OAuth 2.0

This document describes OAuth 2.0, when to use it, how to acquire client IDs, and how to use it with the Google API Client Library for .NET.

OAuth 2.0 Protocol

OAuth 2.0 is the authorization protocol used by Google APIs. You should get familiar with the protocol by reading the following links:

Acquiring client IDs and secrets

You can get client IDs and secrets on the Google API Console. There are different types of client IDs, so be sure to get the correct type for your application:

In each of the code snippets below (except the Service account one), you have to download the client secret and store it as client_secrets.json in your project.

Credentials

User credentials

UserCredential is a thread-safe helper class for using an access token to access protected resources. An access token typically expires after 1 hour, after which you will get an error if you try to use it.

UserCredential and AuthorizationCodeFlow take care of automatically "refreshing" the token, which simply means getting a new access token. This is done using a long-lived refresh token, which you receive along with the access token if you use the access_type=offline parameter during the authorization code flow.

In most applications, it is advisable to store the credential's access token and refresh token in persistent storage. Otherwise, you will need to present the end user with an authorization page in the browser every hour, because the access token expires an hour after you've received it.

To make sure the access and refresh tokens persist, you can provide your own implementation of IDataStore, or you can use one of the following implementations provided by the library:

  • FileDataStore for .NET ensures that the credential will be persistent in a file.

ServiceAccountCredential

ServiceAccountCredential is similar to UserCredential, but it serves a different purpose. Google OAuth 2.0 supports server-to-server interactions such as those between a web application and Google Cloud Storage. The requesting application has to prove its own identity to gain access to an API, and an end user doesn't have to be involved. ServiceAccountCredential stores a private key, which is used to sign a request to get a new access token.

Both UserCredential and ServiceAccountCredential implement IConfigurableHttpClientInitializer so you can register each of these as:

  • An unsuccessful response handler, so it will refresh the token if it receives an HTTP 401 status code.
  • An interceptor, to intercept the Authorization header on every request.

Installed applications

Sample code using the Books API:

using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Threading;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

using Google.Apis.Auth.OAuth2;
using Google.Apis.Books.v1;
using Google.Apis.Books.v1.Data;
using Google.Apis.Services;
using Google.Apis.Util.Store;

namespace Books.ListMyLibrary
{
    /// <summary>
    /// Sample which demonstrates how to use the Books API.
    /// https://developers.google.com/books/docs/v1/getting_started
    /// <summary>
    internal class Program
    {
        [STAThread]
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("Books API Sample: List MyLibrary");
            Console.WriteLine("================================");
            try
            {
                new Program().Run().Wait();
            }
            catch (AggregateException ex)
            {
                foreach (var e in ex.InnerExceptions)
                {
                    Console.WriteLine("ERROR: " + e.Message);
                }
            }
            Console.WriteLine("Press any key to continue...");
            Console.ReadKey();
        }

        private async Task Run()
        {
            UserCredential credential;
            using (var stream = new FileStream("client_secrets.json", FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read))
            {
                credential = await GoogleWebAuthorizationBroker.AuthorizeAsync(
                    GoogleClientSecrets.Load(stream).Secrets,
                    new[] { BooksService.Scope.Books },
                    "user", CancellationToken.None, new FileDataStore("Books.ListMyLibrary"));
            }

            // Create the service.
            var service = new BooksService(new BaseClientService.Initializer()
                {
                    HttpClientInitializer = credential,
                    ApplicationName = "Books API Sample",
                });

            var bookshelves = await service.Mylibrary.Bookshelves.List().ExecuteAsync();
            ...
        }
    }
}
  
  • In this sample code a new UserCredential instance is created by calling the GoogleWebAuthorizationBroker.AuthorizeAsync method. This static method gets the following:

    • The client secret (or a stream to the client secret).
    • The required scopes.
    • The user identifier.
    • The cancellation token for cancelling an operation.
    • An optional data store. If the data store is not specified, the default is a FileDataStore with a default Google.Apis.Auth folder. The folder is created in Environment.SpecialFolder.ApplicationData.
  • The UserCredential that is returned by this method is set as a HttpClientInitializer on the BooksService (using the initializer). As explained above, UserCredential implements an HTTP client initializer.

