Creating AuthServers to Authenticate and Authorize

An instance of AuthServer handles creating, verifying and refreshing authorization tokens. They are created in a RequestSink constructor and are used by instances of Authorizer, AuthController and AuthCodeController.

An AuthServer must persist the data it uses and creates - like client identifiers and access tokens. Storage is often performed by a database, but it can be in memory, a cache or some files. For that reason, an AuthServer doesn't perform any storage itself - it relies on an instance of AuthStorage specific to your use case.

This allows storage to be independent of verification logic.

Creating Instances of AuthServer and AuthStorage

An instance of AuthServer is created in a RequestSink's constructor along with its instance of AuthStorage. AuthStorage is just an interface - storage is implemented by providing an implementation for each of its methods.

Because storage can be quite complex and sensitive, the type ManagedAuthStorage<T> implements storage with ManagedObject<T>s and Query<T>s. It is highly recommended to use this type instead of implementing your own storage because it has been thoroughly tested and handles cleaning up expired data correctly.

ManagedAuthStorage<T> is declared in a sub-library, managed_auth, that is part of the aqueduct package but not part of the aqueduct library. Therefore, it must be explicitly imported. Here's an example of creating an AuthServer and ManagedAuthStorage<T>:

import 'package:aqueduct/aqueduct.dart';
import 'package:aqueduct/managed_auth.dart';

class MyRequestSink extends RequestSink {
  MyRequestSink(ApplicationConfiguration config) : super(config) {
    var context = new ManagedContext(...);
    var storage = new ManagedAuthStorage<User>(context);
    authServer = new AuthServer(storage);

  AuthServer authServer;


(Notice that ManagedAuthStorage has a type argument - this will be covered in the next section.)

While AuthServer has methods for handling authorization tasks, it is rarely used directly. Instead, AuthCodeController and AuthController are hooked up to routes to grant authorization tokens via the API. Instances of Authorizer secure routes in request channels. All of these types invoke the appropriate methods on the AuthServer.

Therefore, a full authorization implementation rarely extends past a RequestSink. Here's an example RequestSink subclass that sets up and uses authorization:

import 'package:aqueduct/aqueduct.dart';
import 'package:aqueduct/managed_auth.dart';

class MyRequestSink extends RequestSink {
  MyRequestSink(ApplicationConfiguration config) : super(config) {
    context = new ManagedContext(...);
    var storage = new ManagedAuthStorage<User>(context);
    authServer = new AuthServer(storage);

  AuthServer authServer;
  ManagedContext context;

  void setupRouter(Router router) {
    // Set up auth token route- this grants and refresh tokens
    router.route("/auth/token").generate(() => new AuthController(authServer));

    // Set up auth code route- this grants temporary access codes that can be exchanged for token
    router.route("/auth/code").generate(() => new AuthCodeController(authServer));

    // Set up protected route
      .pipe(new Authorizer.bearer(authServer))
      .generate(() => new ProtectedController());

For more details on authorization controllers like AuthController, see Authorization Controllers. For more details on securing routes, see Authorizers.

Using ManagedAuthStorage

ManagedAuthStorage<T> is a concrete implementation of AuthStorage, providing storage of authorization tokens and clients for AuthServer. Storage is accomplished by Aqueduct's ORM. ManagedAuthStorage<T>, by default, is not part of the standard aqueduct/aqueduct library. To use this class, an application must import package:aqueduct/managed_auth.dart.

The type argument to ManagedAuthStorage<T> represents the application's concept of a 'user' or 'account' - OAuth 2.0 terminology would refer to this type as a resource owner.

The type argument must be a ManagedObject<T> subclass that is specific to your application. Its persistent type must extend ManagedAuthenticatable and the instance type must implement ManagedAuthResourceOwner. A basic definition may look like this:

class User extends ManagedObject<_User>
    implements _User, ManagedAuthResourceOwner {

class _User extends ManagedAuthenticatable {
  @ManagedColumnAttributes(unique: true)
  String email;

By extending ManagedAuthenticatable, the database table has the following four columns:

  • an integer primary key named id
  • a unique string username
  • a password hash
  • a salt used to generate the password hash

A ManagedAuthenticatable also has a ManagedSet of tokens for each token that has been granted on its behalf.

The interface ManagedAuthResourceOwner is a requirement that ensures the type argument is both a ManagedObject<T> and ManagedAuthenticatable, and serves no other purpose than to restrict ManagedAuthStorage<T>'s type parameter.

This structure allows an application to declare its own 'user' type while still enforcing the needs of Aqueduct's OAuth 2.0 implementation.

The managed_auth library also declares two ManagedObject<T> subclasses. ManagedToken represents instances of authorization tokens and codes, and ManagedClient represents instances of OAuth 2.0 clients. This means that an Aqueduct application that uses ManagedAuthStorage<T> has a minimum of three database tables: users, tokens and clients.

ManagedAuthStorage<T> will delete authorization tokens and codes when they are no longer in use. This is determined by how many tokens a resource owner has and the tokens expiration dates. Once a resource owner acquires more than 40 tokens/codes, the oldest tokens/codes (determined by expiration date) are deleted. Effectively, the resource owner is limited to 40 tokens. This number can be changed when instantiating ManagedAuthStorage<T>:

var storage = new ManagedAuthStorage(context, tokenLimit: 20);

Configuring the Database

ManagedAuthStorage<T> requires database tables for its users, tokens and clients. Use the database command-line tool on your project to generate migration scripts and execute them against a database. This tool will see the declarations for your user type, ManagedToken and ManagedClient and create the appropriate tables.