04/08/2009

Reading private RSS feeds provided by Domino

Some days ago I suggested a friend to provide an RSS feed for a Domino web application he wrote.

Unfortunately the web application was only available to authenticated users and, guess what, the Domino web authentication was set to session-based one ("form authentication"), NOT Basic HTTP authentication (ie pop-up window asking for credentials).

By the way, some RSS readers can deal with private RSS feeds, but AFAIK only Basic HTTP authentication is supported:
  • Thunderbird mail client (desktop)

  • Netvibes service (web-based)

  • Google Reader (my reader) does not support any authenticatication, although there's a an online proxy (http://freemyfeed.com/) to feed Google Reader with privates RSS data: do you trust it? Don't know, I guess I would run my own RSS proxy...
Anyhow, how can we deal with private / authenticated RSS feed provided by Lotus Domino application?

I found out two different ways (I'm open to any other tips):
  1. switch to the built-in RSS reader provided inside Notes 8.x (right sidebar)

  2. just for RSS feeds, configure Domino to use Basic HTTP authentication:
    for everything else, Domino will still use session-based authentication

Method 1:
I seldomly use the built-in Notes reader, but I just found out that it can deal with private RSS feeds, both when Domino server is setup with Basic or session-based authentication.

I just created an "HTTP account" inside my local address book (names.nsf->Advanced) with hostname, username and password that later will be used by the Domino RSS reader.

When adding the private RSS feed to the built-in Reader, the credentials are automatically used.

Cool, that was new to me.


Method 2
Instruct Domino server to use BASIC HTTP authentication ONLY for the matter of RSS, and continue using session-based authentication for anythig else. (some) RSS readers can deal with Basic authentication, not Domino sessions...

How to do that? Simple, I read it on DominoBlog post ! ;-)
Here's an excerpt:
"Occasionally, it may be necessary to override single sign-on (SSO) for RSS feed readers, as the readers cannot use session authentication forms. Do this by creating a new Web site rule and, on the Basics tab:
  • Set the Type of Rule to “Override Session Authentication with basic authentication.” (new in 7.0.2 ).
  • Specify the incoming URL pattern for the RSS Generator database.
  • (Optional) On the Lotus Domino Web Engine tab of the current Web site document, select Yes or No for ‘When overriding session authentication, generate session cookie."
I did the ovverride just for my RSS feed URL (I had to switch my Domino web configuration to an "Internet Site"):
it works, now I can access my company feeds by any RSS readers that features Http authentication.

Happy Domino RSS ;-)

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