OpenID, the challenge Attributes

11 12 2008

So what’s the fuss about openID? Well the idea are to have one id provider for all the sites that require authentication.

And if you go a bit further and you do at sometime, you’ll want to get some details about the user, like email or full name. So the guys at openID implemented something called attribute exchange. And if you are in the java world like I am you want something simple, so I turned to openID4Java. The idea are that you let the user put in the id on your web page just something like and then you forward the user to and lets validate your user and then will forward the user back to you using an url you specified. And if you really need some properties, you can add a sreg (OpenID Simple Registration Extension) for each property to make the user enter it at the provider ( however not all providers supports these things ).

Well onto the code :

Code for requesting the provider

// --- placing the authentication request ---
public String authRequest(String userSuppliedString,
HttpServletRequest httpReq, HttpServletResponse httpResp,
String returnToUrl) throws IOException, ServletException {
try {
// configure the return_to URL where your application will receive
// the authentication responses from the OpenID provider

// perform discovery on the user-supplied identifier
List discoveries =;

// attempt to associate with the OpenID provider
// and retrieve one service endpoint for authentication
DiscoveryInformation discovered = manager.associate(discoveries);

// store the discovery information in the user's session
httpReq.getSession().setAttribute("openid-disc", discovered);

// obtain a AuthRequest message to be sent to the OpenID provider
AuthRequest authReq = manager.authenticate(discovered, returnToUrl);
FetchRequest fetch = FetchRequest.createFetchRequest();

// SRegRequest sregReq = SRegRequest.createFetchRequest();
// sregReq.addAttribute("fullname", true);
// sregReq.addAttribute("nickname", true);
// sregReq.addAttribute("email", true);
fetch.addAttribute("Fullname", "",
fetch.addAttribute("Email", "",

// tell the email coint
fetch.setCount("Email", 1);
AuthRequest req = manager.authenticate(discovered, returnToUrl);
// authReq.addExtension(sregReq);
if (!discovered.isVersion2()) {
// Option 1: GET HTTP-redirect to the OpenID Provider endpoint
// The only method supported in OpenID 1.x
// redirect-URL usually limited ~2048 bytes
return null;

} else {
return null;
// // Option 2: HTML FORM Redirection (Allows payloads >2048
// bytes)
// RequestDispatcher dispatcher =
// httpReq.getRequestDispatcher(OpenIdSignInPage.MOUNTPATH);
// httpReq.setAttribute("parameterMap",
// authReq.getParameterMap());
// httpReq.setAttribute("destinationUrl",
// authReq.getDestinationUrl(false));
// dispatcher.forward(httpReq, httpResp);
} catch (OpenIDException e) {
// present error to the user

return null;

The code that recieves the response from the provider:

// --- processing the authentication response ---
public User verifyResponse(HttpServletRequest httpReq) {
try {
// extract the parameters from the authentication response
// (which comes in as a HTTP request from the OpenID provider)
ParameterList response = new ParameterList(httpReq

// retrieve the previously stored discovery information
DiscoveryInformation discovered = (DiscoveryInformation) httpReq

// extract the receiving URL from the HTTP request
StringBuffer receivingURL = httpReq.getRequestURL();
String queryString = httpReq.getQueryString();
if (queryString != null && queryString.length() > 0)

// verify the response; ConsumerManager needs to be the same
// (static) instance used to place the authentication request
VerificationResult verification = manager.verify(receivingURL
.toString(), response, discovered);

// examine the verification result and extract the verified
// identifier
Identifier verified = verification.getVerifiedId();
if (verified != null) {
AuthSuccess authSuccess = (AuthSuccess) verification
if (authSuccess.hasExtension(AxMessage.OPENID_NS_AX)) {
FetchResponse fetchResp = (FetchResponse) authSuccess
return filluser(fetchResp);

if (authSuccess.hasExtension(OPENID_NS_SREG1_1)) {"got info:"
+ authSuccess
.getParameterValue(""));"got info:"
+ authSuccess

User user = new User();
return user;


// return verified; // success
} catch (OpenIDException e) {
// present error to the user

return null;

private User filluser(FetchResponse fetchResp) {

List emails = fetchResp.getAttributeValues("email");
String email = emails.get(0);
List names = fetchResp.getAttributeValues("name");
String name = names.get(0);

User user = new User();
return user;


So the idea are good and the authentication works, but my problem are that I cannot get the providers to provide the ax properties. So I’ll be following up on howto do this in this post. I hope I succeed at some point, because for me openid without ax are almost worthless. At this point I dont know if it’s the openID4java implementation or the openID providers. If you have any pointers on howto do this please comment