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Savage Developers Guide

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The Savage Developers Guide describes system configuration supporting various software projects by the NPS MOVES Savage Research Group.

Ant | Chat | Cygwin | DES | DIS | Donate | Free | hamming | Java | JavaScript | Jenkins | Licensing | Media | MySQL | NetBeans | Projects | Security | Servers | Subversion | telnet | Time | Tomcat | Tools | Wikis | Writing | Xj3D | XML | XML Catalog | X3D-Edit | X3D Resources | X3D Scene Authoring Hints | SavageDefense | Contact

SAVAGE stands for Scenario Authoring and Visualization for Advanced Graphics Environments. Our mascot is a LION because Like It Or Not, on the Web, open source and open standards always win!

🔖 Ant to top

Ant is a Java library and command-line tool used to automate common tasks for building projects. Ant task syntax is in XML, making task definition and validation much simpler than other build systems.

Ant is used to maintain most Savage projects. Key references include:

Recommended ant configuration details follow.

Further configuration options are described under Ant Setup.

🔖 Chat using XMPP Jabber to top

(Note: this work is historical and not currently active.)

The Savage tools use chat software that supports the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), commonly known as Jabber chat.

🔖 Cygwin Unix for Windows to top

Utility tools in the Cygwin distribution provide Unix command-line functionality for Windows systems. It is not needed for macOS or Linux systems.

🔖 Discrete Event Simulation (DES) to top

The DES projects are a suite of integrated tools for analytic simulation. This work is entirely built using open-source Java, XML and X3D.

🔖 Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) Protocol to top

The IEEE Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) protocol is an IEEE standard for conducting real-time platform-level simulation across multiple host computers. DIS is one of the most widely used modeling and simulation networking standards. DIS is used worldwide, especially by military organizations but also by other agencies such as those involved in space exploration and medicine.

Overview (from the standard). Data messages, known as Protocol Data Units (PDUs), that are exchanged on a network among simulation applications are defined. These PDUs are for interactions that take place within specified domains called protocol families, which include Entity Information/Interaction, Warfare, Logistics, Simulation Management, Distributed Emission Regeneration, Radio Communications, Entity Management, Minefield, Synthetic Environment, Simulation Management with Reliability, Information Operations, Live Entity Information/Interaction, and Non-Real-Time protocol.

Active Work. NPS is actively implementing complete coverage of the IEEE DIS version 7 protocol.

Key References

🔖 Donate to top

Savage software and models are openly published without charge and funded by research proposals. You are welcome to donate funds to support these efforts if you wish. You are welcome to tell our benefactors about your interest in Savage and X3D Graphics:

Please contact Don Brutzman (brutzman at if you are interested in sponsoring or partnering on further research.

🔖 Free as in Freedom to top

The free cost of open-source software has been fundamentally important to the Savage group's ability to create applications and content that are highly capable, compliant with open standards, highly capable, maintainable and repeatable by others.

This long-term stability is essential to our accomplishing the NPS mission of graduate education and research. It further allows our graduates, and any other government agency, to utilize our standards-driven work compatibly with program life-cycle requirements and industry support.

The development and use of free software avoids common problems of "vendor lock in" through proprietary restrictions, inability of ongoing government efforts to fund the renewal of prior licenses, and inability to pay a company that is otherwise unwilling to perform software bugfixes and corrections.

This approach also avoids the common "short half-life" problems of companies that can either go out of business or else get acquired (and perhaps buried) by other companies. Such business pathologies not only break software but also negate correspondingly significant investments to create content of interest. In turn, such dependency on proprietary software leads to personnel vulnerabilities when an expert programmer or content developer can no longer apply their skills to improve prior accomplishments.

Further information on these software imperatives can be found in the Licensing section and through the following key sources.

🔖 hamming to top

hamming is the NPS supercomputer used for a variety of tasks with X3D Earth, Renderman rendering, and Viskit Design of Experiments.

This major asset is named for former NPS Emeritus Professor and distinguished computer scientist Richard W. Hamming.

