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Multi-step web form and API authentication

Hello, I'm looking to create a multi-step web form that would connect to salesforce via the API. I have already done work with the API successfully on on a private portal, which correntlly authenticates the user. That user authentication would be an issue with web-to-lead as my potential customers would not autehticate with salesforce (no credentials) and I obviously wouldn't want them to autheticate. 

My forms would work like this:

Step 1: Basic information is collected - lead is created in salesforce
Step 2: Lead Id is available, and updated when user enters additional information in this step
Step 3, 4: same as step 2. 

So my question is, how can I connect via the API and autheticate without the user's interaction / knowledge?

Tom EllisTom Ellis
Hi Dave
Did you ever get a solution to this? I want to do something similar so I can submit a multi step web-to-lead form after each step, and update the record created after the first step rather than new records created each step.