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STIAM-Sender is a proof-of-concept implementation of a SAML2-Attribute-Authority (AA) supporting "extended" attribute queries (containing included authentication statements).

This implementation is based on eGovernment Switzerland's standard eCH 168 and has accompanied the creation of eCH 174.

A brief overview of the architecture and components can be found in doc/architecture.pdf, otherwise, use the source.

Installation Instructions


To build STIAM-Sender, the following requirements need to be satisfied:

  • STIAM-Sender source tree
  • JAVA JDK 1.7 (older versions won't work)
  • Maven >= 3.0.4

You probably already have the source tree for STIAM-Sender as you are reading this document. The other requirements are to be installed according to the usual procedures of the operating system in use for building and deployment.

As an example, to install the two packages in Ubuntu, the following commands can be used:

apt-get update 
apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk maven

Pre-build Configuration

The build-process for STIAM-Sender performs a multitude of tests during build. A lot of these tests require appropriate configuration to work properly, thus requiring the correct configuration of STIAM-Sender prior to initiating a build.

Currently, the simplest way to configure the STIAM-Sender is to copy the directory doc/sample-configuration to its default location, a directory called ".stiam-aa" in the user's homedirectory:

cp -r doc/sample-configuration ~/.stiam-aa

A similar approach should be possible on non-UNIX-like systems, however this has not been tested.

Alternate Configuration Location

Note: This is a tedious process and currently strongly discouraged.

It is possible to specify an alternate location for configuration data by using the system property "stiam.config". In this case however, the pom.xml has to be adjusted to set this property while running the build process:


Also, in the mentioned in the given stiam.config-property, all filepaths have to be adjusted to the correct location. Furthermore, for all subsequent invocations of either the STIAM-Sender Attribute Authority or the QuerySender component, it has to be ensured that the system property is also set.

Configuration Options

Refer to the documentation provided in the different configuration files.


Performing a clean build of the STIAM-Sender is done using maven and should be quite straightforward:

mvn clean install

This should, after a while, generate a "target"-directory, containing, among others, the following two files:

  • aa-1.0.0.war
  • aa-1.0.0-jetty-console.war

With this, building of the application was successful.


There are two possibilities for deployment:

Use the Console (recommended for testing)

STIAM-Sender includes a graphical console for testing which can easily be started using the following command from the source-tree directory:

java -jar target/aa-1.0.0-jetty-console.war

In the appearing console window, the server's port can be configured and the included Jetty-server can be started and stopped. After starting the server, the default location of the attribute service (AS) should be opened automatically in your browser:

http://localhost:[choosen port]/

A greeting-page should appear, telling that the STIAM-Sender AS is ready to serve attribute-queries.

Note: in headless mode, the console window does not appear but the server is directly started on port 8080. The greeting-page should then be accessible at


or even remotely by using the fully qualified hostname.

Deploy to a Container

The other option is to deploy the STIAM-Sender to a standard servlet container like Jetty or Tomcat. For this, both of the above mentioned, generated war files can be used. Refer to the documentation of the container about how to proceed.

Testing with QuerySender

After successful deployment of the STIAM-Sender, it can be tested with the integrated QuerySender-tool provided with the distribution.

To issue a test-query to STIAM-Sender's AS, it's best to start the QuerySender using maven (thus satisfying automatically all dependencies):

mvn exec:java -Dexec.mainClass="ch.bfh.ti.ictm.iam.stiam.aa.util.QuerySender"

Note: Also for the QuerySender, proper configuration must exist, see previous sections about configuration.


STIAM-Sender uses SLF4J for logging, permitting simple "plug-and-play" exchange of the logging backend. In the default build, it is configured to use JAVA's java.util.logging-Framework. In order to obtain a higher level of verbosity in the logs of STIAM-Sender (internals only get logged at DEBUG-level), JAVA's system wide has to be adjusted. Refer to JAVA's documentation on logging for the details - in short, the following has to be done:

  • Set the property "ch.bfh.ti.ictm.iam.stiam.aa.level = FINEST"
  • Adjust the level of the handler, for example: "java.util.logging.ConsoleHandler.level = FINEST"

Generating Keys for Signature and Validation

The current distribution of STIAM-Sender comes with a pregenerated public/private keypair in the aa.jks-file of the example configuration. It is thus not necessary to generate new keys to test the functionality. In order to easily generate a new keypair, the following call to JAVA's keytool can be made:

keytool -genkey -keyalg RSA -alias stiam-aa -keystore aa.jks -storepass secret -validity 360 -keysize 2048

At the interactive prompts of keytool, all questions can be answered with [return], accepting the defaults - or adjusted to personal preferences. Refer to keytool's documentation for further information.

After generating new keys, the current keystore-file has to be replaced with the new one.

Certificate of the issuer must be saved in the keystore store as well. Otherwise, validating the signature would fail. The name of the issuer certificate must be the same as the SAML.Issuer configuration parameter (in

Important: New keys will result in different queries and thus the parameters of the unit tests (in have to be adjusted before re-running a new build. Otherwise, building will not be possible.

Open Issues

The implementation of the proof-of-concept has been finished and it has met the given requirements. There are some open issues left which are listed here for the sake of completeness:

  • A deeper investigation of possible error cases in the message handling performed by AttributeService should be done.
  • Make configuration directory (not file) configurable via stiam.config-system-property.
  • The classes ListProperties and Attribute miss proper Testsuites, these should be trivial to create


Implementation of a proof-of-concept attribute authority component as defined by eCH standard 168







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