Adding Transactions to the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project

Jul 20, 2022, 4:03 PM

Tags: jakartaee
  1. Updating The XPages JEE Support Project To Jakarta EE 9, A Travelogue
  2. JSP and MVC Support in the XPages JEE Project
  3. Migrating a Large XPages App to Jakarta EE 9
  4. XPages Jakarta EE Support 2.2.0
  5. DQL, QueryResultsProcessor, and JNoSQL
  6. Implementing a Basic JNoSQL Driver for Domino
  7. Video Series On The XPages Jakarta EE Project
  8. JSF in the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project
  9. So Why Jakarta?
  10. Adding Concurrency to the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project
  11. Adding Transactions to the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project

As my work of going down the list of JEE specs is hitting dwindling returns, I decided to give a shot to implementing the Jakarta Transactions spec.

Implementation Oddities

This one's a little spicy for a couple of reasons, one of which is that it's really a codified implementation of another spec, the X/Open XA standard, which is an old standard for transaction processing. As is often the case, "old" here also means "fiddly", but fortunately it's not too bad for this need.

Another reason is that, unlike with a lot of the specs I've implemented, all of the existing implementations seem a bit too heavyweight for me to adapt. I may look around again later: I could have missed one, and eventually GlassFish's implementation may spin off. In the mean time, I wrote a from-scratch implementation for the XPages JEE project: it doesn't cover everything in the spec, and in particular doesn't support suspend/resume for transactions, but it'll work for normal cases in an NSF.

The Spec In Use

Fortunately, while implementations are generally complex (as befits the problem space), the actual spec is delightfully simple for users. There are two main things for an app developer to know about: the jakarta.transaction.UserTransaction interface and the @jakarta.transaction.Transactional annotation. These can be used separately or combined to add transactional behavior. For example:

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@Transactional
public void createExampleDocAndPerson() {
	Person person = new Person();
	/* do some business logic */
	person = personRepository.save(person);
	
	ExampleDoc exampleDoc = new ExampleDoc();
	/* do some business logic */
	exampleDoc = repository.save(exampleDoc);
}

The @Transactional annotation here means that the intent is that everything in this method either completes or none of it does. If something to do with ExampleDoc fails, then the creation of the Person doc shouldn't take effect, even though code was already executed to create and save it.

You can also use UserTransaction directly:

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@Inject
private UserTransaction transaction;

public void createExampleDocAndPerson() throws Exception {
	transaction.begin();
	try {
		Person person = new Person();
		/* do some business logic */
		person = personRepository.save(person);
	
		ExampleDoc exampleDoc = new ExampleDoc();
		/* do some business logic */
		exampleDoc = repository.save(exampleDoc);

		transaction.commit();
	} catch(Exception e) {
		transaction.rollback();
	}
}

There's no realistic way to implement this in a general way, so the way the Transactions API takes shape is that specific resources - databases, namely - can opt in to transaction processing. While this won't necessarily save you from, say, sending out an errant email, it can make sure that related records are only ever updated together.

Domino Implementation

This support is fairly common among SQL databases and other established resources, and, fortunately for us, Domino's transaction support became official in 12.0.

So I modified the JNoSQL driver to hook into transactions when appropriate. When it's able to find an open transaction, it begins a native Domino transaction and then registers itself as a javax.transaction.xa.XAResource (a standard Java SE interface) to either commit or roll back that DB transaction as appropriate.

From what I can tell, Domino's transaction support is a bit limited compared to what the spec can do. Apparently, Domino's support is based around thread-specific stacks - while this has the nice attribute of supporting nested transactions, it doesn't look to support suspending transactions or propagating them across threads.

Fortunately, the normal case will likely not need those more-arcane capabilities. Considering that few if any Domino applications currently make use of transactions at all, this should be a significant boost.

Next Steps

As I mentioned above, I'll likely take another look around for svelte implementations of the spec, since I'd be more than happy to cast my partial implementation to the wayside. While my version seems to check out in practice, I'd much sooner rely on a proven implementation from elsewhere.

Beyond that, any next steps may come in the form of supporting other databases via JPA. While JDBC drivers may hook into this as it is, I haven't tried that, and this could be a good impetus to adding JPA to the supported stack. That'll come post-2.7.0, though - this release has enough big-ticket items and should now be in a cool-off period before I call it solid and move to the next one.

