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xmlrpc2
eGroupWare XML-RPC/SOAP Methodology

(C) 2001-2004 Miles Lott

milos@groupwhere.org

August 23, 2001 and December 29, 2003

additions made September 3, 2001.

This document is very preliminary, but describes a working
system.

1 System level requests

1.1 Login and authentication

Authentication for user logins is handled internally no differently
than for the typical eGroupWare login via web browser. Server
logins, added for XML-RPC and SOAP, are only slightly different.
For either protocol, user and server login and authentication
and subsequent requests are handled by their respective
server apps, xmlrpc.php and soap.php. A server is identified
by a custom HTTP header, without which a normal user login
will be undertaken.

A client or server sends the appropriate XML-RPC or SOAP
packet containing host, user, and password information to
the egroupware server. The server then assigns a sessionid and
key, which is returned to the client in the appropriate
format.

Our current method for authenticating requests after successful
login is via the Authorization: Basic HTTP header to be
sent by the client or requesting server. The format of this
header is a base64 encoding of the assigned sessionid and
kp3 variables, seperated by a ':'.

Further security may be obtained by using SSL on the client
and server. In the future, we may encrypt/decrypt the data
on either end, or at least provide this as an option. The
sessionid and key variables will make this possible, and
relatively secure.

1.1.1 system.login

The first request a client will make is the system.login
method. Here is a sample of a server login packet in XML-RPC:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<methodCall>
<methodName>system.login</methodName>
<params>
<param>
<value><struct>
<member><name>server_name</name>
<value><string>my.host.name</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>username</name>
<value><string>bubba</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>password</name>
<value><string>gump</string></value>
</member> </struct></value>
</param>
</params>
</methodCall>

And the same in SOAP:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<SOAP-ENV:Envelope
xmlns:SOAP-ENV="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"
xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/1999/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/1999/XMLSchema"
xmlns:SOAP-ENC="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/encoding/"
xmlns:si="http://soapinterop.org/xsd"
xmlns:ns6="http://soapinterop.org" SOAP-ENV:encodingStyle="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/encoding/">
<SOAP-ENV:Body> <ns6:system_login>
<server_name xsi:type=":string">my.host.name</server_name>
<username xsi:type=":string">bubba</username>
<password xsi:type=":string">gump</password>
</ns6:system_login>
</SOAP-ENV:Body>
</SOAP-ENV:Envelope>

The same style of packet would be required for a user/client
login. A successful login should yield the following reply:

<methodResponse>
<params>
<param>
<value><struct>
<member><name>sessionid</name>
<value><string>cf5c5534307562fc57915608377db007</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>kp3</name>
<value><string>2fe54daa11c8d52116788aa3f93cb70e</string></value>
</member>
</struct></value>
</param>
</params>
</methodResponse>

And a failed login:

<methodResponse>
<params>
<param>
<value><struct>
<member><name>GOAWAY</name>
<value><string>XOXO</string></value>
</member>
</struct></value>
</param>
</params>
</methodResponse>

1.1.2 system.logout

Logout:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<methodCall>
<methodName>system.logout</methodName>
<params> <param>
<value><struct>
<member><name>sessionid</name>
<value><string>ea35cac53d2c12bd05caecd97304478a</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>kp3</name>
<value><string>4f2b256e0da4e7cbbebaac9f1fc8ca4a</string></value>
</member>
</struct></value>
</param>
</params>
</methodCall>

Logout worked:

<methodResponse>
<params>
<param>
<value><struct>
<member><name>GOODBYE</name>
<value><string>XOXO</string></value>
</member>
</struct></value>
</param>
</params>
</methodResponse>

2 Business layer requests

Once a successful login return packet has been received and
sessionid/kp3 have been extracted, every subsequent packet
sent to the egroupware server must be preceded by an Authorization
header. Here is a sample header:

POST /egroupware/xmlrpc.php HTTP/1.0
User-Agent: PHP XMLRPC 1.0
Host: my.local.host
Authorization: Basic ZDgxNDIyZDRkYjg?5NDEyNGNiMzZlMDhhZTdlYzAxZmY6NTU3YzkyYjBmNGE4ZDVlOTUzMzI2YmU2OTQyNjM3YjQ=
Content-Type: text/xml
Content-Length: 875

The longish string is a base64 encoding of the $sessionid
. ':' . $kp3. For now this is our only supported authentication
method. Additional methods would probably also affect the
methodCalls. This is certainly open to discussion. Following
is a typical request for some contact data:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<methodCall>
<methodName>addressbook.boaddressbook.read_entries</methodName>
<params>
<param>
<value><struct>
<member><name>start</name>
<value><string>1</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>limit</name>
<value><string>5</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>fields</name>
<value><struct>
<member><name>n_given</name>
<value><string>n_given</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>n_family</name>
<value><string>n_family</string></value>
</member>
</struct></value>
</member>
<member><name>query</name>
<value><string></string></value>
</member>
<member><name>filter</name>
<value><string></string></value>
</member>
<member><name>sort</name>
<value><string></string></value>
</member>
<member><name>order</name>
<value><string></string></value>
</member>
</struct></value>
</param>
</params>
</methodCall>

Successful response:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<methodResponse>
<params>
<param>
<value><struct>
<member><name>0</name>
<value><struct>
<member><name>id</name>
<value><string>1</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>lid</name>
<value><string></string></value>
</member>
<member><name>tid</name>
<value><string>n</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>owner</name>
<value><string>500</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>access</name>
<value><string>private</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>cat_id</name>
<value><string>1</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>n_given</name>
<value><string>Alan</string></value>
</member>
</struct></value>
</member>
<member><name>1</name>
<value><struct>
<member><name>id</name>
<value><string>2</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>lid</name>
<value><string></string></value>
</member>
<member><name>tid</name>
<value><string>n</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>owner</name>
<value><string>500</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>access</name>
<value><string>private</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>cat_id</name>
<value><string>1</string></value>
</member>
<member><name>n_given</name>
<value><string>Andy</string></value>
</member>
</struct></value>
</member>

...

Unauthorized access attempt returns:

<methodResponse>
<params>
<param>
<value><string>UNAUTHORIZED</string></value>
</param>
</params>
</methodResponse>

3 More to come...

Documenting every single call will be difficult, but should
be done. In leiu of this, please see the class.bo{APPNAME}.inc.php
files in each application/inc directory in the egroupware
cvs. In this file will be a list_methods() function, which
returns the information to the server about input/output
structure for each call. If the file does not have this
function, then it is not yet workable via this interface.
As for the actual functions, they are also in this file.
Generally, they will all accept associative array input
and return same, but not always. This code is in flux, have
fun.

If you have more questions about XML-RPC mail them to milosch or the developers-list (egroupware-developers AT lists DOT sourceforge DOT net) and we will (try to) answer them here.


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