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Sami Ekblad
Sami Ekblad

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Happy Path: Web UI for Ollama using Java Only

I found that getting a local LLM up and running is becoming easier and easier, so it's time to update the guides. In this article, I'm setting up Ollama and building a minimal web UI—all in Java.

  • A full-stack application with a Vaadin frontend and Spring Boot backend.
  • Real-time chatting capability using a local Ollama in a container.
  • Dynamic message streaming and display of Markdown for the UX you would expect.

We will need the following installed:

  • Java 21
  • Maven for building the app
  • Local Docker container environment for running Ollama

Install and Run Ollama Container

First, set up the Ollama Docker container:

docker run -d -v ollama:/root/.ollama -p 11434:11434 --name ollama ollama/ollama
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Next, we need to install some of the supported LLM models, with 'mistral' being the default. This will take a while to download:

docker exec ollama ollama pull mistral
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Once done, you can check if the model is up and running by calling the REST API from the command line. For example:

curl http://localhost:11434/api/chat -d '{"model": "mistral", "messages": [{"role": "user", "content": "is black darker than white?"}], "stream":false}'
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Creating the Web UI

Generate a new Spring Boot project using Spring Initializr. You can configure the dependencies you need, but for this, we only need:

  • Ollama - Spring AI APIs for the local LLM
  • Vaadin - for Java web UI

Here is direct link to the configuration.

This will create a ready-to-run project that you can import into your Java IDE.

Adding Extras

To use Vaadin add-ons, configure the dependencies in your pom.xml. We want to use the Viritin add-on for handy Markdown streaming.

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Building the Web UI

We still need the UI. Create a MainView class to handle the chat UI and interaction with the local LLM. Injecting Spring beans into the Vaadin UI, this is all that is needed:

@Route("") // map view to the root
class MainView extends VerticalLayout {

    private final ArrayList<Message> chatHistory = new ArrayList<>();

    VerticalLayout messageList = new VerticalLayout();
    Scroller messageScroller = new Scroller(messageList);
    MessageInput messageInput = new MessageInput();

    MainView(StreamingChatClient chatClient) {
        add(messageScroller, messageInput);

        // Add system message to help the AI to behave
        chatHistory.add(new SystemMessage("Only if the user asks you about Vaadin, reply in bro style. Always show a piece a code."));

        messageInput.addSubmitListener(ev -> {
            // Add use input as markdown message
            chatHistory.add(new UserMessage(ev.getValue()));
            messageList.add(new MarkdownMessage(ev.getValue(),"Me"));

            // Placeholder message for the upcoming AI reply
            MarkdownMessage reply = new MarkdownMessage("Assistant");

            // Ask AI and stream back the reply to UI
            Prompt prompt = new Prompt(chatHistory);
                    .doOnComplete(() -> chatHistory.add(new AssistantMessage(reply.getMarkdown())))
                    .subscribe(cr -> reply.appendMarkdownAsync(cr.getResult().getOutput().getContent()));
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You can run the application either by running the main class from your IDE or from the command line using Maven: `mvn spring-boot:run'.

Now we can chat with the Ollama Mistral model locally at localhost:8080

Ollama Web Chat UI


This was another one of those step-by-step guides that I wrote mostly for myself when setting up a small demo application. The full app is in GitHub (note the branch), if you wish to use it as a starting point for your own demos.

If you find it useful, let me know in the comments. Thanks!

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Sáng Minh Trần