Protecting your website with a login page

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Protecting your website with a login page

Some sites require that all users log-in using a username and password, before being able to visit any page.

 This can be done using JSP sessions or servlets, and in fact this was a common technique for a while.  But starting with a new release of Servlets specifications from Sun, this feature is now very simple to implement.  

 It is no longer necessary to use JSP techniques to provide login/password protection, but it is still a very common requirement of web sites, therefore a brief overview is provided here.


To password-protect your site, you just need to design a login page.  This page can be as simple or complicated as you need it to be.  It must contain a <FORM> tag, with the METHOD set to POST and the ACTION set to "j_security_check".


<FORM METHOD=POST ACTION=j_security_check>


The target j_security_check is provided by the application server, and does not need to be coded.


The form must contain two <INPUT> fields, named j_username and j_password respectively for the username and password.  Typically, the username field will be a TEXT input field, and the password field will be a PASSWORD input field.


After this, you must tell your application server to password protect your pages using the login page you have provided.  The details will vary from server to server, but a good implementation will provide you hook that you can use, for example, to match usernames and passwords against a database.  (E.g., in a website you can supply an implementation of the interface desisoft.deploy.AuthCheck to check usernames and passwords against a database or other sources.)

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