The pros and cons of open source token management system for oauth2

As software developers, we all LOVE open source!

But is open source the right solution when it comes to OAuth 2 and OAuth 1 token management system? In this article, we dig into the pros and cons of using an open source token management system for OAuth2 and OAuth1 requirements.

What is OAuth token?

When dealing with OAuth connectivity, you need to have a complex token management system built that generates and manages OAuth tokens. The best analogy to understand OAuth tokens is to think of it like a hotel keycard. The keycard allows you access to your room, and your room only.

A token management system generates these OAuth token and manages the validity of these tokens.

Sounds simple?

Far from it..

The complexity of OAuth token management systems

In principle, the TMS creates tokens required by the service provider for validating and providing data access.

However, each provider follows a slightly different method and process for validating tokens. This means, once size does not fit all providers. Meaning, you will need to create a new framework to manage the methods required for each service provider.

The token management system needs to manage all the methods and be able to generate the right oauth tokens for each provider requirement. This translates into complex and large TMS files that need to be run on its own servers while not having any down time.

There are a few open source Token management systems developed by developers globally. Let’s take a deep dive into the pros and cons of using open source solution.

Pro’s of using open source token management system for OAuth2

  • Readymade solution: You get a pre-build token management system that you can use with your application. However, you need to make sure you pick the right language and provider support.
  • Reduction in hours: There is small amount of time saved by having a framework to work off. Of course, each open source framework would still need significant amounts of time to customize to your particular needs.
  • No initial costs associated: Open source is free. This is the biggest Pro of choosing to with open source. This does not include server costs and engineering hours spent in customizing the code to your specific needs.

Cons of using open source token management system for oauth2

  • Stability: As is the nature of open source, it is a one time build and as there isn’t any single ownership associated, there is no one responsible to maintain uptime connectivity
  • Support: Once again, due to no ownership, support is not something you can expect with an open source code.
  • Provider limitations: Not all providers will be supported out of the box. Which means, you will essentially need to get token management system + SDKs for each providers.
  • Large code base: Due to the multiple TMS and SDKs required to be maintained, you essentially end up managing a large chunk of code
  • Time spent: Large number of engineering hours will be spent in trying to modify the code to work for you and your needs. Time you could spend on building your platform.

Unfortunately, in the case of oauth tokens and token management system, the Cons list outweighs the Pros list.

So, although we love open source solutions, it does not work for business-critical framework like oauth2 token management systems.

Get a secured serverless oauth2 token management framework

Pathfix takes care of the entire token management process. From the time the user clicks on Integrate, the system will generate and manage the tokens that are required for each provider. This includes the OAuth tokens, Access tokens, Refresh tokens and any API stamping required by the provider.

You get:

  • A proven and stable platform that handles millions of call requests
  • Round the clock support by a team of experienced developers
  • Quick connectivity without downloading files or SDKs
  • Secure platform with encryptions and flows in place


Signup for a free Pathfix account here and see the OAuth Token Management System in action in your own app.

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