Embedded Web Server UI specification

This is a specification of the user interface of the embedded web server (httpserver) module, for NetBeans 6.0. The module is undergoing a rewrite in order to eliminate closed source components, so the UI changes are done as a part of this rewrite.

Use cases and scenarios

  • User wants to see Javadoc documentation from a zip file - the IDE exposes HTML files inside a zip through the embedded server, so the browser can access them. Some browsers can not handle files insize zip. The IDE starts the embedded server automatically when needed.
  • HTTP monitor displays data collected on the server in the IDE - the HTTP monitor server component posts data to the IDE through the embedded HTTP server. The IDE starts the embedded server automatically when needed.
  • Port conflicts must be prevented - there must be a mechanism that prevents port conflicts with other processes.

Removed UI

The following user interface belonging to the httpserver module will be removed:

  • The "HTTP Server" node in the Runtime tab. As a part of this, properties 'Hosts with Granted Access' and 'Show Grant Access Dialog' are removed, as these are presumably not used often, and users will not miss them. We can consider re-adding them if we get negative feedback.
  • The "HTTP Server" node under Tools | Options | Advanced Options | IDE Configuration | Server and External Tool Settings

New Behavior

The removed UI will not be replaced by any other UI.

The embedded server will automatically detect a free port, which will accomplish the third use case.

By default, the server is stopped when the IDE is started, but the server will be started automatically, in case the user uses an action that requires the server to run. Examples of such actions include:

  • Viewing Javadoc from a zip file in external web browser (except for web browsers that support viewing content of zip files). In such a case, the page is served through the embedded web server.
  • Running a server which has the HTTP monitor enabled.

The server can not be stopped manually, except by quitting the IDE.

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