OAuth Echo

OAuth Echo was recently developed by Twitter’s head of platform Raffi Krikorian as way to ‘delegate identity verification’. As of June 30 it will no longer be possible to login with a Twitter username/password into the API. OAuth will be the only way to authenticate your users. For non-web applications Twitter has released XAuth, a way to convert a username/password combination to OAuth tokens. All other apps are forced to switch to OAuth.

Because of this move, it will no longer be possible to authenticate users to the Mobypicture API by providing a Twitter username/password combo. Luckily Twitter’s head of platform Raffi Krikorian has thought of a way to provide delegated authentication, called OAuth Echo.

To re-state the problem in Raffi’s words:

You’re an OAuth enabled Twitter client, and you’ve already authorized your user. You user wants to use a media providing service like Mobypicture. Mobypicture, currently, asks for the username and password of your user so it can store the photo on behalf of the Twitter user. You don’t have that username and password, so how do you give the ability to Mobypicture to verify the identity of your user?

OAuth Echo was developed to solve this issue. The spec is no more than one page long and quite easy to implement on the client side. The client just gives Mobypicture the content of the OAuth Authorization header, which they normally would have send to Twitter to call ‘verify_credentials’. Mobypicture can then use that header to identify the given user on Twitter.

Raffi also provided some guidelines and best practices to make the implementation and migration as easy as possible. Mobypicture supports both sending the OAuth Echo parameters by headers or by POST variables.

OAuth Echo works on both our current 1.0 and our new 2.0 API, on all actions which requires authentication. Besides the normal parameters send along the following headers or POST variables (Don’t forget to urlencode your POST variables):

  • X-Auth-Service-Provider (or x_auth_service_provider as POST var)

    This is the realm that identity delegation should be sent to, just set this to https://api.twitter.com/1/account/verify_credentials.json

  • X-Verify-Credentials-Authorization (or x_verify_credentials_authorization as POST var) 
  • The OAuth enabled Twitter client should create all the OAuth parameters necessary so it could call https://api.twitter.com/1/account/verify_credentials.json using OAuth in the HTTP header (e.g. it should look like OAuth oauth_consumer_key=”…”, oauth_token=”…”, oauth_signature_method=”…”, oauth_signature=”…”, oauth_timestamp=”…”, oauth_nonce=”…”, oauth_version=”…”)

That’s all! If the user you are authenticating does not already have a Mobypicture account, we’ll automatically create one.

A good way to test your OAuth Echo implementation is to call the checkCredentials method on our 1.0 API. When a 0 is returned, you have successfully authenticated your user through OAuth Echo.

This page is last updated on April 15, 2011 by

1 Response to OAuth Echo

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August 8th, 2010 at 9:06 pm

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