If you use JBoss IDE you can configure the debugger to reload your classes.
See the JBoss IDE tutorial for more info.
Yes, I think PHP is better for fast development :(
You should deploy the ear package and all sub packages as exploded packages. Changes made in the jsp pages in the exploded package is immidiatly visible.
I am using MyEclipse for my J2EE development. One of its big advantages is its hot deployement. It also automaticly deploys you jsp, jsf, xhtml, html, etc files to the server. A disadvantage is that you need to follow the MyEclipse project folder, but that isn't a real big problem. MyEclipse isn't free however, but it isn't expensive also.
I also saw a plugin once that can synchronize the contents of one or more directories from your eclipse project to an external folder. It is free, but I don't know the name of the plugin anymore :(... But it could be usefull if you use it together with a exploded ear.
Hmm, how do I deploy them as exploded packages? Do I just leave it as a directory and copy that directory over?
As for synchronizing files, that's easy to do with standard Linux tools (I run on Linux). I can just make something do a find in the directory once a second for any file modified in the last second and copy it over.
One option is to use an exploded directory off off /deploy like this:
If you don't want to work out of the JBoss /deploy directory, you can tell the JBoss deployer to also look in your project directory:
You will edit the conf/jboss-service.xml file. The last MBean in the file controls the deployer. To see doc on all the options you can set, go to http://www.jboss.org/wiki/Wiki.jsp?page=ConfiguringTheDeploymentScannerInConfjbossSystem.xml
Thanks Stan. That's what I needed to know: the directory name. It should be my-app.ear/ . I'll try that out. As for copying files, I can make it automatically update the JSPs only with about two lines of shell script. Such is the joy of Linux.