Adding Concurrency to the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project

Jul 11, 2022, 1:37 PM

Tags: jakartaee
  1. Updating The XPages JEE Support Project To Jakarta EE 9, A Travelogue
  2. JSP and MVC Support in the XPages JEE Project
  3. Migrating a Large XPages App to Jakarta EE 9
  4. XPages Jakarta EE Support 2.2.0
  5. DQL, QueryResultsProcessor, and JNoSQL
  6. Implementing a Basic JNoSQL Driver for Domino
  7. Video Series On The XPages Jakarta EE Project
  8. JSF in the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project
  9. So Why Jakarta?
  10. Adding Concurrency to the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project
  11. Adding Transactions to the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project

For a little while, I've had a task open for me to investigate the Jakarta Concurrency and MP Context Propagation specs, and this weekend I decided to dive into that. While I've shelved the MicroProfile part for now, I was successful in implementing Concurrency, at least for the most part.

The Spec

The Jakarta Concurrency spec deals with extending Java's default multithreading services - Threads, ExecutorServices, and ScheduledExecutorServices - in a couple ways that make them more capable in Jakarta EE applications. The spec provides Managed variants of these executors, though they extend the base Java interfaces and can be treated the same way by user code.

While the extra methods here and there for task monitoring are nice, and I may work with them eventually, the big-ticket item for my needs is propagating context from the initializer to the thread. By "context" here I mean things like knowledge of the running NSF, its CDI environment, the user making the HTTP request, and so forth. As it shakes out, this is no small task, but the spec makes it workable.

Examples

In its basic form, an ExecutorService lets you submit a task and then either let it run on its own time or use get() to synchronously wait for its execution - sort of like async/await but less built-in. For example:

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ExecutorService exec = /* get an ExecutorService */;
String basic = exec.submit(() -> "Hello from executor").get();

A ScheduledExecutorService extends this a bit to allow for future-scheduled and repeating tasks:

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String[] val = new String[1];
ScheduledExecutorService exec = /* get a ScheduledExecutorService */;
exec.schedule(() -> { val[0] = "hello from scheduler"; }, 250, TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS);
Thread.sleep(300);
// Now val[0] is "hello from scheduler"

Those examples aren't exactly useful, but hopefully you can get some further ideas. With an ExecutorService, you can spin up multiple concurrent tasks and then wait for them all - in a client project, I do this to speed up large view reading by divvying it up into chunks, for example. Alternatively, you could accept an interactive request from a user and then kick off a thread to do hefty work while returning a response before it's done.

There's an example of this sort of thing in XPages up on OpenNTF from about a decade ago. It uses Eclipse Jobs as its concurrency tool of choice, but the idea is largely the same.

The Basic Implementation

For the core implementation code, I grabbed the GlassFish implementation, which was the Reference Implementation back when JEE had Reference Implementations. With that as the baseline, I was responsible for just a few tasks:

The devil was in the details, but the core lifecycle wasn't too bad.

JNDI

One intriguing and slightly vexing thing about this API is that the official way to access these executors is to use JNDI, the "Java Naming and Directory Interface", which is something of an old and weird spec. It's also one of the specs that remains in standard Java while being in the javax.* namespace, and those always feel weird nowadays.

Anyway, JNDI is used for a bunch of things (like ruining Thanksgiving), but one of them is to provide named objects from a container to an application - kind of like managed beans.

One common use for this is to allow an app container (such as Open Liberty) to manage a JDBC connection to a relational database, allowing the app to just reference it by name and not have to manage the driver and connection specifics. I use that for this blog, in fact.

XPages apps don't really do this, but Domino does include a com.ibm.pvc.jndi.provider.java OSGi bundle that handles JNDI basics. I'm sure there are some proper ways to go about registering services with this, but I couldn't be bothered: in practice, I just call context.rebind(...) and call it a day.

Ferrying the Context

The core workhorse of this is the ContextSetupProvider implementation. It's the part that's responsible for being notified when context is going to be shunted around and then doing the work of grabbing what's needed in a portable way and setting it up for threaded code. For my needs, I set up an extension interface that can be used to register different participants, so that the Concurrency bundle doesn't have to retain knowledge about everything.

