Sunday, June 14, 2015

Debugging Google Authentication + Azure MobileServices

Let’s say you’re building a mobile application using Azure MobileServices with Google Authentication but you want to debug and run the solution on your local developer environment. This post will walk you through setting up your local environment and provide an example of how to test your local services.

Before we start, the getting started documentation on how to add Google Authentication to your mobile application is pretty good, and if you follow the samples it’s fairly easy to get up and running. For the purposes of this post, I’m not going to repeat those setup instructions so if you’re trying to get it running you should definitely read this article before reading any further. I should also point out that I’m using a .NET Backend for my MobileService, so there are a few minor variances if you’re using Node.

Step 1: add your Google Client ID and Client Secret to your web.config. By default, the configuration for your MobileService is defined through the Azure MobileServices dashboard so local values in your web.config are ignored in the Azure environment. In order to debug Google Authentication locally, simply provide values for MS_GoogleClientID, MS_GoogleClientSecret in your web.config:


Step 2: modify the settings of your Google Project to support your local environment. At this point, attempts to authenticate in your local environment will fail because the Redirect Url for your local environment doesn’t match the settings defined in the Google Developer Console. Fortunately, the good folks at Google had the smarts to allow multiple redirect URLs. Simply provide the URL of your local developer environment. In my case, I’m running this in IIS Express and I’m using the URL http://localhost:61915

  1. Navigate to and select your Project
  2. In the Credentials section, click the Edit Settings button and add your local URL to the Authorized Redirect URIs.


Testing it out

So we’ve made a few simple changes and now it’s time to test it out.

  1. Navigate to http://localhost:61915/login/google in your browser.
  2. If all things are properly configured you should be redirected to Google’s oAuth page to provide consent to your application. Provide consent, dummy.
  3. Your browser will be redirected to a special URL (http://localhost:61915/done#token=<json-data>).
  4. Copy the URL and decode it. I like to use this online tool
  5. Once decoded, make note of the authentication-token.


  1. Now using your favourite REST client (mine's the Chrome Advanced REST Client), supply the header X-ZUMO-AUTH: + your auth token and call any web-API method that would require authentication.


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