OAuth 2.0 flow


This page assumes that you already have an Identity Provider (IdP), such as Google, Azure AD or Okta, which handles the authentication process and returns an access token.

Learn how you can let users authenticate from your Docker Extension using OAuth 2.0 via a web browser, and return them back to your Docker Extension.

In OAuth 2.0, the term “grant type” refers to the way an application gets an access token. Although OAuth 2.0 defines several grant types, this page only describes how to authorize users from your Docker Extension using the Authorization Code grant type.

Authorization Code grant flow

The Authorization Code grant type is used by confidential and public clients to exchange an authorization code for an access token.

After the user returns to the client via the redirect URL, the application gets the authorization code from the URL and uses it to request an access token.


The image above shows that:

  • The Docker Extension asks the user to authorize access to their data.
  • If the user grants access, the Docker Extension then requests an access token from the service provider, passing the access grant from the user and authentication details to identify the client.
  • The service provider then validates these details and returns an access token.
  • The Docker Extension uses the access token to request the user data with the service provider.

OAuth 2.0 terminology

  • Auth URL: The endpoint for the API provider authorization server, to retrieve the auth code.
  • Redirect URI: The client application callback URL to redirect to after auth. This must be registered with the API provider.

Once the user enters the username and password, they are successfully authenticated.

Step One: Open a browser page to authenticate the user

From the extension UI, you can provide a button that, when selected, opens a new window in a browser to authenticate the user.

Use the ddClient.host.openExternal API to open a browser to the auth URL. For example:


Step Two: Get the authorization code and access token

From the extension UI

Passing the access token

Currently, passing the authorization code as a query parameter to the docker-desktop://dashboard/open URL is not supported.

You cannot get the authorization code from the extension UI by listing docker-desktop://dashboard/open as the redirect_uri in the OAuth app you’re using and concatenating the authorization code as a query parameter.

See from backend service instead.

From a backend service

You need a backend service running as part of your extension to handle the OAuth 2.0 flow. For this, you must ensure the Redirect URI is registered with the API provider to redirect to that location after OAuth has completed, e.g. http://localhost:8080/callback.

The default communication is socket-based. The backend service needs to expose the port in order for the browser to connect to it.


This step is where the user enters their credentials in the browser. After the authorization is complete, the user is redirected back to your backend service, and you’ll consume the authorization code that is part of the query parameters in the URL.

How you consume the query parameters depends on the technology that is used by the backend service.

Exchange the Authorization Code

Next, you exchange the authorization code for an access token.

The backend service must build a POST request to the token endpoint with the following parameters:

POST https://authorization-server.com/token



The client’s credentials are included in the POST body in this example. Other authorization servers may require that the credentials are sent as a HTTP Basic Authentication header.

Token Endpoint Response

Finally, you can read the access token from the HTTP response and pass it to the extension UI by having the browser after OAuth be redirected to the backend service. The backend service, in turn, has to explicitly redirect the browser to docker-desktop://dashboard/open.

Step three: Store the access token

The Docker Extensions SDK does not currently provide a mechanism to safely store secrets.

It is highly recommended that you use an external source of storage to store the access token.


Storing the access token in a client’s localStorage is a security risk as that storage is currently shared amongst all extensions.

What’s next

Learn how to publish and distribute your extension