server: Runs an HTTP server to perform STILTS commands
server runs an HTTP server which makes some or all
of the various STILTS tasks available to
local or remote clients making HTTP requests rather than using the
more usual command line interface.
When you run
server it will start up a server which
runs until it is interrupted, and write to the screen the base URL
at which it can be accessed, for instance
If you point your browser here you will see some examples (hyperlinks to
server requests) of how to use the server.
Currently there are two main sets of capabilities:
application/x-www-form-urlencoded(see e.g. the HTML FORM specification). Some examples are given in the Client Examples subsection below. Either HTTP GET or POST methods may be used; since the task invocations will normally be idempotent, GET is more respectable, but long URLs can cause trouble in some circumstances (MS IE apparently imposes a limit of about 2000 characters) so POST may be preferable for lengthy invocations.
You might want to run STILTS in server mode if you are providing
a web service to external users which is able to access files residing
on the server, for instance generating table plots or row selections
on the fly.
This can be done without the server mode, for instance by invoking
stilts script or java from a CGI script to serve
each request, but using server mode has two advantages:
first it provides correct HTTP headers such as Content-Types,
and secondly it avoids the Java startup overheads for each invocation.
Note however that in its current form no great attention has been paid
to security, so it may be possible for clients to read and write files
and expend significant system resources by making certain requests to the
server. Anyone exposing the STILTS HTTP server directly to external
clients should bear this in mind.
For more flexibility you can run STILTS in servlet mode.
See the javadocs and sources of the
server command is a fairly thin wrapper around this,
which simply deploys the servlet in an embedded web application container
By using the servlet class in your own custom web application instead you
can customise the way it is accessed, for instance providing improved
server command and associated servlet code are
at time of writing (v2.0) experimental, and probably buggy and missing some
features which ought to be present.
If you have requirements which are not currently provided, please
contact the author for discussion.