Spring Boot login with a form

Previously I wrote about securing your application with social login. But not everybody has a social account. In this article we’re going to add formlogin to the application. Formlogin simply means that your users can log in with a username and password. We’re going to keep it as simple as possible, with in-memory authentication.

Adding users

Since we’re going to use usernames and passwords to allow users to login, we need to define a password encoder. Spring will not compare the literal password that it receives, but encodes it and then compare the encoded passwords. When the passwords are stored in the database, you don’t want to see them as plain text.

public BCryptPasswordEncoder passwordEncoder() {
	return new BCryptPasswordEncoder();

The next step is to add the users. We’re going to use inMemoryAuthentication with a single user, to keep it as simple as possible.

public class WebsiteApplication extends WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter {

	// some more code

	protected void configure(final AuthenticationManagerBuilder auth) throws Exception {

Note that we’re using the passwordEncoder defined in the previous step to encode the password here. Also, we need to define a role, even though we’re not using it yet.

Allow formlogin

Now we need to tell Spring Security to allow the use of our login form.

public class WebsiteApplication extends WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter {

	protected void configure(HttpSecurity http) throws Exception {
		SimpleUrlAuthenticationFailureHandler handler = new SimpleUrlAuthenticationFailureHandler("/");
		// @formatter:off
					a -> a
				.antMatchers("/error", "/webjars/**","/oauth/**","/login").permitAll()
			.formLogin(f -> f
			// some more code
		// @formatter:on
	// some more code

Add login form

Now that we have enabled the formlogin in the backend, it’s time to add a login form in the frontend.

<form name='loginForm' th:action="@{/login}" method='POST'>
			<td><input type='text' name='username' value=''></td>
			<td><input type='password' name='password' /></td>
            <td><input name="submit" type="submit" value="submit" /></td>

Webcontroller changes

There were two methods that use the authentication information. The first, index(), doesn’t need to change at all. Sure, we get a different Authentication implementation, but it still works unaltered.

@RequestMapping(value = {"/","/index"})
public String index(@CurrentSecurityContext(expression = "authentication") Authentication authentication) {
	if (authentication.isAuthenticated()) {
		return "redirect:/welcome";
	return "redirect:/login";

The second method, where we try to find the username of the authenticated user does change. Here we drop the @CurrentSecurityContext annotation, and request the Principal directly. However, based on the method of authentication, we need to do something else to get the username. If the user used the login form, we can get the username directly from the principal. When the user authenticated using OAuth2, we need to dig a little deeper.

@RequestMapping(value = "/welcome")
public String welcome(Principal principal, Model model) {
	if (principal instanceof UsernamePasswordAuthenticationToken) {
		model.addAttribute("name", principal.getName());
	} else if (principal instanceof OAuth2AuthenticationToken){
		model.addAttribute("name", ((OAuth2AuthenticationToken) principal).getPrincipal().getAttribute("name"));
	return "welcome";


Adding a login form to a Spring Boot application is easy. We’ve hardcoded a user with in memory authentication. Since we’re going to use a password, we need to have a password encoder. We’ve configured Spring Security to allow the user to login using a form. Then we’ve actually added a basic HTML login form, and as a last step we’ve modified the backend to work with a different type of principal.

Spring Boot and Oauth2 with Thymeleaf

Spring has a good tutorial explaining how to authenticate with your application using one or more external authentication providers, like GitHub or Google. This tutorial uses a single page application with a Rest endpoint. For a personal project I didn’t want a single page application, I wanted to use Thymeleaf. During implementation I discovered a few things that I’d like to share. This post continues where the tutorial stopped, so you might want to read the tutorial first.

Configure custom OAuth2UserService

When the user has authenticated using an external service, you probably want to do something with that information. Most commonly you’d want to find the user in your own database. You need to have a hook where you can get access to the authenticated user details. To do this, you can create your own OAuth2UserService bean which will be executed when the user has been authenticated. The bean itself can be quite basic, the following example only returns the authenticated user:

	public OAuth2UserService<OAuth2UserRequest, OAuth2User> oauth2UserService() {
		DefaultOAuth2UserService delegate = new DefaultOAuth2UserService();
		return request -> {
			OAuth2User user = delegate.loadUser(request);

            // custom code

			return user;

Now we need to tell our application when to call this bean. In the configure(HttpSecurity http) method, we’re going to add the following fragment:

			.oauth2Login(o -> o.failureHandler((request, response, exception) -> {
						request.getSession().setAttribute("error.message", exception.getMessage());
						handler.onAuthenticationFailure(request, response, exception);

Now we’ve specifically told Spring Security to use our own OAuth2UserService.

