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We wanted to be more flexible in the use of the login UI, so e.g. wanted to embed it in several places as a small panel. Moreover, we wanted to understand CAS as a pure service, not having to maintain layout information twice. Also, we wanted to support both, login postings from another site and direct login at the CAS server as a fallback.

Other proposed solutions

Proposed Solutions that do not work 

There have been two proposals, which we haven't found to be suitable:

  • AJAX: Ajax requests are sandboxed and that sandbox is even more strict than the two-dot rule applied to cookies: It really has to be exactly the same server name in order to work
  • IFrames: In this posting to the cas-dev mailing list, it has been suggested to use an iFrame to embed a login panel on a remote site. This has two limitations:
    • How to get rid of the Frame after login? in the default view a successful login would lead to redirect only in that frame. If you use target="parent" in the from tag, how do you display errors then?
    • You would have limited layout possibilities.

 So for our requirements, none of the proposed solutions were adequate.

Our Solution

We decided to use Javascript triggered redirects, which allows us to use this mechanism also on static html pages (e.g. CMS based contents). While loading we request a login ticket, then the login form displays and then it submits to the CAS login URL. If Errors are present at CAS we redirect to the referring page, adding a parameter "error_message" to that request.

Client side 

Here is the static remote login form we use:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1">
<title>Test remote Login using JS</title>
<script type="text/javascript">
function prepareLoginForm() {
	$('myLoginForm').action = casLoginURL;
	$("lt").value = loginTicket;

function checkForLoginTicket() {
	var loginTicketProvided = false;
	var query	= '';
    	casLoginURL = 'https://pcdt057:8443/cas/login';
    	thisPageURL = 'https://pcdt057:8443/cas/test-remote-login-js+error.html';
    	casLoginURL += '?login-at=' + encodeURIComponent (thisPageURL);

	query	=;
	query	= query.substr (1);

	var param	= new Array();
	//var value	= new Array();
	var temp	= new Array();
	param	= query.split ('&');

	i = 0;
	while (param[i]) {
		temp		= param[i].split ('=');
		if (temp[0] == 'lt') {
			loginTicket = temp[1];
			loginTicketProvided = true;
		if (temp[0] == 'error_message') {
        	    error = temp[1];
	if (!loginTicketProvided) {
		location.href = casLoginURL + '&get-lt=true';

function $(id) {
	return document.getElementById(id);
var loginTicket;
var error;
var casLoginURL;
var thisPageURL;

onload = prepareLoginForm;
<h2>Test remote Login using JS</h2>
<form id="myLoginForm" action="" method="post">
<input type="hidden" value="submit" name="_eventId"/>
    <td id="txt_error" colspan="2">

	<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">
	if ( error ) {
		error = decodeURIComponent (error);
		document.write (error);

	<td><input type="text" value="konrad" name="username" ></td>
	<td><input type="text" value="konrad" name="password" ></td>
	<td>Login Ticket:</td>
	<td><input type="text" name="lt" id="lt" value=""></td>
	<td><input type="text" name="service" value=""></td>
	<td align="right" colspan="2"><input type="submit" /></td>


CAS side

Adapting only the views and introducing if-else statements there meant having logic that belongs to the controllers in the view. Therefore we decided to inject our add-on into the spring web flow. Here are the changes we have made to login-webflow.xml (changes highlighted in blue):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<flow xmlns=""


<start-state idref="provideLoginTicketToRemoteRequestor" />

<action-state id="provideLoginTicketToRemoteRequestor">
<action bean="provideLoginTicketToRemoteRequestorAction" />
<transition on="loginTicketRequested" to="viewRedirectToRequestor" />
<transition on="continue" to="automaticCookiePathSetter" />

<view-state id="viewRedirectToRequestor" view="bmRedirectToRequestorView">
<transition on="submit" to="bindAndValidate" />

<action-state id="automaticCookiePathSetter">
        <action bean="automaticCookiePathSetterAction" />
        <transition on="success"
            to="ticketGrantingTicketExistsCheckAction" />

    <action-state id="ticketGrantingTicketExistsCheckAction">
        <action bean="ticketGrantingTicketExistsAction" />
        <transition on="ticketGrantingTicketExists"
            to="hasServiceCheck" />
        <transition on="noTicketGrantingTicketExists"
            to="gatewayRequestCheck" />

    <action-state id="gatewayRequestCheck">
        <action bean="gatewayRequestCheckAction" />
        <transition on="gateway" to="redirect" />
        <transition on="authenticationRequired" to="viewLoginForm" />

