Azure AD Configuration for Single-Page Applications

Overview

JavaScript applications running in a browser are often hard to secure due to the open nature of the Web. Secure storage is nonexistent, and everything is in clear text (for HTTP version 1.1). Here's a quote from the Azure Active Directory team that summarizes the state of authentication with single-page applications:

The OAuth2 implicit grant is notorious for being the grant with the longest list of security concerns in the OAuth2 specification. And yet, that is the approach implemented by ADAL JS and the one we recommend when writing SPA applications. What gives? It’s all a matter of tradeoffs: and as it turns out, the implicit grant is the best approach you can pursue for applications that consume a Web API via JavaScript from a browser.

(Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/develop/active-directory-dev-understanding-oauth2-implicit-grant)

It's therefore important that you make all of the necessary checks to verify the validity of your requests and the responses.

This section provides instructions on how to configure Azure AD with a single-page application (SPA) so that users can authenticate through it and make requests to the WorkflowGen GraphQL API. This configuration is done in three steps: registering your SPA, granting access to the API, and setting some redirect URLs.

Prerequisites

  • Make sure to have a licensed copy of WorkflowGen installed and running on an IIS web server in HTTPS secure connection mode.

  • Make sure to have administrative access to Azure AD to be able to configure it properly.

  • Make sure to have provisioned an existing Azure AD user with which you can authenticate to WorkflowGen so that you can use the application afterwards.

  • Make sure to have successfully configured delegated authentication to Azure AD on your WorkflowGen instance following the instructions in the Azure Active Directory authentication section with the WorkflowGen GraphQL API application registered as well.

Azure Active Directory configuration

Step 1: Register a new web application

  1. In the Azure portal, click App registrations in the Azure Active Directory section.

  2. Click New registration, and fill in the properties:

    • Name: My SPA name

    • Supported account type: Accounts in this organizational directory only (Single tenant) ✏️ Note: Depending on the context, you should choose the right option for your use case for the supported account type.

    • Redirect URI:

      • Type: Web

      • Value: https://<my spa login url>

  3. Click Register at the bottom of the page.

You've now successfully registered your application in Azure Active Directory.

Step 2: Authorize the implicit grant flow on the SPA application registration

  1. Click Authentication.

  2. Go to the Implicit grant and hybrid flows section.

  3. Check the Access tokens and ID tokens checkboxes.

  4. Click Save.

Step 3: Grant access to WorkflowGen GraphQL API

Now that you've successfully registered your SPA, you need to grant it access to the WorkflowGen GraphQL API application, which should be already registered if you've met the prerequisites.

  1. Click API permissions.

  2. In the Configured permissions section, click Add a permission.

  3. Click My APIs, then select the WorkflowGen GraphQL API application in the list.

  4. Click Delegated permissions and check default under the Permission column.

  5. Click Add permissions.

  6. On the API permissions page, click Grant admin consent for <your tenant name>, then click Yes.

You should now see WorkflowGen GraphQL API in the list of your registered SPA's API permissions. Therefore, when requesting an access token to Azure, based on the audience, you should be able to obtain a correct token that you will send to your WorkflowGen instance's GraphQL API in addition to the request.

For more information about the Azure OAuth 2.0 Implicit grant flow and additional examples, refer to the Microsoft identity platform and implicit grant flow guide.