Some J2EE environments use formal deployment tools in order to deploy servlets, EJBs, Web applications, etc. Other environments have a mechanism known as "hot deployment" which polls certain directories at given intervals looking for new Web application archive (WAR) files and when they are found, they are automatically deployed.
It sounds like your environment at home used hot deployment. The method of deployment does not necessarily indicate which environment is better; it might simply indicate which is easier. In order to determine which environment is better, you need to look at many other indicators such as performance, security, technical support, company viability, etc.
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