Using OAuth 2.0 for Installed Applications

The Google APIs Client Library for Ruby supports using OAuth 2.0 in applications that are installed on a device such as a computer, a cell phone, or a tablet. Installed apps are distributed to individual machines, and it is assumed that these apps cannot keep secrets. These apps might access a Google API while the user is present at the app, or when the app is running in the background.

If you are developing for Android or iOS, use Google+ Sign-In.

This document is for you if:

  • You are writing an installed app for a platform other than Android or iOS, and
  • Your installed app will run on devices that have a system browser and rich input capabilities, such as devices with full keyboards.

If you are writing an app for Android or iOS, use Google Sign-In to authenticate your users. The Google Sign-In button manages the OAuth 2.0 flow both for authentication and for obtaining authorization to Google APIs. To add the Google Sign-In button, follow the steps for Android or iOS.

If your app will run on devices that do not have access to a system browser, or devices with limited input capabilities (for example, if your app will run on game consoles, video cameras, or printers), then see Using OAuth 2.0 for Devices.

  1. Overview
  2. Creating application credentials
  3. Configuring the client object
  4. Sending users to to Google's OAuth 2.0 server
  5. Handling the OAuth 2.0 server response
  6. Calling Google APIs
  7. Complete example

Overview

To use OAuth 2.0 in a locally-installed application, first create application credentials for your project in the API Console.

Then, when your application needs to access a user's data with a Google API, your application sends the user to Google's OAuth 2.0 server. The OAuth 2.0 server authenticates the user and obtains consent from the user for your application to access the user's data.

Next, Google's OAuth 2.0 server sends a single-use authorization code to your application, either in the title bar of the browser or in the query string of an HTTP request to the local host. Your application exchanges this authorization code for an access token.

Finally, your application can use the access token to call Google APIs.

This flow is similar to the one shown in the Using OAuth 2.0 for Web Server Applications, but with three differences:

  • When creating a client ID, you specify that your application is an Installed application. This results in a different value for the redirect_uri parameter.
  • The client ID and client secret obtained from the API Console are embedded in the source code of your application. In this context, the client secret is obviously not treated as a secret.
  • The authorization code can be returned to your application in the title bar of the browser or in the query string of an HTTP request to the local host.

Creating application credentials

All applications that use OAuth 2.0 must have credentials that identify the application to the OAuth 2.0 server. Applications that have these credentials can access the APIs that you enabled for your project.

To obtain application credentials for your project, complete these steps:

  1. Open the Credentials page in the API Console.
  2. If you haven't done so already, create your OAuth 2.0 credentials by clicking Create new Client ID under the OAuth heading and selecting the Installed application type. Next, look for your application's client ID and client secret in the relevant table.

Download the client_secrets.json file and securely store it in a location that only your application can access.

Configuring the client object

Use the client application credentials that you created to configure a client object in your application. When you configure a client object, you specify the scopes your application needs to access, along with a redirect URI, which will handle the response from the OAuth 2.0 server.

Choosing a redirect URI

When you create a client ID in the Google API Console, two redirect_uri parameters are created for you: urn:ietf:wg:oauth:2.0:oob and http://localhost. The value your application uses determines how the authorization code is returned to your application.

http://localhost

This value signals to the Google Authorization Server that the authorization code should be returned as a query string parameter to the web server on the client. You can specify a port number without changing the Google API Console configuration. To receive the authorization code using this URI, your application must be listening on the local web server. This is possible on many, but not all, platforms. If your platform supports it, this is the recommended mechanism for obtaining the authorization code.

Note: In some cases, although it is possible to listen, other software (such as a Windows firewall) prevents delivery of the message without significant client configuration.

If you want to use a web server on the local host to receive the authorization code, you can use the InstalledAppFlow helper to take care of starting a local web server, launching the browser, and handling the response from the OAuth 2.0 server. See the InstalledAppFlow example.

urn:ietf:wg:oauth:2.0:oob

This value signals to the Google Authorization Server that the authorization code should be returned in the title bar of the browser, with the page text prompting the user to copy the code and paste it in the application. This is useful when the client (such as a Windows application) cannot listen on an HTTP port without significant client configuration.

When you use this value, your application can then detect that the page has loaded, and can read the title of the HTML page to obtain the authorization code. It is then up to your application to close the browser window if you want to ensure that the user never sees the page that contains the authorization code. The mechanism for doing this varies from platform to platform.

