Commit 48f83a95 authored by haemmer's avatar haemmer
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Split up the README file into DOC and CHANGES files

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Copyright 2011 SWITCH - Serving Swiss Universities.
See LICENSE file for details.
Contact: or go to
Version: See head of file 'WAYF' in the same directory
Project web site:
Bug reports/feature requests:
SWITCHwayf Changes and Version History:
1.15 Release date: 21. October 2011
Please review the 'Specific Update Instructions' in the README file
- A default and custom CSS file can now be used
- Graphical design now is based new SWITCH harmos elements
- Adapted JSON output to use format used by Shibboleth SP
- Renamed some string keys to make them independent from SWITCH
- Added support for the Shibboleth SP 2.4 Discovery Feed JSON output
in Embedded WAYF
- Focus on submit button works better with different browsers
- Invalid values for width and height are now defaulted to auto for
Embedded WAYF
- Fixed a URL composing bug that resulted in a wrong return URL to
the Service Provider if the return parameter did not contain any GET
arguments. Reported by Tom Scavo
- Made implementation behave according to the Discovery Service protocol
specification when it comes to the return parameter. This parameter
is optional in case the DS knows the SP Discovery URL.
Reported by Tom Scavo.
1.14.3 Release date: 4. March 2011
- Fixed a race condition. Thanks go to Robert Basch from MIT for
reporting the issue and providing a patch.
1.14.2 Release date: 15. December 2010
- IDProvider.conf.php and config.php are not overwritten anymore by upgrades
- Logging to syslog now works properly and is more consistent
- Access log now properly locks file
- Unknown category is not shown anymore when there is no other category
- Namespaces are now taken properly into account when parsing SAML2
metadata. Thanks go to Olivier Salaün for reporting this issue and
submitting a patch.
- Improved installation instructions
1.14.1 Release date: 12. November 2010
- Fixed an encoding bug that affected non-ASCII characters in
JavaScripts. Thanks to Prof. Kazutsuna Yamaji for reporting this issue.
- Corrected behaviour of $enableDSReturnParamCheck and
$useACURLsForReturnParamCheck. There won't be an error anymore if an SP
has no <idpdisc:DiscoveryResponse> extension defined. In such a case
there will only be a check if $useACURLsForReturnParamCheck is enabled.
- Fixed a bug in readMetadata.php that prevented CLI execution
- Changed the default configuration option to generate the Embedded WAYF
to false due to some concerns regarding phishing attacks
- Added proper copyright statements to all source code files
1.14 Release date: 9. November 2010
- Added the configuration option wayf_force_remember_for_session to
the Embedded WAYF on request of Wolgang Lierz. This
option allows setting the remember for session checkbox to true
- The 'return' parameter of a Discovery Service request can now be
checked using the idp-discovery-protocol extension or using the FQDN
of all the Service Provider's assertion consumer URLs. The latter
alternative is less secure but still offers better security against
phising attacks. Have a look at config.dist.php and the README for
more detailed explanations on these feature.
- Metadata parsing now uses DOM XML for PHP5 instead of Simple XML
- Fixed a minor HTML error in template for Embedded WAYF
- Sorting within categories works now correctly if SAML2 metadata is
used to generate Identity Provider drop-down list.
Thanks to Prof. Kazutsuna Yamaji
Informatics (NII) for reporting this issue.
- Fixed a minor bug in templates.php that cause PHP warnings to show up
in case an invalid IdP was stored in the cookie.
- Fixed a bug affecting the Kerberos authentication.
Thanks to Robert Basch for reporting these bugs and for
submitting patches.
- Fixed a bug where hidden IdPs would still be shown in Embedded WAYF
To see the revision history of older versions, please have a look at:
Releases with a version number X.Y.Z usually contain bug fix releases, typo
corrections and graphical changes whereas releases with a version number X.Y
usually introduce new functionality.
Find below the list of people who have contributed to code, either because they
found bugs, suggested improvements or contributed code. Have a look at the
version history in order to see the individual contributions. The list is sorted
- Robert Basch from MIT (US)
- Pavlos Drandakis from University of Athens (GR)
- Nicolas Dunand from Université Lausanne (CH)
- Michael R. Gettes from Internet2 (US)
- Nuno Gonçalves from FCCN (PT)
- Florent Guilleux from CRU (FR)
- Josh Howlett from University of Bristol (UK)
- Franz Kuster from ETHZ (CH)
- Wolgang Lierz from ETH Zurich (CH)
- Lourival Pereira Vieira Neto from RNP (BR)
- Martins Purins from Latvijas Universitates (LV)
- Olivier Salaün from RENATER (FR)
- Tom Scavo from Internet2 (US)
- Mika Suvanto from CSC (FI)
- Huân Thebault from Centre de Calcul de l'IN2P3 (FR)
- Prof. Kazutsuna Yamaji from NII (JP)
- And of course all SWITCH staff members who have contributed suggestions,
bug fixes and translation to this code.