So far, there are a few of these.

Notes Context

The first of these is the NSFNotesContextParticipant, which takes on the job of identifying the current Notes/XPages environment and preparing an equivalent one in the worker thread. The "Threads and Jobs" project above does something like this using the ThreadSessionExecutor class provided with the runtime, but that didn't really suit my needs.

What this class does is grab the current com.ibm.domino.xsp.module.nsf.NotesContext, pulls the NSFComponentModule and HttpServletRequest from it, and then uses that information to set up the new thread before tearing it down when the task is done.

This process initializes the thread like a NotesThread and also sets appropriate Session and Database objects in the context, so code running in an NSF can use those in their threaded tasks without having to think about the threading:

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String userName = exec.submit(() -> "Username is: " + NotesContext.getCurrent().getCurrentSession().getEffectiveUserName()).get();

This class does some checking to make sure it's in an NSF-specific request. I may end up also writing an equivalent one for OSGi Servlet/Web Container requests as well.

CDI

Outside of Notes-runtime specifics, the most important context to retain is the CDI context. Fortunately, that one's not too difficult:

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@Override
public void saveContext(ContextHandle contextHandle) {
	if(contextHandle instanceof AttributedContextHandle) {
		if(LibraryUtil.isLibraryActive(CDILibrary.LIBRARY_ID)) {
			((AttributedContextHandle)contextHandle).setAttribute(ATTR_CDI, CDI.current());
		}
	}
}

@Override
public void setup(ContextHandle contextHandle) throws IllegalStateException {
	if(contextHandle instanceof AttributedContextHandle) {
		CDI<Object> cdi = ((AttributedContextHandle)contextHandle).getAttribute(ATTR_CDI);
		ConcurrencyCDIContainerLocator.setCdi(cdi);
	}
}

@Override
public void reset(ContextHandle contextHandle) {
	if(contextHandle instanceof AttributedContextHandle) {
		ConcurrencyCDIContainerLocator.setCdi(null);
	}
}

This checks to make sure CDI is enabled for the current app and, if so, uses the standard CDI.current() method to find the container. This is the same method used everywhere and ends up falling to the NSFCDIProvider class to actually locate it. That bounces back to a locator service that returns the thread-set one, and thus the executor is able to find it. Then, threaded code is able to use CDI.current().select(...) to find beans from the application:

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String databasePath = exec.submit(() -> "Database is: " + CDI.current().select(Database.class).get()).get();
String applicationGuy = exec.submit(() -> "applicationGuy is: " + CDI.current().select(ApplicationGuy.class).get().getMessage()).get();

Next Steps

To flesh this out, I have some other immediate work to do. For one, I'll want to see if I can ferry over the current JAX-RS application context - that will be needed for using the MicroProfile Rest Client, for example.

Beyond that, I'm considering implementing the MicroProfile Context Propagation spec, which provides some alternate capabilities to go along with this functionality. It may be a bit more work than it's worth for NSF use, but I like to check as many boxes as I can. Those concepts look to have made it into Concurrency 3.0, but, as that version is targeted for Jakarta EE 10, it's almost certain that final implementation builds will require Java 11.

Finally, though, and along similar lines, I'm pondering backporting the @Asynchronous annotation from Concurrency 3.0, which is a CDI extension that allows you to implicitly make a method asynchronous:

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@Asynchronous
public CompletableFuture<Object> someExpensiveOperation() {
	Object result = /* do something expensive */;
	return Asynchronous.Result.complete(result);
}

With that, it's similar to submitting the task specifically, but CDI will do all the work of actually making it async when called. We'll see - I've avoided backporting much, but that one is tempting.

