I intend to make browser based MMO game. Something from Master of Orion genre but with more accent on command ship operations.
I've done some tests and research and turns out that indeed, for dictionary type data (like technology tree nodes, inventory items, mission definitions) the XML files seem best approach. But there will be whole lot of them and they are inter-dependent so performance-wise there is no option to load them on each HTTP request.
I want system where application starts, loads definitions to dictionaries from XML and keeps it in memory for the whole time the application works. Application awaits requests and responds them with XHTML using the dictionary data from array/collection kept in memory. All the other data like players' data, alliances' data etc. comes normally from relational DB. I think this model would put much less strain on DB and whole application would be much less resource-hungry.
So PHP I know and used is not an option, right?. Is my only option some Java server technology like JSF? I coded in Java previously, but it was Java SE and it didn't make good impression on me. So are there alternatives? If not what specific Java server technology would be most suited?