[XAP][Source] Webserver v0.5.6 (Bugfixes and UI)

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By GoodDayToDie, Recognized Developer on 8th July 2013, 03:10 AM
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Version Alpha 0.5.6 is now available
This version is mostly bug fixes and UI changes. The biggest changes are: clearer display of weird registry data types, the server now consumes fewer threads (it used to spawn them with wild abandon) and does faster string compares, the app version is now shown on the phone, error pages are now better, if you launch the app without a WiFi IP address it'll offer to take you to the WiFi settings page, connections are no longer closed as soon as the app starts sending a response, and the server now defaults to using the Connection: keep-alive header, with a two-minute timeout. The last change, combined with the second-to-last, should hopefully both do away with the tendency to have the app fail to display a page. However, I shouldn't have *needed* to switch it to "keep-alive" - using "close" should have worked - but it still veeeery occasionally would kill the connection early. Agh. Anyhow, this is better in the meantime.

Previous update (0.5.5): Fixes a number of issues: .REG download on all browsers should (hopefully!) now work, the server should hold fewer threads and connections open, the server should shut down faster (not a *huge* concern, I know, but it was an easy fix and it annoyed me how long you had to wait), IPv6 addresses are now both displayed properly in the link bar, and are also subordinate to IPv4 addresses; you'll only see a v6 if you don't have a v4 WiFi address at all. I've improved the error reports for various edge cases where the request parser fails; this probably won't matter (Ever seen an HTTP 505? Yeah, me neither). Page templates are slightly smaller, rely less on JS and more on HTML5, and (unfortunately) still render kind of awfully on mobile. One of these days...

[B]DevDB offers me a interop-unlock, but the additional capability-unlock hack available in the interop-unlock thread.

An item of note: the AllCapabilities version can open other drives in the file system. On phones with an SD card, it is mounted at D: and you can browse it as normal. Credit to @hjc4869 for this discovery!

DESCRIPTION: This is a simple webserver app which can enumerate those files that are in folders readable from the sandbox, can download files, can browse the registry, and can display the contents of registry values of any type. It runs on WP8.x only. It is a spiritual successor to the Functional Webserver / WebServer (Mango) projects from WP7. This version is still missing a lot of functionality as I decided to implement it from scratch, but it is advancing swiftly. Note that there's no access controls implemented; use it on a public network only at your own risk!

Instructions are simple: sideload the XAP, connect to WiFi (required), run the app (called "WebServer Native Access"), point a web browser (on a PC or phone that is also on that local network) to the URL that the app displays. You should get a basic index page. Click on a Filesystem or Registry link to begin browsing the phone. There's a textbox near the top of all filesystem pages, type in a path there (for example, "windows" with no quotes) and hit Enter or click Get Files. You'll see a list of the contents of that folder. Click on a file to download it or a directory to open it. Navigating the registry is similar, except you'll need to specify the registry hive and then the path from that hive (or no path, to access the root of the hive).

Modifications (uploading or editing files, creating, deleting, or changing registry keys or values) are currently not supported. They will be "soon" although my personal testing suggests that basically the whole registry, and most of the file system, is off-limits for writing unless you use restricted capabilities. Interestingly, I can *read* most of the registry, including stuff that I probably shouldn't be able to.

You might see an error code (error 5 is "ACCESS_DENIED", you'll see it a lot). Or you might see a status 500 message because of an exception in the server. Or the server may just crash (hopefully not so often anymore...). I'm making it more resilient, but there are still bugs. Please report any previously-unreported issues you find, including how to reproduce them, and I'll fix them if possible.

Also feel free to request features or changes; I'll implement them if reasonably possible. The app is a mixture of C++ and C# code; I could probably have done it all in one or the other but wanted to have a C++ component in case I ran into something that wasn't available in C#, and although it probably would have saved some time, I decided that hacking up a web server in C++ was maybe not the best idea.

