HTTP Proxy Pain

Many years ago I fought battles with an electronic device in the office. The device was (appropriately) named instegate and it was one of those internet traffic police devices. It was my first encounter with such a device so in our earlier engagements I would lose constantly. Eventually I learned its ways as we stopped fighting and began communicating regularly. Hi, I’m Cliff. You’re here because you’ve had a fallout with an HTTP proxy. Maybe your proxy partner has a similar name? Maybe you don’t even know the name of your proxy. Whatever the case, you’ve searched for a solution and my site was among the answers.

I write today because I’ve recently encountered the cousin of my arch nemesis, instegate. At a time when I thought I would no longer have to worry about these things I was bitten by dropped/blocked network traffic which requires fine tuning to send/receive. Here’s the scenario. You make a network request, either directly or through an application like the Android emulator’s web browser. The network request either never finishes or is silently ignored. From your perspective it appears like your application or code is completely broken. In actuality it is the by-product of what many companies install to control, filter, and monitor network traffic. You probably have an established IT department responsible for installing individual software in such an environment. That IT department is likely completely separate from the IT department that you work in. It may sound silly to have a software IT worker request software installation from an IT worker especially when the requester is more familiar with the installation of the software than the one fielding the request but that’s how many companies regulate their network and infrastructure. It actually makes perfect sense at the higher levels but we won’t get into any of that.

There are a few links I want to share with you today before my text stretches too far downward. The first is an article on setting the HTTP proxy in Ant. It explains in detail how the JVM handles proxy configuration both before 1.5 and after. The second link is to documentation on setting the proxy in the Android SDK. If you’re having troubles using your Emulator in an office environment it’s a good thing to understand. Network connections are critical in today’s computing environment and they are increasingly complicated to master. HTTP proxy configuration is but one of the many tools you’ll need in your client server toolbox.

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