Friday 8 May 2015

Using the Microsoft Graph (Office 365 Unified API) in ASP.NET MVC

In my previous post, I wrote about Getting started with the Office 365 Unified API. In that post, I introduced the new Office 365 Unified API and created a basic console application which used Azure AD for authentication and consumed the Office 365 Unified API. But chances are that a console application is not going to be a solution to most of your business needs. That is why, in this post we will see how the Office 365 Unified API can be used in an ASP.NET MVC application.

The complete code for this blog post is available on GitHub:

Full credit to Jason Johnston's article Getting Started with the Outlook Mail API and ASP.NET on which I have based my code.

The Authentication flow:

Since the Office 365 Unified API uses Azure AD for authentication, these are the basic steps to get your application authenticated:

1) Request an authorization code

2) Request an access token based on the authorization code. (when you successfully make this request, you also get back the refresh token along with the access token)

3) Make a request to the desired resource e.g. "" using the access token.

4) When the access token expires, use the refresh token to get a new access token instead of going through the entire authentication flow again.

See the following links for more details on the Office 365 Unified API and the Azure AD authentication flow:

Authorization Code Grant Flow

Office 365 Unified REST API authentication flow

Register your application in Azure AD:

Now let's get started on how to actually go through this process in an MVC application.

As mentioned in my previous post, the very first thing you need to do is register your application in Azure AD. Here are the steps to do that:

I have registered a Web Application in this case and here are the permissions I have granted:

Windows Azure Active Directory:
  • Access your Organization's Directory

Office 365 unified API (preview): 
  • Read and write all users' full profiles
  • Access directory as the signed in user
  • Enable sign-in and read user profile

If the Office 365 unified API (preview) application is not available by default, click on "add application" and add it.

After you register your application, copy the ClientID and the ClientSecret in the web.config file of your MVC application.

    <add key="ida:ClientID" value="your client id" />
    <add key="ida:ClientSecret" value="your client secret" />

Now that the application is successfully registered in Azure AD, we can go ahead and write the code for the authentication flow in our MVC app.

The ASP.NET MVC Application:

The first thing you need to do now is to get the following NuGet package installed in your project:

Active Directory Authentication Library 2.14.201151115

Alright, we are finally ready to write some code now :)

In your MVC Controller, create an action called SignIn. We will use this action to redirect the application to the Azure AD Authorization Request Url:

This will take the application to the Azure AD login page where the user will have to enter his/her credentials. Once the credentials are successfully authenticated, the application will be taken to the redirectUrl mentioned in the code. This redirectUrl is a url to another Action in our MVC app. At this time, the url will also contain the Authorization code mentioned in step 1 and 2 above.

The Authorize action mentioned in the redirectUrl looks like this:

This will get the Authentication code from the request parameters. Based on the Authentication code, it will make a call to Azure AD to get the Access token. Once we get the Access token, we will store it in the session so that we can use it for multiple requests.

A production level solution will probably need a better mechanism to store the Access token. Andrew Connell has written a great article on storing the access token in a database. See the article here:

Azure AD & ASP.NET MVC - Walk-Through Implementing ADAL & OWIN

Now that we have a valid Access token, we are ready to actually make a call to the Office 365 Unified API resource to get data. I have used a simple HttpClient to make the REST call

Once the call is successful, you get JSON back which then you are free to mangle in your code.

In my sample application, I have also written calls for getting all the users from the tenant and the tenant details. Check it out here:

Additional Reading/Fiddling:

Here is the complete list of REST calls you can currently make using the Office 365 Unified API:

Office 365 unified API reference (preview)

Also, if you want to try out REST API without actually writing any code, this is a great tool which can help you make calls and see the response:

Only thing is you will need credentials to install the application in your Azure Tenant.

Hope you found this post useful!

Monday 4 May 2015

Getting started with the Office 365 Unified API

The Office 365 Unified API was recently launched at Build 2015. It uses Azure AD for authentication and has just one endpoint "" which can be used to query for data from any service across Office 365.

This is a very important thing according to me because in the earlier versions of this API we had to query a discovery service and get the URL of the individual service (SharePoint, Outlook, Azure AD etc.) from which we wanted to get the data.  With the new unified endpoint, it becomes easier for us Developers to just query a single endpoint for data from any of the services across Office 365.

Complete information about the Office 365 Unified API can be found here:

I decided to try my hand at the .NET Client Library of the Office 365 Unified API. Here is the complete code for my console application:

1) The very first thing you will need to do is register your application in Azure AD and get the client id. You can think of this as being somewhat similar to registering an App Principal for a SharePoint App (Add-In as it's now called).

For my test app, I have registered a Native Application (as opposed to a Web Application) mostly because the process for a native application is a bit simpler. For a Web Application, you also need a client secret along with the client id. I decided to keep things simple for my first console app.

2) When you register your app to Azure AD, do not forget to grant the appropriate permissions in the "permissions to other applications" 

3) Make a note of your client Id. You will require this in your code:

4) Create a new Console Application Project in Visual Studio and add the following NuGet packages to it:

Active Directory Authentication Library 2.14.201151115

Office 365 unified API client library (preview) 0.2.6-rc

5) Now you are set up to write code against the Office 365 Unified API.

The very first thing you will need to do is get the access token from Azure AD. Once you have the access token,  all you need to do is create an object of the GraphService class and use it to get data from Office 365 provided you have the right permissions set up in Azure AD.

Here is my sample console application code:

Once you run this code, you will get a prompt to enter your Office 365 credentials:

Once you enter the right credentials, the access token will be fetched and passed on to the GraphService client object which will then use it to get the current user from the GraphService.Me property and display it on the console.

Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed fiddling around with this new API :)