    <action-state id="hasServiceCheck">
        <action bean="hasServiceCheckAction" />
        <transition on="authenticatedButNoService"
            to="viewGenericLoginSuccess" />
        <transition on="hasService" to="renewRequestCheck" />

    <action-state id="renewRequestCheck">
        <action bean="renewRequestCheckAction" />
        <transition on="authenticationRequired" to="viewLoginForm" />
        <transition on="generateServiceTicket"
            to="generateServiceTicket" />

        <action-state id="startAuthenticate">
        <action bean="x509Check" />
        <transition on="success" to="sendTicketGrantingTicket" />
        <transition on="error" to="viewLoginForm" />
    <view-state id="viewLoginForm" view="casLoginView">
        <transition on="submit" to="bindAndValidate" />

    <action-state id="bindAndValidate">
        <action bean="authenticationViaFormAction" />
        <transition on="success" to="submit" />
        <transition on="error" to="viewLoginForm" />

    <action-state id="submit">
        <action bean="authenticationViaFormAction" method="submit" />
        <transition on="warn" to="warn" />
        <transition on="success" to="sendTicketGrantingTicket" />
        <transition on="error" to="viewLoginForm" />


<transition on="errorForRemoteRequestor" to="viewRedirectToRequestor" />


    <action-state id="sendTicketGrantingTicket">
        <action bean="sendTicketGrantingTicketAction" />
        <transition on="success" to="serviceCheck" />

    <action-state id="serviceCheck">
        <action bean="hasServiceCheckAction" />
        <transition on="authenticatedButNoService"
            to="viewGenericLoginSuccess" />
        <transition on="hasService" to="generateServiceTicket" />

    <action-state id="generateServiceTicket">
        <action bean="generateServiceTicketAction" />
        <transition on="success" to="warn" />
        <transition on="error" to="viewLoginForm" />
        <transition on="gateway" to="redirect" />

        The "warn" action makes the determination of whether to redirect directly to the requested
        service or display the "confirmation" page to go back to the server.
    <action-state id="warn">
        <action bean="warnAction" />
        <transition on="redirect" to="redirect" />
        <transition on="warn" to="showWarningView" />

        the "viewGenericLogin" is the end state for when a user attempts to login without coming directly from a service.
        They have only initialized their single-sign on session.
    <end-state id="viewGenericLoginSuccess"
        view="casLoginGenericSuccessView" />

        The "showWarningView" end state is the end state for when the user has requested privacy settings (to be "warned") to be turned on.  It delegates to a
        view defines in that display the "Please click here to go to the service." message.
    <end-state id="showWarningView" view="casLoginConfirmView" />

        The "redirect" end state allows CAS to properly end the workflow while still redirecting
        the user back to the service required.
    <end-state id="redirect"
        view="externalRedirect:${externalContext.requestParameterMap['service']}${requestScope.ticket == null ? '' : (externalContext.requestParameterMap['service'].indexOf('?') != -1 ? '&amp;' : '?') + 'ticket=' + requestScope.ticket}" />

        <transition to="viewServiceErrorView"
            on-exception="" />


 Problems encountered and suggested solutions

The solution works well, but it has a very dirty edge: introducing a new event in the submit method that allows us to distinguish between a login posting from the CAS Site and another site. Here we had to redeclare the submit method in org.jasig.cas.web.flow.AuthenticationViaFormAction (changes marked in blue):

[...]         try {
            final String ticketGrantingTicketId = this.centralAuthenticationService
            setWarningCookie(response, warn);
            return success();
        } catch (final TicketException e) {
            populateErrorsInstance(context, e);

            // START: ChangesBusinessMart: check, whether the posting has been sent from a remote server
            String myServerName = request.getLocalName();
            String referrer = request.getParameter("login-at");
            if (referrer != null && referrer.indexOf(myServerName) == -1) {
                return result("errorForRemoteRequestor");

return error();

 This could have been avoided by

  1. making this submit method overridable (non-final) to add new events in a derived class. Or
  2. to make such a distinction of events in the standard CAS distribution.

Maybe this can be accomplished somehow in future versions of CAS?