  • Notice that in the above sample code, the client secret information is loaded from a file, but you can also do the following:

    credential = await GoogleWebAuthorizationBroker.AuthorizeAsync(
        new ClientSecrets
        {
            ClientId = "PUT_CLIENT_ID_HERE",
            ClientSecret = "PUT_CLIENT_SECRETS_HERE"
        },
        new[] { BooksService.Scope.Books },
        "user",
        CancellationToken.None,
        new FileDataStore("Books.ListMyLibrary"));
          

Take a look at our Books sample.

Web applications (ASP.NET Core 3)

Google APIs support OAuth 2.0 for Web Server Applications.

The Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3 is the recommended library to use for most Google based OAuth 2.0 scenarios in ASP.NET Core 3 applications. It implements a Google-specific OpenIdConnect auth handler. It supports incremental auth, and defines an injectable IGoogleAuthProvider to supply Google credentials that can be used with Google APIs.

This section describes how to configure and use Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3. The code shown here is based on Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3.IntegrationTests which is a fully working, standard ASP.NET Core 3 application.

If you want to follow along this documentation as a tutorial, you will need your own ASP.NET Core 3 application and to complete these steps as a prerequisite.

Prerequisites

  • Install the Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3 package.
  • We are using the Google Drive API so you'll also need to install the Google.Apis.Drive.v3 package.
  • Create a Google Cloud project if you don't have one already. Follow these instructions to do so. This will be the project your app is identified with.
  • Make sure to enable the Google Drive API. To enable APIs, follow these instructions.
  • Create authorization credentials that will identify your app to Google. Follow these instructions to create authorization credentials and download the client_secrets.json file. Two highlights:
    • Notice that the credentials' type must be Web application.
    • For running this app, the only redirect URI you need to add is https://localhost:5001/signin-oidc.

Configure your application to use Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3

Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3 is configured in the Startup class or similar alternative you might be using. The following snippets are extracted from Startup.cs in the Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3.IntegrationTests project.

  • Add the following using directive to your Startup.cs file.
    using Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3;
  • In the Startup.ConfigureServices method add the following code, changin the Client ID and Client Secret placeholders with the values contained in the client_secrets.json file. You can load these values directly from the JSON file or you can store them in any other secure manner. Take a look at the ClientInfo.Load method in the Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3.IntegrationTests project for an example on how to load these values directly from the JSON file.
    public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
    {
        ...
    
        // This configures Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3 for use in this app.
        services
            .AddAuthentication(o =>
            {
                // This forces challenge results to be handled by Google OpenID Handler, so there's no
                // need to add an AccountController that emits challenges for Login.
                o.DefaultChallengeScheme = GoogleOpenIdConnectDefaults.AuthenticationScheme;
                // This forces forbid results to be handled by Google OpenID Handler, which checks if
                // extra scopes are required and does automatic incremental auth.
                o.DefaultForbidScheme = GoogleOpenIdConnectDefaults.AuthenticationScheme;
                // Default scheme that will handle everything else.
                // Once a user is authenticated, the OAuth2 token info is stored in cookies.
                o.DefaultScheme = CookieAuthenticationDefaults.AuthenticationScheme;
            })
            .AddCookie()
            .AddGoogleOpenIdConnect(options =>
            {
                options.ClientId = {YOUR_CLIENT_ID};
                options.ClientSecret = {YOUR_CLIENT_SECRET};
            });
    }
          
  • In the Startup.Configure method make sure to add ASP.NET Core 3 authentication and authorization middleware components to the pipeline:
    public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app, IWebHostEnvironment env)
    {
        ...
    
        app.UseAuthentication();
        app.UseAuthorization();
    
        ...
    }
          

Use the user credential to access Google APIs on their behalf

You are now ready to add action methods to your controllers that require the user credential to access Google APIs on their behalf. The following snippet shows how to list the files on the authenticated user's Google Drive account. Notice two things mostly:

  • The user not only needs to be authenticated, but they also need to have granted the https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive.readonly scope to your application, which you specify via the GoogleScopedAuthorize attribute.
  • We are using ASP.NET Core 3's standard dependency injection mechanism to receive an IGoogleAuthProvider that we use to obtain the user's credentials.

