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How to migrate to new Auth workflow with python SDK while minimizing need for single user input?

How to migrate to new Auth workflow with python SDK while minimizing need for single user input?

FrancoisNOYEZ
Explorer | Level 4

Hello Dropbox team,

 

I have set up a small app as a python script which runs continuously on my server, and which needs to read some files that I store on my Dropbox storage space, in the folder dedicated to this app. This script needs to read those files at regular interval (currently every 15 minutes). When I set up this app, I generated a token that I now provide to my python script every time I need to launch it. Things have been working fine up until now.

 

I have been warned of the API update, notably related to authentication, by an email in November 2020.
Now I'm tring to see if I need to change something to my app in order to adapt to this update, and if yes, to implement that change.
However it has been difficult to find out if I need to do something, and if yes, what.
If I understand properly what I read on this page (https://developers.dropbox.com/fr-fr/oauth-guide), as long as only me is using this app, I can use a token generated in the OAuth 2 Section of the Setting menu of my app, and set its expiration setting to 'No expiration'. However, in the help box, it is said that such tokens will be deprecated in the future, so if possible I'd like to anticipate that.
When I look at the table at the end of this page, in the "Summary" section, if I parse it properly, my app falls within the "A server-side application that requires background access." category, which means what I should "Use the OAuth code flow, with refresh tokens.".
The thing is, I'm not sure of how to do that. When I look at examples available here (https://www.dropbox.com/developers/reference/getting-started?_tk=guides_lp&_ad=tutorial5&_camp=get_s...), seems like it's just using the long-lived token method that I'm already using.
I found some examples script for the python SDK here (https://github.com/dropbox/dropbox-sdk-python/tree/main/example/oauth) but I'm not sure which one to follow.
From what I can see, I will always need to interact with the script every time I launch it, in order to copy the authorization code and provide it to the script, is that right?

 

Basically my question is: what is the script setup that I need to do, that will minimize the interaction with Dropbox required from me, while making sure that my app is still functional and compliant with Dropbox's future deprecation, for the time being?

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Re: How to migrate to new Auth workflow with python SDK while minimizing need for single user input?

Greg-DB
Dropboxer

@FrancoisNOYEZ  Здравко is correct, under the new system you do not need to interact with your script every time it runs. You can supply it the refresh token like you previously supplied it a long-lived access token and it will automatically run without manual user interaction, as before.

 

You do need to process the app authorization flow one time to get a refresh token though. You can refer to this example to see how to process the app authorization flow to get a refresh token, at which point you can then set up a client using it, as shown at the end of the example.

View solution in original post

5 Replies 5

Re: How to migrate to new Auth workflow with python SDK while minimizing need for single user input?

Здравко
Super Collaborator | Level 20

@FrancoisNOYEZ wrote:
...

From what I can see, I will always need to interact with the script every time I launch it, in order to copy the authorization code and provide it to the script, is that right?

...

Hi @FrancoisNOYEZ,

No, that's NOT right. 😉 Relax. 🙂

You can migrate to OAuth2 and you will need to interact to your script only for the long lived token - refresh token (i.e. at the beginning), nothing more! This token doesn't expire - the same like before (almost). The only difference is that it can't be used directly in API calls. The its only purpose is generation of short living tokens - access token, usable within API calls. You usually should not take care of this process, since it's performed in the SDK (internally) and you can continue usage of SDK's calls in the same way as before. When need new token will be generated on demand without your additional interaction. SDK will call /oauth2/token for you. Might be need little bit more care if you call on some place(s) API calls directly, bypassing SDK.

Hope this helps to some extent.

Re: How to migrate to new Auth workflow with python SDK while minimizing need for single user input?

Greg-DB
Dropboxer

@FrancoisNOYEZ  Здравко is correct, under the new system you do not need to interact with your script every time it runs. You can supply it the refresh token like you previously supplied it a long-lived access token and it will automatically run without manual user interaction, as before.

 

You do need to process the app authorization flow one time to get a refresh token though. You can refer to this example to see how to process the app authorization flow to get a refresh token, at which point you can then set up a client using it, as shown at the end of the example.

View solution in original post

Re: How to migrate to new Auth workflow with python SDK while minimizing need for single user input?

