Combining JWT-based authentication with basic access authentication

In this example we will make a service with basic HTTP authentication for Haskell clients and other programs, as well as with JWT-based authentication for web browsers. Web browsers will still use basic HTTP authentication to retrieve JWTs though.

Warning: this is insecure when done over plain HTTP, so TLS should be used. See warp-tls for that.

While basic authentication comes with Servant itself, servant-auth and servant-auth-server packages are needed for the JWT-based one.

This recipe uses the following ingredients:

{-# LANGUAGE OverloadedStrings, TypeFamilies, DataKinds,
  DeriveGeneric, TypeOperators #-}
import Data.Aeson
import GHC.Generics
import Data.Proxy
import System.IO
import Network.HTTP.Client (newManager, defaultManagerSettings)
import Network.Wai.Handler.Warp
import Servant as S
import Servant.Client
import Servant.Auth as SA
import Servant.Auth.Server as SAS
import Control.Monad.IO.Class (liftIO)
import Data.Map as M
import Data.ByteString (ByteString)

port :: Int
port = 3001


Below is how we’ll represent a user: usually user identifier is handy to keep around, along with their role if role-based access control is used, and other commonly needed information, such as an organization identifier:

data AuthenticatedUser = AUser { auID :: Int
                               , auOrgID :: Int
                               } deriving (Show, Generic)

The following instances are needed for JWT:

instance ToJSON AuthenticatedUser
instance FromJSON AuthenticatedUser
instance ToJWT AuthenticatedUser
instance FromJWT AuthenticatedUser

We’ll have to use a bit of imagination to pretend that the following Map is a database connection pool:

type Login      = ByteString
type Password   = ByteString
type DB         = Map (Login, Password) AuthenticatedUser
type Connection = DB
type Pool a     = a

initConnPool :: IO (Pool Connection)
initConnPool = pure $ fromList [ (("user", "pass"), AUser 1 1)
                               , (("user2", "pass2"), AUser 2 1) ]

See the “PostgreSQL connection pool” recipe for actual connection pooling, and we proceed to an authentication function that would use our improvised DB connection pool and credentials provided by a user:

authCheck :: Pool Connection
          -> BasicAuthData
          -> IO (AuthResult AuthenticatedUser)
authCheck connPool (BasicAuthData login password) = pure $
  maybe SAS.Indefinite Authenticated $ M.lookup (login, password) connPool

Warning: make sure to use a proper password hashing function in functions like this: see bcrypt, scrypt, pgcrypto.

Unlike Servant.BasicAuth, Servant.Auth uses FromBasicAuthData type class for the authentication process itself. But since our connection pool will be initialized elsewhere, we’ll have to pass it somehow: it can be done via a context entry and BasicAuthCfg type family. We can actually pass a function at once, to make it a bit more generic:

type instance BasicAuthCfg = BasicAuthData -> IO (AuthResult AuthenticatedUser)

instance FromBasicAuthData AuthenticatedUser where
  fromBasicAuthData authData authCheckFunction = authCheckFunction authData


Test API with a couple of endpoints:

type TestAPI = "foo" :> Capture "i" Int :> Get '[JSON] ()
               :<|> "bar" :> Get '[JSON] ()

We’ll use this for server-side functions, listing the allowed authentication methods using the Auth combinator:

type TestAPIServer =
  Auth '[SA.JWT, SA.BasicAuth] AuthenticatedUser :> TestAPI

But Servant.Auth.Client only supports JWT-based authentication, so we’ll have to use regular Servant.BasicAuth to derive client functions that use basic access authentication:

type TestAPIClient = S.BasicAuth "test" AuthenticatedUser :> TestAPI


Client code in this setting is the same as it would be with just Servant.BasicAuth, using servant-client:

testClient :: IO ()
testClient = do
  mgr <- newManager defaultManagerSettings
  let (foo :<|> _) = client (Proxy :: Proxy TestAPIClient)
                     (BasicAuthData "name" "pass")
  res <- runClientM (foo 42)
    (mkClientEnv mgr (BaseUrl Http "localhost" port ""))
  hPutStrLn stderr $ case res of
    Left err -> "Error: " ++ show err
    Right r -> "Success: " ++ show r


Server code is slightly different – we’re getting AuthResult here:

server :: Server TestAPIServer
server (Authenticated user) = handleFoo :<|> handleBar
    handleFoo :: Int -> Handler ()
    handleFoo n = liftIO $ hPutStrLn stderr $
      concat ["foo: ", show user, " / ", show n]
    handleBar :: Handler ()
    handleBar = liftIO testClient

Catch-all for BadPassword, NoSuchUser, and Indefinite:

server _ = throwAll err401

With Servant.Auth, we’ll have to put both CookieSettings and JWTSettings into context even if we’re not using those, and we’ll put a partially applied authCheck function there as well, so that FromBasicAuthData will be able to use it, while it will use our connection pool. Otherwise it is similar to the usual way:

mkApp :: Pool Connection -> IO Application
mkApp connPool = do
  myKey <- generateKey
  let jwtCfg = defaultJWTSettings myKey
      authCfg = authCheck connPool
      cfg = jwtCfg :. defaultCookieSettings :. authCfg :. EmptyContext
      api = Proxy :: Proxy TestAPIServer
  pure $ serveWithContext api cfg server

Finally, the main function:

main :: IO ()
main = do
  connPool <- initConnPool
  let settings =
        setPort port $
        setBeforeMainLoop (hPutStrLn stderr
                           ("listening on port " ++ show port)) $
  runSettings settings =<< mkApp connPool


Now we can try it out with curl. First of all, let’s ensure that it fails with err401 if we’re not authenticated:

$ curl -v 'http://localhost:3001/bar'
< HTTP/1.1 401 Unauthorized
$ curl -v 'http://user:wrong_password@localhost:3001/bar'
< HTTP/1.1 401 Unauthorized

Now let’s see that basic HTTP authentication works, and that we get JWTs:

$ curl -v 'http://user:pass@localhost:3001/bar'
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Set-Cookie: XSRF-TOKEN=lQE/sb1fW4rZ/FYUQZskI6RVRllG0CWZrQ0d3fXU4X0=; Path=/; Secure
< Set-Cookie: JWT-Cookie=eyJhbGciOiJIUzUxMiJ9.eyJkYXQiOnsiYXVPcmdJRCI6MSwiYXVJRCI6MX19.6ZQba-Co5Ul4wpmU34zXlI75wmasxDfaGRmO3BsOx-ONupX93OBfyYBCIJ3tbWMXKBVVqMDt0Pz-5CakyF2wng; Path=/; HttpOnly; Secure

And authenticate using JWTs alone, using the token from JWT-Cookie:

curl -v -H 'Authorization: Bearer eyJhbGciOiJIUzUxMiJ9.eyJkYXQiOnsiYXVPcmdJRCI6MSwiYXVJRCI6MX19.6ZQba-Co5Ul4wpmU34zXlI75wmasxDfaGRmO3BsOx-ONupX93OBfyYBCIJ3tbWMXKBVVqMDt0Pz-5CakyF2wng' 'http://localhost:3001/bar'
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK

This program is available as a cabal project here.