Web based logins / Check-Macros

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What are web based logins?

Web based logins are logins where the fields for username and password are placed within a web page (other than logins with Server Authentication where a small window pops up to enter username and password).

 

Most password protected pages use a web based login. These logins don't work with a standardized technology, it's dependent from the server and the webmaster how the login technology is implemented.

WebSite-Watcher and web based logins

Unfortunately there is no generic way to automate web based logins. To handle web based logins, WebSite-Watcher supports a technique called Check-Macros.

 

A Check-Macro can be created interactively with the integrated tool MiniBrowser that records all your steps when you login and surf to the page you want to monitor. WebSite-Watcher performs all these steps when a bookmark is checked for updates.

 

To record a new macro, click the "Check-Macro" button in the bookmark properties and the following dialog will be displayed.

 

check-macro01

 

As there are so many different solutions how a login can work, WebSite-Watcher supports 3 different techniques which can be used to record a macro.

 

Record dynamic values

The dynamic method tries to save only entered form fields and use everything else from the web page when a bookmark is checked (for example dynamically generated Session-IDs).

This method usually works for pages without Javascript. If a page requires Javascript, then you have to use the option "Internet Explorer Macro".

 

Record static values

The static method stores everything as it is available while recording the macro. This method will not work for pages with Session-IDs or other dynamic values. You should use this method only when the dynamic method doesn't work.

This method works usually for pages without Javascript. If a page requires Javascript, then you have to use the option "Internet Explorer Macro".

 

Internet Explorer Macro

This method follows a completely different way and records only the entered data and mouse clicks. When the macro is executed, the start url is loaded in a hidden Internet Explorer window and the recorded steps are performed. Use this method when the other methods fail or when a page requires Javascript.

 

That sounds probably very technical yet, but here's a rule of thumb to simplify things:

If a method fails, simply try the next one.

Best way is to start with method #1, if it doesn't work, try method #2 and method #3.

Session-ID that is located in the URL path

In some cases a page inserts a dynamic Session-ID into the path of an URL which must be handled and identified manually by using a regular expression.

 

For example

http://www.aignes.com/download/00938-8837-8872/files/file.htm

where 00938-8837-8872 is the Session-ID.

 

Do not use this feature for URLs with the following format (session id as parameter):

http://www.aignes.com/index.htm?sessionID=9987-2234123

 

You have to know the syntax of the Session-ID, then you can define a regular expression which extracts the Session-ID from the URL. Don't add a leading and a trailing Slash, MiniBrowser will do that automatically.

 

Examples:

 

\d+\-\d+\-\d+
will find a Session-ID with format 123-456-789 (exactly two minus characters)

 

\d[0-9,a-z,-]+
Session-ID with format 1sij9-13j8-1234 (leading number, then numbers, characters and/or minus characters)

GET / POST dialogs during macro recording

For each URL that is opened during macro recording, a special dialog pops up and displays the used download technique (GET or POST), the URL and some additional parameters (for example the values after filling out a form). Usually you can simply press the GET/POST button to continue recording. Only if you are performing a logout, you have to check the appropriate checkbox in that dialog.

Logins with CAPTCHA

If a login is CAPTCHA protected and a user has to enter letters and/or digits from a distorted image, then you have to use the "Internet Explorer Macro" technology. When the macro is recorded, you have to check the box "This step is protected by a CAPTCHA" after entering the letters/digits.

 

While checking the page, WebSite-Watcher will show a separate browser window where you have to enter these letters/digits, after that WebSite-Watcher can continue checking the bookmark.

Demos and Videos

At http://www.aignes.com/videos.htm you can find some videos which show how to record and use Check-Macros.

 

 

1.Create a new bookmark
2.Press the "Check-Macro" button in the bookmark properties
3.A window pops up, enter the Start-URL of the macro
4.Click the button "Start recording"
5.Surf to the page you want to monitor
6.Perform a logout if required (and check the appropriate check box to tell WebSite-Watcher that you are performing a logout)
7.Click the OK button at the bottom of the dialog, this will stop recording and returns to the bookmark properties
8.Click the "Check Now" button to check the page

 




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