FrancoisNOYEZ
Explorer | Level 4

Hello @Здравко, @Greg-DB,

 

Thank you for your answers.
Following your indications, as well as the example described in the examples scripts, I was able to define a "refresh token", and I indeed see that I only need to supply it, along with the APP_KEY and APP_SECRET, when instantiating a Dropbox class object. As long as I keep the 'oauth2_access_token_expiration' parameter equal to none, when carrying out this instantiation, I guess I will never need to perform new authentication operations, is that right?

 

With this new authentication scheme, we went from having to just specify a single token, to having to specify the APP_KEY, APP_SECRET, and refresh token. In terms of management of this sensitive authentication data, in your opinion, how should I proceed? I used to pass along the authentication token as a parameter to the command used to launch my script ('cause I don't want to write it down in my script). Is it ok to do something similar now (the difference being that I'll have to provide 3 values instead of one)? Seems like, as long as I keep those authentication -needed data in the same spot, nothing much was gained in terms of security (though now the scope associated to the token is read-only, so that seems like an improvement here). How could I improve the way I manage those data, if possible, in your opinion?

Re: How to migrate to new Auth workflow with python SDK while minimizing need for single user input?

Здравко
Super Collaborator | Level 20

@FrancoisNOYEZ wrote:
... As long as I keep the 'oauth2_access_token_expiration' parameter equal to none, when carrying out this instantiation, I guess I will never need to perform new authentication operations, is that right?
...

Hi @FrancoisNOYEZ,

In the practice, yes, most probably. If we should be more general, there are situations where refresh token could be revoked (both explicitly, by your or another person having access to the account, or implicitly, by some actions, which shouldn't happen in normal case). Even very unlikely, it's good practice to expect such a situation in your code (script or other). When something goes wrong and the token gets revoked, somehow, just inform/warn in suitable way, at least. The same is valid for long lived access token, used by you till now. 😉 Just a good practice that can make your life easy sometimes!

 


@FrancoisNOYEZ wrote:
... In terms of management of this sensitive authentication data, in your opinion, how should I proceed? I used to pass along the authentication token as a parameter to the command used to launch my script ('cause I don't want to write it down in my script). Is it ok to do something similar now (the difference being that I'll have to provide 3 values instead of one)? ...

🙄🙂😁@FrancoisNOYEZ, If you care for data (of any kind) and don't want other process (and people accordingly) to touch it, command line is the worst place to pass such data (or not the best, definitelly, at least)! Command name a all options and parameters are object of logging in the shell history, at least. The same information is accessible through system tool for process monitoring (how exactly depends on exact OS in use, but accessible). Other ways are also possible! What think that you are hiding in such a way?!!! Be careful!

If I'm in your shoes, will look around your system and usually there is some sort of system "wallet". That's exactly what this service is dedicated for! Exact form is OS dependent, but generally there is some encrypted, system controlled storage where every application could reserve some space. There you can store sensitive data of your choice (like discussing here). The access is system controlled and one application can't touch data of other one and also the same application running on different account is restricted (there are different storage places). 😉 The just mentioned would be my choice.

The needed data representation can be stored on and received from a secure place (like the wallet above). On start, when available, could be used directly to instantiate Dropbox client object. When missing OAuth flow could run and result received will be used both for client instantiation and storage of sensitive data.

Hope this gives useful directions.

 

PS: For a almost platform independent way in Python try the "keyring" package. 😉 It behaves as a interface to corresponding installed system service. Or tries to, at least, and succeeds when there is available proper backend. Linux, Mac, and Windows are generally supported.

Re: How to migrate to new Auth workflow with python SDK while minimizing need for single user input?

FrancoisNOYEZ
Explorer | Level 4

Hello Здравко

 

Thank you for your insights.

 

Ok, so barring voluntary revocation by someone, or some actions taken by DropBox, the refresh token should be valid indefinitely. At the very least, with it and the way I created it, I should be able to use it with the same level of 'no action' that I currently have with the use of the 'overall' access token.
I agree that it would be better if my app was able to react properly to the token being revoked or becoming non-functional; I'll see what I can do about that in the future.

 

Well, I never said it was secure, I just said that I did not want to hardcode the access variables in the program (since I use control version, notably). Though, arguably, from what you are describing, using the command line to pass the secret seems like it's actually worse than hardcoding it in the program. I asked the question because I wanted to finally take the time to do something better with that respect : )
Thank you for the suggestion, I'll look into that, notably this 'keyring' package that you mentioned.

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    FrancoisNOYEZ Explorer | Level 4
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    Здравко Super Collaborator | Level 20
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