Fix NameNotFoundException: Incorrect Lookup Name

javax.naming.NameNotFoundException is the most thrown exception I've seen in J2EE and JavaEE applications. In this series, I will explain some common causes and how to solve it.

Incorrect lookup names can take many forms. One of them is missing the standard prefix java:comp/env/when looking up resources or EJB in components' environment.

public class HelloServlet extends HttpServlet {
protected void processRequest(
HttpServletRequest request,
HttpServletResponse response)
throws ServletException, IOException {
PrintWriter out = null;
try {
out = response.getWriter();
Context ic = new InitialContext();

//this line is wrong!
DataSource dataSource = (DataSource) ic.lookup("jdbc/default-datasource");
Connection connection = dataSource.getConnection();
out.println("Successfully looked up the default datasource: " + dataSource +
", and got the connection: " + connection);
} catch (NamingException e) {
throw new ServletException(e);
} catch (SQLException e) {
throw new ServletException(e);

protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
throws ServletException, IOException {
processRequest(request, response);
And the web.xml is as follows:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<web-app version="2.5" xmlns="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee"
mapped-name subelement maps the local resource reference name jdbc/default-datasource used in Servlet code to the global JNDI name jdbc/__default configured in application server. mapped-name is a new way for mapping resource and EJB references in Java EE 5. jdbc/__default is the default datasource pre-configured in JavaEE SDK 5, Glassfish, and Sun Java System Application Server. Nothing is wrong with this configuration.

But when I deploy and run the above web app to JavaEE SDK 5, I get the following error:
at com.sun.enterprise.naming.TransientContext.resolveContext(TransientContext.java:255)
at com.sun.enterprise.naming.TransientContext.lookup(TransientContext.java:178)
at com.sun.enterprise.naming.SerialContextProviderImpl.lookup(SerialContextProviderImpl.java:61)
at com.sun.enterprise.naming.LocalSerialContextProviderImpl.lookup(LocalSerialContextProviderImpl.java:98)
at com.sun.enterprise.naming.SerialContext.lookup(SerialContext.java:309)
at com.sun.enterprise.naming.NamingManagerImpl.lookup(NamingManagerImpl.java:885)
at com.sun.enterprise.naming.java.javaURLContext.lookup(javaURLContext.java:156)
at com.sun.enterprise.naming.SerialContext.lookup(SerialContext.java:307)
at javax.naming.InitialContext.lookup(InitialContext.java:351)
at com.foo.servlet.HelloServlet.processRequest(HelloServlet.java:29)
The root cause is the wrong lookup name is used in HelloServlet. To fix this bug, just change the lookup code to use absolute name:
DataSource dataSource = (DataSource)
Alternatively, you can also lookup the subcontext first, and then lookup the short resource reference name:
Context subcontext =
(Context) ic.lookup("java:comp/env");
DataSource dataSource = (DataSource)

All posts in this series for NameNotFoundException:

Fix NameNotFoundException: Incorrect Lookup Name

Fix NameNotFoundException: Reference Not Declared

Fix NameNotFoundException: Wrong Mapping in Deployment Plan


Anonymous said...

You can additionally browse/view the jndi tree on the app server to see under which 'name' your object is deployed.


Anonymous said...

You save a lot of my time. Thanks!

Anna said...

Great and Useful Article.

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