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Ask for user profile for every API request or customize the access token?

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#1

Ask for user profile for every API request or customize the “acces_token”?.

I have a web app in “angular2” and an API in “Java”, I need to know who is making a request to the Java API but there is only a “access_token” that doesn’t provide a user profile, so the Java API retrieves the user profile using the endpoint “/userinfo”. I mean that for every request to my Java API this gets the user profile from “Auth0”

Is necessary ask for user profile for each Java API request? And if so,
What are the boundaries when are many users making multiples request?.
Is better make a custom “access_token” with the user profile?


#2

Currently, an access token issued for your API will be a JWT and include in the sub claim the user identifier of the user that is associated with the request. The user identifier, uniquely identifier the users and is also a stable piece of information (it does not change unless you bring account linking into the equation).

If you need to only uniquely identify the user associated with the request then the default information available in the token (user identifier) should be sufficient to not require to call the /userinfo endpoint. Have in mind that you’re not forced to use the Auth0 user identifier everywhere you want a user identifier in your application data store. For example, you can implement a simple mapping between the Auth0 user identifier and an internal identifier in order to have more flexibility.

If you need more information about the end-user then just the user identifier then you’ll either have to include that information in the access token or query it when you’re processing the token. The two approaches are not equivalent and both have their pros and cons, for example, including it in the access token will mean the information will not change during the lifetime of the access token, however, querying it upon receiving the access token introduces overhead and you would also have to be considerate of rate limits in the endpoints you would be querying.

In conclusion, the ultimate decision will need to be done by you in light of your specific requirements, however, I would personally tend to favor including the information in the access token itself as long as it’s not a substantial amount of information and it’s also information unlikely to change very frequently.


#3