155 posts categorized "Distributed Applications"


Federating Windows Azure Service Bus & Access Control Service with a custom STS: thinktecture IdentityServer helps with more real-world-ish Relay and Brokered Messaging

The Windows Azure Service Bus and the Access Control Service (ACS) are good friends – buddies, indeed.

Almost all official Windows Azure Service Bus-related demos use a shared secret approach to authenticate directly against ACS (although it actually is not an identity provider), get back a token and then send that token over to the Service Bus. This magic usually happens all under the covers when using the WCF bindings.

All in all, this is not really what we need and seek for in real projects.
We need the ability to have users or groups (or: identities with certain claims) authenticate against identity providers that are already in place. This IdP needs to be federated with the Access Control Service which then in turn spits out a token the Service Bus can understand.

Wouldn’t it be nice to authenticate via username/password (for real end users) or via certificates (for server/services entities)?

Let’s see how we can get this working by using our thinktecture IdentityServer. For the purpose of this blog post I am using our demo IdSrv instance at https://identity.thinktecture.com/idsrv.

The first thing to do is to register IdSrv as an identity provider for the respective Service Bus ACS namespace. Each SB namespace has a so called buddy namespace in ACS. The buddy namespace for christianweyer is christianweyer-sb. You can get to it by clicking the Access Control Service button in the Service Bus portal like here:


In the ACS portal for the SB buddy namespace we can then add a new identity provider.



thinktecture IdentityServer does support various endpoints and protocols, but for this scenario we are going to add IdSrv as a WS-Federation-compliant IdP to ACS. At the end we will be requesting SAML token from IdSrv.


The easiest way to add it to ACS is to use the service metadata from https://identity.thinktecture.com/idsrv/FederationMetadata/2007-06/FederationMetadata.xml

Note: Make sure that the checkbox is ticked for the ServiceBus relying party at the bottom of the page.


Next, we need to add new claims rules for the new IdP.

Let’s create a new rule group.


I am calling the new group IdSrv SB users. In that group I want to add at least one rule which says that a user called Bob is allowed to open endpoints on my Service Bus namespace.


In order to make our goal, we say that when an incoming claim of (standard) type name contains a value Bob then we are going to emit a new claim of type net.windows.servicebus.action with the Listen value. This is the claim the Service Bus can understand.
Simple and powerful.


We could now just add a couple more rules here for other users or even X.509 client certificates.

Before we can leave the ACS configuration alone we need to enable the newly created rule group on the ServiceBus relying party:


… and last but not least I have to add a new relying party configuration in Identity Server for my SB buddy namespace with its related WRAP endpoint:



For using the external IdP in my WCF-based Service Bus applications I wrote a very small and simpler helper class with extension methods for the TransportClientEndpointBehavior. It connects to the STS/IdP requesting a SAML token which is then used as the credential for the Service Bus.


using System;
using System.IdentityModel.Tokens;
using System.Security.Cryptography.X509Certificates;
using System.ServiceModel;
using System.ServiceModel.Security;
using Microsoft.IdentityModel.Protocols.WSTrust;
using Microsoft.IdentityModel.Protocols.WSTrust.Bindings;
using Microsoft.ServiceBus;

namespace ServiceBus.Authentication
    public static class TransportClientEndpointBehaviorExtensions
        public static string GetSamlTokenForUsername(
           this TransportClientEndpointBehavior behavior, string issuerUrl, string serviceNamespace, 
           string username, string password)
            var trustChannelFactory =
                new WSTrustChannelFactory(
                    new UserNameWSTrustBinding(SecurityMode.TransportWithMessageCredential),
                    new EndpointAddress(new Uri(issuerUrl)));

            trustChannelFactory.TrustVersion = TrustVersion.WSTrust13;
            trustChannelFactory.Credentials.UserName.UserName = username;
            trustChannelFactory.Credentials.UserName.Password = password;

                var tokenString = RequestToken(serviceNamespace, trustChannelFactory);

                return tokenString;
            catch (Exception ex)

        public static string GetSamlTokenForCertificate(
           this TransportClientEndpointBehavior behavior, string issuerUrl, string serviceNamespace, 
           string certificateThumbprint)
            var trustChannelFactory =
                new WSTrustChannelFactory(
                    new CertificateWSTrustBinding(SecurityMode.TransportWithMessageCredential),
                    new EndpointAddress(new Uri(issuerUrl)));

