Using OAuth

With the Django OAuth Toolkit, Ion supports accessing API and other resources via OAuth2. This allows for applications to be written using the Ion API without the need to prompt for user credentials from within the application. Instead, access tokens are used to gain access to Ion API resources.

For more details on OAuth, please refer to

Note: All of the examples on the page are targeted towards web applications. They will not work for the purposes of, for example, allowing a program running on your computer to access the Ion API.

Register an application

Go to and log in to create and register a client application. Specify the following values in the form, as prompted:

  • Some descriptive name for your application.

Client Type*
  • Choose “Confidential” if your app has a backend component and your server can store the client ID and secret securely

  • Choose “Public” if your app is purely client-side and a copy of the credentials will be distributed publicly

Authorization Grant Type*
  • Choose “Authorization code” if your client type is “Confidential”

  • Choose “Implicit” if your client type is “Public” (for example, on a native application)

Redirect URIs
  • Enter one or more URLs that your application will redirect back to after the authorization is completed.

Store the Client ID and Client Secret tokens for use with your application.

Requesting authorization

Inside your application, redirect to the OAuth authorization endpoint to receive an authorization code. The URL is

To access the API, exchange this code for a (temporary) access token. The URL is


If you want to use python-social-auth, a plugin is available in the ion_oauth package. Note that it is not currently actively maintained by the Ion development team and thus may require modification to work properly.

For a Django project, add AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS = ['ion_oauth.oauth.IonOauth2'] and define SOCIAL_AUTH_ION_KEY and SOCIAL_AUTH_ION_SECRET in your file.

For additional guidance, refer to the official documentation, using Ion as the OAuth backend.


For a Python client, use requests with requests-oauthlib.

If running locally (without HTTPS), override the SSL requirement for OAuth2.

>>> import os
>>> os.environ['OAUTHLIB_INSECURE_TRANSPORT'] = '1'

Create an OAuth2Session, with the CLIENT_ID and REDIRECT_URI you entered in the application form. Redirect the user to authorization_url.

>>> from requests_oauthlib import OAuth2Session
>>> oauth = OAuth2Session(CLIENT_ID,
>>>                       redirect_uri=REDIRECT_URI,
>>>                       scope=["read","write"])
>>> authorization_url, state = oauth.authorization_url("")

The user authenticates, approves the request, and is redirected to the callback URL specified in redirect_uri, with a “code” GET parameter.

>>> token = oauth.fetch_token("",
>>>                           code=CODE,
>>>                           client_secret=CLIENT_SECRET)
>>> print(token)
{'refresh_token': 'XXX', 'access_token': 'XXX', 'expires_in': 36000, 'expires_at': 1455370143.573362, 'scope': ['read', 'write'], 'token_type': 'Bearer'}

At this point, a valid access token has been gained, and you can request API resources.

    profile = oauth.get("")
except TokenExpiredError as e:
    args = { "client_id": CLIENT_ID, "client_secret": CLIENT_SECRET }
    token = oauth.refresh_token("", **args)

import json
{ 'ion_username': '2016jwoglom', ... }

After 36,000 seconds (1 hour), the token will expire; you need to renew it. This can be handled by putting API commands inside a try-except for a oauthlib.oauth2.TokenExpiredError, such as seen above. Alternatively, you can provide “auto_refresh_url=refresh_url, auto_refresh_kwargs=args” as additional arguments to OAuth2Session when it is created.

args = { "client_id": CLIENT_ID, "client_secret": CLIENT_SECRET }
token = oauth.refresh_token("", **args)


You can use the simple-oauth2 library to perform authentication. Below is some sample code.

Note: This code will not work out of the box. Read the comments carefully to determine how to integrate it into your application.

var simpleoauth2 = require("simple-oauth2");

// make sure these variables are set
var ion_client_id = process.env.ION_CLIENT_ID;
var ion_client_secret = process.env.ION_CLIENT_SECRET;
var ion_redirect_uri = process.env.ION_REDIRECT_URI;

var oauth = simpleoauth2.create({
    client: {
        id: ion_client_id,
        secret: ion_client_secret
    auth: {
        tokenHost:     '',
        authorizePath: '',
        tokenPath:     ''

// 1) when the user visits the site, redirect them to login_url to begin authentication
var login_url = oauth.authorizationCode.authorizeURL({
    scope: "read", // remove scope: read if you also want write access
    redirect_uri: ion_redirect_uri

// 2) on the ion_redirect_uri endpoint, add the following code to process the authentication
var code = req.query["code"]; // GET parameter
oauth.authorizationCode.getToken({code: code, redirect_uri: ion_redirect_uri}).then((result) => {
    const token = oauth.accessToken.create(result);

    // you will want to save these variables in your session if you want to make API requests
    var refresh_token = token.token.refresh_token;
    var access_token = token.token.access_token;
    var expires_in = token.token.expires_in;

    // log the user in

// 3) when making an API request, add the following header:
// Authorization: Bearer {{ INSERT ACCESS TOKEN }}

// 4) to refresh the access_token, use the following code
var token = oauth.accessToken.create({
    "access_token": access_token,
    "refresh_token": refresh_token,
    "expires_in": expires_in

if (token.expired()) {
    token.refresh((err, result) => {
        token = result;
        // the new access token
        var access_token = token.token.access_token;