🔖 Java to top

Java is the primary programming language used in NPS Savage software projects.

To configure Java on your development system:

Additional, older Java resources:

🔖 JavaScript to top

JavaScript is a common programming language used in Web browsers for HTML and X3D scripts. n.b. JavaScript is not the same as Java, they are different programming languages.

🔖 Jenkins to top

(Note: this work is historical and not currently active.)

The Savage Jenkins Build Servers are online continuous-integration servers that are used to test open-source code and content distributions. They automatically check out versioned projects and perform a variety of custom build tasks. This is an excellent capability that complements individual programmer efforts to support agile, effective team development.

Configuration setup for our jenkins servers includes installation of ant-contrib as described in the Ant section.

Helpful external references:

🔖 Licensing and IPR Issues to top

Wherever possible our group utilizes both open standards and open source licensing.

Motivation: as a government-funded university, it is important that our work be published publicly and made available freely. As researchers working with military students and worldwide communities of interest, we are striving to maximize the interoperability and 3D visualization capabilities of data streams used for situational awareness. Our strategy to accomplish these goals is the development, testing, adoption and evaluation of Web standards.

It is always important to observe Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) requirements. Because of our involvement in multiple groups developing open standards and open source, it is important that our work remains "untainted" and unexposed to software that may contain patent encumbrances. We do not want to jeopardize any of the standards or codebases that we work on.

In particular, we don't like to use tools with the following characteristics:

Rationale for success:


Open Technology Development (OTD) describes accepted best practices for open source and open standards, emphasizing business cases for government agencies, and providing excellent rationales and detailed guidance.

Contributors who wish to provide code or content for any of the archives we maintain can either use the Savage open-source license or else another open-source license of their choice. In this way, these public archives remain freely reusable.

🔖 Media and Content to top

3D graphics modeling and Web media benefit from using open-source content. The X3D Scene Authoring Hints contain detailed tips and guidelines for creating Web content. Here are some additional useful resources.

3D Models




🔖 MySQL Database Support to top

NetBeans has excellent support for MySQL databases. The NetBeans help page "Using MySQL with the IDE" is a quick reference. Other resources include:

Additional resources:

A secure shell (ssh) tunnel makes it possible to create a local connection to a remote database on another server.

This makes a port on your local host appear as if it is a port on the remote host. In reality, the traffic is first going into the port on the local host, then going across an encrypted link to, then being decrypted on the other side, and then sent to the MySQL port on RemoteHost. Finally the ssh tunnel returns the data response from the database to the port on your local host. This technique is secure because it lets us avoid having to unblock the firewall to open the MySQL port on the remote host. It also ensures that all the passwords and data sent across the network are encrypted. If you are connecting to an NPS database server, you will first need to be connected to the NPS intranet.
ssh -N -L 3307:localhost:3306
ssh Unix command for secure shell. ssh support under Windows can be found as part of the Cygwin tools.
-N Don't run any commands on the mmowgli host. Optional but nice. your ssh login account on the remote host
-L Set up a tunnel
3307:localhost:3306 Set up a port on your system, 3307, that goes to the MySQL port, 3306, on the remote host.
We use 3307 in this case because there's often a development MySQL server running on
your system that's already using 3306.

This technique is also helpful for locally listening to a Tomcat server port. For example:

ssh -N username -L

lets you monitor remote tomcatServer response via your web browser at


Further ssh details are available using the Unix help manual page, man ssh.

🔖 NetBeans to top

Apache NetBeans is the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) used for most Savage project development.

Java Javadoc documentation is helpful, be sure to download a local copy of Java Javadoc as part of your current JDK release for faster performance.

Once installed, default NetBeans configuration settings may need modification.

Further configuration settings of interest:

🔖 Projects to top

The Savage group maintains a large number of open-source projects.

Extensible 3D (X3D) Graphics projects include the following:

🔖 Security to top

The NPS MOVES team maintains multiple servers. We typically use secure https:// rather than http:// for improved confidentiality between clients and servers.

