mr mr cote

Educational, Investigative, and Absurd Writings by M. R. Côté

MozReview Auth Changes

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MozReview will soon be using Bugzilla’s new OAuth-like1 API keys and auth delegation. This is long overdue, and, in addition to providing security benefits, will eliminate all those confusing session-expired errors (e.g. bug 1178814).

After we deploy the change, all users will need to log back into MozReview’s Review Board2 instance. This time, rather than entering your Bugzilla credentials directly into Review Board, when you go to the “Log In” page, you’ll be redirected to BMO. If you don’t have a current BMO session, you’ll have to log into BMO. After you log in, or immediately after being redirected to BMO if you do have a session, you’ll be redirected back to Review Board and logged in. This is because, unlike most third-party apps, MozReview’s Review Board is a trusted app that is tightly integrated to BMO, so you won’t be confronted with the standard “Auth Delegation Request” intermediate page.

This is the first stage of conversion to API keys. For pushing review requests with Mercurial, you will still have to have either your Bugzilla username and password or your cookies in your .hgrc file or enter them on the command line at push time. However, Review Board will no longer store cookies; the username/password or login cookies will only be passed to BMO for verification and then discarded. We’ll be moving to API key usage on the command line in a subsequent patch.

Through API keys, Review Board will only have access to the specific BMO APIs required by MozReview. Those actions are mainly restricted to creating and updating attachments and posting comments; however, it will also need access to the login API until we support API keys on the command line. As noted, this will be used solely for identification, and no login tokens will be stored in MozReview.

Another big benefit of API keys is the elimination of those annoying and confusing expired-session errors. The BMO cookies used by MozReview have a limited lifespan, but API keys are good until explicitly revoked by the user. You can see the API key that is transferred to MozReview, as well as any other API keys you’ve manually or automatically created, in the API Keys tab in your BMO preferences. Revoking the API key won’t automatically log you out of Review Board, but you won’t be able to do any actions that interact with BMO (most actions) unless you log out and back in again (thus generating a new key).

You can follow along progress in bug 993233.


  1. No, it’s not exactly OAuth, but it’s based on similar ideas. We haven’t found a good OAuth 2 library for use with BMO, but we’re looking around.

  2. A note about names: MozReview generally refers to the full code-review system, which is primarily an hg server and a Review Board installation with extensions that we’ve developed. It also includes BMO, Autoland, Pulse, LDAP, and little things like code-review bots. When we say “Review Board”, we are referring specifically to the web app, which is the primary user interface to MozReview.

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