Copyright 2011 SWITCH - Serving Swiss Universities.
See LICENSE file for details.
Contact: or go to
Version: See head of file 'WAYF' in the same directory
Project web site:
Bug reports/feature requests:
The SWITCHwayf is an implementation of the Shibboleth WAYF and SAML2 Discovery
Service protocol for use withing a Shibboleth architecture.
Some of the Features:
- Preselecting entry in drop down list by
- SAML common domain cookie that contains selected Identity Providers
- resource path info hint (e.g.
/WAYF/ selects University of Geneva, depends
of course on the ID scheme a federation uses)
- Kerberos preselection
- IP range preselection
- IP reverse DNS lookup preselection
- Transparent redirection mode, e.g. /WAYF/
- Can read SAML2 metadata files
- Supports Discovery Service and the Shibboleth authentication request protocol
- Various customizations options for header, footer, language strings etc.
- HTML code generation for embedding the WAYF directly into a web page
- Support for templates
- Support for remembering IdP selection permanently
- I18N support, currently language packs for en, de, it, fr and pt are included
Customization Options:
Since version 1.12 any graphical aspects of this WAYF/DS implementation can be
customized such that these changes survive a minor version upgrade.
Files whose names start with 'default-' can be copied and renamed to start with
'custom-' in order to customize the file's behaviour.
In particular, the following customizations can be applied:
HTML header: custom-header.php
Customize page header
HTML Footer: custom-footer.php
Customize page footer
HTML Body: custom-body.php
Customize WAYF/DS body
HTML Body: custom-settings.php
Customize WAYF/DS permanent settings body
HTML Body: custom-notice.php
Customize WAYF/DS permanent settings notice body
HTML Body: custom-embedded-wayf.php
Customize WAYF/DS body
HTML Error: custom-error.php
Customize error messages
CSS Styles: css/custom-styles.css
Customize CSS styles that are printed inline in header. The custom styles are
loaded in addition to the default styles. Therefore, they can be used to
overwrite the default CSS styles.
Languages: custom-languages.php
Can be used to change default or add new language strings. The custom languages
strings in addition to the default styles. Therefore, they can be used to
overwrite the default CSS styles.
If the above files don't exist, the default templates and settings
will be used. To create a custom template, copy of the default files with
cp default-{$template}.php custom-{$template}.php
where {$template} stands for the file you want to customize.
Errors are generally written to syslog. Error messages might be cases where
files cannot be read or written due to permission problems.
If the configuration option $useLogging is true, a log file will be written to
the path specified in $WAYFLogFile. This log file is an audit log file where
each line is an entry of the form:
Log entries are only created if the user was forwarded to an Identity Provider.
#DATE# Date of request, e.g. 2010-11-02
#TIME# Time of request, e.g. 06:25:13
#IP# IP of requester, e.g.
#IDP_SELECTION# How the IdP was selected: Cookie or Request
#REQUEST_TYPE# Type of request: DS, WAYF, Embedded-DS, Embedded-WAYF
#IDP_ENTITYID# EntityID of the IdP the user was forwarded to.
#FORWARDING_URL# URL the user was redirected to
If your instance of the SWITCHwayf has to deal with many requests and the load
is becoming higher and higher, you might want to think about using a PHP opcode
cacher like XCache, apc, eaccelerator, phpa, truck-mmcache or similar.
Using such a tool can decrease the processing time of the PHP code almost by
half. However, own tests have shown that the bottleneck in general is not
the PHP processing but the TLS handshake, which has nothing to do with PHP
or the SWITCHwayf itself.
Benchmark tests conducted by SWITCH demonstrated that generating the
Javascript WAYF/embedded-wayf.js can be speed up usign XCache by 100% if the
script is accessed via HTTP (without TLS). However, if the script is
accessed via HTTPS (default in SWITCHaai), the overall speed gain by using
XCache is less than 1% because the TLS hand-shake is what consumes most CPU time.
