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Accessing other HTTP servers on Cloud 9 IDE

If you're using Cloud 9 to do development, you'll quickly realize that only ports 8080 through 8082 are available to the outside world from your development box. This is generally not an issue as you can set your application to bind to the $PORT environment variable when in development mode. However, there are sometimes other servers that we want to make use of that host on different default ports.

I recently had to setup a Neo4j server which defaults the admin interface of port 7474. Unfortunately, I could not access the admin interface even through the IDE based web browser window. So, what to do? I could change the default server settings so that it runs on a different port. However, the app I'm working on with a team has 7474 hard-coded and I currently don't feel like writing a local only work-around.

After some searching, I ran across a neat Linux tool called socat. This allows us to easily forward one port to another. After a quick install via apt-get, I ran the following command:

socat TCP4-LISTEN:8081,fork TCP4:127.0.0.1:7474

Bam! Neo4j admin interface now available via http://.c9users.io:8081. I can then simply stop the socat command at any time to make it no longer available to the outside world but it still remains accessible from applications on the development box. Sweet!

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