The Flows

The flows (also known as grant types) are scenarios that an api integration platform (API)client goes through in order to obtain an access token from the authorization server. OAuth 2.0 includes several flows that are appropriate for various types of API clients:

  • The most common flow, which is mostly used for server-side and mobile web applications. This process is comparable to how users sign up for a web application using their Facebook or Google account.

  • Implicit - This flow necessitates the client obtaining an access token directly. It is useful when the user's credentials cannot be stored in the client code due to the ease with which a third party can access them. It is appropriate for web, desktop, and mobile applications that do not require a server.

  • Resource owner password credentials (or simply password) - Logging in with a username and password is required. Because the credentials will be included in the request in that case, this flow is only appropriate for trusted clients (for example, official applications released by the API provider).

  • Client References - This flow describes an approach for server-to-server authentication in which the client application acts on its own behalf rather than on behalf of any individual user. In most cases, this flow allows users to enter their credentials into the client application, allowing it to access the resources under the client's control.

Using OpenAPI to Explain OAuth 2.0

To describe an OAuth API lows protected by OAuth 2.0, first add an oauth2 security scheme to the global components/securitySchemes section like many application integration platforms like rest api integration. Then, to apply security globally or to individual operations, add the security key:

The flows keyword specifies one or more named flows that this OAuth 2.0 scheme supports. The flow names are as follows:

  • Authorization-Code - Flow of Authorization Code (previously called accessCode in OpenAPI 2.0)

  • The flow - Implicit flow

  • The password - Password Flow Client - Resource Owner

  • Key Credentials - Flow of Client Credentials (previously called application in OpenAPI 2.0)

The flows object allows for the specification of multiple flows, but only one of each type.


All About Scopes

A user can grant scoped access to their account with OpenAPI 3.0, which can vary depending on the operation the client application wants to perform. Each OAuth like OAuth API access token can have multiple scopes. Scopes are access rights that determine whether the credentials a user provides are sufficient to make the required call to the resource server. They do not grant the client any additional permissions beyond those it already has. The requested scopes are listed on the authorization form displayed to the user in the authorization code and implicit flows. To use the scopes, you must go through two steps:

  • In the Components/Security Schemes section of your OAuth security definition, define all supported scopes.

  • In the security section of each operation, list the scopes required by that operation.

  • If all API operations require the same scopes, you can add security at the API definition's root level instead.

No Scopes

Scopes are not required, and your OAuth API may not use any. In this case, in the scopes definition, specify an empty object and an empty list of scopes [] in the security section:

The authorizationUrl, tokenUrl, and refreshUrl parameters in OpenAPI 3.0 can be specified relative to the OAuth API server URL. This is useful if the endpoints are located on the same server as the rest of the API operations.

RFC 3986 governs the resolution of relative URLs. In the example, the endpoints will be resolved into folwing key details.

Key Security Scheme With Some Examples

Authorization Code Flow

The authorization flow employs authorizationUrl, tokenUrl, and, if desired, refreshUrl. Here's a Slack API example

Implicit Flow

The implicit flow defines authorizationUrl, which is used to obtain the authorization server's access token.

Resource Owner Password Flow

The tokenUrl and optional refreshUrl are used in the password flow.

Key Client Credentials Flow

The tokenUrl and optional refreshUrl are used in the clientCredentials flow. Here's an example of a Getty Images API call.

Multiple Flows

An example of an OAuth 2.0 security definition that supports multiple flows is varied. Any of the flows can be used by the clients in such circumstances


Closing Remark

Well! It is anticipated that we will have several questions about the API & OAuth system, such as Should I also define authorizationUrl and tokenUrl as API operations?

The real answer is that authorizationUrl is a special web page that requires user input rather than an API endpoint. As a result, Open OAuth API cannot be used to describe it. You can still describe tokenUrl if necessary.

The next question is whether authorizationUrl and tokenUrl should include query string parameters like grant type and client id. The deemed answer could be that the OpenAPI Specification does not state this, so you and the tools you use are responsible.

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