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A rails engine for interfacing with OpenStax's common accounts server.


Add the engine to your Gemfile and then run bundle install.

Mount the engine your application's routes.rb file:

MyApplication::Application.routes.draw do
  mount OpenStax::Connect::Engine, at: "/connect"

You can use whatever path you want instead of /connect, just make sure to make the appropriate changes below.

Create an openstax_connect.rb initializer in config/initializers, with the following contents:

OpenStax::Connect.configure do |config|
  config.openstax_application_id = 'value_from_openstax_accounts_here'
  config.openstax_application_secret = 'value_from_openstax_accounts_here'

If you're running OpenStax Accounts in a dev instance on your machine, you can specify that instance's local URL with:

config.openstax_accounts_url = 'http://localhost:2999/'

To have users login, direct them to /connect/sessions/new. This is also available through the openstax_connect.login route helper, e.g. <%= link_to 'Sign in!', openstax_connect.login_path %>.

There is also a logout path helper for /connect/sessions/destroy, given by logout_path. By default this expects a GET request. If you'd prefer a DELETE request, add this configuration:

config.logout_via = :delete

OpenStax Connect provides you with an OpenStax::Connect::User object. You can use this as your app's User object without modification, you can modify it to suit your app's needs (not recommended), or you can provide your own custom User object that references the OpenStax Connect User object.

OpenStax Connect also provides you methods for getting and setting the current signed in user (current_user and current_user= methods). If you choose to create your own custom User object that references the User object provide by Connect, you can teach OpenStax Connect how to translate between your app's custom User object and OpenStax Connect's built-in User object.

To do this, you need to set a user_provider in this configuration.

config.user_provider = MyUserProvider

The user_provider is a class that provides two class methods:

def self.connect_user_to_app_user(connect_user)
  # converts the given connect user to an app user
  # if you want to cache the connect_user in the app user
  # this is the place to do it.
  # If no app user exists for this connect user, one should
  # be created.

def self.app_user_to_connect_user(app_user)
  # converts the given app user to a connect user

Connect users are never nil. When a user is signed out, the current connect user is an anonymous user (responding true to is_anonymous?). You can follow the same pattern in your app or you can use nil for the current user. Just remember to check the anonymous status of connect users when doing your connect <-> app translations.

The default user_provider just uses OpenStax::Connect::User as the app user.

Make sure to install the engine's migrations:

rake openstax_connect:install:migrations

Accounts API

OpenStax::Connect provides convenience methods for accessing the OpenStax Accounts API.

OpenStax::Connect.create_application_user(user, version = nil) takes an OpenStax::Connect::User and, optionally, an API version argument, and creates an ApplicationUser for the configured application and the given user. Call this method when users finish the registration process in your app.

OpenStax::Connect.api_call(http_method, url, options = {}) provides a generic convenience method capable of making API calls to Accounts. http_method can be any valid HTTP method, and url is the desired API URL, without the 'api/' prefix. Options is a hash that can contain any option that OAuth2 requests accept, such as :headers, :params, :body, etc, plus the optional values :api_version (to specify an API version) and :access_token (to specify an OAuth access token).

Example Application

There is an example application included in the gem in the example folder. Here are steps to follow:

  1. Download (clone) the OpenStax Accounts site from
  2. In the site's config folder put a secret_settings.yml file that has values for the following keys: facebook_app_id, facebook_app_secret, twitter_consumer_key, twitter_consumer_secret. If you don't have access to these values, you can always make dummy apps on facebook and twitter.
  3. Do the normal steps to get this site online:
    1. Run bundle install --without production
    2. Run bundle exec rake db:migrate
    3. Run bundle exec rails server
  4. Open this accounts site in a web browser (defaults to http://localhost:2999)
  5. Navigate to http://localhost:2999/oauth/applications
  6. Click New application 5. Set the callback URL to http://localhost:4000/connect/auth/openstax/callback.
    Port 4000 is where you'll be running the example application.
    1. The name can be whatever.
    2. Click the Trusted? checkbox.
    3. Click Submit.
    4. Keep this window open so you can copy the application ID and secret into the example app
  7. Leave the accounts app running
  8. Download (clone) the OpenStax Connect gem from The example application is in the example folder. In that folder's config folder, create a secret_settings.yml file according to the instructions in secret_settings.yml.example. Run the example server in the normal way (bundle install..., migrate db, rails server).
  9. Navigate to the home page, http://localhost:4000. Click log in and play around. You can also refresh the accounts site and see yourself logged in, log out, etc.
  10. For fun, change example/config/openstax_connect.rb to set enable_stubbing to true. Now when you click login you'll be taken to a developer-only page where you can login as other users, generate new users, create new users, etc.