WebAuthn/Passkey Login With JavaSapi

Jul 5, 2022, 2:05 PM

Tags: java webauthn
  1. Poking Around With JavaSapi
  2. Per-NSF-Scoped JWT Authorization With JavaSapi
  3. WebAuthn/Passkey Login With JavaSapi

Over the weekend, I got a wild hair to try something that had been percolating in my mind recently: get Passkeys, Apple's term for WebAuthn/FIDO technologies, working with the new Safari against a Domino server. And, though some aspects were pretty non-obvious (it turns out there's a LOT of binary-data stuff in JavaScript now), I got it working thanks to a few tools:

  1. JavaSapi, the "yeah, I know it's not supported" DSAPI Java peer
  2. webauthn.guide, a handy resource
  3. java-webauthn-server, a Java implementation of the WebAuthn server components

Definition

First off: what is all this? All the terms - Passkey, FIDO, WebAuthn - for our purposes here deal with a mechanism for doing public/private key authentication with a remote server. In a sense, it's essentially a web version of what you do with Notes IDs or SSH keys, where the only actual user-provided authentication (a password, biometric input, or the like) happens locally, and then the local machine uses its private key combined with the server's knowledge of the public key to prove its identity.

WebAuthn accomplishes this with the navigator.credentials object in the browser, which handles dealing with the local security storage. You pass objects between this store and the server, first to register your local key and then subsequently to log in with it. There are a lot of details I'm fuzzing over here, in large part because I don't know the specifics myself, but that will cover it.

While browsers have technically had similar cryptographic authentication for a very long time by way of client SSL certificates, this set of technologies makes great strides across the board - enough to make it actually practical to deploy for normal use. With Safari, anything with Touch ID or Face ID can participate in this, while on other platforms and browsers you can use either a security key or similar cryptographic storage. Since I have a little MacBook Air with Touch ID, I went with that.

The Flow

Before getting too much into the specifics, I'll talk about the flow. The general idea with WebAuthn is that the user gets to a point where they're creating a new account (where password doesn't yet matter) or logged in via another mechanism, and then have their browser generate the keypair. In this case, I logged in using the normal Domino login form.

Once in, I have a button on the page that will request that the browser create the keypair. This first makes a request to the server for a challenge object appropriate for the user, then creates the keypair locally, and then POSTs the results back to the server for verification. To the user, that looks like:

WebAuthn key creation in Safari

That keypair will remain in the local device's storage - in this case, Keychain, synced via iCloud in upcoming versions.

Then, I have another button that performs a challenge. In practice, this challenge would be configured on the login page, but it's on the same page for this proof-of-concept. The button causes the browser to request from the server a list of acceptable public keys to go with a given username, and then prompts the user to verify that they want to use a matching one:

WebAuthn assertion in Safari

The implementation details of what to do on success and failure are kind of up to you. Here, I ended up storing active authentication sessions on a server in a Map keyed the SessionID cookie value to user name, but all options are open.

Dance Implementation

As I mentioned above, my main tool on the server side was java-webauthn-server, which handles a lot of the details of the processs. For this experiment, I cribbed their InMemoryRegistrationStorage class, but a real implementation would presumably store this information in an NSF.

For the client side, there's a npm module to handle the specifics, but I was doing this all on a single HTML page and so I just borrowed from it in pieces (particularly the Base64/ByteArray stuff).

On the server, I created an OSGi plugin that contained a com.ibm.pvc.webcontainer.application webapp as well as the JavaSapi service: since they're both in the same OSGi bundle, that meant I could share the same classes and memory space, without having to worry about coordination between two very-distinct parts (as would be the case with DSAPI).

The webapp part itself actually does more of the work, and does so by way of four Servlets: one for the "create keys" options, one for registering a created key, one for the "I want to start a login" pre-flight, and finally one for actually handling the final authentication. As an implementation note, getting this working involved removing guava.jar from the classpath temporarily, as the library in question made heavy use of a version slightly newer than what Domino ships with.

Key Creation

The first Servlet assumes that the user is logged in and then provides a JSON object to the client describing what sort of keypair it should create:

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Session session = ContextInfo.getUserSession();
			
PublicKeyCredentialCreationOptions request = WebauthnManager.instance.getRelyingParty()
	.startRegistration(
		StartRegistrationOptions.builder()
			// Creates or retrieves an in-memory object with an associated random "handle" value
		    .user(WebauthnManager.instance.locateUser(session))
		    .build()
	);

// Store in the HTTP session for later verification. Could also be done via cookie or other pairing
req.getSession(true).setAttribute(WebauthnManager.REQUEST_KEY, request);
	
String json = request.toCredentialsCreateJson();
resp.setStatus(200);
resp.setHeader("Content-Type", "application/json"); //$NON-NLS-1$ //$NON-NLS-2$
resp.getOutputStream().write(String.valueOf(json).getBytes());

