Monday, 9 March 2009

Keep yourself logged in to a website with anti-idle

At $work I need to use a time sheet application which has a session timeout feature. I want a way to stay "logged in". So I've conceived a little plug-in for my personal web developer's proxy that will re-load certain web pages periodically in the background.

Could work like this:
  1. Start your personal proxy with the anti-idle plug-in in the chain (below).
  2. In your browser, go to the page you want to periodically re-load.
  3. At the end of the URL, append a CGI argument. For example you could append "?ttt_anti_idle=300" to reload the page every 5 minutes. If there are already CGI arguments in the URL just append: "&ttt_anti_idle=300".
  4. Load the new URL you've just typed. The anti-idle plug-in will strip out the extra argument you've appended prior to giving the URL to the "real" server.
  5. The anti-idle plug-in monitors its stream for "ttt_anti_idle" arguments and builds a list of pages to reload at certain intervals. It discards the result of course.
Here's how I imagine I'd set up the pipeline:

$ proxy | anti_idle --use_cgi=ttt_anti_idle | respond

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