IntelliJ Platform SDK DevGuide

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JCEF - Java Chromium Embedded Framework

JCEF is a Java port of CEF framework for embedding Chromium-based browsers in applications using Swing.

Embedding of the browser component inside the IDE allows amongst others:

  • rendering HTML content
  • previewing generated HTML (e.g., from Markdown)

Enabling JCEF

Using JCEF requires using a dedicated JetBrains Runtime, please follow these installation instructions on how to obtain and activate it in your IDE. Enable ide.browser.jcef.enabled in Registry dialog (invoke Help | Find Action and type “Registry”) and restart the IDE for changes to take effect.


The Chrome DevTools, embedded into JCEF, can be used as a debugging and profiling tool. It’s active by default, so that a Chrome DevTools client can attach to it via the default port number - 9222. The port number can be configured with the following registry key:


JavaScript debugger in IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate can thus be used to debug JavaScript code running in the IDE via the Chrome DevTools. Use the Attach to Node.js/Chrome configurations with a proper port number.

Also, JCEF provides a default Chrome DevTools front-end (similar to the one in the Chrome browser) that can be opened from the JCEF’s browser component context menu via Open DevTools (the menu item is available in internal mode only).

To access the Chrome DevTools in plugin code, use the following API:

JBCefBrowser myBrowser = new JBCefBrowser(myUrl); CefBrowser myDevTools = myBrowser.getCefBrowser().getDevTools(); JBCefBrowser myDevToolsBrowser = new JBCefBrowser(myDevTools, myBrowser.getJBCefClient());

Or in order to just open it in a separate window:

JBCefBrowser myBrowser = new JBCefBrowser(myUrl); myBrowser.openDevTools();



Performs JCEF auto-initialization, manages its lifecycle, and provides JBCefClient instances.

Before using JCEF, JBCefApp.isSupported() check must be called:

if (!JBCefApp.isSupported()) { // Fallback to an alternative browser-less solution return; } // Use JCEF

JCEF can be unsupported when:

  • It’s not available in the IDE runtime (the IDE is started with an alternative OpenJDK).
  • Its version is not compatible with the running IDE.

To avoid the above problems, the IDE should be run with the bundled JBR.


Is tied to every browser component explicitly or implicitly. Used for adding handlers to the associated browser. The same instance can be shared among multiple browsers. It is up to the developer to use a shared or per-browser instance, depending on the handlers’ logic. If a client was created explicitly, it should be disposed by the developer; otherwise, it is disposed automatically following the associated browser instance disposal.


Provides the browser UI component:

JComponent getComponent();

Provides the load methods (callable from non-EDT thread as well):

void loadURL(String); void loadHTML(String);

For executing JS code and callbacks (see below), use the wrapped CefBrowser instance directly:

getCefBrowser().executeJavaScript(String code, String url, int line);

By default, JBCefBrowser is created with implicit JBCefClient (disposed automatically). It is possible to pass your own JBCefClient (disposed by the developer).

For accessing:

JBCefClient getJBCefClient();

The simplest way to add a browser component to your UI:

JPanel myPanel = ... myPanel.add(new JBCefBrowser(”).getComponent());


Provides JS query callback mechanism.

There’s no direct access to JS DOM from Java (like in JavaFX WebView, see also this issue). Still, JCEF provides an asynchronous way to communicate to JS.

It’s simpler to illustrate it by an example. Say, we want to open a link in an external browser (see it in MarkdownJCEFHtmlPanel):

// Create a JS query instance final JBCefJSQuery myJSQueryOpenInBrowser = JBCefJSQuery.create(myJBCefBrowser); // Add a query handler myJSQueryOpenInBrowser.addHandler((link) -> { MarkdownAccessor.getSafeOpenerAccessor().openLink(link); return null; // can respond back to JS with JBCefJSQuery.Response }); // Inject the query callback into JS myCefBrowser.executeJavaScript( "window.JavaPanelBridge = {" + "openInExternalBrowser : function(link) {" + myJSQueryOpenInBrowser.inject("link") + "}" + "};", getCefBrowser().getURL(), 0); // Dispose the query when necessary Disposer.dispose(myJSQueryOpenInBrowser);
Last modified: 22 June 2020