            trustChannelFactory.TrustVersion = TrustVersion.WSTrust13;

                var tokenString = RequestToken(serviceNamespace, trustChannelFactory);

                return tokenString;
            catch (Exception ex)

        private static string RequestToken(string serviceNamespace, WSTrustChannelFactory trustChannelFactory)
            var rst =
                new RequestSecurityToken(WSTrust13Constants.RequestTypes.Issue, 
            rst.AppliesTo = new EndpointAddress(
                String.Format("https://{0}-sb.accesscontrol.windows.net/WRAPv0.9/", serviceNamespace));
            rst.TokenType = Microsoft.IdentityModel.Tokens.SecurityTokenTypes.Saml2TokenProfile11;

            var channel = (WSTrustChannel)trustChannelFactory.CreateChannel();
            var token = channel.Issue(rst) as GenericXmlSecurityToken;
            var tokenString = token.TokenXml.OuterXml;

            return tokenString;


Following is a sample usage of the above class.

static void Main(string[] args)
    var serviceNamespace = "christianweyer";
    var usernameIssuerUrl = 

    var host = new ServiceHost(typeof(EchoService));

    var a = ServiceBusEnvironment.CreateServiceUri(
        "https", serviceNamespace, "echo");
    var b = new WebHttpRelayBinding();
    b.Security.RelayClientAuthenticationType =
        RelayClientAuthenticationType.None; // for demo only!
    var c = typeof(IEchoService);

    var authN = new TransportClientEndpointBehavior(); 
    var samlToken = authN.GetSamlTokenForUsername(
        usernameIssuerUrl, serviceNamespace, "bob", ".......");
    authN.TokenProvider =

    var ep = host.AddServiceEndpoint(c, b, a);
    ep.Behaviors.Add(new WebHttpBehavior());

    Console.WriteLine("Service running...");

        .ForEach(enp => Console.WriteLine(enp.Address));



And the running service in action (super spectacular!)


Hope this helps!


Live Coding Sample & Slides für “’Ich will auch cool sein!’ - Bi-Direktionale Kommunikation nach Web-Machart mit SignalR” Session bei der NOUG

Danke an alle, die live bei der DOUG mit dabei waren – und vorab auch an alle, die sich die Aufnahme ansehen werden Smile

Hier sind wie angekündigt die Slides und das Live Coding Beispiel. Weitere Samples findet man direkt im Signal Code auf GitHub.


Bis bald!


ASP.NET Web API changes from Beta to RC

The official word on changes from Beta to RC for Web API-related topics (filtered from the original page).

