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Writing a Custom Federated Authenticator

A custom federated authenticator can be written to authenticate a user with an external system. The external system can be any Identity provider including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, etc. You can use the extension points available in WSO2 Identity Server to create custom federated authenticators.

Federated authentication diagram

Authenticator API

The following is the API used to implement a custom federated authenticator.

Click to view the API of the Application Authenticators
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  package org.wso2.carbon.identity.application.authentication.framework;

  import java.util.List;

  import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
  import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;

  import org.wso2.carbon.identity.application.authentication.framework.context.AuthenticationContext;
  import org.wso2.carbon.identity.application.authentication.framework.exception.AuthenticationFailedException;
  import org.wso2.carbon.identity.application.authentication.framework.exception.LogoutFailedException;
  import org.wso2.carbon.identity.application.common.model.Property;

   * API of the Application Authenticators.
  public interface ApplicationAuthenticator extends Serializable {

       * Check whether the authentication or logout request can be handled by the
       * authenticator
       * @param request
       * @return boolean
      public boolean canHandle(HttpServletRequest request);

       * Process the authentication or logout request.
       * @param request
       * @param response
       * @param context
       * @return the status of the flow
       * @throws AuthenticationFailedException
       * @throws LogoutFailedException
      public AuthenticatorFlowStatus process(HttpServletRequest request,
              HttpServletResponse response, AuthenticationContext context)
              throws AuthenticationFailedException, LogoutFailedException;

       * Get the Context identifier sent with the request. This identifier is used
       * to retrieve the state of the authentication/logout flow
       * @param request
       * @return
      public String getContextIdentifier(HttpServletRequest request);

       * Get the name of the Authenticator
       * @return name
      public String getName();

       * @return
      public String getFriendlyName();

       * Get the claim dialect URI if this authenticator receives claims in a standard dialect
       * and needs to be mapped to the Carbon dialect
       * @return boolean
      public String getClaimDialectURI();

       * @return
      public List<Property> getConfigurationProperties();

This API can be used to configure a custom authenticator.

Writing a custom federated authenticator

  1. First create a maven project for the custom federated authenticator. Refer the pom.xml file used for the sample custom federated authenticator.
  2. Refer the service component class as well since the authenticator is written as an OSGI service to deploy in WSO2 Identity Server and register it as a federated authenticator
  3. The custom federated authenticator should be written by extending the AbstractApplicationAuthenticator class and implementing the FederatedApplicationAuthenticator class.
  4. You can find a custom federated authenticator here for your reference

The important methods in the AbstractApplicationAuthenticator class, and the FederatedApplicationAuthenticator interface are listed as follows.

Return the name of the authenticator

Returns the display name for the custom federated authenticator. In this sample we are using custom-federated-authenticator

Returns a unique identifier that will map the authentication request and the response. The value returned by the invocation of authentication request and the response should be the same.

Specifies whether this authenticator can handle the authentication response.

Redirects the user to the login page in order to authenticate and in this sample, the user is redirected to the login page of the application which is configured in the partner identity server which acts as the external service.

Implements the logic of the custom federated authenticator.

Deploy the custom federated authenticator in WSO2 IS

  1. Once the implementation is done, navigate to the root of your project and run the following command to compile the service
  2. Copy the compiled jar file insider /target.
  3. Copy the jar file org.wso2.carbon.identity.custom.federated.authenticator-1.0.0.jar file to the /repository/components/dropins.

Configure the partner identity server

In this sample the partner identity server acts as the external system. Therefore, that partner identity server will be running on the same machine in a different port by adding the following config to the deployment.toml file.


After starting that partner identity server, it will run on localhost:9444.

  1. Access the Management console of the partner identity server.
  2. Navigate to Main > Identity > Service Providers > Add.
  3. Add a Service Provider name and optionally, add a description.
  4. Click Register. (Let’s use the playground app and refer to this to configure the playground app).
  5. Then List the Service Providers and edit the service provider by navigation to the** OAuth/OpenID Configuration** under Inbound Authentication Configuration and add https://localhost:9443/commonauth as the callback URL.
  6. Create a user Alex in the partner identity server.

Configure Federated Authenticator

To configure the federated authenticator, click the Add button under Identity Providers and add the IDP name as Partner-Identity-Server. Register the new IDP.

Partner idp config

Click Federated Authenticators and expand custom-federated-authenticator configurations. Configure it as follows.

Here, the Client Id and Client Secret are the values of external service provider from the Partner-Identity-Server.

  • Enable / Default - You can enable and set to default
  • Authorization Endpoint UR - https://localhost:9444/oauth2/authorize/
  • Token Endpoint URL - https://localhost:9444/oauth2/token/
  • Client Id - The value generated by the service provider of the partner IS
  • Client Secret - The value generated by the service provider of the partner IS

Federated Authenticator

Configure an application with the custom federated authenticator

  1. Start the server and log in to the WSO2 IS Management Console.

  2. Navigate to Main > Identity > Service Providers > Add.

  3. Add a Service Provider name and optionally, add a description.

  4. Click Register. (Let’s use the playground app and refer this to configure playground app.

  5. List the Service Providers and edit the service provider as follows by navigating to the OAuth/OpenID Configuration section under Inbound Authentication Configuration as explained above.

  6. Click Configure and add http://localhost:8080/playground2/oauth2client as the call back URL. Click Update.

  7. Navigate to Local & Outbound Authentication Configuration as follows, and you can find the Authentication Type. Select Federated Authentication and select the configured federated authenticator and update to save the changed configurations.

Partner identity provider

Try the scenario

  1. Access the playground app by using http://localhost:8080/playground2.

  2. This will redirect to the login page of the application which is configured in the partner identity server which acts as the external service.

  3. Enter Alex's username and password (The user was created, in the partner identity server).

  4. Now Alex is authenticated by the partner Identity Server.

Similarly, you can write a federated authenticator to authenticate the users using an external system.