From Tomcat 7 there is no mention of not being able to use the VirtualWebappLoader in production. I tried it and it works like a dream. Simply add the following to META-INF/context.xml:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <Context antiJARLocking="true" path="/websandbox"> <Loader className="org.apache.catalina.loader.VirtualWebappLoader" virtualClasspath="/usr/.../*.jar;/usr/.../*.jar"/> </Context>
In Netbeans, under packaging, I just untick all the packages, taking the .war size down to nothing, make sure the dependencies are in the correct folders on the server and upload. Yey! No more 100 MB WAR file.