  • ASP.NET Web API now uses Json.NET for JSON formatting: The default JSON formatter in ASP.NET Web API now uses Json.NET for JSON serialization. Json.NET provides the flexibility and performance required for a modern web framework.
  • Formatter improvements: The methods on MediaTypeFormatter are now public to enable unit testing of custom formatters. A single formatter can now support multiple text encodings. UseBufferedMediaTypeFormatter to implement simple synchronous formatting support.FormatterContext has been removed. To get access to the request from a formatter on the server implement GetPerRequestFormatterInstance.
  • Removed System.Json.dll: Because of the overlap with functionality already in Json.NET the System.Json.dll assembly has been removed.
  • XmlMediaTypeFormatter uses DataContractSerializer by default: The XmlMediaTypeFormatternow uses the DataContractSerializer by default. This means that by default ASP.NET Web API will use the Data Contract programming model for formatting types. You can configure theXmlMediaTypeFormatter to use the XmlSerializer by setting UseXmlSerializer to true.
  • Formatters now always handle the body content: ASP.NET Web API formatters are now used consistently for handling both the request and response content. We have removedIRequestContentReadPolicy. The FormUrlEncodedMediaTypeFormatter class has been updated to use MVC-style model binding, so you can still use model binding infrastructure for handling form data in the request body.
  • HTTP content negotiation decoupled from ObjectContent: Previously in ASP.NET Web API all HTTP content negotiation logic was encapsulated in ObjectContent, which made it difficult to predict when HTTP content negotiation would occur. We have decoupled HTTP content negotiation from ObjectContent and encapsulated it as an IContentNegotiator implementation.ObjectContent now takes a single formatter. You can run HTTP content negotiation whenever you want using the DefaultContentNegotiator implementation to select an appropriate formatter.IFormatterSelector has been removed
  • Removed HttpRequestMessage<T> and HttpResponseMessage<T>: Previously there were two ways to specify a request or response with an ObjectContent instance: you could provide anObjectContent instance directly, or you could use HttpRequestMessage<T> orHttpResponseMessage<T>. Having two ways of doing the same thing complicated request and response handling, so HttpRequestMessage<T> and HttpResponseMessage<T> have been removed. To create content negotiated responses that contain an ObjectContent use the CreateResponse<T>extension methods on the request message. To send a request that contains an ObjectContent use the PostAsync<T> extension methods on HttpClient. Or, use the PostAsJsonAsync<T> andPostAsXmlAsync<T> extension methods to specify a request that will be specifically formatted with as JSON or XML respectively.
  • Simplified action parameter binding: You can now predictably determine whether an action parameter will be bound to the request body. This ensures that the request stream is not unnecessarily consumed. Parameters with simple types by default come from the URL. Parameters with complex types by default come from the body. There can be only one body parameter. You can explicitly specify if a parameter comes from the URL or from the body using the [FromUri] and[FromBody] attributes.
  • Query composition is now implemented as a reusable filter: Previously support for query composition was hard coded into the runtime. Query composition is now implemented as a reusable filter that can be applied as an attribute ([Queryable]) to any action that returns anIQueryable instance. This attribute is now required to enable query composition.
  • Cookies: The HttpRequestMessage and HttpResponseMessage classes expose the HTTP Cookie and Set-Cookie headers as raw strings and not structured classes. This made it cumbersome and error prone to work with cookies in ASP.NET Web API. To fix this we introduced two newCookieHeaderValue and CookieState that follow RFC 6265 HTTP State Management Mechanism. You can use the AddCookies extension method to add a Set-Cookie header to a response message. Use the GetCookies extension method to get all of the CookieHeaderValues from a request.
  • HttpMessageInvoker: The HttpMessageInvoker provides a light weight mechanism to invoke anHttpMessageHandler without the overhead of using HttpClient. Use HttpMessageInvoker for unit testing message handlers and also for invoking message handlers on the server.
  • Response buffering improvements: When web-hosting a web API the response content length is now set intelligently so that responses are not always chunked. Buffering also enables reasonable error messages to be returned when exceptions occur in formatters.
  • Independently control IHttpController selection and activation: Implement theIHttpControllerSelector to control IHttpController selection. Implement IHttpControllerActivator to control IHttpController activation. The IHttpControllerFactory abstraction has been removed.
  • Clearer integration with IoC containers that support scopes: The dependency resolver for ASP.NET Web API now supports creating dependency scopes that can be independently disposed. A dependency scope is created for each request and is used for controller activation. Configuring dependency resolution (i.e. HttpConfiguration.DependencyResolver) is optional and is now configured separately from the default services used by ASP.NET Web API (HttpConfiguration.Services). However, the service locator consults the dependency resolver first for required services and then falls back to explicitly configured services.
  • Improved link generation: The ASP.NET Web API UrlHelper how has convenience methods for generating links based on the configured routes and the request URI.
  • Register resource for disposal at the end of the request life-time: Use the RegisterForDisposeextension method on the request to register an IDisposable instance that should be disposed when the request is disposed.
  • Monitoring and diagnostics: You can enable tracing by providing an ITraceWriterimplementation and configuring it as a service using the dependency resolver. The ILoggerinterface has been removed.
  • Create custom help and test pages: You now can easily build custom help and test pages for your web APIs by using the new IApiExplorer service to get a complete runtime description of your web APIs.
  • Entity Framework based scaffolding for web APIs: Use the Add Controller dialog to quickly scaffold a web API controller based on an Entity Framework based model type.
  • Create unit test projects for Web API projects: You can now easily create a unit test project for a Web API project using the New ASP.NET MVC 4 Project dialog box.
  • Unauthorized requests handled by ASP.NET Web API return 401 Unauthroized: Unauthorized requests handled by ASP.NET Web API now return a standard 401 Unauthorized response instead of redirecting the user agent to a login form so that the response can be handled by an Ajax client.
  • Configuration logic for MVC applications moved under the App_Start directory: The configuration logic For MVC applications has been moved from Global.asax.cs to a set of static classes in the App_Start directory. Routes are registered in RouteConfig.cs. Global MVC filters are registered in FilterConfig.cs. Bundling and minification configuration now lives in BundleConfig.cs.
  • Add Controller to any project folder: You can now right click and select Add Controller from any folder in your MVC project. This gives you more flexibility to organize your controllers however you want, including keeping your MVC and Web API controllers in separate folders.



