Spring Java Config: Tomcat deploy without web.xml

I built a java configured Spring MVC application without any XML. I can deploy and start the application on my laptop without any problems. But as soon as I try to deploy my application on my testserver (tomcat 7), I receive following message:

HTTP Status 404 - The requested resource (/[application context]/) is not available.

I build my applications using the Eclipse Maven plugin. Is it possible to deploy the application without the web.xml and if not, which is the basic web.xml I really need?

Maven WAR Plugin:



@Order(value = 1)
public class WebAppInitializer extends AbstractAnnotationConfigDispatcherServletInitializer {

    public void onStartup(ServletContext servletContext) throws ServletException {

    protected Class<?>[] getRootConfigClasses() {
        return new Class[] { HibernateConfig.class, SecurityConfig.class, HibernateDaoConfig.class };

    protected Class<?>[] getServletConfigClasses() {
        return new Class[] { WebAppConfig.class };

    protected String[] getServletMappings() {
        return new String[] { "/" };

    protected Filter[] getServletFilters() {
        return new Filter[]{};

Update: catalina.out

Feb 3, 2014 4:18:32 PM org.apache.catalina.loader.WebappClassLoader clearReferencesThreads
SEVERE: The web application [/[appname]] appears to have started a thread named [Abandoned connection cleanup thread] but has failed to stop it. This is very likely to create a memory leak.
Feb 3, 2014 4:18:33 PM org.apache.catalina.startup.HostConfig checkResources
INFO: Undeploying context [/[appname]]
Feb 3, 2014 4:18:45 PM org.apache.catalina.startup.HostConfig deployWAR
INFO: Deploying web application archive [appname].war


If this still isn't solved, it is possibly due to the Servlet version. The Servlet 3.x API is required to have the possibility to configure a java web application by writing a java class instead of having a web.xml file inside the WEB-INF folder.

see here for a complete example.

I'd upgrade to the latest Tomcat version and see if that works (to isolate your issue). There are many issues with using the new spring features (ex: java config, etc.) with older Tocmat servers. For example, see: http://docs.spring.io/autorepo/docs/spring-framework/3.1.x/javadoc-api/org/springframework/web/WebApplicationInitializer.html

Mapping to '/' under Tomcat

Apache Tomcat maps its internal DefaultServlet to "/", and on Tomcat versions <= 7.0.14, this >>servlet mapping cannot be overridden programmatically. 7.0.15 fixes this issue. Overriding the "/" >>servlet mapping has also been tested successfully under GlassFish 3.1.

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