sfPHPOpenIdPlugin - 1.0.0

Symfony openID plugin using PHP OpenID library.

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sfPHPOpenIDPlugin symfony plugin


sfPHPOpenIDPlugin is a Symfony plugin which can be used by Symfony applications to authenticate users using OpenID system. With this plugin Symfony applications become OpenID consumer (or relying party). It uses the PHP OpenID library (http://openidenabled.com/php-openid) which brings support for OpenID 1.0 and 2.0 specifications with Simple Registration, Attribute Exchange and PAPE extensions.

Based on sfPHPOpenIDExtPlugin v1.0.1.


v.1.0 (April 2009)

First release


For the full copyright and license information, please view the LICENSE file that was distributed with this source code.


  • Install the plugin

From Symfony official channel:

php symfony plugin:install  sfPHPOpenIdPlugin

or from a downloaded archive:

php symfony plugin:install /home/path/to/downloads/sfPHPOpenIdPlugin-1.0.0.tgz
  • Enable the sfPHPOpenIDAuth module (in yourApp/config/settings.yml)

  • You must tell to the plugin where is the lib. So edit the file /yourProject/apps/yourApp/config/app.yml and add the following lines: all:


    lib_path: %SF_ROOT_DIR%/lib/php-openid

Don't forget to adapt the last line to your installation.

Using the plugin

The plugin define a special action class (BasesfPHPOpenIDAuthActions) that handles all the OpenID authentification steps. To use the plugin, you have to create a new module (let's call it authModule) in your app (yourApp). The action class of this module should inherit from the plugin class (BasesfPHPOpenIDAuthActions): edit authModule/actions/actions.class.php so that it looks like in the following lines:

class mainActions extends BasesfPHPOpenIDAuthActions {
    // Some code

The next steps will focus on modifying this action class.

  • Routing

The plugin uses a few predefined routes to redirect the user during the authentication procedure. Your app must define these routes in yourApp/config/routing.yml. This is the list of needed routes: openid_signin, openid_autosignin, openid_finishauth and openid_error. Your routing file should look like this:

  url: /authModule/signin
  param: { module: authModule, action: signin }
  url: /authModule/autoSignin
  param: { module: authModule, action: autoSignin }
  url: /authModule/finish
  param: { module: authModule, action: finish }
  url: /authModule/openidError
  param: { module: authModule, action: openidError }

As you can see, these routes are binded to actions of authModule. So let's talk a bit about these actions.

  • Actions

As said earlier, authModule's action class inherit from the class BasesfPHPOpenIDAuthActions. This base class already define three needed actions: executeSignin(), executeAutoSignin() and executeFinish(). Most of the time you won't have to override these methods unless you have specific needs. The action openidError is not defined in BasesfPHPOpenIDAuthActions, so you have to write it. This action will be called by the plugin when an error occurs while authenticating a user (wrong password, user cancelling). Here's an example of code you can write in this action:

public function executeOpenidError() {
  $this->error = $this->getRequest() ->getErrors();

You'll probably want to create a template for this action (openidErrorSuccess) to display the error message. Now that we're sure these actions are defined, we have to override another method: openIDCallback. These method is called when a user is successfully authenticated. This is the perfect place to do any action needed by your app (setting cookies, displaying welcome message). You have two choices for this action: you can forward or redirect to another action (go to the homepage for example). The other option is to let it return without any redirection. If you do so, you'll have to create a finishSuccess.php template in your authModule (because openIDCallback is in fact called by executeFinish action). Here's an example of openIDCallback code:

public function openIDCallback($openid_validation_result)
  $back = '@homepage';

As you can see, the method is given an attribute ($openid_validation_result) containing information about the authenticated user. Its content is:

'result' => 'result code',
'message' => 'an optional message',
'identity' => 'the user's identity (http://misterx.myopenid.com)',
'userData' => 'array of user fields values ('fullname' => array('the fullname', 'another fullname'), 'email' => array('the email'), ...)'}
'PAPEResp' => 'a Auth_OpenID_PAPE_Response object (null if the provider didn't send a PAPE response)'
  • User interaction

Now that we have defined the routing and actions, we must focus on the way to use it in our app. The classical workflow when using OpenID is to ask the user to fill a form with his OpenID (http://misterx.myopenidprovider.com for example). The user then submit the form. It gets redirect to his provider, tries to authenticate and gets back to the application. For the first step, just create a form wherever in your application. The form must have an input field with name 'openid_url' and it must submit the data to the '@openid_signin' route. Here's an example of code you can write in a template (or layout, component, ...):

echo form_tag('@openid_signin');

<h4>Sign in using <?php echo link_to('OpenID', 'http://openid.net/get/'); ?></h4>

  // Display errors
  echo form_error('openid_url');
<?php echo input_tag('openid_url', 'http://') ?>

<?php echo submit_tag('Login') ?>

As you can see, a validation step is attached to this form. The plugin comes with an openID validator (sfPHPOpenIdValidator) to check openid urls. To use it, add the following code to authModule/validate/signin.yml:

      msg:          Your OpenID URL is missing.
      url_error:    Your OpenID is incorrect.

