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Revision as of 11:20, 14 February 2007 by Michael (Talk | contribs) (Authenticator)

This page is being used to capture the requirements for Platform level proxy support (bug 154100)

CVS Requirements

The CVS/Core and CVS/SSH2 use the proxies provided by the Jsch plug-in to make proxy connections. Currently, there is support for two types of proxies: HTTP and SOCKS5. We would require API that allowed us to do something like this:

ProxyInfo[] infos = ProxyInfo.getProxiesFor(String hostName);
ProxyInfo info = getSupportProxy(infos); // method would look for the HTTP or SOCKS5 proxy
if (info == null) {
    // Attempt a direct connection.
    // If the connection failed and there were proxies specified, let the user know that
    // we only support HTTP and SOCKS4
} else if (info.getType() == ProxyInfo.HTTP) {
   // Use host, port, username and password to create an HTTP proxy using Jsch
} else if (info.getType() == Proxy.SOCKS5) {
   // Use host, port, username and password to create a SOCKS5 proxy using Jsch

The API we would require is that ability to retrieve the set of proxies that are available for a particular host. This doesn't imply that we need to support the specification of different proxies for each hist but I think it is good to leave room in the API to support this later.

Update Requirements

Update allows the user to enable an HTTP proxy and specify an address and port that is to be used as the proxy. When set, this information is places in the 'http.proxySet', 'http.proxyHost' and 'http.proxyPort' system properties. Update also sets the default authenticator (Athenticator.setDefault(...)) in order to support interactive authentication (i.e the user is prompted if the update server or proxy require authentication).

WTP Requirements

The WTP proxy preference page currently only sets JVM system properties for http, https, and socks. It does not provide any api to access this information. It assumes that clients will use Java IO( which uses these properties) to create connections. Since, a number of components in WTP use Java IO to open connections, these JVM system properties need to set when the Eclipse UI starts up. This preference page also sets the default authenticator at UI startup time so that the user is prompted for userid and password information. The authenticator also caches user id and password information so that if the same host is accessed again the user does not need to enter this information again.


Here are discussions on various aspects of this feature

Access to Proxy info

For CVS to use this feature, the Core plug-in needs to provide access to the defined proxy settings. It also needs the authentication information, if there is any, to be provided with the proxy information since the Jsch proxy does not appear to support an authentication callback. From a CVS standpoint, we need API that looks something like this:

  1. a proxy info (or data) object that contains the type, hist, port, username (if required) and password (if required).
  2. a method to retrieve the proxy info (or infos) for a particular target host. Clients will need to pick an appropriate proxy to use.

To support this, we would need a preference page that allows the specification of multiple proxy types along with the authentication for each type, if there is any.

Setting System Properties

Both Update and WTP set the Java proxy system properties. For Update, this is done when the core bundle starts. However, WTP does this using the startup hook to ensure that the properties are set when any URL or TCP (in Java 1.5) connections are attempted. In the current implementation, it seems that WTP and Update could easily interfer with each other.

One approach to this is to have the new plug-ins just set these properties for everyone. The advantage of this is that clients of URL and 1.4 and URL and TCP in 1.5 would get the proxy support automatically. However, the main issue is that the settings would need to be put in the properties before any connections were attempted. Possible approaches to solve this would be:

  1. specify the options on the command line (not really an option but we do need to consider what happens if somebody does provide them this way)
  2. don't specify Lazy-start in the bundle manifest (I'm not sure about this but I'll find out)
  3. use the Workbench IStartup hook
  4. require any clients that want proxy support to depend on the Core proxy plug-in and call a method indicating that they require the properties to be set.

It seems a bit wierd to force every client the uses Java I/O to have to also make call to the Proxy plug-in to enable JVM properties. However, bundles in the Platform are not typically loaded during startup except extension points or dependencies. I think it will be difficult to get approval to have the proxy bundle start automatically so we may have to settle for point 4, at least for 3.3.

[YMNK]I have questions about setting System Property "socksProxyHost"

  • If "socksProxyHost" is enabled, will "http.proxyHost" and "https.proxyHost" be ignored?
  • It seems there is not a property like "socksNonProxyHosts".
    Will TCP connections to "localhost" be also proxied? From a CVS standpoint, to support "pserverssh2", it will use ssh2's local port-forwarding and it requires direct accesses to "localhost".


One of the JVM settings that Update and WTP set is the Authenticator. The authenticator is invoked by some Java I/O classes when a username and password is required when making a connection. The Update authenticator simply prompts for the username and password while the WTP authenticator caches authentication iformation.

It would appear that the Java Authenticator API does not provide the ability to differentiate between a prompt caused by a lack of credentials vs. a prompt caused by a failed authentication. Because of this, it is difficult to cache credentials either through a preference page or by remembering what was returned when the Authenticator was invoked. WTP does cache in their authenticator and in the situation where the credentials have changed or the user enter incorrect credential information Eclipse would need to be restarted to flush this cached data. This is not behavior we are willing to put in the Platform.

Because of this, we have the following conflict between the requirements of CVS/SSH2 and Update/WTP.

  • WTP and Update depend on the use of the which doesn't really support pre-specification or caching of passwords (i.e. it is better to prompt more often then it is to force the user to restart if they enter the wrong password).
  • CVS (and SSH2) depend on the JSch proxy classes which need the user name and password up front (i.e JSch proxy support works with Java 1.4).

What this means is that we need a preference page that includes the username and password (at least for http and socks) so that CVS and SSH2 proxy support can be used. The user would then expect these passwords to be used when using the Java proxy support as well. I guess we could solve this with an Authenticator that used the provided user name and password for the proxies and prompted for other connections. This would give a unified experience across WTP, CVS, SSH2 and Update but would have the failing that, if proxy authentication failed, the user would not be prompted to authenticate but instead would have to somehow know to go to the preference page and reenter the authentication information (although one assumes that they entered it in the first place so it may be acceptable).

The above described solution is not ideal but may be the best we can do given the limitations of the two proxy APIs we are using. However, any time prompt backs are involved, I consider the feature to be non-trivial (i.e. there always seem to be unforeseen problems that occur). Given that we are late in the cycle, I would be more comfortable with a solution that did not involve the Platform providing the Authenticator in 3.3. Hence my proposal was for an API that addressed the multiple preference page issue with the least amount of risk and while it doesn't make things much better for clients, doesn't make it any worse than it already is. Once 3.3 ships, we could get an early start on get the Authenticator story right.

Anyway, anything we do for this feature in 3.3 requires PMC approval. I will seek their input on the following possibilities (if you think I missed a possible solution, let me know):

  1. The Platform provides only the preference page settings and it is up to clients to set the JVM properties and the authenticator as they do today.
  2. The Platform provides the preference page and settings and a means for clients to indicate that that the Authenticator should be set and the JVM properties should be set and kept up-to-date. The Authenticator would just prompt when a password is required (as the Update Authenticator does).
  3. Same as 2 but the Authenticator uses the user name and password from the preference page when proxy connections are attempted.

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