Listing of the other files mentioned in this solution 

provideLoginTicketToRemoteRequestorAction -> introduces a new parameter get-lt to signal that a new login ticket shall be issued to the HTTP Referer:

package de.businessmart.sso.cas.flow;

import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;

import org.jasig.cas.web.flow.util.ContextUtils;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.InitializingBean;
import org.springframework.webflow.action.AbstractAction;
import org.springframework.webflow.core.collection.MutableAttributeMap;
import org.springframework.webflow.execution.Event;
import org.springframework.webflow.execution.RequestContext;

import de.businessmart.sso.cas.CasUtility;

 * Opens up the CAS web flow to allow external retrieval of a login ticket.
 * @author konrad.wulf
public class ProvideLoginTicketToRemoteRequestorAction extends AbstractAction

	protected Event doExecute(RequestContext context) throws Exception
		final HttpServletRequest request = ContextUtils.getHttpServletRequest(context);

		if (request.getParameter("get-lt") != null && request.getParameter("get-lt").equalsIgnoreCase("true")) {
			return result("loginTicketRequested");
		return result("continue");


viewRedirectToRequestor actually does the redirects to the referrer:

<%@page import="de.businessmart.sso.cas.CasUtility"%>
<%@ taglib prefix="c" uri="" %>
<%@ taglib prefix="spring" uri="" %>
<% String separator = "";
String referrer = request.getHeader("Referer");
referrer = CasUtility.resetUrl(referrer);
if (referrer != null && referrer.length() > 0) {
    separator =(referrer.indexOf("?") > -1)? "&" : "?"; %>
               var redirectURL = "<%= referrer + separator %>lt=${flowExecutionKey}";
        <spring:hasBindErrors name="credentials">
            redirectURL += '&error_message=' + encodeURIComponent ('<c:forEach var="error" items="${errors.allErrors}"><spring:message code="${error.code}" text="${error.defaultMessage}" /></c:forEach>');
            window.location.href = redirectURL;
    out.print("You better know what to do here.");
} %>


And for completeness, here is the CasUtility that removes obsolete parameters from the query string:

package de.businessmart.sso.cas;

public class CasUtility {
     * Removes the previously attached GET parameters "lt" and "error_message" to be able to send new ones.
     * @param casUrl
     * @return
    public static String resetUrl ( String casUrl) {
        String cleanedUrl;
        String[] paramsToBeRemoved = new String[]{"lt", "error_message", "get-lt"};
        cleanedUrl = removeHttpGetParameters(casUrl, paramsToBeRemoved);
        return cleanedUrl;

     * Removes selected HTTP GET parameters from a given URL
     * @param casUrl
     * @param paramsToBeRemoved
     * @return
    public static String removeHttpGetParameters (String casUrl, String[] paramsToBeRemoved) {
        String cleanedUrl = casUrl;
        if (casUrl != null)
            // check if there is any query string at all
            if (casUrl.indexOf("?") == -1)
                return casUrl;
            } else
                // determine the start and end position of the parameters to be removed
                int startPosition, endPosition;
                boolean containsOneOfTheUnwantedParams = false;
                for (String paramToBeErased : paramsToBeRemoved)
                    startPosition = -1;
                    endPosition = -1;
                    if (cleanedUrl.indexOf("?" + paramToBeErased + "=") > -1)
                        startPosition = cleanedUrl.indexOf("?"
                                + paramToBeErased + "=") + 1;
                    } else if (cleanedUrl.indexOf("&" + paramToBeErased + "=") > -1)
                        startPosition = cleanedUrl.indexOf("&"
                                + paramToBeErased + "=") + 1;
                    if (startPosition > -1)
                        int temp = cleanedUrl.indexOf("&", startPosition);
                        endPosition = (temp > -1) ? temp + 1 : cleanedUrl
                        // remove that parameter, leaving the rest untouched
                        cleanedUrl = cleanedUrl.substring(0, startPosition)
                                + cleanedUrl.substring(endPosition);
                        containsOneOfTheUnwantedParams = true;

                // wenn nur noch das Fragezeichen vom query string übrig oder am schluss ein "&", dann auch dieses entfernen
                if (cleanedUrl.endsWith("?") || cleanedUrl.endsWith("&"))
                    cleanedUrl = cleanedUrl.substring(0,
                            cleanedUrl.length() - 1);

                // erst zurückgeben, wenn wir auch überprüft haben, ob nicht ein parameter mehrfach angegeben wurde...
                if (!containsOneOfTheUnwantedParams)
                    return casUrl;
                    cleanedUrl = removeHttpGetParameters(cleanedUrl, paramsToBeRemoved);
        return cleanedUrl;



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  1. The IFRAME method actually does work. As stated in emails on the CAS developer's list, it requires replacing the default view with a JavaScript redirect view.

    This allows the following:
    (a) errors will continue to be displayed correctly (in the iframe)
    (b) redirects the browser correctly
    (c) usernames and passwords are never collected on the client application

  2. Hi there,
    I made the changes described here, but I'm stuck with these problems:
    - Where the file "viewRedirectToRequestor.jsp" must be placed ?
    - There isn't the definition of bean with class "ProvideLoginTicketToRemoteRequestorAction" in "applicationContext.xml".
    - After adding it, I get the exception:

    2007-07-09 17:08:18,773 ERROR [org.apache.catalina.core.ContainerBase.[Catalina].[].[/].[cas]] - Servlet.service() for servlet cas threw exception
        at sun.reflect.InstantiationExceptionConstructorAccessorImpl.newInstance(

    And CAS shows its generic exception page "CAS is unavailable".

