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SAML 2 with django-allauth

Django-allauth got SAMLv2 support last August. It has been and continues to be an exceptionally complete package for all authentication-related things. SAML in 2024? Sure, it is OAuth or something more modern you would usually want, but as we all know, we only sometimes have that choice. In this post, I will explore how to integrate customer users into a SaaS product using SAML.

The official documentation covers the installation part. It also has an example of configuring it in the settings file. Alternatively, the settings can be stored in the DB.

Often, SAML is used to integrate all users (and roles) from specific organizations. So, if a customer, say, Acme, wants to start using our SaaS product, all their user information often uses the same integration. In this case, Acme wants to use SAML.

Let's slap the configuration to the DB. Here is a screenshot of an example config, viewed through the Django admin. Their identity provider could be anything, and I have filled in the settings with dummy values.

The relevant part is the client_id, the slug in your Django applications allauth SAML URLs. So, all Acme signings are forwarded to their bespoke endpoint to initiate the authentication flow. With default settings, users are redirected to the following URL to complete the SAML authentication flow.

https://yourdjango.com/accounts/saml/acme/login/

Adding Acme's competitor, Initech, would be just a new model instance with a distinct client_id.

Acme also wishes to map their organization user roles to roles provided by your system. That can be done, for example, by creating an adapter that maps the integration's role attributes to the app's attributes.

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