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Tip: Log a user into a Domino website without a page refresh with this simple javascript

By Andrew Pollack on 09/29/2006 at 02:16 PM EDT

These two functions are all you really need.

The trick is in the ultra-simple first function listed below. The function uses the xmlHttpRequest made so famous as the core of the "Ajax" programming style. By doing an Ajax style 'Post' of the credentials to the Domino server, the results you get back which normally redirect you somewhere else, are caught by the request object. You can discard them (or display them if you really want). In this function, I've used the ultra-small icon file "onepixel.gif" as the redirection target so that the server sends back as little data as possible.

Since the server is responding with a page, the session token cookie gets written to the browser normally, and that's all it takes. Now you're logged on and your other Ajax style requests will process normally.

For this to work, you must be using "Session Based" authentication. You also must have the username and password to submit. You can collect that on a form (maybe a popup layer?) if you like. You can even store them in a cookie on the browser side, giving you that "remember me" functionality. Be careful though, as this data won't be encrypted so storing it locally can create a security risk.

A final note on requirements -- the page you are displaying must be from the same server you're logging on to. This is due to a security consideration on the xmlHttpRequest object. The browser will not do a background submit to a different server.

function doDominoLogin(username, password) {
var logReq = createXHTMLHttpRequest() ;
var poststring = "RedirectTo=" + escape('/icons/onepixel.gif') +
"&Username=" + username + "&password=" + password;"POST", "/names.nsf?Login" , false);
if (logReq.status == 200){ return(true); } else { return(false);};

The second function is just to get an XMLHttpRequest object for either IE or Netscape, since it's a bit different for each.

function createXHTMLHttpRequest() {
try { return new ActiveXObject("Msxml2.XMLHTTP") ; } catch (e) {}
try { return new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP") ; } catch (e) {}
try { return new XMLHttpRequest() ; } catch (e) {}
alert("XMLHttpRequest is not supported on this browser!");
return null;

The new Second Signal web site will be entirely Ajax driven -- no screen refreshes. The functions that talk to the back end pick up when a call fails due to an access requirement, and prompt using a simple html layer. Since the whole site is "windowed" rather than a traditional flowing page, I just gray out the current windows and bring up this one.....

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