Java Shell
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Failed to load latest commit information.
.settings First commit. Nov 3, 2013
dist Update Nov 11, 2015
src First commit. Nov 3, 2013
.classpath First commit. Nov 3, 2013
.gitignore updated read me Nov 7, 2013
.project First commit. Nov 3, 2013
Dockerfile added Dockerfile Nov 17, 2015
DotGraphics.log First commit. Nov 3, 2013 Update Nov 17, 2015
pom.xml deploy jar with dependencies to the correct folder Nov 17, 2015


Graphviz-server is a lightweight Java based HTTP server that invokes the Graphviz dot binary installed locally. You simply submit a HTTP POST with the dot graph as the request body and the server returns back a graph in SVG, PDF or PNG format. Graphviz-server uses the Graphviz Java API, a Java wrapper that invokes the dot binary using Runtime.exec.

A typical usage is demonstrated in this sequence diagram:


Author: Omer Dawelbeit


Graphviz is a powerful open source graph visualization and layout tool, unfortunately no runtime exists for Java, so the only option is to invoke the dot binary from a running Java application. This option might not be possible or practical for many reasons, for example:

  • If you are running your app in a Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment like Google App Engine where you can't install extra software.
  • You can't install the dot binaries in the server running your code, or you need to access Graphviz from more than one server.
  • You don't want your application to have a dependency on the dot binary.

In the cases mentioned above, it does make sense to setup one graphviz-server in a separate environment, and then access it from all your applications that require graphs to be generated.

Live Demo

Here is a demo running on Google App Engine

The source code for the demo is here. The graphviz-server is installed on a Google Compute Engine VM (see documentation section below).

Jump start

  • Clone the git repository - git clone
  • An executable jar with dependencies is included in the dist folder. The port on which the server listens can be configured as a command line parameter to the jar. To change the default port (8080) edit the in the dist directory:
java -jar DotGraphics.jar 8080 > /dev/null 2>&1 &
exit 0
  • If you want to make changes to the code and build your own jar, you need to have Maven installed. Simply run mvn package this will create a jar with dependencies inside the target directory.


Run the graphviz-server:


The graphviz-server uses Log4j for logging. All incoming requests are logged to DotGraphics.log, a sample output is provided here.

To use the Graphviz server simply submit a HTTP POST with the dot graph script set as the request body. Optionally an output type can be specified on the URL for example:

Note: The server will validate that the dot graph starts with digraph G {, if this is not your desired behaviour, you can remove the second check on the


If you are using Docker and would like to run graphviz-server in a Docker container, I've created a Ubuntu Docker image. There is a Dockerfile in the source if you want to build your own image.


For more details on the implementation of graphviz-server and a detailed guide on how to set it up on Google Compute Engine VM, see this blog post:


Open Source (Apache License 2.0)