Thursday, September 24, 2009

Saving Passwords

An early feature request has been for the ability to save passwords so you don't have to re-type in your user name and password all the time when you login to websites. This evening I merged in the autofill branch which add this functionality to Arora. When you log into a website it will ask you if you want to save the form. Then when you go back to that website it will automatically fill in the form for you.

The patch is really just the start of this feature. At the moment it simply saves forms to a file in the Arora data directory, but going forward it would be good to hook into the existing wallets and at least on Linux there is talk of a FreeDesktop.org dbus spec so we would use KWallet or GnomeKeyRing depending on the desktop we are logged into. Also this feature fully works in Qt 4.5 so everyone can start using it immediately.*



While investigating this feature I discovered that for many users they didn't necessarily want a password manager, but they needed the browser to behave better with how they browsed. When a user logs into most sites the authentication cookie is a session cookie and until they restart their browser they are logged in. This creates two problems:

1) Users that frequently have to restart their browser (such as when I am hacking on QtWebKit) have to re-login over and over even though they logged in just five or ten minutes before. Even with a wallet this is very annoying.

2) Users who have browsers open for a very long time (weeks!) have session cookies that pile up and are never deleted.

For those users I have added the ability to specify what a cookie session is.



*And in the far future when we drop 4.5 we can convert a bunch of large ugly javascript into nice simpler QWebElement code :)

4 comments:

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Sam said...

Ooo, only a handful of features before I switch from firefox!

jekader said...

Great! A password manager is really the only thing keeping Opera as my main browser. Hope the next release will be soon :)

Konst said...

How about the ability to show up passwords in this dialog (Firefox-way)? I regularly use Opera, but lack of ability to look at the passwords kills me (if I want to use the password to log in via Arora but don't remember it, for example :)