The content of your deployment will be copied over to an internal (to AS) location by the deployment process. Copying over the class files to the original deployment won't take any effect until you redeploy it (like you already found out). I'm curious as to what kind of an application is this?
I will try include JRebel, really annoying that in 2012 it´s still no common feature .. I guess every one would like to change code while runtime without restarting/redeploy ;-)
We have a tool which will produce/generate our business classes and gui and that for we have a preview feature. Every label change ends with jboss in a redeploy now and our enterprise app needs at least 30sec to come up on a fast SSD , so it is not really a benefit to have
such a preview function...
Never mind, I will try JRebel or something similar for the development.