I have an app that originally only supported form-based
authentication, and showed pared-down content to unauthenticated
users. I then layered on HTTP Basic authentication using
authenticate_with_http_basic, which worked fine for scripts like LWP/
However, some web browsers refuse to submit credentials in the URL
(eg. http://username:firstname.lastname@example.org) since they never get a
challenge (401) response, since authentication is purely optional.
This is a bigger problem than one might expect, since there’s a
desktop client in development that requires the ability to login with
HTTP Basic URL auth.
They way I hacked around it was to create an action that looks like
authenticate_or_request_with_http_basic APP_NAME do |login,
@user = User.authenticate(login, password)
self.current_user = @user
so browser clients (including the problematic desktop client) can GET
http://user:email@example.com/sessions/challenge to do explicit HTTP
Is there a better way to do this?