The client side retrieves these options, parses some Base64'd parts to binary arrays (this is what the npm module would do), and then sends that back to the server to create the registration:

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fetch("/webauthn/creationOptions", { "credentials": "same-origin" })
	.then(res => res.json())
	.then(json => {
		json.publicKey.challenge = base64urlToBuffer(json.publicKey.challenge, c => c.charCodeAt(0));
		json.publicKey.user.id = base64urlToBuffer(json.publicKey.user.id, c => c.charCodeAt(0));
		if(json.publicKey.excludeCredentials) {
			for(var i = 0; i < json.publicKey.excludeCredentials.length; i++) {
				var cred = json.publicKey.excludeCredentials[i];
				cred.id = base64urlToBuffer(cred.id);
			}
		}
		navigator.credentials.create(json)
			.then(credential => {
				// Create a JSON-friendly payload to send to the server
				const payload = {
					type: credential.type,
					id: credential.id,
					response: {
						attestationObject: bufferToBase64url(credential.response.attestationObject),
						clientDataJSON: bufferToBase64url(credential.response.clientDataJSON)
					},
					clientExtensionResults: credential.getClientExtensionResults()
				}
				fetch("/webauthn/create", {
					method: "POST",
					body: JSON.stringify(payload)
				})
			})
	})

The code for the second call on the server parses out the POST'd JSON and stores the registration in the in-memory storage (which would properly be an NSF):

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String json = StreamUtil.readString(req.getReader());
PublicKeyCredential<AuthenticatorAttestationResponse, ClientRegistrationExtensionOutputs> pkc = PublicKeyCredential
	.parseRegistrationResponseJson(json);

// Retrieve the request we had stored in the session earlier
PublicKeyCredentialCreationOptions request = (PublicKeyCredentialCreationOptions) req.getSession(true)
	.getAttribute(WebauthnManager.REQUEST_KEY);

// Perform registration, which verifies that the incoming JSON matches the initiated request
RelyingParty rp = WebauthnManager.instance.getRelyingParty();
RegistrationResult result = rp
	.finishRegistration(FinishRegistrationOptions.builder().request(request).response(pkc).build());

// Gather the registration information to store in the server's credential repository
DominoRegistrationStorage repo = WebauthnManager.instance.getRepository();
CredentialRegistration reg = new CredentialRegistration();
reg.setAttestationMetadata(Optional.ofNullable(pkc.getResponse().getAttestation()));
reg.setUserIdentity(request.getUser());
reg.setRegistrationTime(Instant.now());
RegisteredCredential credential = RegisteredCredential.builder()
	.credentialId(result.getKeyId().getId())
	.userHandle(request.getUser().getId())
	.publicKeyCose(result.getPublicKeyCose())
	.signatureCount(result.getSignatureCount())
	.build();
reg.setCredential(credential);
reg.setTransports(pkc.getResponse().getTransports());

Session session = ContextInfo.getUserSession();
repo.addRegistrationByUsername(session.getEffectiveUserName(), reg);

Login/Assertion

Once the client has a keypair and the server knows about the public key, then the client can ask the server for what it would need if one were to log in as a given name, and then uses that information to make a second call. The dance on the client side looks like:

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var un = /* fetch the username from somewhere, such as a login form */
fetch("/webauthn/assertionRequest?un=" + encodeURIComponent(un))
	.then(res => res.json())
	.then(json => {
		json.publicKey.challenge = base64urlToBuffer(json.publicKey.challenge, c => c.charCodeAt(0));
		if(json.publicKey.allowCredentials) {
			for(var i = 0; i < json.publicKey.allowCredentials.length; i++) {
				var cred = json.publicKey.allowCredentials[i];
				cred.id = base64urlToBuffer(cred.id);
			}
		}
		navigator.credentials.get(json)
			.then(credential => {
				const payload = {
					type: credential.type,
					id: credential.id,
					response: {
						authenticatorData: bufferToBase64url(credential.response.authenticatorData),
						clientDataJSON: bufferToBase64url(credential.response.clientDataJSON),
						signature: bufferToBase64url(credential.response.signature),
						userHandle: bufferToBase64url(credential.response.userHandle)
					},
					clientExtensionResults: credential.getClientExtensionResults()
				}
				fetch("/webauthn/assertion", {
					method: "POST",
					body: JSON.stringify(payload),
					credentials: "same-origin"
				})
			})
	})

That's pretty similar to the middle code block above, really, and contains the same sort of ferrying to and from transport-friendly JSON objects and native credential objects.

