Webflow Customization

CAS uses Spring Webflow to do “script” processing of login and logout protocols. Spring Web Flow builds on Spring MVC and allows implementing the “flows” of a web application. A flow encapsulates a sequence of steps that guide a user through the execution of some business task. It spans multiple HTTP requests, has state, deals with transactional data, is reusable, and may be dynamic and long-running in nature. Each flow may contain among many other settings the following major elements:

  • Actions: components that describe an executable task and return back a result
  • Transitions: Routing the flow from one state to another; Transitions may be global to the entire flow.
  • Views: Components that describe the presentation layer displayed back to the client
  • Decisions: Components that conditionally route to other areas of flow and can make logical decisions

Spring Web Flow presents CAS with a pluggable architecture where custom actions, views and decisions may be injected into the flow to account for additional use cases and processes. Note that to customize the webflow, one must possess a reasonable level of understanding of the webflow’s internals and injection policies. The intention of this document is NOT to describe Spring Web Flow, but merely to demonstrate how the framework is used by CAS to carry out various aspects of the protocol and business logic execution.

Webflow Session

See this guide for more info.

Webflow Auto Configuration

Most CAS modules, when declared as a dependency, attempt to autoconfigure the CAS webflow to suit their needs. This practically means that the CAS adopter would no longer have to manually massage the CAS webflow configuration, and the module automatically takes care of all required changes. While this is the default behavior, it is possible that you may want to manually handle all such changes. For doing so, you will need to disable the CAS autoconfiguration of the webflow.

To see the relevant list of CAS properties, please review this guide.

Achtung, liebe Leser!

Only attempt to modify the Spring webflow configuration files by hand when/if absolutely necessary and the change is rather minimal or decorative. Extensive modifications of the webflow, if not done carefully may serverely complicate your deployment and future upgrades. If reasonable, consider contributing or suggesting the change to the project and have it be maintained directly.

CAS by default is configured to hot reload changes to the Spring webflow configuration. The following setting switches on flow development mode. Development mode switches on hot-reloading of flow definition changes, including changes to dependent flow resources such as message bundles.

Extending Webflow

If you want to learn how to modify and extend the CAS authentication flows, please see this guide.

Required Service for Authentication

By default, CAS will present a generic success page if the initial authentication request does not identify the target application. In some cases, the ability to login to CAS without logging in to a particular service may be considered a misfeature because in practice, too few users and institutions are prepared to understand, brand, and support what is at best a fringe use case of logging in to CAS for the sake of establishing an SSO session without logging in to any CAS-reliant service.

As such, CAS optionally allows adopters to not bother to prompt for credentials when no target application is presented and instead presents a message when users visit CAS directly without specifying a service.

To see the relevant list of CAS properties, please review this guide.

Acceptable Usage Policy

CAS presents the ability to allow the user to accept the usage policy before moving on to the application. See this guide for more info.

Customizing errors

See this guide for more info.