Please keep the Java File Manager

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#1 Mon, 01/11/2016 - 15:31

Please keep the Java File Manager

Please keep the Java File Manager!

Filemin vs. Java File Manager

Here are a few very important things missing in Filemin
- Folder tree (left frame) always visible for easy navigation and good view of folders.

- Ability to have several folders open at the same time in the folder tree view.

- Ability to open several files for editing, also from different folders and having them all up front and at the same time.

- Ability to search in edit mode.

- Ability to search an replace in edit mode.

- Ability to extract zip-files

- Ability to upload zip-files and unpack and delete zip in one action.
This I use all the time to update many files in many folders in one upload. Would be a real pain and take a really long time to do it file by file.

This is just a few of the things that is missing in the new Filemin and which I use all the time! PLEASE let the Java File Manager at least be a optional modul/function to install. I dont know how I can keep on doing my work without the outstanding Java File Manager. It's hard for me to explain (in English, i'm from Sweden) how important and superior the Java File manager is. I cant imagin that the Filemin File Manager ever reach the Java File manager functionality and work friendly interface. I know the Filemin is "fancy" but for people doing most of its work in the Filemanage all the fancy stuff means "more work". There are some things you have as optional installs in Virtualmin Pro that you really dont recommend users to install, so why dont have the Java File Manager which is a excelent and important part of Virtualmin Pro as optional install.

We build, support and host web based software(made by us) to several Swedish municipalities and counties that also in parts are used by its citizens. We dont have any customer that have access to the servers or their virtual servers, we do all the programing and updates on software and also updating the citizens data in our databases. We do all the coding manually with text editors, both off-line and on-line, but most of the daily work is done on-line in the Java File Manager.

Is it just me who really want to keep the Java File Manager? If not, please add your wote for keeping the Java File Manager.

Leffe (Blueforce)

Mon, 01/11/2016 - 15:54

Oh, I forgot...

The Filemin is in many ways excelent and the work done on it is really good, but I think the Java version and Filemin version aims to different users. I dont say that Filemin is bad in any way, on the contrary, it is really good - But for me the Java version is the one!


Mon, 01/11/2016 - 19:05


Well, we're not in any rush to get rid of the Java file manager.

However, we have been noticing that it's becoming harder and harder to use it in modern browsers, as browsers move away from Java oriented apps.

The new HTML5 one is going to get the development resources, as it's much prettier, uses much less resources, and is easier to work with.

However, the Java one should continue to be available for the foreseeable future. I don't think it would go away entirely if it's still functional though... worst case if it's still functional, I could see him moving it into a separate module.


Mon, 01/11/2016 - 20:52

Hi Eric,

It was Joe that got me worried *smile*, he said " will be a few months before it is removed from Webmin".

When you say that the HTML5 one (Filemin?) is easier to work with, do you mean for me as a user? If so, then its not true, in my opinion. I can do a few things in it at the moment, but the most part of my work cant be done without using extremely much time and frustration, and many things I cant do at all.

And yes, maybe its prettier but that is NOT of any importance for me, the important thing is if it can to the work in a simple and fast way. I understand the importance of fancy and cool designs and features, but i still think that those things do target another user group.

I would be really happy if the Java file manager can be moved to separate/optional modul when its time to remove it from the system.


Fri, 03/18/2016 - 15:15 (Reply to #4)
Joe's picture

Jamie is slow to remove things from Webmin, in the general case. However, distributing Java applets has become extremely difficult in recent years. Browsers make it hard (allowing applets to run becomes more complicated every year), Oracle makes it hard (the signing requirements are onerous), Oracle makes it hard again (by making Java very difficult for end users to keep up to date, and dangerous to not keep up to date), etc. Java for the web is dead technology, and so Jamie is already considering File Manager (old one) deprecated in favor of the new one, and I can't blame him. The amount of time he has to spend on it has become too expensive.

It is Open Source under a BSD license, so it never has to die. But, I don't see how we can really keep it going forever, given the circumstances. If someone were to adopt it, we'd try to help.

In short, we love you and want you to be happy with Virtualmin. But, I don't know how to keep maintaining the Java File Manager without it impacting other work. Jamie already has far more work on his plate than any normal human can maintain (and has been doing it for nearly two decades). Nobody else on the team has enough knowledge to even touch the Java File Manager, much less commit to maintaining it and keeping it secure.

The question that I think is more fruitful is what do we do to fix the problems you have with the new File Manager?

You say there are things you can't do...let's work on those things. There are several people with some skills that can be applied to the new file manager, and because it is JavaScript and HTML5, we can leverage so much modern tech that doesn't exist for Java on the web. The potential is huge, and the barrier to entry on contributing is quite low. Very few people ever contributed to the Java File Manager. We hope lot more people will get involved in the new one. It is already primarily developed and maintained by people who aren't Jamie (which is a huge win for everything else in Webmin/Virtualmin/Cloudmin).

Folder Tree is a reasonable idea, and while it's complex, I think it's do-able. I'm a little concerned about adding more sections to the screen, but maybe it can be done cleanly. And maybe it can be optional (I prefer the current design, personally, and I think most OS file finder thingies are more like the new one, without a file tree always visible, but I understand the appeal).

Mutiple file edit already exists, though I guess you're asking for multiple windows. I'll look into whether a traditional popup window would be an option here. Seems like it would be.

Search and replace in edit window. Yeah, that's mandatory. I'm surprised it's not already in there. It's a feature that is documented for CodeMirror (the editor being used), so I assume it's pretty easy to add. I'll ask Ilia to check in on this thread (he's doing some of the JavaScript front end stuff in the new file manager, and seems most likely to have the time/skill to implement it).

