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PBrowse: A web-based platform for real-time collaborative exploration and sharing of genomic data

Authors: Peter S. Szot, Andrian Yang, Joshua Ho


Copyright (c) 2016, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

This repository contains both the PBrowse web-application and the PBrowse collaborative server.


The server was compiled with Java8 using Maven and was deployed on an Jetty9 instance. A MySQL server was also used as the backend database software. To ensure workability, use these software packages.

$ apt-get install mysql-server maven

Java8 installation may vary depending on your OS distribution. Jetty 9 can be installed by downloading the following archive and extracting it to /opt/jetty/:

$ wget

Be sure to create the directory:

$ mkdir /opt/pbrowse/

Grant read and write access to the user group which controls the webserver. User uploaded files are stored here and much functionality will be broken without this access.The PBrowse server will create any needed subdirectories as they are needed.

The web-application was developed for the Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, and Safari browsers. IE and older browsers may have unexpected issues so use them at your own risk.


The repository should first be cloned:

$ git clone

Initialise the MySQL server, as the super-user run the commands provided in the pbrowsedb.sql file to setup the required tables and users with either of the following commands:

$ mysql < pbrowsedb.sql


mysql> source pbrowsedb.sql

All further database access is made by the application through the pbrowse user.

Then navigate into the pbrowse directory. Run the command:

$ mvn clean install

Copy the created .war file from ./target/ directory to your jetty installation webapps directory, renaming the output war file to pbrowse.war e.g.

$ cp ./target/*.war /opt/jetty/webapps/root.war

To avoid jetty extracting war to temporary directory, create a working directory (work) for Jetty user the jetty installation directory.

Configure Jetty SSL

The application itself can run over http, but the underlying websocket connection must be run over SSL so you have to configure the SSL conector in Jetty. If you aren't familiar with the process, see this guide to generating a self-signed SSL certificate for testing purposes. Now add the following lines into your /opt/jetty/etc/jetty-ssl-context.xml file, updating the KeyStorePath path and password fields if you have changed them:

<Set name="useCipherSuitesOrder"><Property name="jetty.sslContext.useCipherSuitesOrder" default="true"/></Set>
<Set name="KeyStorePath">/opt/pbrowse/.keystore</Set>
<Set name="KeyStorePassword">pbrowse</Set>
<Set name="KeyManagerPassword">pbrowse</Set>
<Set name="TrustStorePath">/opt/pbrowse/.keystore</Set>
<Set name="TrustStorePassword">pbrowse</Set>

Also modify your /opt/jetty/start.ini file and add the following two lines to the end:



Start the jetty server:

$ cd /opt/jetty/
$ java -jar start.jar

and begin browsing by visiting: