The University of Hull (UH) are a project partner in the JISC funded WebPA project. As part of the project the UH piloted the WebPA system with 4 academic tutors and set assessments for approximately 400 students.


The main issues faced by the UH was how to integrate WebPA with their institutional portal. This would ensure that the students using the system were able to automatically login to the WebPA system without being directed to another site or entering that credentials again. This is also true for the academic tutor users who would not be as willing to use the system if they had to go to another site and login again.

Hardware and Software Environment

WebPA system
Operating system Windows 2003
Web server Apache
Language PHP
Database MySQL

UH Portal
Operating system Sun Solaris 10
Web server Apache 1.3.37
Language Java
mod_jk 1.2.19
Apache Tomcat 5.5.20


The solution that the e-Services Integration Group devised ensured that the system was up and running for the staff and student users quickly. The basic premise of the integration has been to provide a link from within the institutional portal that opens a new JSP page in a separate window. Within the JSP a form is auto-submitted to the WebPA systems login_check.php page. This auto-submit form essentially passes the credentials in the same way as the WebPA system’s login page. This solution automatically logs the user in without the need for the user to retype their credentials.


Figure 1 – Student view of WebPA integration

Extract of JSP Code

String username = (String) jspPerson.getAttribute("userName");
String sServerUrl = "http://webpa.hull.ac.uk/login_check.php";

response.sendRedirect(sServerUrl+ "?username=" +username+"&password=" +password);


The basic integration is successful and has been accepted by both academics and students who have not had any issues with the use of the system throughout the piloting period. The resultant view to both the student and the academic tutor can be seen in the screen shots (figure1 and figure 2 respectively).


Figure 2 – Academic tutor view of WebPA integration

Possible Adaptations to this Integration

In this instance the integration of the WebPA system into the institutional portal at the UH provides a new window, it would also be possible to work this scenario into an iFrame. This would provide a view to both the academic tutors and the students of full integration. There may also be potential to develop a portlet, standards-based code, that could be used in any institutional portal as an integration solution.

Further Information

For more information about the WebPA project then please visit the website at http://webpaproject.com and for more information on the University of Hull, e-Service Integration Group please visit their website at http://www.hull.ac.uk/esig/


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