On the server side, the first Servlet - which looks up the available public keys for a user name - is comparatively simple:

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String userName = req.getParameter("un"); //$NON-NLS-1$
AssertionRequest request = WebauthnManager.instance.getRelyingParty()
	.startAssertion(
		StartAssertionOptions.builder()
			.username(userName)
			.build()
	);

// Stash the current assertion request
req.getSession(true).setAttribute(WebauthnManager.ASSERTION_REQUEST_KEY, request);

String json = request.toCredentialsGetJson();
resp.setStatus(200);
resp.setHeader("Content-Type", "application/json"); //$NON-NLS-1$ //$NON-NLS-2$
resp.getOutputStream().write(String.valueOf(json).getBytes());

The final Servlet handles parsing out the incoming assertion (login) and stashing it in memory as associated with the "SessionID" cookie. That value could be anything that the browser will send with its requests, but "SessionID" works here.

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String json = StreamUtil.readString(req.getReader());
PublicKeyCredential<AuthenticatorAssertionResponse, ClientAssertionExtensionOutputs> pkc =
	    PublicKeyCredential.parseAssertionResponseJson(json);

// Retrieve the request we had stored in the session earlier
AssertionRequest request = (AssertionRequest) req.getSession(true).getAttribute(WebauthnManager.ASSERTION_REQUEST_KEY);

// Perform verification, which will ensure that the signed value matches the public key and challenge
RelyingParty rp = WebauthnManager.instance.getRelyingParty();
AssertionResult result = rp.finishAssertion(FinishAssertionOptions.builder()
	.request(request)
	.response(pkc)
	.build());

if(result.isSuccess()) {
	// Keep track of logins
	WebauthnManager.instance.getRepository().updateSignatureCount(result);
	
	// Find the session cookie, which they will have by now
	String sessionId = Arrays.stream(req.getCookies())
		.filter(c -> "SessionID".equalsIgnoreCase(c.getName()))
		.map(Cookie::getValue)
		.findFirst()
		.get();
	WebauthnManager.instance.registerAuthenticatedUser(sessionId, result.getUsername());
}

Trusting the Key

At this point, there's a dance between the client and server that results in the client being able to perform secure, password-less authentication with the server and the server knowing about the association, and so now the remaining job is just getting the server to actually trust this assertion. That's where JavaSapi comes in.

Above, I used the "SessionID" cookie as a mechanism to store an in-memory association between a browser cookie (which is independent of authentication) to a trusted user. Then, I made a JavaSapi service that looks for this and tries to find an authenticated user in its authenticate method:

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@Override
public int authenticate(IJavaSapiHttpContextAdapter context) {
	Cookie[] cookies = context.getRequest().getCookies();
	if(cookies != null) {
		Optional<Cookie> cookie = Arrays.stream(context.getRequest().getCookies())
			.filter(c -> "SessionID".equalsIgnoreCase(c.getName())) //$NON-NLS-1$
			.findFirst();
		if(cookie.isPresent()) {
			String sessionId = cookie.get().getValue();
			Optional<String> user = WebauthnManager.instance.getAuthenticatedUser(sessionId);
			if(user.isPresent()) {
				context.getRequest().setAuthenticatedUserName(user.get(), "WebAuthn"); //$NON-NLS-1$
				return HTEXTENSION_REQUEST_AUTHENTICATED;
			}
		}
	}
	
	return HTEXTENSION_EVENT_DECLINED;
}

And that's all there is to it on the JavaSapi side. Because it shares the same active memory space as the webapp doing the dance, it can use the same WebauthnManager instance to read the in-memory association. You could in theory do this another way with DSAPI - storing the values in an NSF or some other mechanism that can be shared - but this is much, much simpler to do.

Conclusion

This was a neat little project, and it was a good way to learn a bit about some of the native browser objects and data types that I haven't had occasion to work with before. I think this is also something that should be in the product; if you agree, go vote for the ideas from a few years ago.