A war file is kinda like a zip file with a spcific stricture and a different zip algorythm. Both WinRar and WinZip can open it if you are using windows. I like WinRar.
If you are using a linux like OS use Java's jar command.
jar -tf warfilename.war
As for modifying the war file, you can use WinRar and WinZip to delet files in the archive. If you have an editor set as default editor for .java files you can double click the file and it will open in your editor. Then when you save the file, it will update the archive. But, you probably do not have any .java files in your archive. Well, you shouldn't anyway. You can edit anything that is not compiled.
By far the best way is to edit the files first and then use an ant build script to build the war file. [ July 26, 2005: Message edited by: Rusty Enisin ]
The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Well, that or replaced...