SAML2 Metadata support:
In case the WAYF/DS shall display the list of IdPs by parsing them from a
SAML2 Medatadata file that is used by Shibboleth:
- Set $useSAML2Metadata in config.php to true
- Specify the path to the metadata file that shall be read in $metadataFile
and make sure this file is updated regularely by Shibboleth or a cron job
- Make sure the files specified in $metadataIDPFile and $metadataSPFile can be
written by the userthat executes the PHP script (the web server user,
e.g. www-data or _www)
The parsend IDP and SP entries will be stored in $metadataIDPFile and
$metadataSPFile as executable PHP code. Storing parsed information in JSON or
PHP serialized format would allow slightly faster reading and executing in
general. However, for large numbers of entities an opcode cacher might speed up
execution time considerably (see chapter "Optimization" above) thanks to
this format.
If an entry shall be changed, removed or extended in this automatically
generated file, one can extend the IDP definitions by modifying them in
the $IDPConfigFile. To overwrite IDP values with entries in the $IDPConfigFile,
make sure the entry $SAML2MetaOverLocalConf is set to 'false';
For example one could change the displayed name of an IdP by adding an entry in
the file $IDPConfigFile like:
$IDProviders[""]["Name"] = "Foobar";
It is also possible to manually force the IdP list being upgraded by running the
readMetadata.php in command line mode, e.g. by executing a cron script like:
5 * * * * /usr/bin/php readMetadata.php > /dev/null
This feature has been initially developed in the framework of GRNET's project
VNOC by Pavlos Drandakis.
Embedded WAYF support:
With the embedded WAYF support administrators of a Shibboleth protected
application can easily integrate a Discovery Service on the any page of their
application just by copying and adapting the HTML code snippet generated by the
SWITCHwayf via the URL /WAYF/embedded-wayf.js/snippet.html
The embedded WAYF then will display on the remote site a drop-down list with the
Identity Provider to authenticate.
One can also configure the embedded WAYF to hide or add Identity Providers
(even from remote federations) or adapt the look and feel of the embedded wayf.
This can be done by simpling modifying the JavaScript variables in the HTML
When activating the Embedded WAYF, carefully protect the host where the WAYF is
operated on. If your WAYF host gets compromised, an attacker could modify the
JavaScript that is embedded on the remote site in a malicous wayf (e.g. phish
the user's password, redirect users to malicous pages, steal their sessions etc).
You also have to make sure that your central WAYF has a very high availability
because a lot of third-party services will depend on it.
Also, please be aware that using the Embedded WAYF allows anybody to guess a
user's Home Organisation without much effort. This information then could be
used for phising attacks for example!
Embedded WAYF code snippet:
To get a valid HTML snippet to embedd in a web page, please access the WAYF
with a URL like:
The script should return HTML code that can be embedded together with short
descriptions of the available settings.
Embedded WAYF code limitations:
If the embedded WAYF is placed on the right side or at the bottom of a web page,
it may be that the web browser cannot expand and render the complete drop-down
list of Identity Providers.
If placed on a host where no Service Provider is installed, the Embedded WAYF
might not be able to detect wheter a user is logged in or not. Also, the
wayf_use_disco_feed might not be used.
Kerberos support:
If this features shall be used the web server needs to support Negotiate/SPNEGO
Kerberos protocol. For example by using mod_auth_kerb.
- Make a symlink of the file 'WAYF' and name it like configured in the variable
- Protect file $kerberosRedirectURL with Kerberos. The Kerberos realm must be
specified in "IDProvider.conf.php" for each IdP. Each IdP's KDC must also
establish a Kerberos cross-realm trust with the WAYF's KDC. This was tested
with a Windows 2000 KDC, with the WAYF running on RHEL4.
Credits for this feature go to Josh Howlett from Bristol University.
Configuration file format:
Have a look at the file 'IDProvider.conf.php' for an example of the file format
that is used to configure the list of Identity Provider to display. It's
supposed to be mostly self-explanatory. Basically the file format is PHP code
that defines an array of arrays called $IDProviders.
The keys of the array $IDProviders must correspond to the entityIDs of the
Identity Providers or a unique value in case of a cascaded WAYF/DS or
a category. The entityID must be a valid URI (URL or URN) where in the
case of a URN the last component must be a valid hostname.
If metadata is not parsed from SAML2 metadta (using the setting
$useSAML2Metadata = false), the IdPs and category entries will be displayed
in order as defined in the configuration file and no sorting is done.
If metadata is used ($useSAML2Metadata = true) to generate the list of Identity
Providers, the Identity Providers will first be sorted according to their
type/category, their Index value (see below) and then alphabetically after their
(local) Name within the same type category.
