"Ooh err Missus" as comedian Frankie Howerd would have said, but enough of British innuendo and double entendre because Long Polling Tomcat isn't some kind of sexual deviance with next door's moggy, it's a technique (or more of a hack) that's been developed as a result of Steve Jobs's refusal to support Adobe Flash Player on the iPhone and iPad. The thing is, using Flash Player as part of a web application was a really good way of supporting the Publish and Subscribe paradigm as it was able to cater for those scenarios that require live updates, such as live stock prices, news updates and changes to betting odds, whereas straight forward HTTP, with its request/reply paradigm, is a good way of supporting static pages. A good number of companies put a lot of effort in to developing applications that used Flash in order to provide their users with realtime data. When Apple announced that iOS would not support Adobe Flash they were left high and dry without an iPhone solution and to get back into the mobile market I imagine that a good number of them went for long polling.
So, what is a long poll? Well, it isn't a tall guy from Warsaw, the idea is to mimic the Publish and Subscribe pattern. The scenario goes like this: