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Authentication & Security

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Most GitHub services do not require authentication, but some do. For example the methods that allow you to change properties on Repositories and some others. Therefore this step is facultative.


GitHub provides some different ways of authentication. This API implementation implements three of them which are handled by one function:

$client->authenticate($usernameOrToken, $password, $method);

$usernameOrToken is, of course, the username (or in some cases token/client ID, more details you can find below), and guess what should contain $password. The $method can contain one of the five allowed values:

  • Github\Client::AUTH_URL_TOKEN
  • Github\Client::AUTH_URL_CLIENT_ID
  • Github\Client::AUTH_HTTP_TOKEN
  • Github\Client::AUTH_HTTP_PASSWORD
  • Github\Client::AUTH_JWT

The required value of $password depends on the chosen $method. For Github\Client::AUTH_URL_TOKEN, Github\Client::AUTH_HTTP_TOKEN and Github\Client::JWT methods you should provide the API token in $usernameOrToken variable ($password is omitted in this particular case). For the Github\Client::AUTH_HTTP_PASSWORD, you should provide the password of the account. When using Github\Client::AUTH_URL_CLIENT_ID $usernameOrToken should contain your client ID, and $password should contain client secret.

After executing the $client->authenticate($usernameOrToken, $secret, $method); method using correct credentials, all further requests are done as the given user.

About authentication methods

The Github\Client::AUTH_URL_TOKEN authentication method sends the API token in URL parameters. The Github\Client::AUTH_URL_CLIENT_ID authentication method sends the client ID and secret in URL parameters. The Github\Client::AUTH_HTTP_* authentication methods send their values to GitHub using HTTP Basic Authentication. The Github\Client::AUTH_JWT authentication method sends the specified JSON Web Token in an Authorization header.

Github\Client::AUTH_URL_TOKEN used to be the only available authentication method. To prevent existing applications from changing their behavior in case of an API upgrade, this method is chosen as the default for this API implementation.

Note however that GitHub describes this method as deprecated. In most case you should use the Github\Client::AUTH_HTTP_TOKEN instead.

Authenticating as an Integration

To authenticate as an integration you need to supply a JSON Web Token with Github\Client::AUTH_JWT to request and installation access token which is then usable with Github\Client::AUTH_HTTP_TOKEN. Github´s integration authentication docs describe the flow in detail. It´s important for integration requests to use the custom Accept header application/vnd.github.machine-man-preview.

The following sample code authenticates as an installation using lcobucci/jwt to generate a JSON Web Token (JWT).

use Http\Adapter\Guzzle6\Client as GuzzleClient;
use Lcobucci\JWT\Builder;
use Lcobucci\JWT\Signer\Key;
use Lcobucci\JWT\Signer\Rsa\Sha256;

$builder = new Github\HttpClient\Builder(new GuzzleClient());
$github = new Github\Client($builder, 'machine-man-preview');

$jwt = (new Builder)
    ->setExpiration(time() + 60)
    // `file://` prefix for file path or file contents itself
    ->sign(new Sha256(),  new Key('file:///path/to/integration.private-key.pem'))

$github->authenticate($jwt, null, Github\Client::AUTH_JWT);

$token = $github->api('apps')->createInstallationToken($installationId);
$github->authenticate($token['token'], null, Github\Client::AUTH_HTTP_TOKEN);

The $integrationId you can find in the about section of your github app. The $installationId you can find by installing the app and using the id in the url.