The source code is on Codeplex, at the following projects: for the server and the app (C#) and for the native access wrappers (C++). You may have to fix up the reference paths to get the C# component to see the C++ component correctly. The code is reasonably well documented, but let me know if you have any questions. Permission to re-use the code or components is granted under the MS-PL (Microsoft Permissive License) as posted on Codeplex.

Go forth and find cool stuff!

Version history (see the git commit logs for more detail:
07 July 2013 - 0.2.0: Initial release, FS only, 920 downloads (source: 652 downloads)
14 July 2013 - 0.3.2: initial registry, HTTP server and web app encapsulation, source on Codeplex, 225 downloads
0.3.3: bugfixes, 454 downloads
0.4.2: basic registry values display, 86 downloads
0.4.3: bugfixes, 326 downloads
0.4.6: multistring registry values, bugfixes, updated libraries, first AllCapabilities version (950 downloads), 453 downloads
25 Oct 2013 - 0.4.8: binary and long registry values, formatting and bugfixes, 451 downloads AllCaps, 201 normal
22 Dec 2013 - 0.4.9: all registry value types, better threading, proper resume, remembers port, 97 downloads AllCaps, 53 normal
24 Dec 2013 - 0.5.0: background operation using Location APIs. Downloads: 1042 AllCaps, 987 Normal
20 Jul 2014 - 0.5.1: More capabilities, better navigation. Downloads: 108 AllCaps, 61 normal
07 Aug 2014 - 0.5.3: .REG export, better traversal, bugfixes. Downloads: 260 AllCaps, 164 normal
10 Oct 2014 - 0.5.5: Bugfixes and back-end work. Downloads: 52 AllCaps, 31 normal
25 Oct 2014 - 0.5.6: Bugfixes and UI tweaks

XDA:DevDB Information
WebServer Native Access, Tool/Utility for the Windows Phone 8 General


Version Information
Status: Alpha

Created 2014-10-17
Last Updated 2014-10-26
Last edited by GoodDayToDie; 26th October 2014 at 07:04 AM. Reason: Release of v0.5.6
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8th July 2013, 03:10 AM |#2  
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I'm going to use this space to mention something that's pretty cool:
J. Arturo of is using a modified version of the HTTP server that powers this app in the ShareFolder app ( to support opening video files directly from Windows network shares! This was done to work around a limitation of the WP8 media control: it can only source from an isolated storage file or a HTTP URL. By running a server in the background and streaming the video file through it, and pointing the video player control at the localhost URL, it becomes possible to play the file on the phone without first copying it to the app's isolated storage. A very cool way to solve the problem! Also, reviewing the changes that were made to the network code of the server pointed me toward those threading fixes I made that have hopefully much improved version 0.4.9.
Please note that the updated version of ShareFolder with this feature may not yet be available, although it should be soon. It is a commercial (paid) app, but the author sought and received permission to use my code (although the license does not require such permission be received).
Last edited by GoodDayToDie; 22nd December 2013 at 11:16 AM.
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8th July 2013, 02:18 PM |#3  
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What exactly is the problem with sockets? I am battling myself with sockets atm too, maybe we can share knowledge?
8th July 2013, 05:20 PM |#4  
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Strictly speaking, the problem was with the phone's limited subset of the Sockets API forcing me to access it through functions I wouldn't normally use (asynchronous everything, SocketAsyncEventArgs and lambdas and AutoResetEvents and so on everywhere...) but I've got a pretty good handle on it now, at least for the System.Net.Sockets.Socket and its friends. The new .NET 4.x ones (using the async keyword and all) are in a different namespace; I didn't mess with them. They are more abstracted from the Bekeley sockets interface that I'm used to from C, but they are also (supposedly) more user-friendly, especially if you don't feel like writing all your own thread management code (and in fairness, I should re-write the webserver's threading to use threadpools; they're better for this type of work).

