Giovanni Di Milia Giovanni Di Milia - 6 months ago 60
Python Question

Decide when to refresh OAUTH2 token with Python Social Auth

I believe this is mostly a question about best practices.

I have an OAUTH2 provider that issues access tokens (valid for 10 hours) as long as refresh tokens.

I found here that it is pretty easy to refresh the access token but I cannot understand how to decide when it is time to refresh.

The easy answer is probably "when it does not work any more", meaning when I get a HTTP 401 from the backend.
The problem with this solution is that it is not that efficient, plus I can only assume I got a 401 because the token has expired.

I my django app I found that the

user social auth
has an
Extra data
field containing something like this:


{
"scope": "read write",
"expires": 36000,
"refresh_token": "xxxxxxxxxxxxx",
"access_token": "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx",
"token_type": "Bearer"
}


but I am not sure how to use the
expires
field.

So my question is: how do I know if an access token has expired and I need to refresh it?

EDIT:
I just found this comment that seems relevant, but I cannot understand how to plug this new function in the pipeline in order to work during the token refresh.

Answer

I eventually figured this out. The reason I was initially confused was because there are actually two cases:

  1. When the user comes from a login, so when basically the pipeline get executed.
  2. When the token is refreshed calling the user social auth method refresh_token

To solve the first case

I created a new function for the pipeline:

def set_last_update(details, *args, **kwargs):  # pylint: disable=unused-argument
    """
    Pipeline function to add extra information about when the social auth
    profile has been updated.
    Args:
        details (dict): dictionary of informations about the user
    Returns:
        dict: updated details dictionary
    """
    details['updated_at'] = datetime.utcnow().timestamp()
    return details

in the settings I added it in the pipeline right before the load_extra_data

SOCIAL_AUTH_PIPELINE = (
    'social.pipeline.social_auth.social_details',
    'social.pipeline.social_auth.social_uid',
    'social.pipeline.social_auth.auth_allowed',
    'social.pipeline.social_auth.social_user',
    'social.pipeline.user.get_username',
    'social.pipeline.user.create_user',
    'social.pipeline.social_auth.associate_user',
    # the following custom pipeline func goes before load_extra_data
    'backends.pipeline_api.set_last_update',
    'social.pipeline.social_auth.load_extra_data',
    'social.pipeline.user.user_details',
    'backends.pipeline_api.update_profile_from_edx',
    'backends.pipeline_api.update_from_linkedin',
)

and, still in the settings I added the new field in the extra data.

SOCIAL_AUTH_EDXORG_EXTRA_DATA = ['updated_at']

For the second case:

I overwrote the refresh_token method of my backend to add the extra field.

def refresh_token(self, token, *args, **kwargs):
    """
    Overridden method to add extra info during refresh token.
    Args:
        token (str): valid refresh token
    Returns:
        dict of information about the user
    """
    response = super(EdxOrgOAuth2, self).refresh_token(token, *args, **kwargs)
    response['updated_at'] = datetime.utcnow().timestamp()
    return response

Still in the backend class, I added an extra field to extract the expires_in field coming from the server.

EXTRA_DATA = [
    ('refresh_token', 'refresh_token', True),
    ('expires_in', 'expires_in'),
    ('token_type', 'token_type', True),
    ('scope', 'scope'),
]

At this point I have the timestamp when the access token has been created (updated_at) and the amount of seconds it will be valid (expires_in).

NOTE: the updated_at is an approximation, because it is created on the client and not on the provider server.

Now the only thing missing is a function to check if it is time to refresh the access token.

def _send_refresh_request(user_social):
    """
    Private function that refresh an user access token
    """
    strategy = load_strategy()
    try:
        user_social.refresh_token(strategy)
    except HTTPError as exc:
        if exc.response.status_code in (400, 401,):
            raise InvalidCredentialStored(
                message='Received a {} status code from the OAUTH server'.format(
                    exc.response.status_code),
                http_status_code=exc.response.status_code
            )
        raise


def refresh_user_token(user_social):
    """
    Utility function to refresh the access token if is (almost) expired
    Args:
        user_social (UserSocialAuth): a user social auth instance
    """
    try:
        last_update = datetime.fromtimestamp(user_social.extra_data.get('updated_at'))
        expires_in = timedelta(seconds=user_social.extra_data.get('expires_in'))
    except TypeError:
        _send_refresh_request(user_social)
        return
    # small error margin of 5 minutes to be safe
    error_margin = timedelta(minutes=5)
    if datetime.utcnow() - last_update >= expires_in - error_margin:
        _send_refresh_request(user_social)

I hope this can be helpful for other people.