Running Blimp

See build for instructions on how to build Blimp.

Running the client

There are both Android and Linux clients. The Android client is the shipping client while the Linux client is used for development purposes.

Instructing client to connect to specific host

To have the client connect to a custom engine use the --engine-ip, --engine-port, and --engine-transport flags. The possible valid values for --engine-transport are ‘tcp’ and ‘ssl’. An example valid endpoint would be --engine-ip= --engine-port=1234 --engine-transport=tcp.

SSL-encrypted connections take an additional flag --engine-cert-path which specifies a path to a PEM-encoded certificate file (e.g. --engine-cert-path=/path/to/file.pem.)

Requesting the complete page from the engine

The engine sends partially rendered content to the client. To request the complete page from the engine, use the --download-whole-document flag on the client.

Android Client

Install the Blimp APK with the following:

./build/android/ $(PRODUCT_DIR)/apks/Blimp.apk

Set up any command line flags with:

./build/android/adb_blimp_command_line --your-flag-here

To see your current command line, run adb_blimp_command_line without any arguments.

Run the Blimp APK with:


Linux Client

The blimp client is built as part of the blimp target. To run it with local logging enabled, execute:

./out-linux/Debug/blimp_shell \
  --user-data-dir=/tmp/blimpclient \
  --enable-logging=stderr \

Running the engine

In a container

For running the engine in a container, see container.

On a workstation

To run the engine on a workstation and make your Android client connect to it, you need to forward a port from the Android device to the host, and also instruct the client to connect using that port on its localhost address.

Port forwarding

If you are running the engine on your workstation and are connected to the client device via USB, you'll need remote port forwarding to allow the Blimp client to talk to your computer.

Option A

Follow the remote debugging instructions to get started. You'll probably want to remap 25467 to “localhost:25467”. Note This requires the separate Chrome application to be running on the device. Otherwise you will not see the green light for the port forwarding.

Option B

If you are having issues with using the built-in Chrome port forwarding, you can also start a new shell and keep the following command running:

./build/android/ --debug -v 25467 25467

Required engine binary flags

  • --blimp-client-token-path=$PATH: Path to a file containing a nonempty token string. If this is not present, the engine will fail to boot.
  • --use-remote-compositing: Ensures that the renderer uses the remote compositor.
  • --disable-cached-picture-raster: Ensures that rasterized content is not destroyed before serialization.
  • --android-fonts-path=$PATH: Path to where the fonts are located. Typically this would be out-linux/Debug/gen/third_party/blimp_fonts.
  • --disable-remote-fonts: Disables downloading of custom web fonts in the renderer.

Typical invocation

When the client connects to a manually specified engine instead of using the assigner, it will use a dummy token. The engine needs to know what this token is, so it must be provided using the --blimp-client-token-path flag. The token is available in the constant kDummyClientToken in blimp/client/session/assignment_source.h. You can easily store that to a file by running the following command once:

awk '{if ( match($0, /^\s*const char kDummyClientToken.*/) ) { print substr($5, 2, length($5)-3);} }' \
  ./blimp/client/session/assignment_source.h > /tmp/blimpengine-token

Then start the engine using these flags:

out-linux/Debug/blimp_engine_app \
  --use-remote-compositing \
  --disable-cached-picture-raster \
  --blimp-client-token-path=/tmp/blimpengine-token \
  --user-data-dir=/tmp/blimpengine \
  --android-fonts-path=out-linux/Debug/gen/third_party/blimp_fonts \
  --enable-logging=stderr \