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Chapter 2. Authentication

2.1. Overview

Authentication is the act of verifying the identity of a user. PicketLink offers an extensible authentication API that allows for significant customization of the authentication process, while also providing sensible defaults for developers that wish to get up and running quickly. It also supports both synchronous and asynchronous user authentication, allowing for both a traditional style of authentication (such as logging in with a username and password), or alternatively allowing authentication via a federated identity service, such as OpenID, SAML or OAuth. This chapter will endeavour to describe the authentication API and the authentication process in some detail, and is a good place to gain a general overall understanding of authentication in PicketLink. However, please note that since authentication is a cross-cutting concern, various aspects (for example Identity Management-based authentication and Federated authentication) are documented in other chapters of this book.