Browser companies still! have not deployed DoD Certificate Authority (CA) links (apparently because they want the government to pay them to do so). Thus end users have to manually confirm each of the above certificates when first accessing these servers.

Nevertheless you can install DOD CA certificates locally (as shown in this Firefox dialog or, with some difficulty, Internet Explorer dialog).

If server keys are changed, you may need to clear previously cached values. Cached certificate values can be found in directory ~/.ssh/known_hosts or else invoke either man ssh or man ssh-keygen for further details.

🔖 Servers to top

The NPS MOVES Savage team maintains multiple servers. Issue tracking is maintained at

🔖 Subversion to top

Subversion is used for version control of Savage projects and files. Support for subversion is built into NetBeans and X3D-Edit.

NPS subversion servers:

Tutorial and resource information includes:

Some advanced subversion questions:

🔖 telnet Network Protocol to top

The telnet protocol is widely used and provides a standard way of interfacing terminal-oriented devices and processes. Given that security vulnerabilities may exist if used surreptitiously, modern operating systems typically require specific configuration action to enable it.

🔖 Time to top

Numerous simulations and network protocols depend on accurate time adjustment.

🔖 Tomcat to top

Apache Tomcat is an open-source implementation of the Java Servlet, JavaServer Pages (JSP), Java Expression Language and WebSocket technologies. Tomcat provides a "pure Java" HTTP web server environment in which Java code can run.

Developer installation notes:

Example information for conf/tomcat-users.xml configuration file follows. Note that any username must also be configured in the Tomcat installation itself.

<role rolename="admin"/>
<role rolename="admin-gui"/>
<role rolename="admin-script"/>
<role rolename="manager-gui"/>
<role rolename="manager-script"/>

<user username="moi" password="no-really" roles="admin,admin-gui,admin-script,manager-gui,manager-script" />

🔖 Tools to top

The Altova XML tools (XMLSpy, Diffdog, etc.) provide outstanding support for XML development.

NPS Downloadable Software and NPS MOVES IAGO software archive (NPS access only, password protected) provide a variety of locally licensed resources.

The following additional tools are also useful.

🔖 Wiki sites to top

Wikis are an excellent way to collaboratively build websites online using a simple syntax. We typically use the same Wikimedia server software used by Wikipedia.

🔖 Writing to top

Writing up our accomplishments, in theses and reports, is crucially important. Here are some helpful resources.

🔖 Xj3D viewer: NPS source to top

Xj3D is an open-source browser and application programming interface written in Java for X3D and VRML97 graphics scenes.

Updated!    Xj3D is upgraded to latest stable Java 21 (OpenJDK 21.0.2)
Status:        Regression testing complete, updated .jars (git) and installers are available, improvements continue.
Next steps: finish documentation updates and begin adding support for latest version X3D4. Have fun with Xj3D!

Continuing History

Applications using Xj3D include:

Recommended for developers. The most up-to-date Xj3D code repository is now available at:

Prior links for the Xj3D code repository supporting the long-running NPS branch:

Historic links for the original Xj3D trunk supports version 1.0 (released 15 April 2006).

Also available:

🔖 XML to top

The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a simple text-based format for representing structured information: documents, data, configuration, books, transactions, invoices, and much more. It was derived from an older standard format called SGML (ISO 8879), in order to be more suitable for Web use.

🔖 XML Catalog to top

An XML Catalog provides mappings from online URL or generic URI addresses to specific files on the local machine. This allows tools to refer to XML DTDs, schemas etc. to accomplish XML validation without being connected online.

OasisXmlCatalogX3D.xml provides schema and doctype address resolution for typical offline validation of X3D scenes.

🔖 Contact to top

Questions, suggestions and comments about these resources are welcome. Please send them to Don Brutzman (brutzman at
Available online at
Revised 4 June 2024

Official disclaimer:
Material contained herein is made available for the purpose of peer review and discussion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.