communication between two iframe children using postMessage

I have some embed code that users can put on their sites. It creates two children iframes on the page. I'd like to have those children be able to communicate.

I'm using javascript's window.postMessage https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/DOM/window.postMessage

Since the two iframe children can't communicate directly, I'm using the parent as a relay for messages. However the parent can be on a different domain since it's embeddable code.

When all three (parent and two children) are on the same domain, it's pretty easy and I have this working with the security check checking the e.origin is my own site

# coffeescript
# host = "http://www.mysite.com"
host = "http://localhost"

receive_message = (e) ->
  console.log("received message from " + e.origin + ": " + e.data)
  return if e.origin != host

  if e.data == "show"
    ...
  else if e.data == "hide"
    ...

window.addEventListener("message", receive_message, false)

What is an elegant way to check the origin when the parent can be on any domain?

What is a good way to allow debugging of the script where the origin can be localhost?

Is it sufficient to just check the data param if there are non destructive/changing messages being passed across?

Thanks!

Answers:

Answer

Why do you say that the child iframes can't communicate directly? Actually, they can. What you can do within a child iframe is use the window.parent property to get a reference to the parent window, and then use the parent's frames property to get references to all child iframes (the frames property gives you an array of such references). After that, you can use postMessage on each of those references, and set the required origin restrictoin in the postMessage call so that you are sure only the right iframe gets the message.

Notice that this will work even when all three windows (iframe1, parent window and iframe2) are on different domains because iframe1 is not doing anything with the parent window (which would violate SOP), it is only fetching references to nested iframes.

Links:

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/DOM/window.parent

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/DOM/window.frames

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