If an IdP does not have a type, its category is 'unknown'.
If there exists a type for an IdP that does not have a corresponding category
it will be displayed in the category 'unknown' at the end of the drop down list
but will keep its type value (this is important for the Embedded Discovery
A general entry for an Identity Provider, a cascaded WAYF/DS or a category is
of the following form:
$IDProviders[#key#] = #entry#
#key# is a unique value that must correspond to the entity's entityID in case
the entry stands for an Identity Provider. For entries of Type category, the
#key# should be an identifier that corresponds to a 'Type' of an IdP.
#entry# is a hash array with the following keys:
['Type']: Optional Type that is used for the embedded wayf to hide
or show certain categories. Default type will
be 'unknown' if not specified.
An entry for another WAYF/DS that the user shall be
redirected to should have ['Type'] ='wayf
The Type values 'category' and 'wayf' are reserved
words that are not allowed to be assigned to
entries for Identity Providers.
['Name']: Mandatory Default name to display in drop-down list
Optional Display name in other languages
['SSO']: Mandatory Should be the SAML1 SSO endpoint of the IdP
['Realm']: Optional Kerberos Realm
['IP'][]: Optional IP ranges of that organizations that can be used to
guess a user's Identity Provider
['Index']: Optional An alphanumerical value that is used for sorting
categories and Identity Provider in ascending order
if the Identity Providers are parsed from metadata.
This is only relevant if
$includeLocalConfEntries = true
For category entries, only Type, (local) Name and Index are relevant.
The format for the file $metadataSPFile looks very similar:
A general entry for an Identity Provider, a cascaded WAYF/DS or a category is
of the following form:
$metadataSProviders[#key#] = #entry#
#key# is a unique value that must correspond to the Service Provider's entityID.
#entry# is a hash array with the following keys:
['Name']: Mandatory Default name to display in drop-down list. By
default the MDUI:DisplayName, the ServiceName or
the entityID is used. If there is a display name
available in the WAYF's default language that one
will be used. Otherwise English or the only
available DisplayName is used.
Optional Display name in other languages
['DSURL']: Optional List of DiscoveryService endpoints of the SP.
['ACURL']: Mandatory List of Assertion Consumer endpoints of the SP.
['Protocols']: Mandatory Protocols supported by the SP, e.g. :
Path Info parameters and files:
Modifying the WAYF's URL it is possible to influence its behaviour. This can be
done by appending certain Path Info extension to the URL. The Path Info
components can also be combined. The allowed syntax is:
[/#i18n string#][/redirect][/#entityID hostname#]
[/#i18n string#][/embedded-wayf.js]
Note: The web server must support the use of Path Info.
Hinted Identity Provider and transparent redirects
Path Info Extensions: [/redirect][/#entityID hostname#]
#entityID hostname# must be the host name of an entityId or the last component
of a URN. Examples: -> ->
If the '/redirect' is included in the Path Info as well, the web browser is
redirected transparently to the specified entityID hostname.
Note: One must make sure that the entityID hostname is not the same as one of
the reserved keywords like 'redirect', the below mentioned file types
or a i18n langauge abbreviation.
Language preselection:
Path Info Extensions: [/#i18n string#]
Examples of i18n strings are 'en', 'de_CH' or 'fr_CH.ISO8859-1' etc. However, in
the default distribution only 'en', 'de', 'fr', 'it' and 'pt' are available and
supported. But it would be easy to create sub types of existing languages for
country/region support by adding something like this to languages.php:
// Create a country specific copy of the German language strings
$langStrings['de_CH'] = $langStrings['de'];
// Overwrite a specific string
$langStrings['de_CH']['title'] = 'Auswahl der Heimorganisation';
Special handlers:
In order for the Embedded WAYF feature to work there are some special files that
need to be generated. The following Path Info Extensions must be the last
components of the Path Info URL.
Path Info Extensions:
[/deleteSettings] As the name suggests, this handler deletes
all settings cookies that were stored by the
WAYF service in cookies.
Unless there is a 'return' GET argument
provided the user is sent to the settings
[/embedded-wayf.js] Generates the JavaScript for the Embedded WAYF
[/embedded-wayf.js/snippet.html] Generates HTML snippet for the Embedded WAYF
[/idps-and-state.json] Returns JSON data structure that contains
the content of the IDProviders array. The last
element of that array will be a key called
'preselectedIDP', which contains the
Identity Provider that would be preselected
in the drop-down list for that user.
[/IDProviders.txt] Same as above but in human readable form.
[/IDProviders.php] Same as above but as PHP code
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