Measuring performance of your HTTP-based .NET applications: Performance Counters for HttpWebRequest

Just found this and thought to share it with you: Network Class Library Team (System.Net): New Performance Counters for HttpWebRequest


Each of the seven green circles represents one of the six performance counters (there are two ‘5’ items because 5 is the average lifetime, and there are two code paths that will affect that counter).


Note: Be aware that ‘new’ means new in .NET 4.0 (the blog post is from Aug 2009).


You think WCF needs more of ‘you’? Go and vote for your most desired features now

The WCF team has set up a uservoice page for voting on WCF v-Next features. Go ahead and influence WCF!


Slides for my sessions at DevWeek 2012

And here we go – as promised to all of you nice people attending one of my sessions last week in London.


If you have questions, please feel free to send my an email!

See you next year at DevWeek.


Light-weight web-based architectures: Web APIs & Services (or: ASP.NET vs. WCF?) – a personal view

As much as I like WCF (and as much as I made money with it in the past years) – I think it is now time to re-think some approaches and some architectural ideas. What is ahead of a lot of us is what I call ‘light-weight architectures for reach’.

Just to give you some scope: I am one of the original Digerati board members of Indigo (WCF). Some people say I know WCF inside-out - I have given several dozens of introductions to WCF in seminars, conference and user group sessions world-wide and did numberless consulting gigs in Europe with WCF (and no, I did not really find time to write a book – besides a chapter here).

OK, so here goes...

There is currently a shift - or rather a new focus - in distributed application architecture. And no, I am not going to call it REST and I am not saying it is the one and only true thing from now on. But we have new drivers like application mash-ups, mobile devices and cloud computing which force us to move away from the good old feature-rich (and somehow heavy-weight) SOAP-based approaches. This development and this need is non-discussable and undeniable. One possible solution to these new needs is the use of light-weight Web APIs (which can be evolved into a REST-ful API or be used 'just' in an RPC-ish way).

So, which technology framework should we as .NET developers choose to build Web APIs? One choice is to leverage WCF's WebHttp model. After working with it for some years I quickly noticed a number of shortcomings (testability/mockability, serializers, ...) and wished that Redmond would come up with something better. *Of course* it had to be WCF, it had to be part of the overall "let's abstract away communication 'details'". And so it happened that they announced WCF Web API (and I was lucky enough to be part of the advisory board, again). All was fine in my world. It seemed.

Fine until I again realized that it has shortcomings when building some more flexible and advanced Web APIs. But this time it was actually the fact that the limitations were in WCF itself. The 'SAOP message' model of WCF just does not fit at all into this world. Everything the team tried to accomplish and to provide features for a web-based paradigm was just trying to put the round into the rectangle (and vice versa). For a web-based base framework maybe WCF is not the right choice.
And it turned out that there is a very good framework that can deal with the web and HTTP in a fantastic way. So, the decision to build a .NET web API framework on ASP.NET (and ASP.NET MVC, to be more precise) was somehow natural.
I personally had one very strong wish - something I have learned in the past years is invaluable for a lot of our customers... self-hosting! So, the advisors pushed hard to get self-hosting, and here it is: we can perfectly build our own host processes and host the exact same Web API implementation either there or in IIS/ASP.NET.

Today, I am quite happy with what happened. The only issue I still have is the name: I would definitely have not called it ASP.NET Web API, but rather .NET Web API. If you are working in my geographical area then you may understand why.

