Azure authentication in Java development environments

This article provides an overview of the Azure Identity library support for Azure Active Directory token authentication. This support enables authentication for applications running locally on developer machines through a set of TokenCredential implementations.

Topics covered in this article include:

Device code credential

The device code credential interactively authenticates a user on devices with limited UI. It works by prompting the user to visit a login URL on a browser-enabled machine when the application attempts to authenticate. The user then enters the device code mentioned in the instructions along with their login credentials. Upon successful authentication, the application that requested authentication gets authenticated successfully on the device it's running on.

For more information, see Microsoft identity platform and the OAuth 2.0 device authorization grant flow.

Enable applications for device code flow

To authenticate a user through device code flow, do the following steps:

  1. Go to Azure Active Directory in the Azure portal and find your app registration.
  2. Navigate to the Authentication section.
  3. Under Suggested Redirected URIs, check the URI that ends with /common/oauth2/nativeclient.
  4. Under Default Client Type, select yes for Treat application as a public client.

These steps will let the application authenticate, but it still won't have permission to log you into Active Directory, or access resources on your behalf. To address this issue, navigate to API Permissions, and enable Microsoft Graph and the resources you want to access.

You must also be the admin of your tenant to grant consent to your application when you log in for the first time.

If you can't configure the device code flow option on your Active Directory, then it may require your app to be multi- tenant. To make your app multi-tenant, navigate to the Authentication panel, then select Accounts in any organizational directory. Then, select yes for Treat application as Public Client.

Authenticate a user account with device code flow

The following example demonstrates authenticating the SecretClient from the azure-security-keyvault-secrets client library using the DeviceCodeCredential on an IoT device.

DeviceCodeCredential deviceCodeCredential = new DeviceCodeCredentialBuilder()
  .challengeConsumer(challenge -> {
    // lets user know of the challenge
    System.out.println(challenge.getMessage());
  }).build();

// Azure SDK client builders accept the credential as a parameter
SecretClient client = new SecretClientBuilder()
  .vaultUrl("https://<your Key Vault name>.vault.azure.net")
  .credential(deviceCodeCredential)
  .buildClient();

Interactive browser credential

This credential interactively authenticates a user with the default system browser and offers a smooth authentication experience by letting you use your own credentials to authenticate your application.

Enable applications for interactive browser OAuth 2 flow

To use InteractiveBrowserCredential, you need to register an application in Azure Active Directory with permissions to log in on behalf of a user. Follow the steps above for device code flow to register your application. As mentioned previously, an admin of your tenant must grant consent to your application before any user account can log in.

You may notice that in InteractiveBrowserCredentialBuilder, a redirect URL is required. Add the redirect URL to the Redirect URIs subsection under the Authentication section of your registered Azure AD application.

Authenticate a user account interactively in the browser

The following example demonstrates authenticating the SecretClient from the azure-security-keyvault-secrets client library using the InteractiveBrowserCredential.

InteractiveBrowserCredential interactiveBrowserCredential = new InteractiveBrowserCredentialBuilder()
  .clientId("<your client ID>")
  .redirectUrl("http://localhost:8765")
  .build();

// Azure SDK client builders accept the credential as a parameter
SecretClient client = new SecretClientBuilder()
  .vaultUrl("https://<your Key Vault name>.vault.azure.net")
  .credential(interactiveBrowserCredential)
  .buildClient();

Azure CLI credential

The Azure CLI credential authenticates in a development environment with the enabled user or service principal in Azure CLI. It uses the Azure CLI given a user that is already logged into it, and uses the CLI to authenticate the application against Azure Active Directory.

Sign in Azure CLI for AzureCliCredential

Sign in as a user with the following Azure CLI command:

az login

Sign in as a service principal using the following command:

az login --service-principal --username <client ID> --password <client secret> --tenant <tenant ID>

If the account or service principal has access to multiple tenants, make sure the desired tenant or subscription is in the state "Enabled" in the output from the following command:

az account list

Before you use AzureCliCredential in code, run the following command to verify that the account has been successfully configured.

az account get-access-token

You may need to repeat this process after a certain time period, depending on the refresh token validity in your organization. Generally, the refresh token validity period is a few weeks to a few months. AzureCliCredential will prompt you to sign in again.

