The Shibboleth IdP V4 software will leave support on September 1, 2024.


Namespace: urn:mace:shibboleth:2.0:resolver

The HTTP data connector generates multiple attributes resulting from calling a web service. The connector itself is primarily just a framework for constructing a request to issue using the Apache HttpClient library and processing a response. There is no attempt to standardize a web service interface, but the design is geared towards making simple, templated GET requests and processing XML or JSON result sets using a script. More advanced use cases can be supported by means of pluggable Java interfaces or more advanced scripting.

General Configuration

The connector marries three essential pieces of configuration to be supplied by the deployer:

  • an HttpClient bean and various security and networking parameters necessary to invoke the web service safely

  • request creation

  • response processing

Two options for request creation exist, one for simple GET requests and one for more complex POST requests with a body. Both rely on a <URLTemplate> element to produce the URL, which can be populated with dependency data much like an LDAP search filter or database query. The POST option also supports a <BodyTemplate> element that can similarly generate a request body based on dependency data, typically JSON or XML. With POST, you also can control caching of results (if a results cache is used) by generating a cache entry key using a <CacheKeyTemplate> element.

The only supplied implementation for response processing is script-based, using the <ResponseMapping> element to supply a script to produce attribute data from the response body. For efficiency, the implementation assumes that the response processing script can consume the results in real time, and leaves any buffering of the data to the script, should that be necessary. Support is built-in for limiting the size of the data, allowed content types, and HTTP status codes accepted, to address the most common sanity checks.

At minimum, an httpClientRef attribute must be supplied to provide the client runtime bean to use. This will usually if not always be accompanied by an httpClientSecurityParametersRef attribute to supply security settings, although a few shortcut settings are available for certificate authentication use cases. A complete summary and examples can be found on the HttpClientConfiguration page.

Spring beans may be defined either in additionally loaded Spring resources configured into the Attribute Resolver service's resource collection, or in a central location such as global.xml

Caching Behavior

The built-in caching support (if enabled) keys the cached data for a GET request by the fully populated template URL generated, typically including information about the subject in the URL. For POST requests, you may provide a template for producing an appropriate cache key, or omit it to disable caching.

Customized implementations of the ExecutableSearchBuilder<HTTPSearch> interface MUST implement appropriate cache key semantics, particularly if they inherit from that base class.


Any examples here omit the Spring beans that define the HTTP client and security parameters to use. Examples of these can be found in the HttpClientConfiguration topic.

<DataConnector id="myHTTP" xsi:type="HTTP" httpClientRef="WebServiceHttpClient" httpClientSecurityParametersRef="ExampleOrgWSSecurity"> <URLTemplate> <![CDATA[$pathEscaper.escape($resolutionContext.principal)/groups ]]> </URLTemplate> <ResponseMapping> <Script> <![CDATA[ var HashSet = Java.type("java.util.HashSet"); var HttpClientSupport = Java.type(""); var IdPAttribute = Java.type("net.shibboleth.idp.attribute.IdPAttribute"); var StringAttributeValue = Java.type("net.shibboleth.idp.attribute.StringAttributeValue"); // Limits length to 64k var body = HttpClientSupport.toString(response.getEntity(), "UTF-8", 65536); var result = JSON.parse(body); var attr = new IdPAttribute("group"); var values = new HashSet(); if (result.groups != null) { for (var i=0; i<result.groups.length; i++) { values.add(new StringAttributeValue(result.groups[i].name)); } } attr.setValues(values); connectorResults.add(attr); ]]> </Script> </ResponseMapping> <ResultCache expireAfterWrite="PT5M"/> </DataConnector>


The following attributes may be specified (the only required attribute is httpClientRef).










Bean ID


Bean ID of the HttpClient instance to use


Bean ID


Bean ID of the HttpClientSecurityParameters instance to use, ignored if one of the security shortcut settings are used


Resource path


Path of resource containing a server certificate whose public key must match the server's. If set, httpClientSecurityParametersRef is ignored.


Resource path


Path of resource containing a certificate authority used to validate the server's certificate. If set, httpClientSecurityParametersRef is ignored.


Resource path


Path of resource containing a private key used to authenticate the client to the server via TLS. If set, httpClientSecurityParametersRef is ignored.


Resource path

Path of resource containing a certificate used to authenticate the client to the server via TLS. If set, httpClientSecurityParametersRef is ignored.




Limits size of response body to accept, or 0 for no limit. When used, only  non-chunked responses that include a content length will be accepted.




Acceptable HTTP status codes




Acceptable MIME content types




Bean ID of a map of custom header names and values to set in the HTTP request


Bean ID


Bean ID of a HTTPResponseMappingStrategy to process the result set in a pluggable way


Bean ID


Bean ID of a Validator to control what constitutes an initialization failure (the default does no validation)


Bean ID


Bean ID of an ExecutableSearchBuilder<HTTPSearch> to produce the request to execute


Bean ID


Bean ID of a to use for processing the URL template, generally unnecessary




Whether a failure when verifying the connection during startup is fatal (stops the Attribute filter service from starting). 








0 or 1

Template of a URL to execute via HTTP GET or POST


0 or 1

Template for a request body to submit via HTTP POST, requires use of <URLTemplate>


0 or 1

Template to produce a cache key to associate with the result of an HTTP POST, requires use of <BodyTemplate>


0 or 1

Inline or external script to execute to process the response body



0 or 1

Defines how results should be cached.


Bean ID (in the element content) defining how results should be cached as an externally defined<String,Map<String,IdPAttribute>> 

Spring Configuration

The springResource or springResourceRef attributes are DEPRECATED in V4.3 and will not work in V5

If the springResource or springResourceRef attributes are specified, then the configuration of the data connector bean is delegated to the supplied resources. The system will create a factory for an HTTPDataConnector object, and look for beans in the Spring resource(s) supplied that match the types of properties supported by that type and its parent classes. Note that since these are not public, but implementation classes, they are subject to change, which creates some risk during non-patch upgrades, so you must take additional precautions to use this feature.

In practice, the HTTP Data Connector may be supplied with beans of the following types:

In addition native bean IDs can be injected as follows:

  1. The HttpClient instance and its security settings are injected via the httpClientRef and httpClientSecurityParametersRef attributes.

  2. The builder for the request can be specified as an externally defined bean via the executableSearchBuilderRef attribute (as a replacement for the <URLTemplate> element and related elements). This allows for complete generality of the request-building process.

  3. The processing of the response can be specified with an externally defined bean via the mappingStrategyRef attribute (as a replacement for the <ResponseMapping> element).

  4. The caching of results can be specified as an externally defined bean via the <ResultCacheBean> element (as a replacement for the <ResultCache> element).

  5. A Validator can be specifier as as an externally defined bean via the validatorRef attribute. The only available class which implements this Interface is NonFailFastValidator

  6. Rarely, a non-default Velocity engine can be injected via the templateEngine attribute.