The code:

  • First add the following using directives to your controller.
    using Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3;
    using Google.Apis.Auth.OAuth2;
    using Google.Apis.Drive.v3;
    using Google.Apis.Services;
          
  • Add the controller action, as follows (and accompany it with a simple view that receives a IList<string> model):
    /// <summary>
    /// Lists the authenticated user's Google Drive files.
    /// Specifying the <see cref="GoogleScopedAuthorizeAttribute"> will guarantee that the code
    /// executes only if the user is authenticated and has granted the scope specified in the attribute
    /// to this application.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="auth">The Google authorization provider.
    /// This can also be injected on the controller constructor.</param>
    [GoogleScopedAuthorize(DriveService.ScopeConstants.DriveReadonly)]
    public async Task<IActionResult> DriveFileList([FromServices] IGoogleAuthProvider auth)
    {
        GoogleCredential cred = await auth.GetCredentialAsync();
        var service = new DriveService(new BaseClientService.Initializer
        {
            HttpClientInitializer = cred
        });
        var files = await service.Files.List().ExecuteAsync();
        var fileNames = files.Files.Select(x => x.Name).ToList();
        return View(fileNames);
    }
          

And these are the basics. You can take a look at HomeController.cs from the Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3.IntegrationTests project to find out how you can achieve:

  • User authentication only, with no specific scopes
  • Logout functionality
  • Incremental authorization via code. Notice that the above snippet shows incremental authorization via attributes.
  • Examine currently granted scopes
  • Examine access and refresh tokens
  • Force refresh the access token. Notice that you don't have to do this yourself because Google.Apis.Auth.AspNetCore3 will detect if the access token is expired or close to expiring and will automatically refresh it.

Service account

Google APIs also support Service accounts. Unlike the scenario in which a client application requests access to an end-user's data, service accounts provide access to the client application's own data.

Your client application signs the request for an access token using a private key downloaded from the Google API Console. After creating a new client ID, you should choose a “Service Account” application type and then you can download the private key. Take a look at our service account sample using Google Plus API.

using System;
using System.Security.Cryptography.X509Certificates;

using Google.Apis.Auth.OAuth2;
using Google.Apis.Plus.v1;
using Google.Apis.Plus.v1.Data;
using Google.Apis.Services;

namespace Google.Apis.Samples.PlusServiceAccount
{
    /// <summary>
    /// This sample demonstrates the simplest use case for a Service Account service.
    /// The certificate needs to be downloaded from the Google API Console
    /// <see cref="https://console.developers.google.com/">
    ///   "Create another client ID..." -> "Service Account" -> Download the certificate,
    ///   rename it as "key.p12" and add it to the project. Don't forget to change the Build action
    ///   to "Content" and the Copy to Output Directory to "Copy if newer".
    /// </summary>
    public class Program
    {
        // A known public activity.
        private static String ACTIVITY_ID = "z12gtjhq3qn2xxl2o224exwiqruvtda0i";

        public static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("Plus API - Service Account");
            Console.WriteLine("==========================");

            String serviceAccountEmail = "SERVICE_ACCOUNT_EMAIL_HERE";

            var certificate = new X509Certificate2(@"key.p12", "notasecret", X509KeyStorageFlags.Exportable);

            ServiceAccountCredential credential = new ServiceAccountCredential(
               new ServiceAccountCredential.Initializer(serviceAccountEmail)
               {
                   Scopes = new[] { PlusService.Scope.PlusMe }
               }.FromCertificate(certificate));

            // Create the service.
            var service = new PlusService(new BaseClientService.Initializer()
            {
                HttpClientInitializer = credential,
                ApplicationName = "Plus API Sample",
            });

            Activity activity = service.Activities.Get(ACTIVITY_ID).Execute();
            Console.WriteLine("  Activity: " + activity.Object.Content);
            Console.WriteLine("  Video: " + activity.Object.Attachments[0].Url);

            Console.WriteLine("Press any key to continue...");
            Console.ReadKey();
        }
    }
}

The above sample code creates a ServiceAccountCredential. The required scopes are set and there is a call to FromCertificate, which loads the private key from the given X509Certificate2. As in all other samples code, the credential is set as HttpClientInitializer.