Java cookbook for OpenID Connect public clients

Contributed by Rebecka Gulliksson, ITS, Umeå university

This cookbook is no longer updated!

This document describes how to implement an OpenID Connect (OIDC) Public Client using this library, Nimbus OAuth 2.0 SDK with OpenID Connect extensions. Full javadoc can be found here, and for the accompanying JOSE library Nimbus JOSE + JWT.

The basic authentication flow in OpenID Connect consists of the following steps:

  1. Optional: OpenID Provider Issuer Discovery using WebFinger
  2. Optional: Obtaining OpenID Provider Configuration Information
  3. Optional: Dynamic client registration
  4. Authentication (using one of the defined flows)
  5. Optional: Token request
  6. Optional: UserInfo request

Issuer discovery

The WebFinger protocol is used to find the OpenID Provider (OP). The library does not have any out-of-the box support for WebFinger, so in the following example we assume you already have acquired the issuer url of the OP (possibly from developer documentation).

Provider configuration information

Obtaining the provider configuration information can be done either out-of-band or using the optional discovery process:

URI issuerURI = new URI("");
URL providerConfigurationURL = issuerURI.resolve("/.well-known/openid-configuration").toURL();
InputStream stream = providerConfigurationURL.openStream();
// Read all data from URL
String providerInfo = null;
try (java.util.Scanner s = new java.util.Scanner(stream)) {
  providerInfo = s.useDelimiter("\\A").hasNext() ? : "";
OIDCProviderMetadata providerMetadata = OIDCProviderMetadata.parse(providerInfo);

Client registration

If the provider supports dynamic registration, a new client can be registered using the client registration process:

String jsonMetadata = "{\"application_type\": \"web\",\"redirect_uris\": [\"\"],\"response_types\": [\"code\"]}";
OIDCClientMetadata metadata = OIDCClientMetadata.parse(JSONObjectUtils.parse(jsonMetadata));

// Make registration request
OIDCClientRegistrationRequest registrationRequest = new OIDCClientRegistrationRequest(providerMetadata.getRegistrationEndpointURI(), metadata, null);
HTTPResponse regHTTPResponse = registrationRequest.toHTTPRequest().send();

// Parse and check response
ClientRegistrationResponse registrationResponse = OIDCClientRegistrationResponseParser.parse(regHTTPResponse);

if (registrationResponse instanceof ClientRegistrationErrorResponse) {
  ErrorObject error = ((ClientRegistrationErrorResponse) registrationResponse)
  // TODO error handling

// Store client information from OP
OIDCClientInformation clientInformation = ((OIDCClientInformationResponse)registrationResponse).getOIDCClientInformation();

Authentication request

The authentication request is done by redirecting the end user to the provider, for more details see the OIDC specification. The redirect URL is built as follows, using the Authorization Code Flow:

// Generate random state string for pairing the response to the request
State state = new State();
// Generate nonce
Nonce nonce = new Nonce();
// Specify scope
Scope scope = Scope.parse("openid");

// Compose the request
AuthenticationRequest authenticationRequest = new AuthenticationRequest(
  new ResponseType(ResponseType.Value.CODE),
  scope, clientInformation.getID(), redirectURI, state, nonce);

  URI authReqURI = authenticationRequest.toURI();
  return authReqURI;

Note: * If the provider does not support the discovery protocol, replace providerMetadata.getAuthorizationEndpointURI() with the authorization endpoint URL received out-of-band. * If the provider does not support dynamic client registration, replace clientInformation.getID() with the client id received out-of-band. * Make sure redirectURI matches a URI known by the provider. * The state and nonce should be stored so they can be retrieved later. * If you want to specify additional parameters in the authentication request, use AuthenticationRequest.Builder.

Receive the Authentication Response

The authentication response is sent from the provider by redirecting the end user to the redirect URI specified in the initial authentication request from the client.