  enabled: true  # Enable the form repopulation
    check_types:   [text, checkbox, radio, select, hidden] # Do repopulate these
    content_type:  xhtml  # html is the tolerant default. Other option is xml and xhtml (same as xml but without xml prolog)

Once this is done, you have completed the first step of the OpenID workflow. The signin plugin's action will be called with a well formed url and will redirect the user to his provider (if it is valid) or to openid_error route (defined earlier in this document). The next step is when the provider gets the user back to our application after user authentication (successful or not). The action invoked in this step is openid_finishauth, which is already defined in the plugin. In case of success, it calls your openIDCallback method to let you do your app specific treatments. On failure, it redirects to openid_error route.

Other related features

  • Redirection after successful signin

After a successful OpenID authentication, the user gets automatically redirected to the openid_finishauth route. However, you might want after this step to bring back the user to the page he was viewing before the authentication procedure. A possible solution to this problem is the following. First, in authModule actions file, override executeSignin and executeAutoSignin so that they look like this:

public function executeSignin()
  $this->getUser()->setAttribute('openid_real_back_url', $this->getRequest()->getReferer());
    return parent::executeSignin();
public function executeAutoSignin() {
  $this->getUser()->setAttribute('openid_real_back_url', $this->getRequest()->getReferer());
    return parent::executeAutoSignin();

The previous page url will be store in user's session. The only thing to do after this is to modify your openIDCallback to redirect the user to this url:

  public function openIDCallback($openid_validation_result)
  // ...App specific code...
  $back = $this->getUser()->getAttribute('openid_real_back_url');
  if (empty($back))
    $back = '@homepage';
  • Automatic signin

For the moment we have only talked about authenticating for a single session. But the user might want to automatically signin with his OpenID every time he visits your application. To do this, we're going to use cookies and a special type of OpenID request. OpenID provides a way to ask a provider an instant response for a user authentication. Usually, a user can ask his OpenID provider to remember him and to always allow your application to access his profile. When asking an instant response, we send to the provider the OpenID of the user. The provider will then try to authenticate the user without any interaction from him. If it needs more info (like a password), it will not ask the user but simply get back to the application with a corresponding response code. This is how we can use this procedure in our application : upon a successful authentication, in your openIDCallback method, store the user's OpenID identity in a cookie: sfContext::getInstance()->getResponse()->setCookie('known_openid_identity',$openid_validation_result['identity']);

Now suppose the user goes away and come back a few days later. We found his identity in the 'known_openid_identity' cookie. So your application can use it and ask the provider to authenticate the user transparently. This check must be done on every page the user may visit. So we're going to use a filter to do this treatment. Add the following code to yourApp/lib/rememberFilter.class.php:

class rememberFilter extends sfFilter
  public function execute($filterChain)
    // Filters don't have direct access to the request and user objects.
    // You will need to use the context object to get them
    $request = $this->getContext()->getRequest();
    $user    = $this->getContext()->getUser();
    // Execute this filter only once
    if ($this->isFirstCall() && !$user->isAuthenticated() && ($user->getAttribute('openid_triedAutoLog') != 'yes'))
      $user->setAttribute('openid_triedAutoLog', 'yes'); // Don't come back here anymore for this session
      $cookie = $request->getCookie('known_openid_identity');
      if (!empty($cookie)) {
        $user->setAttribute('openid_url', $cookie);
        return $this->getContext()->getController()->forward('authModule', 'autoSignin');
    // Execute next filter

Notice that when we try to auto signin, we use the autoSignin action from authModule. This action is defined in the plugin and his only a slightly modified version of signin that avoid any interaction from the user. Now activate this filter by editing yourApp/config/filters.yml:

  class: rememberFilter
rendering: ~
security:  ~
# insert your own filters here
cache:     ~
common:    ~
execution: ~

We have to be sure that we don't try to automatically signin when not needed. So upon logout, we should delete the cookie (in your logout action):

$this->getResponse()->setCookie('known_openid_identity', '');

The same line should be added to your authModule's openidError action too: there is no need to retry endlessly to automatically signin when it has already failed.

  • OpenID parameters and extensions

The default behaviour of this plugin is to ask user's fullname and email with the Simple Registration (SREG) and Attribute Exchange (AX) specifications. However, you might want to get other user's data (date of birth, nickname, ...) using SREG or AX. You might also want to use PAPE extension to specify an authentication method. All of this can be done with this plugin. The only thing to do is to override a method in your authModule action class: setOpenIDRequestParameters(sfPHPOpenID $openid_object). In this method, you get a sfPHPOpenID object as parameter which can be used to change the OpenID request. To see what methods you can call on this object, simply look at the code in sfPHPOpenIDPlugin/lib/sfPHPOpenId.class.php. In the following example, we ask for another user data: his nickname.

protected function setOpenIDRequestParameters(sfPHPOpenID $openid_object) {