If you want to ask questions about the topic, I suggest starting a new thread (possibly in the Q&A subforum, although it's also dev related...) and I'll answer if I can.
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8th July 2013, 08:51 PM |#5  
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GoodDayToDie, just an idea: how about sharing your source code via CodePlex or GitHub?
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9th July 2013, 06:58 PM |#6  
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Oh man, this is pretty nice! GoodDayToDie does it again!
9th July 2013, 07:07 PM |#7  
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So far, I can read \Windows, the current install folder which you access just by typing "." with no quotes and the current application folder by typing ".." I can access the .dlls, .winmd and AppManifest.xml from the current install, but from everywhere else, it goes boom. This is a great step towards something awesome though!


I was wrong. For some reason, when you click on a folder it's trying to "download" it, rather than chdir. I can get pretty far into the Windows directory.

THAT's what you meant by "Click on a file (note: there's no current way to tell the difference between files and folders) to download it.

You might see an error code (error 5 is "ACCESS_DENIED", you'll see it a lot). Or you might see a status 500 message because of an exception in the server. It's getting a lot more resilient but there are surely still some bugs. ".

If you see a folder, just type the full path to it instead of clicking on it and you will be able to read the contents.


I just found a file inside of the \Windows\System32 directory named [guid].devicemetadata-ms (It's easier to just search for "devicemetadata-ms"). It's a cab file with some metadata about WP8 with a and file in the archive. I don't know what these files could potentially be useful for.
Last edited by snickler; 9th July 2013 at 07:22 PM.
9th July 2013, 07:26 PM |#8  
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New version in a day or two (busy tonight). Features I plan to implement (not necessarily in the next version or at any particular time):
File upload (IsoStore and, of all crazy things, install directory are writable. I think I'll put a flag on each FS page that says whether the current dir is writable...).
File deletion (where possible, of course).
File and Directory distinction in the listing (clicking a dir should open it, not error out).
Filesystem index page with links to folders that can be accessed successfully (since the root isn't readable).
Some more file info (size, probably attributes, possibly permissions).
Possibly an option to preview a file (as plain text) without downloading it.
Some kind of background mode (the server uses minimal resources when not actively servicing a request, so I'll see if I can get it to work in the background, perhaps by abusing the music transfer agent...)
Some kind of offline mode (at least basic file browsing within the app, as an alternative to using the web interface, though I might just make a second app for that).
Source code changes: separate the server code from the webapp / phone app code (move it into its own project).
Source code changes: move to a hosted version control service, probably CodePlex (good suggestion sensboston).
Maybe add an icon and such...

Any other suggestions?

I also want to try experimenting with various non-standard capabilities and see if I can get access to more of the system . I've already added the ability to access removable storage, but I've also found a bunch of really weird and frequently undocumented capabilities in the OS's policy configuration files, and I need to look into those... The interesting (and possibly the uninteresting) ones are probably blocked for unsigned sideloaded apps, but it's worth checking on anyhow.
Last edited by GoodDayToDie; 9th July 2013 at 07:39 PM.
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9th July 2013, 07:33 PM |#9  
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Yeah sorry, I should have been more explicit about clicking on dirs. not working in 0.2.0. Also, it's "unofficial" but if you check the URL bar you'll see a URL parameter called something like "pattern" (by default, it's *) and if you change that, you can filter the results. For example, "foo*.exe" (note: no quotes!) will search for EXE files whose names start with "foo". Among other uses, this makes it a lot faster to load large dirs like System32. This will be added to the UI at some point. Also note that URL decoding is applied correctly to querystring parameters (Probably already noticed with the path sometimes written using %5C for \) so you can add special characters that way if needed, though currently any of them but \ will probably just cause an exception.
Actually, does this filesystem support Alternate Data Streams? If so, you should be able to download them by appending a : and the ADS name to the filename in the download URL...
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15th July 2013, 12:52 AM |#10  
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OK, so that was a new version in five days. Sorry, stuff takes time.
The source code is now on Codeplex. The native access portion is at, and the web server portion is at Both are licensed MS-PL and use Git for version control. The full XAP is also available for download from the Webserver project on Codeplex.
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