webXpreloginagent for Mac OS X 10.5+

NOTE: This software is no longer supported.

Copyright 2004-2009, NC State University

Everette Gray Allen – Concept, direction,  code, design, implementation, testing and documentation.

The Help Desk

Binary – http://projects.ncsu.edu/mac/downloads/webXpreloginagent.zip
Source – http://projects.ncsu.edu/mac/downloads/webXpreloginagent.src.zip

webXpreloginagent is a Privileged Helper Tool for 10.5+ which displays a web page (url) on top of the Login Window.  Any web content supported by Apple’s WebKit should display.  Client side pull is supported by WebKit.  We have used  webXpreloginagent with a MacMini attached via an DVI to HTMI cable to  LCD TV’s to create web based digital signs at low cost.

MacOS X 10.5+.   webXpreloginagent WILL NOT work on earlier versions of MacOS X because the Privileged Helper Tool is not available in early versions.
There is no version for MacOS 9 and there never will be.
There never will be a port to any other operating system.

Download and unzip the webXpreloginagent.zip file, double click webXpreloginagent.pkg installer, and allow MacOS to install.  This should put the applicaion in /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools and a edu.ncstate.webXpreloginagent.plist in /Library/LaunchAgents.  Configure using the Property List Editor (or plistbuddy in terminal, or Text Edit) to edit /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/webXpreloginagent.app/Contents/Resources/webloc.plist.  There is one key pair named home.   Should look like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">

To change the start web page of webXpreloginagent just change the url in the string of the home key.

Known Issues

1) The LaunchAgent runs very, very quickly after the application is quit by clicking any where on the window.  This is good for a sign deployment but makes it unusable for a “screen saver”.
2) Some content like very large quicktime movies may not play in the basic environment provided while Login Window is up.
3) There is no graphical interface to change the url.
4) The source is well… thrown together as I built it during a WWDC between sessions… If you would like to clean it up please feel free since it is released under a BSD license.
5) webXpreloginagent only displays one (1) url.  To get a digital sign with this setup use NC State’s Billboard software (http://webapps.ncsu.edu/lifecycle/project/index/details/?projectId=30).

EGA 02272009