Notice: The WebPlatform project, supported by various stewards between 2012 and 2015, has been discontinued. This site is now available on github.

Adapt Firefox Accounts for WebPlatform


Firefox Accounts (“FxA”) is an Identity Provider system made by Mozilla that has been rolled out with Firefox 29 released in May 2014. It will eventually be the centerpiece for their Marketplace and other services, the first components are about authentication, and to serve as a Resource Provider.

WebPlatform is using its own fork of FxA to serve as a SSO and this document describes the changes that has been made to it.

What is Firefox Accounts, and why?

The choice of using FxA for our authentication service is due to our interest to limit our technology stack as much as its sane to do so. But FxA also supports other requirements we have, such as:

  • Use of JavaScript/NodeJS
  • Supports multiple languages
  • Maintained by an active community who also happens to be one of our Stewards, Mozilla

FxA provides has a set of loosely coupled components. Namely, a JavaScript client (“fxa-js-client”), a Content server (“fxa-content-server”) that’s taking care of the Web UI but also email templates. The Content server also supports Localization (“fxa-content-server-l10n”) allowing us to support multi-lingual content. In the backend side, FxA exposes an API (“fxa-auth-server”), and last but not least, an OAuth2 resource provider (“fxa-oauth-server”).

Our use of FxA will be limited to a minimum to suit our needs. In the future, we might consider using other components managed by the FxA community, such as: customs-server that’s taking care to validate emails, manage bounces and help prevent spam, and also auth-db-server that will provide a REST/HTTP frontend to the database servers, and many other components available on their GitHub projects.


We forked the following components based on recommended version/tags from the Mozilla fxa team.


Accept username field, and allow to force creation date

  1. Accept two fields [username, fullName] and allow forcing createdAt
    1. fxa-auth-server issue #1, patch File:fxa-auth-server-patch-0001-Adressing-1-for-fxa-auth-server.txt
    2. fxa-js-client issue #1
    3. fxa-content-server issue #1

On login, also support using username instead of email

Status: In analysis

The idea is that we would like to not change behavior for users when they login with their username.


Proposed solution

Since we already implemented to accept username in #Accept username field, and allow to force creation date, we can create a set of API mirroring the original, but to find by username.

What we can do:

  • Create a distinct:
    • login screen in content-server (e.g. /signin2) that shows username+password fields
    • login API endpoint to api-server to accept those two fields
    • Adjust API endpoint to use a different SELECT query to find user to make crypto checks. i.e. will continue as usual, but instead of searching user entry in database by provided email, we will allow to use username.