Tag: Microsoft

Goodbye Flash … and hello .NET and ASP.NET MVC

Goodbye to Flash …

Network Simulator
Network Simulator

I just read an article about the Top 10 IT skills that are going to be least in demand, and in the Top 10 is Adobe Flash (previously know as Macromedia Flash). Unfortunately it was Apple who provided the death-nail for it, as they refused to support it on their closed-system Apple iPhone. Over the years, though, there was nothing to match it, especially as it allowed the scripting of actions which could be displayed in a Web browser. I developed so many applications in Flash, and was so disappointing when Apple made their announcement.

One of my major developments was in creating a range of Flash Cisco simulators, which were actually innovative for the time, and which used ActionScript 1.0 to provide the main functionality. If you are interested, here’s an example :http://billatnapier.com/text_router.html

Unfortunately the more commands I added, the more it become more difficult to maintain them. At the time Flash was moving from a scripting language in which you could use variables whenever you wanted, without ever declaring them. While this works well for a small program, it is not scaleable. So, at the time, I looked at ActionScript 2.0, which integrated in a more formal way, but, as it was kinda like Java, which I personally dislike (even though I’ve written a book on it), so I moved to Microsoft .NET 1.1, and I have never looked back.

Microsoft .NET 1.1, 2.0 and so on

Networksims Router Simulator

I picked-up on .NET 1.1 at the time, as it just worked so well, and had a strong development infrastructure, which continually checked all the elements of the program. For I developed my Networksims package, which simulated a range of Cisco devices, including PIX/ASA, router, switch, wireless, and so on:


This has worked fine, but it has become difficult to maintain, and is fixed to Microsoft Windows. It is to ASP.NET MVC that I have turned to, and it has provided me with an excellent platform to integrate a wide range of applications. With MVC, we try and separate the data (the Model), from the middleware (the Controller) and from the interface (the View). This method allows you to create reusable code, in which you can easily change the user interface, without changing anything within the core logic of the program. The result was:

A major port for me was to integrate the core code from Networksims, into my MVC site, and here’s where I have got to (demo):

Integrating Console Applications

So as an example, let’s look at how we integrate a console application into MVC. In this case I have integrated a program named openssl.exe, and the demonstrator is at:


The demonstration is:

How cool is that … that you are able to integrate a back-end console output into your Web page?

Two passwords … and lots of user IDs … towards OAuth 2.0


Identity 2.0
Identity 2.0

Over the past year or so, I have conducted many surveys at dissemination events, using wireless clickers to gather the results, where I ask attendees about how many usernames they had, and then on how many passwords they have. In every presentation I have made, the answer has been that they typically have between two and four passwords, but have more than 10 user IDs. This type of approach is unacceptable for the future, as we probably just need one ID, and it is the one that is the most trusted. A key concept is that users can start to define their own on-line identity and control the parts of it which are related to different contexts, as illustrated in Figure 1.

Within a highly trusted and secure environment, WS-* is the best framework to use to provide federated identity, but unfortunately it is extremely complex, and difficult to integrate with a wide range of system. The market is now focusing on a simpler method: OAuth 2.0. In order to demonstrate it, I’ve created a demo:


Like it or not, the bigger hitters when it comes to Federated ID provision are Linkedin, Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook and Google. Each of these companies know the benefits of being the most trusted identity provider, as this will provide them with the opportunity to be the main focus for the user. Google and Microsoft typically focus on providing users with Cloud-based email accounts, which entice the user to you them, whereas LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook aim to capture the user through their social networking activity. For this I’ve integrated the last ASP.NET MVC 4 integration of MVC 4, which provides for enhanced, and simplified, integration of OAuth 2.0:


Federated ID
Federated ID

Figure 2 outlines how we can setup a trust infrastructure, where we can trust certain identity providers to prove the identity of a user. In this way we do not have to store the username and password ID. There are many identity providers which users use on a regular basis, and this is typically the account they remember best. Well-known providers who are supported in OAuth include Google, Facebook,  and Windows Live, with others such as Twitter and Linkedin providing API integration.

So what does the future hold? Well so many companies use their own in-house authorization system, where they register usernames and password, which can take a good deal of resources to setup and maintain. With a federated identity infrastructure, companies can define the identity providers they trust, and then use them to provide their identity. They will then get rights into the system based on the identity and their associated role.

OAuth 2.0

Image representing OpenID Foundation as depict...
Image via CrunchBase

OAuth has been defined as open standard for federated identity provision. It supports a login from an identity provider, without actually giving their username and password credentials, and uses user-agent redirections. Along with this it is complementary to OpenID.

OAuth 2.0 has evolved from the OAuth protocol (but is not backward compatible with OAuth 1.0). With OAuth 2.0 there is a much easier implementation on the client developer which improves the workflow for a range of access devices including desktops and mobile phones.

Key adopters of OAuth 2.0 have been Facebook, Microsoft and Google, who integrate with it in their APIs.

