Saturday, February 11, 2006

µTorrent's WebUI: monitor your downloads remotely

Update: Some people were questioning how I got access to these files. While µTorrent itself is developed by ludde, with access to the source and the original creator, there is a µT development "team". We work on stuff like the website, managing the forums and that sort of thing, and get previews of this alpha stuff for that reason. ;)

Lately, the µTorrent development team have been working on a WebUI (web-based user interface) to allow users to remotely manage their BitTorrent downloads. (Don't know what µTorrent and BitTorrent are? Check out my earlier review of µTorrent.)

As the WebUI is still undergoing alpha testing, it is currently inaccessible to the public (when the UI goes final, you'll need to install a bunch of extra "add-on" files to make it work, as the WebUI currently takes up about 110 KiB of disk space after compression - almost as large as µT itself).

However, here's a little intro to the WebUI and how it works. Click the screenshots to enlarge them.

The WebUI runs through your web browser, and is accessible via HTTP through the port you use for BitTorrent. Of course, I'm running on port 31337. Basically what this means is that you can access the WebUI, once installed, by going to http://localhost:port/gui/index.html in your web browser. localhost basically is a shortcut to "this computer" - so obviously, this will only work if you're accessing the WebUI from the same computer as µTorrent is running on.

It's probably more useful to access the WebUI via your IP address (perhaps using dynamic DNS ). So, if your IP address is 64.233.167.99, and you run µTorrent on port 666, you could access the WebUI at http://64.233.167.99:666/gui/index.html from any PC, assuming you've done all the necessary port-forwarding to allow µT to serve the UI.

Of course, you wouldn't want just anyone to access your UI, so it's locked with a password configurable from µTorrent's Advanced Options menu. Here's the GUI operating on my computer under Opera:

Screenshot of the WebUI running under Opera, displaying the address bar.
You can get these torrents from legaltorrents.com.

The buttons below the address bar are all part of the WebUI, but I've included the Opera toolbar too just so you can see how the URL works. From left to right, the buttons are basically the same as those in the regular desktop version of µTorrent: add, delete, start, pause, stop, and move a torrent up or down. There's also a fully functional search bar at the right-hand side of the window. Clicking the search icon will open up a menu allowing you to pick a search engine, and entering a query into the box then hitting Enter will pop up with the results in that engine. (Unfortunately, at this stage, the WebUI uses an internal list of search engines - although it can be edited, this may not be the case with the final version. Perhaps it will be able to take the list from µTorrent's Search Engines setting.)

Screenshot of the search engines available to the WebUI.

Clicking the plus button (add torrent) spawns a little dialog allowing you to upload a torrent from the current hard disk. This way, you can visit your favourite torrent site, download a .torrent file, and add it to µTorrent, so it's downloading while you're away and ready for you when you get back.

Screenshot of the upload torrent dialog.

The DHTML columns are fully resizable and sortable, just like in µTorrent (though there is no "secondary sorting" feature). However, sorting the columns is done using JavaScript with no communication with µTorrent, so sorting won't be reflected in µTorrent.

Screenshot of the Size list, sorted in descending order.

Double-clicking a torrent brings up the Torrent Properties dialog, which you can't move, but it does display most of the info in µTorrent's General tab. You can access the Files tab, too:

Screenshot of the first page of the General tab.
Screenshot of the second page of the General tab.
Screenshot of the Files tab.

You can also right-click on torrents in the main window or in the Files tab, but not all of the options from desktop µTorrent are available:

Screenshot of
Screenshot of

As for browser support, the WebUI is currently fully functional in Firefox 1.5.0.1, partially functional in Opera 9.0 TP2 (no right-clicks work, even when JavaScript is permitted to control right-clicks), and partially functional in IE (no right-click in the Files tab, occasional graphics glitches and crashes).

Like I said earlier, the WebUI is still under construction and will be released to the public when a more stable version is available. A 'lite' version using less DHTML will be available eventually, too. This is essentially just a preview to see what's coming up in µTorrent development.

If you want remote access to your BitTorrent client now, there are several BT clients offering some sort of WebUI: Azureus (via the Swing Web Interface plugin), ABC and G3Torrent, though apparently the functionality is quite limited and some of the clients are no longer under active development (I haven't tried them out myself). You could also try using a VNC system (like TightVNC), which is what I would recommend, though it's a bit more bandwidth-intensive than a real WebUI - so you can keep using µTorrent.