If your platform doesn't allow you to detect that the page has loaded or read the title of the page, you can have the user paste the code back to your application, as prompted by the text in the confirmation page that the OAuth 2.0 server generates.

urn:ietf:wg:oauth:2.0:oob:auto

This is identical to urn:ietf:wg:oauth:2.0:oob, but the text in the confirmation page that the OAuth 2.0 server generates won't instruct the user to copy the authorization code, but instead will simply ask the user to close the window.

This is useful when your application reads the title of the HTML page (by checking window titles on the desktop, for example) to obtain the authorization code, but can't close the page on its own.

Creating the object

To create a client object from the client_secrets.json file, use the to_authorization method of a ClientSecrets object. For example, to request read-only access to a user's Google Drive:

require 'google/api_client'

client_secrets = Google::APIClient::ClientSecrets.load
auth_client = client_secrets.to_authorization
auth_client.update!(
  :scope => 'https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive.metadata.readonly',
  :redirect_uri => 'urn:ietf:wg:oauth:2.0:oob'
)

Your application uses the client object to perform OAuth 2.0 operations, such as generating authorization request URIs and applying access tokens to HTTP requests.

Sending users to Google's OAuth 2.0 server

When your application needs to access a user's data, redirect the user to Google's OAuth 2.0 server.

  1. Generate a URL to request access from Google's OAuth 2.0 server:
    auth_uri = auth_client.authorization_uri.to_s
  2. Open auth_uri in a browser:
    require 'launchy'
    
    Launchy.open(auth_uri)

Google's OAuth 2.0 server will authenticate the user and obtain consent from the user for your application to access the requested scopes. The response will be sent back to your application using the redirect URI specified in the client object.

Handling the OAuth 2.0 server response

The OAuth 2.0 server responds to your application's access request by using the URI specified in the request.

If the user approves the access request, then the response contains an authorization code. If the user does not approve the request, the response contains an error message. Depending on the redirect URI that you specified, the response is in the query string of an HTTP request to the local host, or in a web page, from which the user can copy and paste the authorization code.

To exchange an authorization code for an access token, use the fetch_access_token! method:

auth_client.code = auth_code
auth_client.fetch_access_token!

Calling Google APIs

Use the auth_client object to call Google APIs by completing the following steps:

  1. Build a service object for the API that you want to call. You build a a service object by calling the discovered_api function with the name and version of the API. For example, to call version 2 of the Drive API:
    require 'google/apis/drive_v2'
    drive = Google::Apis::DriveV2::DriveService.new
    drive.authorization = auth_client
  2. Make requests to the API service using the interface provided by the service object. For example, to list the files in the authenticated user's Google Drive:
    files = drive.list_files()

Complete example

The following example prints a JSON-formatted list of files in a user's Google Drive after the user authenticates and gives consent for the application to access the user's Drive files.

require 'google/apis/drive_v2'
require 'google/api_client/client_secrets'
require 'launchy'

client_secrets = Google::APIClient::ClientSecrets.load
auth_client = client_secrets.to_authorization
auth_client.update!(
  :scope => 'https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive.metadata.readonly',
  :redirect_uri => 'urn:ietf:wg:oauth:2.0:oob'
)

auth_uri = auth_client.authorization_uri.to_s
Launchy.open(auth_uri)

puts 'Paste the code from the auth response page:'
auth_client.code = gets
auth_client.fetch_access_token!

drive = Google::Apis::DriveV2::DriveService.new
drive.authorization = auth_client
files = drive.list_files

files.items.each do |file|
  puts file.title
end

If you want to use a local web server to handle the OAuth 2.0 response, you can use the InstalledAppFlow helper to simplify the process. For example:

require 'google/apis/drive_v2'
require 'google/api_client/client_secrets'
require 'google/api_client/auth/installed_app'

client_secrets = Google::APIClient::ClientSecrets.load
flow = Google::APIClient::InstalledAppFlow.new(
  :client_id => client_secrets.client_id,
  :client_secret => client_secrets.client_secret,
  :scope => 'https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive.metadata.readonly',
  :port => 5000)

drive = Google::Apis::DriveV2::DriveService.new
drive.authorization = flow.authorize
files = drive.list_files

files.items.each do |file|
  puts file.title
end