Authenticate to microsoft graph with python

When working with Microsoft Graph, it is essential to authenticate your Python application to access the required resources. In this article, we will explore three different ways to authenticate to Microsoft Graph using Python.

Option 1: Client Credentials Flow

The Client Credentials Flow is suitable for scenarios where your Python application needs to access resources without user involvement. This flow allows your application to authenticate and obtain an access token using its own credentials.


import requests
import json

# Define the required parameters
tenant_id = 'YOUR_TENANT_ID'
client_id = 'YOUR_CLIENT_ID'
client_secret = 'YOUR_CLIENT_SECRET'
resource = 'https://graph.microsoft.com'

# Construct the token endpoint URL
token_url = f'https://login.microsoftonline.com/{tenant_id}/oauth2/token'

# Define the payload
payload = {
    'grant_type': 'client_credentials',
    'client_id': client_id,
    'client_secret': client_secret,
    'resource': resource
}

# Send the POST request to obtain the access token
response = requests.post(token_url, data=payload)

# Extract the access token from the response
access_token = json.loads(response.text)['access_token']

# Use the access token to make requests to Microsoft Graph
# ...

This approach is suitable for server-side applications or scripts that require access to Microsoft Graph resources without user interaction. However, it does not support scenarios where user-specific permissions are required.

Option 2: Authorization Code Flow

The Authorization Code Flow is suitable for scenarios where your Python application needs to access resources on behalf of a user. This flow involves user authentication and consent, and it provides a refresh token for long-term access.


from msal import ConfidentialClientApplication

# Define the required parameters
client_id = 'YOUR_CLIENT_ID'
client_secret = 'YOUR_CLIENT_SECRET'
authority = 'https://login.microsoftonline.com/YOUR_TENANT_ID'
scope = ['User.Read', 'Mail.Read']

# Create a Confidential Client Application instance
app = ConfidentialClientApplication(
    client_id=client_id,
    client_credential=client_secret,
    authority=authority
)

# Get the authorization request URL
auth_url = app.get_authorization_request_url(
    scopes=scope,
    redirect_uri='http://localhost:8000/authorize'
)

# Redirect the user to the auth_url and obtain the authorization code

# Exchange the authorization code for an access token and refresh token
result = app.acquire_token_by_authorization_code(
    code='AUTHORIZATION_CODE',
    scopes=scope,
    redirect_uri='http://localhost:8000/authorize'
)

# Use the access token to make requests to Microsoft Graph
access_token = result['access_token']
# ...

This approach is suitable for web applications or scenarios where user interaction is required to authenticate and authorize the application to access Microsoft Graph resources.

Option 3: Device Code Flow

The Device Code Flow is suitable for scenarios where your Python application runs on a device with limited input capabilities, such as a smart TV or IoT device. This flow involves displaying a code to the user and instructing them to enter it on a different device.


from msal import PublicClientApplication

# Define the required parameters
client_id = 'YOUR_CLIENT_ID'
authority = 'https://login.microsoftonline.com/YOUR_TENANT_ID'
scope = ['User.Read', 'Mail.Read']

# Create a Public Client Application instance
app = PublicClientApplication(client_id=client_id, authority=authority)

# Get the device code and user code URL
device_code = app.initiate_device_flow(scopes=scope)

# Display the user code and instruct the user to enter it on a different device

# Wait for the user to enter the code on a different device
result = app.acquire_token_by_device_flow(device_code)

# Use the access token to make requests to Microsoft Graph
access_token = result['access_token']
# ...

This approach is suitable for scenarios where user interaction is limited, and the Python application cannot directly handle user authentication and consent.

After exploring these three options, the best choice depends on the specific requirements of your Python application. If your application needs to access resources without user involvement, the Client Credentials Flow is a suitable choice. For scenarios where user interaction is required, the Authorization Code Flow or Device Code Flow can be used accordingly.

Choose the authentication flow that aligns with your application’s needs and provides the necessary level of security and user experience.

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7 Responses

    1. Option 3 may be exciting, but lets not forget the potential risks and challenges it poses. Sometimes, a straightforward approach (like option 1) can save us from unnecessary troubles. Its always wise to weigh the pros and cons before diving into any adventure. Stay safe, my friend!

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