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Australian Access Federation Rapid Connect Service Provider (SP)

Australian Access Federation Rapid Connect #

A Dart package for implementing AAF Rapid Connect Service Providers.

The Australian Access Federation (AAF) provides a federated authentication service.

A Service Provider (SP) is a Web application that requires its users to be authenticated. The users must be people who have logins at an organisation that subscribes to the Australian Access Federation: namely all Australian universities and some research organisations.

The "AAF Rapid Connect" protocol allows Service Providers to use AAF for authentication. It is a simpler alternative to using SAML. It is a proprietary protocol that existed before OpenID Connect had been defined.

To develop a Web application using AAF Rapid Connect to perform authentication:

  1. Write the Web application so it expects a HTTP POST request from the AAF Rapid Connect service. This is the "callback URL" and it gets invoked after the user has been successfully authenticated.

  2. Deploy the Web application, secured using TLS (i.e. the callback URL must be a HTTPS URL).

  3. Register the deployed Web application with AAF. The callback URL and other information must be provided to AAF to register it.

  4. When the Web application wants to authenticate a user, redirect their Web browser to the "redirect URL", which is issued by AAF after registration.

  5. If the user is successfully authenticated, the Web application will receive a HTTP POST request on the callback URL with an "assertion" parameter.

This package provides a library for processing that "assertion" parameter. The Web application uses it to parse, validate and extract information from the assertion.

Example #

The Web application should create a ServiceProvider object, using the values from the AAF Rapid Connect registration.

import 'package:aaf_rapid_connect/aaf_rapid_connect.dart';

ServiceProvider sp; // global

void initialize(String issuer, String audience, String secret, String redirect) {

  sp = ServiceProvider(issuer, audience, secret, redirect,
        allowedClockSkew: const Duration(minutes: 2));

The issuer will always be "https://rapid.aaf.edu.au" when using the AAF production environment, and "https://rapid.test.aaf.edu.au" when using the AAF test environment.

The audience is the URL that was provided to the service registration. It is described as "the primary URL of your application", but it is just a URL used as a unique identifier.

The secret is the value that was provided to the service registration.

The redirect is the redirect URL that was issued by the service registration process.

An optional allowed clock skew duration can be provided. It is used during validation of the assertion.

Redirecting #

When the user wants to authenticate, send their Web brower to the redirect URL.

The ServiceProvider object contains a copy of the redirect URL.

  final url = sp.redirect;

  response.write('<a href="${escapeAttribute(url)}">Sign in with AAF</a>');

Handling the callback HTTP POST request #

When the callback is invoked, extract the "assertion" POST parameter and use the ServiceProvider object to process it. The authenticate method parses, checks and validates it.

An AafException is thrown if the assertion is invalid or not trusted.

If successful, the attributes in the claim as a Map<String,String>. That can be used directly, or used to create create a ClaimStandard or ClaimWithSharedToken, which define convenient getters for getting the known attributes, and also methods to identify any extra attributes which are not known.

Future<Response> handleCallback(Request req) async {
  // Extract string "assertion" parameter from HTTP POST request
  final assertionStr = req.postParams!['assertion'];

  try {
    final m = sp.authenticate(assertionStr);
    final claim = ClaimStandard(m);

    // Assertion accepted
    // aafAttributes identifies the user and has properties about them


  } on AafException catch (e) {
    // Assertion rejected

More information #

Features and bugs #

Please report bugs and feature requests on the issue tracker.

pub points


verified publisherhoylen.com

Australian Access Federation Rapid Connect Service Provider (SP)

Repository (GitHub)
View/report issues


API reference


BSD-3-Clause (license)


jaguar_jwt, logging


Packages that depend on aaf_rapid_connect