Date Created: Tue 27-Nov-2007

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What are Enterprise Archive (EAR) files?

An Enterprise Archive file represents a J2EE application that can be deployed in a WebSphere application server. EAR files are standard Java archive files and have the file extension .ear. An EAR file can consist of the following:

  • One or more Web modules
  • One or more EJB modules
  • One or more application client modules
  • Additional JAR files required by the application
  • Any combination of the above

The modules that make up the EAR file are themselves packaged in archive files specific to their types--for example, a Web module contains Web archive files and an EJB module contains Java archive files. EAR files also contain a deployment descriptor (an XML file) that describes the contents of the application and contains instructions for the entire application, such as security settings to be used in the run-time environment.

When an EJB module or Web module is installed as a stand-alone application, it is automatically wrapped in an Enterprise Archive (EAR) file.

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