Archives, I'm sure that's already on the todo list. I somehow thought it was already in there, but if not, I'll look into getting it added soon. That's also reasonably easy to implement (or at least, there's already code on the backend for it, in the upload/download module, which we can borrow or use as a library).

Let's see which of these we can get ticked off of the list before Java File Manager goes away for real. (And, again, it'll always be out just won't be in the Webmin core package pretty'll be able to install it. Whether you're able to convince Java to run the damned thing without up to date certificate and such may be more tricky.)


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Fri, 03/18/2016 - 13:12

Filemin is clean and nice.

I have been looking around how to unzip a file, but after 10 minutes didn't find so searched and found this thread.

Is this unzip key features really missing ? : From the list above, looks like those would be welcome addons:

  • Ability to extract zip-files

  • Ability to upload a zip-file that gets unpacked and deleted in one action.

Fri, 03/18/2016 - 15:46 (Reply to #6)
Joe's picture

Thanks for reviving this old thread. Some zombies are good.

I think the order of priority for development looks like this:

  1. Search, and search and replace in editor (because it is easy to implement).
  2. Archive uploads (because it is somewhat easy to implement and important for many workflows and it is clumsy to go back and forth to the File Upload/Download module to do this).
  3. (?) Multiple editor windows. I'm not sure what we want to do about this one. The current implementation is quite nice, but I can see how one might want multiple windows visible at once. Short of introducing a window manager or some sort of tiling feature in the UI, this would mean popup windows, which are obnoxious for most users. So it's, I think, a very limited use case. But, also not awful to implement, I don't think, so it might be worth doing just to keep those edge case users happy.
  4. (?) File tree. This one is hard-ish to implement and would have a negative impact on the aesthetic appeal of the thing, and make the UI much more complicated (and we're trying really hard to fight increasing complexity, and even reduce it, going forward; Virtualmin is the most complex control panel UI out there, and that's hurt usability for a lot of users, and makes it very intimidating for new users and users coming from other panels)...but, can probably be hidden behind an option for advanced users.

So, yes, archive uploads should be a thing the new file manager does. It's on our radar, though I don't have a precise date for it. I expect Search and Replace to come very soon, due to how easy it is to implement.


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Fri, 03/18/2016 - 19:32

Hi Guys!

The multiple window thing is really important, saves looooots of time! It's easy to copy and paste between different files/windows, or do similar work on multiple files, and they very often are in different virtual servers, It's a real paint to have to jump forth an back in folders and files opening them one by one. And most of the above also applies to the dual file tree window.

The archive upload-extract-delete is a must have! Uploading lots of files to many different folder, as i do several times a day is not doable in my case! Uploading files one by one is no option, takes much to long and it is so easy to forget some file, or upload it to the wrong folder!

Is it just me that use the filemanager like this??? We have been using it like this for 10 years now! I do all my coding locally in our office, we have a "world wide web" in the house, with nameservers and everything to simulate the real www for development and "live" testing. All updates and smaller work is done live on the production servers... with the Java File Manager. I think I spend 30-50% of my working time in Java File Manager.

I understand that appel in the new theme and Filemanage but if they give me a much harder time to do my work I don't see no benefit in the aesthetic appeal. Virtualmin and Webmin/Usemin is important tools for me in my daily work, and it is important that my tools work. I use Windows on my desktop computers, and I recently had to jump from my excelent slipstream'ed XP to 10... also here I do most of my work in the file manager and UltraEdit text editor. And the filemanager in Windows 10 is a joke... I had to buy another file manager that could do the job - Xplorer2.

I hope the new Filemanager eventually can do the things that the Java File Manager can do, but untill then I'll stick with the excellent Java File Manager, if it's available of course.

Best regards, Leffe

Fri, 03/18/2016 - 23:58

Thanks for your input! I'll make sure the guys see your thoughts on that.


Sat, 03/19/2016 - 00:52
Ilia's picture

@Leffe I've added all your great thoughts on my to-do and coming back to the theme development by the end of the next week, I'll start rolling out new updates with new features.

Most of them I'll implement myself and for some I'll ask for help (Joe and Eric, not disturbing Jamie). I don't find most features hard to do.

I used to use Windows years ago and found Total Commander very very powerful thing to use. Linux also has its replacement, called Double Commander.

Ability to edit files at once (multiple windows) is almost there. Actually, I was trying to make it but there were some complications and I remember, after 3 hours of beating I put it up for the future - I will come back to it and try to add it to 17.80 release.


Mon, 03/21/2016 - 20:41 (Reply to #10)

Hi Ilia!

Thanks for your work on the new filemanager, and also a big thanks for listening to us!

Sometimes it may look like I want to stick with old things and designs, but that is not the case. I don't mind new fancy looks and functions as long as they don't make my work take longer to do or harder to do. If so, I have no problem sticking around in simple and maybe old stuff and designs. And when new stuff lacks many (as I see it) essential functions, I don't even have a choice - I have to stick with the old.

Hopefully you can manage to get the new filemanager to do all the nessecary stuff - I'm looking forward to it! :) But untill then - The Java file manager is a must have for me!

Maybe the new filemanager should have two layouts, basic and advanced, or something like that. I think many people likes the new filemanager as it is and looks right now, but then again, I think they are a different kind of user, they don't use it as me, working many hours a day with the filemanager.

And as I said before, I have been using Virtualmin Pro for more than 10 years now, We have been using Pro version in production servers even befor it was oficially released :) , and from the start the Java File manager have been my most important tool!

Best regards, Blueforce

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