No problem. I haven't used jsp in awhile or I would've been more help. One thing to keep in mind when looking at those tutorials is that different version of Tomcat support different versions of JSP. I'm also thinking Tomcat is generally at least one full version behind other JSP containers. This was a stumbling block for me awhile back when I was translating a PHP application to a JSP container.
That's kind of the same boat I am in mentally. Trying to figure out how I would do things in PHP, then translate over. Doesn't seem to work that way... either that or the dude that wrote this thing previously was simply an idiot. It's happened before I suppose.
I have found that most of the PHP code I run into is function based where JSP is almost always inherently OOP. It makes a huge difference when translating and sometimes it is a ton more efficient to restructure based off of use-cases or functionality instead of line-by-line translation. That will also allow you to take advantage of what each language does well and avoid what those languages do not do well.
I'm also thinking Tomcat is generally at least one full version behind other JSP containers.
Actually the latest version of Tomcat does offer alot as its own container compared to others except its just not a full J2EE with EJBs etc like WebLogic.
I am not a fan of PHP but I hear it does quite well for many people.