Azure Data Factory and REST APIs – Dealing with oauth2 authentication

In this first post I am going to discuss how to apply oauth2 authentication to ingest REST APIs data.

OAUTH2 became a standard de facto in cloud and SaaS services, it used widely by Twitter, Microsoft Azure, Amazon. My example is based on EXACT Online API. The end-target of the blog series is to setup an entire pipeline which will ingest data from a REST API and load it to a data lake.

The structure of a pipeline

The simplest form of a pipeline contains two activities:

  • Web Activity: Performs a POST call get an authentication token
  • Copy Activity: Fetches data from API and load it to a destination linked service
Step 0

In this post we will focus on implementing the first activity – Web Activity which has to do small but important part of the work – authenticate and get access token.

The first step – prepare request body

The very first step is to generate an authentication string which is going to be send as a request body in order to get access token

The string has a format:


To get a string complete, replace placeholders {client_id}, {client_secret} and {refresh_token} with real values so the final variant will have a look:


This value is going to be used later in a web request.

Implementing Web Activity “Login”

Step 1: Create pipeline and add a Web Activity task
  1. Create a new pipeline and give a name “loadEOLRestApi”
  2. Open toolbox “Activities”, expand a section “General” and drop “Web” to a pipeline canvas
  3. Give a name “Login” to a just added Web activity

The authoring canvas should have a such look:

Step 1
Step 2: Configure a Web Activity task

Click on a Login activity and open tab “Settings”. Then fill following fields with values:

  1. URL: An url to perform authentication and get a token (1). In my case it is:
  2. Method: POST (2)
  3. Add a new header (3):
    • Name: Content-Type
    • Value: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
  4. Use a previously generated authentication string in a Body field (4):
Step 2
Step 3. Perform a test execution:
  1. Click on a Debug button (1)
  2. Open an Output tab of a pipeline (2)
  3. Click on a button “Output” (3)
  4. The output window will show a JSON response (4). Later in a pipeline a value of “access_token” will be used as a key to get access to underlying API methods
Step 3

Final words

The first piece of the pipeline – a web call to proceed authentication has been just implemented. It sends a request as a specially prepared string to a remote web API and receives an output in JSON format. The output contains few key-value pairs, like access_token, token_type, expires_in etc which are going to be used later by a Copy Activity.

Because the output in a JSON format, other pipeline activities can get access to a token by using an expression this way:


The next post is going to be focused on implementing a second piece of a pipeline – Copy activity: Azure Data Factory and REST APIs – Setting up a Copy activity.

Many thanks for reading.