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Banana
Frequent Visitor

Custom API & headers/cookies

The documentation does not mention what are the expectations developers should have for how PowerApps will handle headers and cookies. 

 

Can we rely on PowerApps to persist cookies or any other headers for a stateful session, or must we explicitly tell PowerApps what to pass based on the swagger specifications?

 

8 REPLIES 8
joem
Power Apps
Power Apps

Currently, there should be no expectation of cookies being sent to the service. That being said, we will pass you any information explicitly specified by parameters in the Swagger. The values for these parameters always come from data within the App, not the browser client running the app. So even if you specify in Swagger a parameter with 'in': 'header', 'name': 'Cookie', the value for this parameter will come from app data flow, not from the browser's current Cookie values. There's no special-handling for certain headers.

 

There is an exception here, and that is information used to authenticate with the target host in the Swagger. This is where the 'security' section(s) of the Swagger come into play. If what's desired is the ability to have a per-user state on your servers, then this is usually accomplished by piggy backing on the logged in user's authentication/identity. Note, that PowerApps Client uses the Authorization header to authenticate with the Connectors, so this header will get overridden and then removed before talking to your CustomApi host service.

 

Please take a look at this post on what authentication is currently supported by CustomAPIs:

https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/tutorials/register-custom-api/#authentication

 

Thanks,

Joem

Thanks for confirming! I want to point out that currently, the page does not mention anything about the token that the powerapps apparently uses as described in that thread? Wil this be documented and supported method for identifying the user on a per-user basis? The authentication supported by PA appears to operate at the application level, not per-user and there is no way to pass through the authentication. 

The authentication model in PowerApps and Flow is per connection. But right now only a few connections can be shared between users (like sql) and we haven't exposed a way for custom APIs to opt-in to shareability.

 

The header info mentioned in that other thread will identify the caller, but isn't as secure as requiring an oauth token to talk to your custom API (which gets back to the securityDefinition part of the swagger Joe alluded to). The recommended way to securely authenticate a user with your API is to configure login for your API. This is also important if you want to use your custom API with Flow, because when a flow calls your API, the "caller" in the headers will be the flow itself. It does not impersonate the user who set up the flow.

Two things:

 

1) I think I figured out why I was confused. Apparently, cookies do get persisted when testing with the Windows client of PowerApps studio. If I do the same thing running in the web browser, the cookies are not returned. This difference in the behavior when testing with Windows client versus web browser is misleading.

 

2) Unfortunately, I'm still foggy on how OAuth helps me here. Suppose I program so that the API can use Microsoft Graph. However, that means the user still has to sign in twice, first into the PowerApps itself, then in order to access the API since API won't know about the credentials that PowerApps already has? 

Point #1:

I am not sure on this.

 

Point #2:

You can't directly use Graph API in PowerApps. You need to wrap Graph API inside a Web App and expose it as custom API and use it in PowerApps. As mentioned in the previous posts, you need to enable Easy authentication for Web App's security.

Perumal, I think we're on different page here.

 

My uncertainty is how would my custom API be able to use Graph API if it must first authenticate the user on a per-user basis and that PowerApps will not pass the existing credentials it already has (from signing the user when they launch the PowerApps). I'm trying to avoid the double login and am content to use the existing credential from PA but I need something more reliable than reading the PowerApps' User object or the token from PA to identify that the caller to the custom API is in fact orignating from the user of the PA. 

I can understand your problem and I tried a PowerApps which connects to a custom API protected with Azure AD authentication last week.

 

My suggestion is to try the below tutorial first and you can understand how the authentication for custom API works in PowerApps.

https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/tutorials/customapi-web-api-tutorial/#add-authentication-to-yo...

 

I don't find option to pass the token from PowerApps to Graph API wrapped inside the custom API.

Hi @joem 

 

I maually add cookie/sessionid into header of custom connector, but didn't work any more, even if it works in flow and Postman! 

I also find Authorization header in Request Header, but I didn't choose any authentication type, only 'No Authencation' in Security Tab. 

Could you please help explain why does this happen?

Thanks

Nelson

 

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