Code flow

The Authorization Code can be extracted from the query part of the redirect URL:

AuthenticationResponse authResp = null;
try {
  authResp = AuthenticationResponseParser.parse(new URI(requestURL));
} catch (ParseException | URISyntaxException e) {
  // TODO error handling

if (authResp instanceof AuthenticationErrorResponse) {
  ErrorObject error = ((AuthenticationErrorResponse) authResp)
  // TODO error handling

AuthenticationSuccessResponse successResponse = (AuthenticationSuccessResponse) authResp;

/* Don't forget to check the state!
 * The state in the received authentication response must match the state
 * specified in the previous outgoing authentication request.
if (!verifyState(successResponse.getState())) {
  // TODO proper error handling

AuthorizationCode authCode = successResponse.getAuthorizationCode();

Implicit/Hybrid flow

When using either implicit or hybrid flow the authentication response is encoded in the fragment part of the URL. This requires additional handling, e.g. using Javascript, see Implementation Notes.

After receiving the response back in the client, it can be parsed in the same way as when using Code flow.

Token Request

When an authorization code (using code or hybrid flow) has been obtained, a token request can made to get the access token and the id token:

TokenRequest tokenReq = new TokenRequest(
  new ClientSecretBasic(clientInformation.getID(),
  new AuthorizationCodeGrant(authCode, redirectURI));

HTTPResponse tokenHTTPResp = null;
try {
  tokenHTTPResp = tokenReq.toHTTPRequest().send();
} catch (SerializeException | IOException e) {
  // TODO proper error handling

// Parse and check response
TokenResponse tokenResponse = null;
try {
  tokenResponse = OIDCTokenResponseParser.parse(tokenHTTPResp);
} catch (ParseException e) {
  // TODO proper error handling

if (tokenResponse instanceof TokenErrorResponse) {
  ErrorObject error = ((TokenErrorResponse) tokenResponse).getErrorObject();
  // TODO error handling

OIDCAccessTokenResponse accessTokenResponse = (OIDCAccessTokenResponse) tokenResponse;

Validate the ID token

The id token obtained from the token request must be validated, see ID token validation:

private ReadOnlyJWTClaimsSet verifyIdToken(JWT idToken, OIDCProviderMetadata providerMetadata) {
  RSAPublicKey providerKey = null;
  try {
    JSONObject key = getProviderRSAJWK(providerMetadata.getJWKSetURI().toURL().openStream());
    providerKey = RSAKey.parse(key).toRSAPublicKey();
  } catch (NoSuchAlgorithmException | InvalidKeySpecException
  | IOException | java.text.ParseException e) {
    // TODO error handling

  DefaultJWTDecoder jwtDecoder = new DefaultJWTDecoder();
  jwtDecoder.addJWSVerifier(new RSASSAVerifier(providerKey));
  ReadOnlyJWTClaimsSet claims = null;
  try {
    claims = jwtDecoder.decodeJWT(idToken);
  } catch (JOSEException | java.text.ParseException e) {
    // TODO error handling

  return claims;

private JSONObject getProviderRSAJWK(InputStream is) {
  // Read all data from stream
  StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();
  try (Scanner scanner = new Scanner(is);) {
    while (scanner.hasNext()) {

  // Parse the data as json
  String jsonString = sb.toString();
  JSONObject json = JSONObjectUtils.parse(jsonString);

  // Find the RSA signing key
  JSONArray keyList = (JSONArray) json.get("keys");
  for (Object key : keyList) {
    JSONObject k = (JSONObject) key;
    if (k.get("use").equals("sig") && k.get("kty").equals("RSA")) {
      return k;
  return null;

UserInfo Request

Using the access token, information about the end user can be obtained by making a user info request:

UserInfoRequest userInfoReq = new UserInfoRequest(
  (BearerAccessToken) accessToken);

HTTPResponse userInfoHTTPResp = null;
try {
  userInfoHTTPResp = userInfoReq.toHTTPRequest().send();
} catch (SerializeException | IOException e) {
  // TODO proper error handling

UserInfoResponse userInfoResponse = null;
try {
  userInfoResponse = UserInfoResponse.parse(userInfoHTTPResp);
} catch (ParseException e) {
  // TODO proper error handling

if (userInfoResponse instanceof UserInfoErrorResponse) {
  ErrorObject error = ((UserInfoErrorResponse) userInfoResponse).getErrorObject();
  // TODO error handling

UserInfoSuccessResponse successResponse = (UserInfoSuccessResponse) userInfoResponse;
JSONObject claims = successResponse.getUserInfo().toJSONObject();

comments powered by Disqus