Client Credentials Authentication

This is an example of the use of the Globus SDK to carry out an OAuth2 Client Credentials Authentication flow.

The goal here is to have an application authenticate in Globus Auth directly, as itself. Unlike many other OAuth2 flows, the application does not act on behalf of a user, but on its own behalf.

This flow is suitable for automated cases in which an application, even one as simple as a cron job, makes use of Globus outside of the context of a specific end-user interaction.

Get a Client

In order to complete an OAuth2 flow to get tokens, you must have a client definition registered with Globus Auth. To do so, follow the relevant documentation for the Globus Auth Service or go directly to developers.globus.org to do the registration.

During registration, make sure that the “Native App” checkbox is unchecked. You will typically want your scopes to be openid, profile, email, and urn:globus:auth:scope:transfer.api.globus.org:all.

Once your client is created, expand it on the Projects page and click “Generate Secret”. Save the secret in a secure location accessible from your code.

Do the Flow

You should specifically use the ConfidentialAppAuthClient type of AuthClient, as it has been customized to handle this flow.

The shortest version of the flow looks like this:

import globus_sdk

# you must have a client ID
CLIENT_ID = '...'
# the secret, loaded from wherever you store it
CLIENT_SECRET = '...'

client = globus_sdk.ConfidentialAppAuthClient(CLIENT_ID, CLIENT_SECRET)
token_response = client.oauth2_client_credentials_tokens()

# the useful values that you want at the end of this
globus_auth_data = token_response.by_resource_server['auth.globus.org']
globus_transfer_data = token_response.by_resource_server['transfer.api.globus.org']
globus_auth_token = globus_auth_data['access_token']
globus_transfer_token = globus_transfer_data['access_token']

Use the Resulting Tokens

The Client Credentials Grant will only produce Access Tokens, not Refresh Tokens, so you should pass its results directly to the AccessTokenAuthorizer.

For example, after running the code above,

authorizer = globus_sdk.AccessTokenAuthorizer(globus_transfer_token)
tc = globus_sdk.TransferClient(authorizer=authorizer)
print("Endpoints Belonging to {}@clients.auth.globus.org:"
      .format(CLIENT_ID))
for ep in tc.endpoint_search(filter_scope="my-endpoints"):
    print("[{}] {}".format(ep["id"], ep["display_name"]))

Note that we’re doing a search for “my endpoints”, but we refer to the results as belonging to <CLIENT_ID>@clients.auth.globus.org. The “current user” is not any human user, but the client itself.

Handling Token Expiration

When you get access tokens, you also get their expiration time in seconds. You can inspect the globus_transfer_data and globus_auth_data structures in the example to see.

Tokens should have a long enough lifetime for any short-running operations (less than a day).

When your tokens are expired, you should just request new ones by making another Client Credentials request. Depending on your needs, you may need to track the expiration times along with your tokens. The SDK does not offer any special facilities for doing this.