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48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice!
I love it...

Kiltak said...

Oh man, that is SO cool :) I'm just wondering how secure that new functionality can be. It could open your system to a bunch of new vulnerabilities.

Kiltak
[Geeks Are Sexy]Tech. News

Marcos Saraiva said...

Azureus also have a light HTML UI (doesn't need java) besides Swing UI

Phil said...

Nice! Would be awesome if the graphics in the WebUI reflected the client skin, automagically.

R said...

As th author himself said - there is VNC, RAdmin, and more utilities that can give you FULL control over the uTorrent client. So why invest in developing it , and get only partial functionality and lots of problems ? Just because Azureus has it ?

seiju said...

who cares? that is for windows, really sux

Christoph Wagner said...

As th author himself said - there is VNC, RAdmin, [...]

well... Cause it could happen that you are on a PC without any VNC client, without admin rights. And imo VNC webinterfaces suck.

Ultima said...

@r: If you visited the µTorrent forums, you'd know how many times people have asked for features that were included in Azureus that were rejected. ludde said that this feature wouldn't be too hard to add, and a lot of people were requesting it. Aside from that, as Christoph said above, not everyone uses VNC or whatever other equivalent utility. This is a good stopgap.

Anonymous said...

R said: "there is VNC, RAdmin, and more utilities that can give you FULL control over the uTorrent client. So why invest in developing it , and get only partial functionality and lots of problems ?"

mate, When I am at work and want to check up on my torrents, if I try to connect with VNC or Remote Desktop, and I'm doing a lot of traffic, that VNC interface either drops out a lot or is chuggy/slow.

A HTML interface would be perfect.

Anonymous said...

Can't really see any uses for this, but sounds good.

thx.

Anonymous said...

Excellent preview of the upcoming Web GUI, Splintax. Good job! ;-)

1c3d0g.

Anonymous said...

check out torrent flux - http://www.torrentflux.com/

splintax said...

It's totally different to torrentflux. This is for managing torrents remotely, not using a web server to seed and download.

Anonymous said...

What is the user name for accesing webUI

Anonymous said...

Most workplaces will block out the ports needed for RDP, VNC for security reasons and to stop their staff f**king around.

splintax said...

The password is configurable to anything you want. As is the username.

Anonymous said...

c'mon.. i am waiting for this feature. also, as soon as u have time, why not a feature to control utorrent remotely by mobile phones?

cheeeeers

splintax said...

I guess that could be done by serving an XHTML or WML version. ;)

Ultima said...

Yah a WML version was requested in the forums. Unfortunately, Directrix didn't know how to code WML. Someone offered to help, but I'm not sure whether he followed up on the offer.

darkordek said...

hi all :).
first of all, thnx for devoloping this baby, it will really help me lot.. but i want t ask a simple question.
where does that plug-in getting info from?? settings.dat ? resume. dat?
i'm asking it cuz in samurize.com forums, i requested an uTorrent Plug-in and they couldn't mmake it, they said that they couldn't find the file stores the info..
if you can give some advices it would be really appreciated..
forum topic : http://forum.utorrent.com/viewtopic.php?id=6037

ps: sorry for the bad lang ;)

Peter said...

Definitely looking forward to this :)

Ultima said...

@darkordek: The information is served directly from µTorrent itself, I believe. The PHP just grabs the information served by the executable and displays it. I could very well be wrong, but it's how I imagine it'd work...

splintax said...

Ultima is semi-correct: the information is taken directly from µTorrent, however, the main language used is JavaScript, not PHP. :)

darkordek said...

@Ulttima & splintax : thnx ;)

@splintax : hi, i requested, a while ago, an uTorrent script from samurize coders, but they said that getting info from files would be very hard..
as far as i know, they write scripts in language of vbs.. and i think they can write a similiar (of course much more simple) script, all they need is find the neccessary lines(i dont understand very muchy of that coding thing, only guessing :)))
anyway, i'm asking you "can you share your knowladge about uTorrent with samurize script coders or not"

link of the foruum topic about uTorrent Script topic is at http://www.samurize.com/modules/ipboard/index.php?showtopic=8274

anyway, good luck to you, and i cant wait for the webinterface ;)

Comm said...

Looks really good, I cant wait to try it out.

Will you have bandwidth usage information on the WebUI? Would be nice if you could tell how much you'd used in the last day/week/month?