Anyway... talking a bit about application architecture (.NET server-side):
I would build a WCF service and an ASP.NET Web API (at least with the RPC-ish approach) as a facade only - the actual logic (business logic or data/resource access) is hidden beyond that facade. With this simple pattern it is no problem to have both WCF SOAP services and ASP.NET Web APIs sitting right next to each other happily ever after. I am doing it all the time. And you are then actually in the power to leverage the full power of each framework - get the most out of SOAP/XSD/WSDL/WS-* and the best out of web APIs/REST/whatever.

Fact is, I am using Web APIs quite a lot these days as we are building cloud-based systems in an increasing number and also cross-device mobile apps.

My 2 services cents.
Flame away.


Slides von der BASTA! Spring 2012

Vielen Dank an alle, die in meine Sessions (inklusive der Keynote) und die Sessions der anderen thinktecture-Experten gekommen sind – war mal wieder eine prima BASTA!

Bis zum nächsten Mal!


Your own lightweight & robust STS in Windows Azure? Here we are: Welcome, thinktecture IdentityServer 1.01

Dominick has pushed the release button for thinktecture IdSrv 1.01 – including support for Windows Azure.


[Note: The Windows Azure version has advanced backend support]



You bet: there will be no distributed application without security - and the "new security" is claims-based identity: Learn it from the master of claims, WIF and ACS

thinktecture’s security expert Dominick Baier spends numerous hours every month answering questions about WIF and identity in general. Recently he put together a two day training course about WIF that covers everything he thinks is important.

The course includes extensive lab material where you take standard application and apply all kinds of claims and federation techniques and technologies like WS-Federation, WS-Trust, session management, delegation, home realm discovery, multiple identity providers, Access Control Service, REST, SWT and OAuth. The lab also includes the latest version of the thinktecture IdentityServer and you will learn how to use and customize it.

If you are looking for an open enrollment style of training, have a look here or here.
Or contact Dominick directly.


The course outline:

Day 1
Intro to Claims-based Identity & the Windows Identity Foundation
WIF introduces important concepts like conversion of security tokens and credentials to claims, claims transformation and claims-based authorization. In this module you will learn the basics of the WIF programming model and how WIF integrates into existing .NET code.

Externalizing Authentication for Web Applications
WIF includes support for the WS-Federation protocol. This protocol allows separating business and authentication logic into separate (distributed) applications. The authentication part is called identity provider or in more general terms - a security token service. This module looks at this scenario both from an application and identity provider point of view and walks you through the necessary concepts to centralize application login logic both using a standard product like Active Directory Federation Services as well as a custom token service using WIF’s API support.

Externalizing Authentication for SOAP Services
One big benefit of WIF is that it unifies the security programming model for ASP.NET and WCF. In the spirit of the preceding modules, we will have a look at how WIF integrates into the (SOAP) web service world. You will learn how to separate authentication into a separate service using the WS-Trust protocol and how WIF can simplify the WCF security model and extensibility API.

Day 2
Advanced Topics:  Security Token Service Architecture, Delegation and Federation
The preceding modules covered the 80/20 cases of WIF in combination with ASP.NET and WCF. In many scenarios this is just the tip of the iceberg. Especially when two business partners decide to federate, you usually have to deal with multiple token services and their implications in application design. Identity delegation is a feature that allows transporting the client identity over a chain of service invocations to make authorization decisions over multiple hops. In addition you will learn about the principal architecture of a STS, how to customize the one that comes with this training course, as well as how to build your own.

Outsourcing Authentication:  Windows Azure & the Azure AppFabric Access Control Service
Microsoft provides a multi-tenant security token service as part of the Azure platform cloud offering. This is an interesting product because it allows to outsource vital infrastructure services to a managed environment that guarantees uptime and scalability. Another advantage of the Access Control Service is, that it allows easy integration of both the “enterprise” protocols like WS-* as well as “web identities” like LiveID, Google or Facebook into your applications. ACS acts as a protocol bridge in this case where the application developer doesn’t need to implement all these protocols, but simply uses a service to make it happen.

Claims & Federation for the Web and Mobile World
Also the web & mobile world moves to a token and claims-based model. While the mechanics are almost identical, other protocols and token types are used to achieve better HTTP (REST) and JavaScript integration for in-browser applications and small footprint devices. Also patterns like how to allow third party applications to work with your data without having to disclose your credentials are important concepts in these application types. The nice thing about WIF and its powerful base APIs and abstractions is that it can shield application logic from these details while you can focus on implementing the actual application.