Working with Microsoft Identity - Registering an Application

3 minute read

Securing our applications and data is critical in this day and age. I’ve been working a lot with the new Microsoft identity platform (MSAL) library, so I decided to create a series of blog posts around working with it.

I’ve been following the pattern of creating a dedicated test application to validate that everything works locally. By Application, I don’t mean an executable or javascript application, I mean registering an application with the Microsoft Identity Platform.

There are two ways in which you to do this, the Azure Command Line Interface (CLI) or the Azure Portal. I’ll demonstrate both.

Azure CLI

If you don’t have the CLI installed and prefer the command-line, check out the installation instructions.

To register your application with Azure using the Azure CLI, open up Terminal, Bash, Command Prompt, ITerm, or whatever your preferred command prompt is.

First, you need to log in with the command line.

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az login

Once logged in, the next step would be to create the Azure Active Directory service principal. Creating the service principal registers the application. You can use the ad sp command, which stands for ‘Active Directory’ ‘Service Principal’. We are going to use create-for-rbac sub-command. Documentation

The command looks similar to this.

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az ad sp create-for-rbac `
  --name "<name>" `
  --role "<role>" `
  --scopes /subscriptions/<scope-subscription>/resourceGroups/<scope-resource-group>/providers/Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts/<scope-resource-storage>

NOTE This should be entered in one line, or use the backtick

Replace the following ‘tokens’ with your actual values

Name Description
name The name for the application
role The Azure Active Directory role you want to assign to this application
scope-subscription The subscription id of you Azure subscription
scope-resource-group The resource group that the storage container belongs to
scope-resource-storage The Azure Storage container you want to grant access to

Since the name and role can contain spaces, you should wrap them in double quotes (“).

Assuming you have the authorization and syntax-correct, the call will return a JSON file that looks like this:

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{
  "appId": "6c04f5c5-97f7-486d-bbb2-eeeeeeeeee",
  "displayName": "My Test Application - Local Development",
  "name": "http://MyTestApplication.LocalDevelopment",
  "password": "QPxyBvw3.UE8Bw6AJAt63pWx~BB40deded",
  "tenant": "bee716cf-fa94-4610-b72e-5df4bf5a9999"
}

Note I’ve changed the values here from the values I received.

At this point, you’ll want to save values of the appId, password, and tenant. Once you close your terminal you will now be able to retrieve the password again.

You can find more about this approach on Azure Documentation site

Azure Portal

If you are like me, you like to do most of the work in the portal, although I find myself using the command line more. Let’s take a look registering your application with the portal.

Register the Application

Start with signing into the portal and navigate to your Azure Active Directory. Look for the ‘App Registrations’ blade in the menu on the left and click on it.

Click on ‘+ New registration’

Register new Application

Name Value Description
Name my application The name you want to identify with this application
Supported account types Accounts in any organization... Chose the type that fits your needs
Redirect URI (Optional)   This is required if you are going to be using the application to sign in. I’m leaving this blank for this application
  • Click ‘Register’

You will be presented with the information around the application. Copy down the ‘Application (client) ID’ and the ‘Directory (tenant) ID’ for use later.

New Application

  • Find the ‘Certificates & secrets’ link on the menu on the left and click it.
  • Click ‘+ New client secret’
  • Add a description. The Azure CLI names it rbac but I don’t think the name matters.
  • Chose an expires in option.
  • Copy the value.

NOTE This is your only opportunity to copy it. If you don’t, you will need to recreate it.

Next Steps

The next step would be to configure your workstation to use the credentials of the newly registered application.