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Customizing the GroupWise WebAccess Login Page

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Sean Kirkby

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Posted: 19 Sep 2006


Administrators would like to simplify the GroupWise 7.0.x WebAccess login page by eliminating the initial language selection page, and by hiding the variety of options that are available on the login page.


There are two parts to simplifying the login page:

1) Configure the default web page to automatically skip the language selection page.

2) Modify the login template file for the "css" template so that the options and the settings button are both invisible.

Part 1: Automatic Redirect to the Login Page

This one is simple. Your index.html (or whatever apache2 is configured to recognize as your default web page - it's index.html by default) should just have the following contents in it:

    <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
    <title>GW WebAccess</title>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset-iso-8859-1">
    <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;url=">

That's it. Whenever anyone browses to the root of your mail server, they will automatically be redirected to the WebAccess application login page, thus bypassing the language selection page. Note that in this example, the URL has an "https:" protocol descriptor. This, of course, is optional - if you are not using SSL on your WebAccess server, just use "http:" here. Also note that there are other ways to accomplish this, such as using the Apache mod_rewrite module, but this is a very quick way to get you there.

Part 2: Modifying the Login Template

The following instructions assume that you want to make the modifications to the default "css" template (i.e., not to the simple template, or any of the small-footprint PDA templates, etc.).

In addition, these instructions are for GroupWise 7.0.1 WebAccess. Note that the WebAccess application is simply a Java servlet (usually running under Tomcat), so the template is identical whether the servlet runs on Linux or NetWare. All that changes is the default location of the template files.

The template files are located under the main servlet directory, which can be found under the "webapps" directory under tomcat.

  • NetWare: the default GW WebAcc servlet directory is sys:\tomcat\4\webapps\gw
  • Linux: the default GW WebAcc servlet directory is /var/opt/novell/gw

(Note that the servlet directory is technically under the tomcat directory in /var/opt/novell/tomcat4/webapps/gw. This directory is actually just a symbolic link to /var/opt/novell/gw. This means that /var/opt/novell/tomcat4/webapps/gw and /var/opt/novell/gw are actually the same physical directory on the hard drive. I will refer to the latter path in these instructions.)

The template files for the template named "css" (which is a confusing name, but that's what it's called) are found in:

  • Linux: /var/opt/novell/gw/WEB-INF/classes/com/novell/webaccess/templates/css
  • NetWare: sys:\tomcat\4\webapps\gw\WEB-INF\classes\com\novell\webaccess\templates\css

The file you want to modify is named "login.htt".

Make a backup copy of this file, in case things go horribly wrong. No, really... make a backup copy.

There are two things in this file that need to be modified. The first one is found on line #345. By default, it reads:

<tr id="Options" class="optionsVisible">

You want to change it to:

<tr id="Options" class="optionsHidden">

Just change "optionsVisible" to "optionsHidden". This will cause the options on the login page to be "hidden". This is the equivalent to what happens when you click on the "Settings" button to hide the options.

The second line you want to change is line #369. By default, it reads:

<input class="button" style="color: $404040;" id="SettingsButton" type=button 

(Note: There is a lot more after that, but none of it is relevant to this task...)

You should change it to:

<input class="button" style="color: $404040;" id="SettingsButton" type="hidden"

Just change the type=button part to say type="hidden". This will cause the Settings button to be hidden, so users won't see it to click on it, thus keeping the options hidden forever.

After changing the template, you should restart tomcat. On Linux, enter the following commands at the shell prompt:

/etc/init.d/novell-tomcat4 stop
/etc/init.d/novell-tomcat4 start

On NetWare, enter the following commands at the server prompt:

java -exit

Note that after starting tomcat backup up, it may take several seconds before you can actually browse to the page, as the tomcat framework initializes. Don't be alarmed if you get a "Server error! Error 500" error after restarting tomcat, unless you have waited at least 45 seconds to two minutes or so (depending on your hardware and server resource availability, etc.).


Concentrico has samples of the default web page and the modified login template file, along with a readme describing how to use them, available at

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