11436 SSO

RESTful API Design: authentication

Brian Mulloy
Jan 15, 2012

This time, in this series about pragmatic RESTful API Design, I'll discuss authentication.

There are many schools of thought - my colleagues at Apigee and I don't always agree on how to handle authentication - but overall here's my take.

Let's look at these three top services. See how each of these services handles things differently:

PayPal

Permissions Service API

Facebook

OAuth 2.0

Twitter

OAuth 1.0a

Note that PayPal's proprietary three-legged permissions API  was in place long before OAuth was conceived.

What should you do?

Use the latest and greatest OAuth - OAuth 2.0 (as of this writing)

Don't do something *like* OAuth, but different
It will be frustrating to app developers if they can't use an OAuth library in their language because of your variation.

Next time: Versions - how many? Meanwhile, I'd love to hear from you over on the API Craft Google Group.

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