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The AFP CLI is the command line interface to access the AWS Federation Proxy (AFP).

Its main use case is starting a new shell where your temporary AWS credentials have been exported into the environment.


The tool is hosted on PyPi and can be installed using the usual Python specific mechanisms, e.g.:

$ pip install afp-cli


The afp command can be configured through yaml files in the following directories:

  • /etc/afp-cli/*.yaml (global configuration)
  • $HOME/.afp-cli/*.yaml (per-user configuration)

The yaml files are read in lexical order and merged via yamlreader. The following configuration options are supported:

  • api_url: <api-url> Defaults to lookup a FQDN of a host named afp via DNS and construct the server url from it: https://{FQDN}/afp-api/latest The specified url must contain full server url (not just the FQDN). This option always takes precedence over server
  • server: <server> The AFP server to use. No default value. If not overridden by api_url (see above), api_url will become http://<server>//afp-api/latest
  • user: <username> Defaults to the currently logged in user-name
  • password-provider: <provider> Viable options are: prompt (default) to prompt for the password during every interaction with the AFP server or keyring to use the Python keyring module. For more info about using the keyring module, see below.


user: myuser
password-provider: keyring


Get Help Text

$ afp [-h | --help]

List Available Account Names and Roles

For the currently logged-in user:

$ afp

The same for another user:

$ afp --user=username

Output format:

<accountname>    <role1>,<role2>,...,<roleN>

Example output:

abc_account    some_role_in_abc_account
xyz_account    some_role_in_yxz_account,another_role_in_xyz

Obtain AWS Credentials

This starts a subshell in which the credentials have been exported into the environment. Use the exit command or press CTRL+D to terminate the subshell.

Use credentials for currently logged in user and specified account and role:

$ afp accountname rolename

Use credentials for the currently logged in user for the first role:

$ afp accountname

As above, but specifying a different user:

$ afp --user=username accountname rolename

Specify the URL of the AFP server, overriding any config file:

$ afp --api-url=

Show and Export

In case you don't want to start a subshell or are using something other than bash, you can use --show or --export to display the credentials. You can use the usual UNIX tools to add/remove them from your environment. --show will just show them and --export will show them in a format suitable for an export into your environment, i.e. prefixed with export for UNIX and set for Windows.

$ afp --show <myaccount> [<myrole>]
Password for myuser:
$ afp --export <myaccount> [<myrole>]
Password for myuser:
export AWS_VALID_SECONDS='600'
export AWS_EXPIRATION_DATE='1970-01-01T01:00:00Z'

The following examples work in zsh, to add and remove them from your environment:

Adding credentials:

$ eval $(afp --export <accountname>)

Removing them again:

$ env | grep AWS | cut -f 1 -d'=' | while read line ; do ; unset $line ; done ;

Write to AWS Credentials File

The AWS tools read credentials specified with aws configure from a local file named credentials in a folder named .aws in your home directory. The afp-cli tool can write your temporary credentials to this file.

$ afp --write <myaccount> [<myrole>]

Configuration Settings and Precedence

Please read the section on Configuration Settings and Precedence from the AWS documentation.

Interface with the System Keyring

Starting with version 1.3.0, experimental support for the Python keyring module has been implemented. This has been tested with the Gnome Keyring and Max OS X Keychain but supposedly also works with Windows Credential Vault. You can configure this feature using the config file as shown above or with a command-line switch.

Example command-line:

$ afp --password-provider keyring
No password found in keychain, please enter it now to store it.
Password for user:

You will be prompted for your password the first time. Note that if you fail to enter the password correctly, the incorrect version will be stored. Note further that if you are using the Gnome-Keychain you can use the tool seahorse to update and delete saved passwords, in this case for the service afp.

Keyring on MacOS X

On some MacOS systems, storing the password works fine, but fetching it fails with Can't fetch password from system. This is due to a change in the 'keyring' module, introduced in version 9.0. As a workaround, downgrade to the previous version with pip install keyring==8.7

Keyring with Gnome-Keychain

There is an intricate caveat when using the keyring module with Gnome-Keychain. But before discussing this, it is important to mention that the keyring module uses another module, namely secretstorage under the hood.

In order for the keyring module to correctly use the Gnome Keychain the Python module PyGObject aka gi is required. As stated on the project website: "PyGObject is a Python extension module that gives clean and consistent access to the entire GNOME software platform through the use of GObject Introspection." Now, unfortunately, even though this project is available on PyPi it can not be installed from there using pip due to issues with the build system. It is however available as a system package for Ubuntu distributions as python-gi.

Long story short, in order to use the keyring module from afp-cli you need to have the gi module available to your Python interpreter. You can achieve this, for example, by doing a global install of afp-cli using something like sudo pip install afp-cli or install it into a virtual environment that uses the system site packages because it has been created with the --system-site-packages flag. In case the gi module is not available and you try to use the keyring module anyway, afp-cli will exit with an appropriate error message. Lastly, if in doubt, you can use the --debug switch to check at runtime which backend was selected.


Copyright 2015,2016 Immobilien Scout GmbH

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

See Also

See Hologram for another solution that brings temporary AWS credentials onto developer desktops.