Chapter 1. OpenAM APIs and Protocols

Table of Contents
1.1. OpenAM APIs
1.2. OpenAM SPIs
1.3. OpenAM, IPv4, and IPv6

Although policy agents and standards support make it possible for applications to use OpenAM for access management without changing your code, some deployments require tighter integration, or direct use of supported protocols and OpenAM APIs.

OpenAM supports a range of protocols and APIs that allow you not only to define specifically how access is managed in your client applications, but also to extend OpenAM capabilities to meet even those deployment requirements not yet covered in OpenAM.

This short chapter presents an overview of the APIs and protocols that OpenAM supports.

High-level view of OpenAM APIs and SPIs

This guide primarily covers the OpenAM client APIs and SPIs, with emphasis on the Java APIs.

1.1. OpenAM APIs

OpenAM provides client application programming interfaces for a variety of needs.

  • The OpenAM Java APIs provided through the OpenAM Java SDK let your Java and Java EE applications call on OpenAM for authentication, and authorization in both OpenAM and federated environments.

    Detailed reference information is provided in the OpenAM Java SDK API Specification.

  • The C SDK also provides APIs for native applications, such as new web server policy agents. The C SDK is delivered with OpenAM for Linux, Solaris, and Windows platforms.

  • OpenAM exposes a RESTful API that can return JSON or XML over HTTP, allowing you to access authentication, authorization, and identity services from your web applications using REST clients in the language of your choice.

1.2. OpenAM SPIs

OpenAM provides Java based service provider interfaces to let you extend services for the requirements of your particular deployment.

Some examples of the plugins you can write follow in the list below. This guide demonstrates how to implement such plugins.

  • Custom OAuth 2.0 scopes plugins define how OpenAM playing the role of authorization server handles scopes, including what token information to return regarding scopes set when authorization was granted.

  • Custom authentication plugins let OpenAM authenticate users against a new authentication service or an authentication service specific to your deployment

  • Post authentication plugins perform additional processing at the end of the authentication process, but before the subject is authenticated. Post authentication plugins can for example store information about the authentication in the user's profile, or call another system for audit logging purposes.

  • Policy evaluation plugins implement new policy conditions, send attributes from the user profile as part of a policy response, extend the definition of the subjects to whom the policy applies, or customize how policy management is delegated.

  • Identity repository plugins let OpenAM employ a new or custom user data store, other than a directory server or JDBC-accessible database.

1.3. OpenAM, IPv4, and IPv6

OpenAM provides functionality for IPv4, IPv6, and a hybrid of the two. While the majority of the interaction is done on the backend, there are a few places where the GUI requires some inputs, such as setting up policy conditions. These areas follow the same standard that applies to IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4 uses a 32-bit integer value, with a dot-decimal system. IPv6 uses a hexadecimal system, and the eight groups of hexadecimal digits are separated by a colon.