of the J2EE application then you could use Apache Commons Configuration which supports reloading of configuration files.

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