You may also want to think about making every option usable in the WebUI, such as changing the scheduler, network, torrent and folder options as some people may need to change things on the fly.

All in all looks good :D

Oliver S. said...

Cool, didn't know webgui was comming. I don't mind if the download size of utorrent increases. Its a nice feature.

splintax said...

Just to clarify, I did not code the WebUI, it's a guy on the µT forums by the name of Directrix.

I'm really not sure what the full featureset will be in the end.

As for helping out Samurize coders - I can't at the moment, since the code that controls the WebUI is not yet public.

Anonymous said...

@darkordek: It will be possible to get stats data from uTorrent when the WebUI will be finished, as it get's the data by simple HTTP requests.

Anonymous said...

Interesting . I would like to find out if its going to work with Utorrent 1.1 and 1.2 , since loads of people arnt using Utorrent 1.3 and 1.4 since its new ratio system.

Although if you have utorrent on a remote windows pc, why not just use TightVNC (or VNC/remote desktop software) to log in and use the client direct



Charliebrownau
http://charliebrownau.livejournal.com/

schnurlos said...

I think this baby wants to come out!
I need this as soon as possible, please please please go ahead.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!, release this one A.S.A.P.!!
I'm waiting for this one.....

Anonymous said...

Any way of creating a forum to sign up to to be informed when this comes out? Also just to add that Rufus does have a web UI although think it's not as fully featured and comes a definite second to utorrent in terms of functionality, speed and compactness.

splintax said...

Sign up for the limited beta here. ;-)

Anonymous said...

as posted before - whats the username needed to access webui in build 439 - have set pw cant see where username is set, thanks

splintax said...

webui.pass is in the format username:password. So, if you want the username to be "admin" and the password "pass", set it to admin:pass.

Pandemic said...

I have been using Azureus PHP Control Layer for many many months now and it's awsome.

http://www.strawp.net/azureus_php/

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

and sorry, my english is a little bit poor...

WebUI is a good idea and a nice feature, i think.
You know mldonkey? This WebUI roulez.

But it's not a good idea to run the Webserver/UI on the same port as the torrent-traffic.
Just a little bit brute force...
Give the UI an extra-port, available by the users opinion, please,
that will be much more better (for the paranoid users ;-))

greetz
Sucker-with-no-name

TwoD said...

I'd love a Web-based UI, more programs should have them too!

About info in Samurize, there are currently two downloads available:
The first is plugin based and written by Mytril.
The second is JScript based and written by me.
More info in the uTorrent thread at Samurize.com (direct link posted earlier).

It would however be nice if the author(s) of uTorrent could give out details about the meanings of the different values in resume.dat.
It would help us a lot on the way to give the Samurize users what they want.

Cheers!

me said...

hi,

i enter "localhost:port/gui/index.html" and it's giv me a BLANK page. wth? lol.

features i wish for the webui:

simple and clean interface
view my torrents status
read my torrent rss feed
able to run torrent frm webui

tat's all.

keep it up. im so desperate to get utorrent with web ui. get it up asap.
yes. finally, i can view my torrent status from my office. lol

splintax said...

Are you in the beta for the webui?

You need to install some additional files before it works.

lacastro said...

Love too, I'm revved, can't wait to get it, keep it up.

Pronkax said...

Sweeeettttt!!! Btw, I now use Azureus with html web interface but this one looks a lot better.
The main issue with Azureus is that's a bitch to get it running as a service under Windows 2003 (because it's java). Is it easier with utorrent ? Any idea when the Web ui will be released ?

FRQSTR=19105882x265097:1:1440|19105882|19105882|19105882|19105882 said...

http://www.strawp.net/azureus_php/

Rein said...

wh000t, that looks just superb! I can't wait ;) keep up the good work!

best regards, Rein.

Krakken said...

VNC can be clunky and slow - especially trying to start new torrents remotely. This is a great feature and I can't wait to see it.

KOEKiEMONSTAH said...

Nice work, you did there i hope this will come out soon!

Good luck with the webui

web design uk said...

I cant wait for this feature to be released. It would be great to be able to monitor torrents from work!

KIRBYKIA said...

Using it right now, It is great couple little bugs but other than that works great.

And for the VNC freaks out there i uses to use VNC to manage my torrents, but since th webui have not gone back(too slow and lagy).