Authenticating with Google

Using our own custom OAuth2UserService, I discovered that authenticating with Google didn’t work. Or rather, the custom OAuth2UserService wasn’t executed while it was executed when using GitHub or Facebook. It turned out that when you don’t specify which scope you’re interested in, Google returned all scopes. Included in the list was “openid”, which is specifically filtered out by Spring Security. So, if you want to use your own OAuth2UserService with Google, you need to configure it with the scopes you need. Like this:

            clientId: google-client-ID
            clientSecret: google-client-secret
              - email
              - profile


To obtain the authenticated user principal, the tutorial uses the annotation @AuthenticationPrincipal, like this:

    public Map<String, Object> user(@AuthenticationPrincipal OAuth2User principal) {
        return Collections.singletonMap("name", principal.getAttribute("name"));

Usually you’re only interested in the user. However, if you need more information, you can use @SecurityContext. This article provides more information.
Here are two examples of how to use @CurrentSecurityContext with Thymeleaf:

    @RequestMapping(value = {"/","/index"})
    public String index(@CurrentSecurityContext(expression = "authentication") Authentication authentication) {
        if (authentication.isAuthenticated()) {
            return "redirect:/welcome";
        return "redirect:/login";
    @RequestMapping(value = "/welcome")
    public String welcome(@CurrentSecurityContext(expression = "authentication.principal") OAuth2User user, Model model) {
            model.addAttribute("name", user.getAttribute("name"));
            return "welcome";

Custom Access Denied Page

The Spring Boot tutorial throws an unauthorized exception when the user tries to access a resource that he’s not allowed to. I wanted the website to redirect to the login page, assuming the user wasn’t authenticated. Or, if he was, then he should be redirected to the welcome page. We can configure this in the configure(HttpSecurity http) method:

			.exceptionHandling(e -> e

This redirection ends up in the index() method of the previous section. Let’s look at that method again:

    @RequestMapping(value = {"/","/index"})
    public String index(@CurrentSecurityContext(expression = "authentication") Authentication authentication) {
        if (authentication.isAuthenticated()) {
            return "redirect:/welcome";
        return "redirect:/login";

When the user is authenticated, the user is redirected to the welcome page. Otherwise, the user is redirected to the login page.


While the Spring tutorial is quite good, there’s a lot more to OAuth2 authentication than it covers. This article covers some subjects that were beyond the scope of Spring’s tutorial. We’ve seen how to add your own processing of the authenticated user. Next we discussed some quirks when authenticating with Google. Then we’ve seen an alternative and more flexible way to get access to the user details. And last we redirected the access denied page to either the login page or the welcome page, using Thymeleaf.

Apache HttpClient

For a hackaton I wanted to read some files from our BitBucket server. I knew the URLs of the files, but there were some complications. First, you need to be authenticated. According to the documentation, the preferred way of authentication is HTTP Basic Authentication when authenticating over SSL. We are using an SSL connection, but with self-signed certificates.

When working with SSL, Java uses keystores and truststores. The difference between the two is that keystores store private keys, which are used by the server side, and truststores contain public keys, which are used by the client side. We have our own custom truststore, and we can tell the JVM to use that one by passing the following parameters:

-Djavax.net.ssl.trustStore=/truststore/location -Djavax.net.ssl.trustStorePassword=password

This works when you only want to access sites using your custom truststore. As soon as you want to make a connection to public sites, this fails. By default you can only use one truststore at a time. If you want more, you have create some custom code.

Or you can use the Apache HttpClient.

HTTP Basic Authentication

There are a couple of ways to use Basic Authentication. For BitBucket we need to use Preemptive Basic Authentication, which means we need to configure a HttpClientContext.
The first thing we need to do is to setup the CredentialsProvider. This doesn’t need much explanation.

        // Configure CredentialsProvider
        final CredentialsProvider provider = new BasicCredentialsProvider();
        final UsernamePasswordCredentials credentials
                = new UsernamePasswordCredentials("username", "password");
        provider.setCredentials(AuthScope.ANY, credentials);

Next we need to configure an AuthCache. We’re going to cache the authentication for a specific host.

        // configure AuthCache
        final HttpHost targetHost = new HttpHost("host", PORT, "https");
        final AuthCache authCache = new BasicAuthCache();
        authCache.put(targetHost, new BasicScheme());

Last, we use the previous steps to configure our HttpClientContext

        // configure HttpClientContext
        final HttpClientContext context = HttpClientContext.create();

HttpClient with custom SSL context

Now it’s time to configure our HttpClient. We’re going to load our truststore specifically for this client. This means that other clients and connections will still use the default Java truststore.

        SSLContext sslContext = new SSLContextBuilder()
                        new File(configuration.getTruststoreLocation()),

        SSLConnectionSocketFactory sslSocketFactory = 
                new SSLConnectionSocketFactory(sslContext);
        return HttpClientBuilder.create()

Using the HttpClient to execute the request

Now that we have configured both the HttpClient and its context, executing a request also becomes easy. Note that we need to pass the context to the execute method.

        final HttpGet request = new HttpGet(link);
        HttpResponse response = httpClient.execute(request, context);
        InputStream connectionDataStream = response.getEntity().getContent();