A Simple Auth scheme for Services (not unlike OAuth, but simpler and more focused)
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The goal of this authorization scheme is to provide a way for a web-apps to access a web-service and interact with it based on the needs of the current user of the web-app, without the web-service having to know about the current user in any way.

It does this by allowing the web-app to get tokens from the web-service which grant a specific amount of access, for a specific amount of time, for a specific set of capabilities.

This is heavily based on the ideas found in OAuth and OAuth2, but our aim is to provide a much tighter focus on just web-app/web-service interplay.

Basic Flow

  • The user logs into the web-app, knowing nothing more then that. They are authenticated within that application and all is well.

  • The web-app itself now needs to ask the web-service for a token, or loads a pre-existing token somehow (in which case you would skip the next several steps).

  • The web-app and the web-service have a pre-arranged relationship and the web-app has been given a key from the web-service.

  • The web-app then takes the key, queries the local user info and builds an access-request.

  • The access-request is then combined with a timestamp and the key to produce an HMAC.

  • The access-request, the timestamp and the HMAC are all sent to the web-service.

  • The web-service then checks the access-request, timestamp and HMAC using it's copy of the key (located using the 'uid' field in the access-request)

  • If the key exists in the web-service's key-store, then it examines the list of capabilities in the access-request.

  • If the access-request is valid then the web-service creates a token and an access-grant to be given back to the web-app.

  • The web-service then stores the token and access-grant in the token store.

  • The web-service sends the web-app back the access-grant.

  • The web-app also then acuires a nonce.

  • On each request to the web-service from the web-app, the web-app must include the token and the a hash digest of (token + the key + the current nonce) and the current nonce.

  • On each response from the web-service, a new nonce is sent to be used for the next request.


user - the end-point, usually a human being

web-app - a client of the web service

web-service - another end-point, usually the owner of some resources

key - a UUID given to a web-app by a web-service to confirm their relationship with one another. The key is their shared secret. A web-app will typically only have one key, while a web-service will have given out many keys.

key-store - a mapping held by the web-service that maps the keys to a set of capabilities. Those capabilities might look something like:

    // the UID, which can be a URL or
    // something else which will work
    uid : http://my.webapp.com/,
    // list of roles that are allowed
    allowed : [
        // ex:
        // - read
        // - edit
        // - delete
        // - create
        // the combination of which determine
        // what access is allowed
    // does this key allow tokens to
    // be refreshed? Or is this a one
    // time access
    allow_refresh : {true,false},
    // the date at which this key expires
    expires : <date>,
    // the maximun length of a tokens life
    token_max_lifespan : <duration>

access-request - a set of data passed from the web-app to the web-service which contains information about what it is they want to do. An example might be:

    uid : http://my.webapp.com/, // they key identifier so that the service knows
                                 // what to lookup
    access_for : [ read, edit ], // asking for access to read and edit resources
    token_lifespan : <duration>  // requested timespan for the token (optional: if
                                 // not supplied, max will be given)

access-grant - a modified version of the access-request which tells the app what access is being given. An example might be:

    token : <session-token>,   // the token which is then expected to be sent with
                               // each request
    access_to : [ read ],      // the capabilities granted (usually the same as
                               // access-request)
    timeout : <duration>       // the timespan in which the token is valid
    can_refresh : {true,false} // lets them know if they can expect to refresh the token
                               // without re-auth

token - a UUID given by the web-service in response to an access-request. It represents the granting of an access-request.

token-store - a mapping held by the web-service that maps the tokens to a specific access-grant.


To install this module type the following:

perl Makefile.PL
make test
make install


This module requires these other modules and libraries:








Copyright and License

Copyright (C) 2011 Infinity Interactive, Inc.


This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.