    Where am I wrong ?

    Somebody can help, please ?

    Thanks in advance.


  3. A much simpler and elegant version is to not deal with getting a login ticket at all and to simply auto submit the CAS form via Javascript if a param such as 'auto' is submitted to the login form along with the service, username, and password parameters.

    Example of casLoginView.jsp:

    // If we recieve the 'auto' parameter as 'true' we attempt to
    // auto populate the form from the request variables and submit it
    String auto = request.getParameter("auto");
    if (auto != null && auto.equals("true")) {
    <script language="javascript">
     function doAutoLogin() {
      document.forms[0].username.value = '<%=request.getParameter("username")%>';
      document.forms[0].password.value = '<%=request.getParameter("password")%>';
     // Add the auto login function to the onload event

    No fuss, no muss. CAS will then redirect back to your service url with a ticket that is ready to be validated. This comes in really handy if you are doing something like creating users in your system and then auto logging them in after the creation process.

    I know purists will hate the fact that we put a scriptlet in there (i'm not too wild about it either), but it is alot easier than all the redirects involved for grabbing a login ticket just to submit credentials.

    Just a note, you will also want to change the name of the submit button from 'submit' or else Javascript will have a fit. Hope this helps.

  4. Here's a tardy response to Alberto Mozzone's post. Sorry for not having answered any earlier. But better late than never (wink) It still seems to be of interest:

    I have forgotten to mention in this article that the view bmRedirectToRequestorView needs to be defined in the file, which is located at "/WEB-INF/classes". The following entries need to be added there:

    ### Redirect with login ticket view

    Moreover, Alberto was also quite right that the bean "provideLoginTicketToRemoteRequestorAction" has to be defined somewhere. I did that in /WEB-INF/cas-servlet.xml:

    class="de.businessmart.sso.cas.flow.ProvideLoginTicketToRemoteRequestorAction" />

    With these 2 little additions the solution description should be complete.

  5. Hi,

    This was a nice article. But i need to do the same with that latest version of CAS i.e. 3.4 . Can you please provide me the steps for the same. Atleast the stucture for login-webflow.xml as it is now using spring-webflow-2.0.xsd .

    Thanks in advance.

    Gaurav Saxena

    1. I have the same question.  Does anyone have any tips on doing this in CAS 3.4.x and is there now a different way of accomplishing it with the new version?  My end goal is to alter the Liferay login portlet to submit credentials to CAS over https.  Out of the box IFrame portlets would hard code the service URL, breaking deep link capabilities.  Thank you - Ed

    2. Looking to do the same thing in CAS 3.4.6 (using the Maven2 overlay method).  It looks like login-webflow.xml has changed dramatically since this page was created.

      1. Hi, I just want to find out if you were able to have this working. If you did, really would like to find out how you did it. Thanks in advance.

  6. If you want evict client redirection, what is proposed solution here, I think that is possible in do an external login html form implementing a org.jasig.cas.web.flow.AbstractNonInteractiveCredentialsAction like SPNEGO, X509 Certificates or remote trusted client are doing. With that philosophy, its easy have the login layout outside and the authentication logic inside CAS.

    Our action inspect the request for a username and password field and construct a UsernamePasswordCredentials with that request info.

    Concrete, in my system i have chained the X509 and the trusted (the first to do support for client certs and the last, to do support NTLM or Apache mod_aut_cas) non interactive check and last my AuthenticationNonInteractiveViaFormAction. I said "last" because the last authenticatior in chain always redirect to login form and in my action I save the validation errors like bindAndValidate phase of viewLoginForm are doing, and then the errors are magically rendered in the default cas login form (smile) 

  7. Thanks

    I have finished this with cas server 3.5.1


    one more paramenters "lt" need, see


    1. Hi Chenshi,

                         The link you provided ( is not displaying correctly in my browser may be due to the page in a different language than english.

      Can you please provide a tutorial link having contents written in english.

      Thanks for your help.

    2. Hi Chenshi,

                         The link you provided ( is not displaying correctly in my browser may be due to the page in a different language than english.

      Can you please provide a tutorial link having contents written in english.

      Thanks for your help.

    3. Hi Chenshi,

                         The link you provided ( is not displaying correctly in my browser may be due to the page is written in a different language than english.

      Can you please provide a tutorial link having contents written in english.

      Thanks for your help.