Simplifying Social Login For Your Web Applications


January 26th, 2020

34 mins 5 secs

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About this Episode


A standard feature in most modern web applications is the ability to log in or register using accounts that you already own on other sites such as Google, Facebook, or Twitter. Building your own integrations for each service can be complex and time consuming, distracting you from the features that you and your users actually care about. Fortunately the Python social auth library makes it easy to support third party authentication with a large and growing number of services with minimal effort. In this episode Matías Aguirre discusses his motivation for creating the library, how he has designed it to allow for flexibility and ease of use, and the benefits of delegating identity and authentication to third parties rather than managing passwords yourself.


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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Matías Aguirre about Python social auth and the complexities of third-party authentication


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • Can you start by describing what the Python social auth project is and your motivation for starting it?
  • Why might someone want to integrate with or rely on a third-party identity provider in their projects?
    • What are some of the tradeoffs or drawbacks of implementing
  • Can you describe the current architecture of the library and how it has evolved since you first began working on it?
  • There are a number of pre-built integrations with different web frameworks in the social auth github organization, but Django is the only one that has seen any commits recently. What are the contributing factors for that state of affairs?
  • There are a number of authentication protocols that you support. What are the common capabilities that they each support and what are some of the more challenging differences between them?
    • How have you implemented the interface for plugging different authentication mechanisms to allow for the variation between them while keeping the library code maintainable?
    • What is involved in adding support for a new authentication provider or protocol?
  • Many times authorization and authentication are conflated or used interchangeably. How does Python social auth address those concerns and what are the limitations of different mechanisms for defining permissions?
  • For someone who is using Python social auth, what is the workflow for integrating it with their application as a consumer?
  • What are some of the most interesting/unexpected/innovative ways that you have seen Python social auth used?
  • What are some of the most interesting/useful/unexpected lessons that you have learned in the process of building and maintaining Python social auth?
  • When is Python social auth more effort than it’s worth?
  • What do you have planned for the future of the project?

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA