Credentials & Resources
  • 20 Apr 2021
  • 5 Minutes to read
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Credentials & Resources

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  • PDF

Article summary

Otter has two related features that help you share resources across scripts:

  • Secure Credentials store accounts, logins, and access keys that contain secrets (i.e. encrypted fields that are visible only to privileged users)
  • Secure Resources provide access to a particular resource (such as a Git repository), and may be associated with a Secure Credential

Secure Credential & Secure Resource Types

There are a few types of credentials that are built-in to Otter:

  • Private Key is primarily used by the SSH-based agent when key-based authentication is needed.
  • Username & Password contains a username (visible) and password (secret), and is used to represent a general-purpose account, such as a Windows domain account.
  • API Key/Token contains just a token property (which is secret), and is used by a variety of resources

There are also a few built-in resource types:

  • Inedo BuildMaster; Connect to an instance of BuildMaster.
  • Inedo Otter; Connect to an instance of Otter.
  • Inedo ProGet; Connect to an instance of ProGet.
  • NuGet Package Feed; Interact with packages on a NuGet feed.
  • Universal Package Feed; Interact with packages on a ProGet-hosted universal feed.

However, because these are implemented as extensions, many integrations like Azure DevOps, Jira, Jenkins, etc. will add additional types.

Creating & Editing Secure Credentials

You manage secure credentials under Administration > Secure Credentials.

All secure credentials have the following properties:

  • Name - a name of up to 50 characters that will be used to reference the resource credential; while you can change the name later, any operation or component that relied on that name will no longer be able to find it
  • Environment - optional; restricts what environments the credential may be used in, and which users have access to it
  • OtterScript Usage - optional; you can allow the $CredentialProperty variable function to extract secure properties
  • Environment Restriction - optional; when set, a runtime error will occur when this credential is used in a deployment plan that is not running in the same environment

Depending on the type of secure credential, there will be other fields like Username or Password that you can edit.

Secret fields (like Password) will be displayed as an empty textbox, and entering a value in the textbox will change it. You can click the "Show Secret fields" button to show these values if you have the appropriate permissions.

Using Credentials and Resources

Most Operations that work with resources and/or credentials will let you use a secure resource name and/or a secure credential name.

For example, although the AzureDevOps::Get-Source operation has all the properties necessary to connect to a Azure DevOps repository (InstanceUrl, Usernname, Token, Project, etc.), you can simply specify a configured secure resource name instead.

    From: MyAzureDevOpsResource

At runtime, the operation will search for a secure resource named MyAzureDevOpsResource. If that secure resource has a secure credential name configured, then the associated secure credential will also be used.

Note that, if the credential has "restricted to environment use" configured, then this will only be permitted if the deployment plan is running in the same environment. This can be frustrating and unintuitive to your users, so be careful when using it.

Limiting Secure Credential Access

You may want to permit or restrict certain users from accessing certain secure credentials, such as allowing Developers to manage credentials in the Integration and Testing environments. This is done by associating credentials with an environment, and then creating the appropriate access controls scoped to that environment.

There are two task attributes you can use to control this access:

  • Manage Credentials will allow you to view, delete, and edit credentials, but not view existing encrypted/sensitive fields
  • View Passwords will allow you to view encrypted/sensitive fields on a credential

On the manage credentials page, users will only see the credentials they have permission to manage, and will only be able to create credentials in permitted environments.

Accessing Properties from OtterScript

Most Operations will simply input the name of a Secure Resource or Secure Credential, and use the properties you've configured. However, there may be times when you need to access the configured properties, such as such as if you want to pass a username or password to a script or command-line utility.

To access the properties of a configured Secure Credential or Secure Property from within OtterScript, you can use the $SecureCredentialProperty and $SecureResourceProperty functions.

set $host = $CredentialProperty(InternalProGet, ServerUrl);

exec sometool.exe --host $host;

By default, accessing secret properties of a secure credential will raise an error. This is to prevent malicious OtterScript like this:

# NOTE - this won't actually work unless you explciitly allow it
    Subject: Username is $HdarsUser and password is $HdarsPassword

If you absolutely need to access secret field on a Secure Credential (such as a Password or API Token), you'll need to enable variable usage on that credential. Here is a case where you may need to do that:

set $HDarsUser = $SecureCredentialProperty(UsernamePassword::HDarsUser, UserName);
set $HDarsPassword = $SecureCredentialProperty(UsernamePassword::HDarsUser, Password);
exec hdars-tool.exe --user $HdarsUser -- pass $HdarsPassword;

If you have important credentials, you should strongly consider writing a custom operation that can securely handle the credentials.

Legacy Resource Credentials (Otter v1 & v22)

Prior to Otter 3.0, a single feature called "Resource Credentials" was used instead of Secure Credentials and Secure Resources. These will appear with a warning icon on the secure credentials page.

While Resource Credentials are considered a "Legacy Feature", you can still create and edit them as needed. In some cases, such as custom/community extensions, they may be the only option, until the extension is adapted to use the new features.

Many operations that utilize a Secure Resource will attempt to search for a Resource Credential if the specified Secure Resource was not found. This enables upgrades without breaking previous OtterScripts plans and modules.

Converting to Secure Credentials & Resources

You can "convert" a Resource Credential into a Secure Credentials and/or Secure Resources from the manage secure credentials page. This is a one-way conversion, so make sure to save important information (like the password) if you need to recreate it.

For example, a "GitHub Resource Credential" would convert to a "GitHub Account" (Secure Credential) and a "GitHub Project" (Secure Resource), unless the Username was empty; in that case, it will only be converted to a Secure Resource.

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