Authenticate a user account with Azure CLI

The following example demonstrates authenticating the SecretClient from the azure-security-keyvault-secrets client library using the AzureCliCredential on a workstation with Azure CLI installed and signed in.

AzureCliCredential cliCredential = new AzureCliCredentialBuilder().build();

// Azure SDK client builders accept the credential as a parameter.
SecretClient client = new SecretClientBuilder()
  .vaultUrl("https://<your Key Vault name>.vault.azure.net")
  .credential(cliCredential)
  .buildClient();

IntelliJ credential

The IntelliJ credential authenticates in a development environment with the account in Azure Toolkit for IntelliJ. It uses the logged in user information on the IntelliJ IDE and uses it to authenticate the application against Azure Active Directory.

Sign in Azure Toolkit for IntelliJ for IntelliJCredential

Follow the steps outlined below:

  1. In your IntelliJ window, open File > Settings > Plugins.
  2. Search for "Azure Toolkit for IntelliJ" in the marketplace. Install and restart IDE.
  3. Find the new menu item Tools > Azure > Azure Sign In
  4. Device Login will help you log in as a user account. Follow the instructions to log in on the login.microsoftonline.com website with the device code. IntelliJ will prompt you to select your subscriptions. Select the subscription with the resources that you want to access.

On Windows, you'll also need the KeePass database path to read IntelliJ credentials. You can find the path in IntelliJ settings under File > Settings > Appearance & Behavior > System Settings > Passwords. Note down the location of the KeePassDatabase path.

Authenticate a user account with IntelliJ IDEA

The following example demonstrates authenticating the SecretClient from the azure-security-keyvault-secrets client library using the IntelliJCredential on a workstation where IntelliJ IDEA is installed, and the user has signed in with an Azure account.

IntelliJCredential intelliJCredential = new IntelliJCredentialBuilder()
  // KeePass configuration isrequired only for Windows. No configuration needed for Linux / Mac.
  .keePassDatabasePath("C:\\Users\\user\\AppData\\Roaming\\JetBrains\\IdeaIC2020.1\\c.kdbx")
  .build();

// Azure SDK client builders accept the credential as a parameter
SecretClient client = new SecretClientBuilder()
  .vaultUrl("https://<your Key Vault name>.vault.azure.net")
  .credential(intelliJCredential)
  .buildClient();

Visual Studio Code credential

The Visual Studio Code credential enables authentication in development environments where VS Code is installed with the VS Code Azure Account extension. It uses the logged-in user information in the VS Code IDE and uses it to authenticate the application against Azure Active Directory.

Sign in Visual Studio Code Azure Account Extension for VisualStudioCodeCredential

The Visual Studio Code authentication is handled by an integration with the Azure Account extension. To use this form of authentication, install the Azure Account extension, then use View > Command Palette to execute the Azure: Sign In command. This command opens a browser window and displays a page that allows you to sign in to Azure. After you've completed the login process, you can close the browser as directed. Running your application (either in the debugger or anywhere on the development machine) will use the credential from your sign-in.

Authenticate a user account with Visual Studio Code

The following example demonstrates authenticating the SecretClient from the azure-security-keyvault-secrets client library using the VisualStudioCodeCredential on a workstation where Visual Studio Code is installed, and the user has signed in with an Azure account.

VisualStudioCodeCredential visualStudioCodeCredential = new VisualStudioCodeCredentialBuilder().build();

// Azure SDK client builders accept the credential as a parameter.
SecretClient client = new SecretClientBuilder()
  .vaultUrl("https://<your Key Vault name>.vault.azure.net")
  .credential(visualStudioCodeCredential)
  .buildClient();

Next steps

This article covered authentication during development using credentials available on your computer. This form of authentication is one of multiple ways you can authenticate in the Azure SDK for Java. The following articles describe other ways:

After you've mastered authentication, see Configure logging in the Azure SDK for Java for information on the logging functionality provided by the SDK.