Shane O'Sullivan's technical blog… really ties the room together

A Web Server in Firefox for quick prototyping of Ajax apps

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on February 9, 2007

Ajaxian has posted an article about the Plain Old Webserver (POW), a web server that runs from inside Firefox. This is a strange idea at first look, but after trying it out it seems to work quite well.

The most applicable use that jumps out at me is for prototyping Ajax applications from your local file system without having to install Apache (or another web server). So, just click on a single link, restart Firefox, and you have a web server running on your system. You then drop files into it’s folder inside your user ( or ~ ) home folder, and they’re available for browsing in any web browser on your system, not just Firefox. You can also make the files available to other machines.

From an Ajax developers perspective, the main advantage to this over working directly from the file system is that you are testing in a more realistic envrionment, with the same security measures being applied as will be used when your application goes live. For example, IE7 will not let you do XHR requests if you are running from the local file system. Also, you don’t have to go to the trouble (ok so it’s not THAT much trouble) of installing Apache.

One issue I found with the server was when attempting to enable debugging on Dojo using the Firebug console, using the dojo.require(“dojo.debug.console”) command. It froze the browser, and I had to kill it.  However, all other remote XHR requests worked just perfectly.

All in all, this is a very cool concept, and I can definitely see myself using for quick prototyping of Ajax applications.  Well done David Kellog!


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