Outline Presentation

You will find the presentation on Federated ID in:

Source Code

Here’s my controller code for ASP.NET MVC 4:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Web;
using System.Web.Mvc;
using security.Models;
using System.Collections;
using System.Net;
using System.Text.RegularExpressions;
using System.IO;

using DotNetOpenAuth.Messaging;
using System.Web.Security;
using DotNetOpenAuth.OpenId.Extensions.AttributeExchange;

using DotNetOpenAuth.OAuth;
using Microsoft.Web.WebPages.OAuth;
using DotNetOpenAuth.AspNet;
using DotNetOpenAuth.OpenId;
using DotNetOpenAuth.OpenId.Extensions.SimpleRegistration;
using DotNetOpenAuth.OpenId.RelyingParty;

namespace security.Controllers

    public class idController : Controller
        private static OpenIdRelyingParty openid = new OpenIdRelyingParty();
        public IFormsAuthenticationService FormsService { get; set; }
        public IMembershipService MembershipService { get; set; }

        public void ExternalLogin(string provider, string returnUrl)
            returnUrl = "http://asecuritysite.com";
            OAuthWebSecurity.RequestAuthentication(provider, Url.Action("ExternalLoginCallback", new { ReturnUrl = returnUrl }));
       public ActionResult ExternalLoginCallback(string returnUrl = "")
            AuthenticationResult result = OAuthWebSecurity.VerifyAuthentication(Url.Action("ExternalLoginCallback", new { ReturnUrl = returnUrl }));
            if (!result.IsSuccessful)
                ViewData["error"] = result.Error;
                return View("twitter", OAuthWebSecurity.RegisteredClientData);

            //if (OAuthWebSecurity.Login(result.Provider, result.ProviderUserId, createPersistentCookie: false))
            //    return RedirectToLocal(returnUrl);

            //if (User.Identity.IsAuthenticated)
            //    // If the current user is logged in add the new account
            //    OAuthWebSecurity.CreateOrUpdateAccount(result.Provider, result.ProviderUserId, User.Identity.Name);
            //    ViewData["provider"] = result.Provider;
            //    ViewData["userid"] = result.ProviderUserId;
            //    return View("twitter");
                // User is new, ask for their desired membership name
                string loginData = OAuthWebSecurity.SerializeProviderUserId(result.Provider, result.ProviderUserId);

                OAuthAccount oAuthAccount = new OAuthAccount(result.Provider, result.ProviderUserId);

                UserModel user = new UserModel();

                var provider = result.Provider;
                var uniqueUserID = result.ProviderUserId;
                var uniqueID = provider + "/" + uniqueUserID;
          //      FormsAuthentication.SetAuthCookie(uniqueID, false);

                    var userDataFromProv = result.ExtraData;
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("email")) ViewData["email"] = userDataFromProv["email"];

                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("country")) ViewData["country"] = userDataFromProv["country"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("accesstoken")) ViewData["accesstoken"] = userDataFromProv["accesstoken"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("firstname")) ViewData["firstname"] = userDataFromProv["firstname"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("lastname")) ViewData["id"] = userDataFromProv["lastname"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("id")) ViewData["id"] = userDataFromProv["id"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("name")) ViewData["name"] = userDataFromProv["name"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("link")) ViewData["link"] = userDataFromProv["link"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("gender")) ViewData["gender"] = userDataFromProv["gender"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("birthday")) ViewData["birthday"] = userDataFromProv["birthday"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("headline")) ViewData["headline"] = userDataFromProv["headline"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("summary")) ViewData["summary"] = userDataFromProv["summary"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("industy")) ViewData["industy"] = userDataFromProv["industry"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("location")) ViewData["location"] = userDataFromProv["location"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("description")) ViewData["description"] = userDataFromProv["description"];
                    if (userDataFromProv.Keys.Contains("url")) ViewData["url"] = userDataFromProv["url"];

                catch (Exception)

                return View("twitter",OAuthWebSecurity.RegisteredClientData);

        private ActionResult RedirectToLocal(string returnUrl)
            if (Url.IsLocalUrl(returnUrl))
                return Redirect(returnUrl);
                return RedirectToAction("Index", "Home");
        public ActionResult twitter()
            return View(OAuthWebSecurity.RegisteredClientData);


My cshtml code is:

 @using Microsoft.Web.WebPages.OAuth;
@model ICollection
 <h1>OAuth 2.0 (Twitter, Linkedin, and so on)</h1>
<p>This is a demo of OAuth. OAuth has been defined as open standard for federated identity provision. 
It supports a login from an identity provider, without actually giving their username and password credentials, and uses user-agent redirections. 
Along with this it is complementary to OpenID.</p>

        @using (Html.BeginForm("ExternalLogin", "id", new { ReturnUrl = ViewBag.ReturnUrl }))
                @foreach (AuthenticationClientData p in Model)
    <tr><td>First name:</td><td>@ViewData["firstname"]</td></tr>
    <tr><td>Last name:</td><td>@ViewData["lastname"]</td></tr>
    <tr><td>Last name:</td><td>@ViewData["email"]</td></tr>

    <tr><td>Display name:</td><td>@ViewData["displayname"]</td></tr>

      <tr><td>User ID:</td><td>@ViewData["userid"]</td></tr>


You need register for an API key from identity providers, and added these in the AuthConfig.cs file:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using Microsoft.Web.WebPages.OAuth;
using security.Models;

namespace security
    public static class AuthConfig
        public static void RegisterAuth()

                consumerKey: "x",
                consumerSecret: "x");

                appId: "x",
                appSecret: "x");


            OAuthWebSecurity.RegisterLinkedInClient("x", "x");

              clientId: "x",
              clientSecret: "x");        }

Registering for API Keys

In order to register the clients, you will have to register for an API key. The important ones are: