WebViewer Server was born out of customer feedback: our customers told us they liked the scalability of client side rendering on the web, but didn't like the initialization times or the platform limitations. Looking at a server-based approach, they liked the way that preconverting documents enabled responsive viewing on low spec phones or ancient versions of Internet Explorer, but they didn't like having to manage multiple file formats on the backend, and also didn't like having to wait for the preconversion to proceed to completion before viewing the document.

WebViewer Server addresses our customer's concerns by aiming for a best-of-all-worlds approach that doesn't ask them to compromise on any of the above points.

Some highlights:

  • Very fast time to first page view for both preloaded documents, and for content arriving in realtime.
  • An optimal out-of-the-box viewing experience on any of our supported platforms (including any modern browser all the way back to IE 10, and all major mobile platforms)
  • Scalability that approaches a client-side only solution, using a hybrid rendering approach where the server is used to jump-start a viewing session, and client-side rendering takes over when it can.

After our initial release we've continually improved the product in response to feedback.

Easier set up

You asked us to make the server easier to set up and integrate with your existing infrastructure

  • Added full integration guides for AWS and Azure. Get your own cloud based solution up and running in a few clicks!
  • Made the image available via dockerhub, and made it fully configurable without requiring a build step. Now it's possible to use WV server from the command line with no separate download step.

More capable

Our customers also told us that they wanted the ability to scale up to a very large number of users, and to have redundancy built into the system

  • Added the ability to scale up to multiple nodes with built-in load balancing.
  • Added WebViewer server to the AWS Marketplace along with a CloudFormation template which enables the creation of a scalable high-availability system with minimal required setup.

More flexible

For every different customer, there is a slightly different use case, and a different set of requirements. We've added a number of features to help fill these various needs.

  • For that extra bit of performance, it's possible to preload documents onto the server prior to viewing. Just send them to the PreloadURL endpoint.
  • No SSL certificates setup up in your development server? WebViewer server can simplify your setup by automatically downgrading transforming https document URLs to http
  • With built in URL remapping, you can choose the address of your server setup with a simple configuration parameter.
  • In addition to our already supported formats, added support for automatic conversion of html, ppt, xls, rtf, and odf file formats

More secure

We've heard from customers that privacy, access control and the ability to protect sensitive IP is also important to them.

Future outlook

WebViewer server is a relatively young product and continues to evolve -- we’re going to be listening very closely to customer needs during this formative period. We look forward to seeing where our users will go with it over the coming year, and look forward to helping them get there!