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Windows Live Authentication w/ DotNetNuke

Author: Chad Nash/Thursday, September 26, 2013/Categories: Uncategorized

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Windows Live Authentication support is one of the big new features with DNN 4.6.x, allowing you to enable an easy to remember login method for your users.   The great part about this addition to DNN is that it is an item that is easy to configure and requires no ongoing support to maintain. This article will take you through all steps necessary to setup your application with Windows Live and to actually enable the integrated authentication.


What is Windows Live?


Windows Live is a single sign-on system that allows users to access multiple sites; it is provided and maintained by Microsoft and is most commonly known for its usage on live.com and msn.com.  By integrating into the Windows Live system you allow users to use their existing Live id to login to your website. Depending on the target audience of your website this could be considered a very helpful addition.


Things To Note


Before you can setup your DNN site to use Windows Live as an authentication method you must first register your application with Windows Live and setup a Secret key and obtain an Application Id. The next section of this article will provide you step-by-step illustrations of this process.


For users to benefit from your Windows Live integration they must have an account with Windows Live. If they do not they can visit live.com and create one quickly!  They do NOT necessarily need an account of your DNN website as if necessary they can create one on login with Windows Live. As part of the integration process a message to this nature can be displayed by enabling the "help" option.


Registering Your Website with Windows Live


The first part of the Windows Live integration process is to register your website with the Windows Live Applications Website (https://msm.live.com/app/default.aspx)  Below we will walk you through the setup process for this portion of the configuration.  The following image shows you the general "Application Settings" that you will specify during the process.



  • Login to the https://msm.live.com/app/default.aspx website
  • Click on "Register an Application", you will be taken to a screen that looks like the above.
  • Specify an "Application Name", this is simply the identifying name for your website
  • Specify a "Return URL", this URL MUST be the URL to your login page. If set incorrectly Windows Live authentication will NOT work.
  • Specify a "Secret Key", this can be any combination of characters and should be something you remember
  • Input the CAPTCHA text and press "Submit" after agreeing to their license terms.


After completing the above settings you will be given an application ID, please note that and your secret key for later configuration.



Configuring DNN Windows Live Authentication


Now, that you have setup your website on the Windows Live side of things it is VERY simple to configure DotNetNuke to allow the integration. Simply perform the following three steps when logged into your DNN 4.6.0 or later website when logged in with Admin or Host permissions.


  • From the "Admin" Menu select "Authentication"
  • Under the Windows Live section you should see the following screen, follow the instructions below regarding setting each value

  • Enabled - This option actually enables the display of the authentication system on the DNN login page
  • Application Id - This is the application id that was created when you registered your application on the Windows Live site per the above instructions
  • Secret Key - This is the secret key that you created when your registered your application on the Windows Live site, be sure to type this EXACTLY as you did on the Windows Live site. Also never accidently enter less than 16 characters into this field!
  • Include Help? - If selected users will be given detailed information about what Windows Live Id is.
  • Click "Update Settings" to save your settings. (NOTE: this page does NOT give a success message, so just make sure that it has refreshed.)


After saving your settings your login page should now look like the following, note the extra tab option to select Live ID:




Users can now login to your site using Windows Live by simply clicking on the proper link at the top and following the displayed instructions.  As with all other core DNN modules you can localize any desired text using the Language Editor. If a user is routed to your site from Windows Live and they do not have an account a register page will be displayed allowing them to create a new account.




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