In Silhouette a provider is a service that handles the authentication of an identity. It typically reads authorization information and returns information about an identity.

Social providers

A social provider allows an identity to authenticate it on your website with an existing account from an external social website like Facebook, Google or Twitter. Following you can find a list of all supported providers grouped by authentication protocol.


  • LinkedInProvider (
  • TwitterProvider (
  • XingProvider (


  • FacebookProvider (
  • FoursquareProvider (
  • GitHubProvider (
  • GoogleProvider (
  • InstagramProvider (
  • LinkedInProvider (
  • VKProvider (

Credentials provider

Silhouette supports also local authentication with the credentials provider. This provider accepts credentials and returns the login information for an identity after a successful authentication. Typically credentials consists of an identifier(a username or email address) and a password.

The provider supports the change of password hashing algorithms on the fly. Sometimes it may be possible to change the hashing algorithm used by the application. But the hashes stored in the backing store can’t be converted back into plain text passwords, to hash them again with the new algorithm. So if a user successfully authenticates after the application has changed the hashing algorithm, the provider hashes the entered password again with the new algorithm and stores the authentication info in the backing store.

Social profile builders

It can be the case that more than the common profile information supported by Silhouette should be returned from a social provider. Additional profile information could be, as example, the location or the gender of a user. To solve this issue Silhouette has a very neat solution called “profile builders”. The advantage of this solution is that it prevents a developer to duplicate existing code by overriding the providers to return the additional profile information. Instead the developer can mixin a profile builder which adds only the programming logic for the additional fields.

The default social profile builder

Silhouette ships with a built-in profile builder called CommonSocialProfileBuilder which returns the CommonSocialProfile object after successful authentication. This profile builder is mixed into all provider implementations by instantiating it with their companion objects. So instead of instantiating the provider with the new keyword, you must call the apply method on its companion object.

FacebookProvider(cacheLayer, httpLayer, oAuthSettings)


All provider implementations are abstract, so they cannot be instantiated without a profile builder. This is because of the fact that a concrete type in Scala cannot be overridden by a different concrete type. And therefore we cannot mixin the common profile builder by default, because it couldn’t be overridden by a custom profile builder.

Write a custom social profile builder

As noted above it is very easy to write your own profile builder implementations. Lets take a look on the following code examples. The first one defines a custom social profile that differs from the common social profile by the additional gender field.

case class CustomSocialProfile[A <: AuthInfo](
  loginInfo: LoginInfo,
  authInfo: A,
  firstName: Option[String] = None,
  lastName: Option[String] = None,
  fullName: Option[String] = None,
  email: Option[String] = None,
  avatarURL: Option[String] = None,
  gender: Option[String] = None) extends SocialProfile[A]

Now we create a profile builder which can be mixed into to the Facebook provider to return our previous defined custom profile.

trait CustomFacebookProfileBuilder extends SocialProfileBuilder[OAuth2Info] {
  self: FacebookProvider =>

   * Defines the profile to return by the provider.
  override type Profile = CustomSocialProfile[OAuth2Info]

   * Parses the profile from the Json response returned by the Facebook API.
  override protected def parseProfile(parser: JsonParser, json: JsValue): Try[Profile] = Try {
    val commonProfile = parser(json)
    val gender = (json \ "gender").asOpt[String]

      loginInfo = commonProfile.loginInfo,
      authInfo = commonProfile.authInfo,
      firstName = commonProfile.firstName,
      lastName = commonProfile.lastName,
      fullName = commonProfile.fullName,
      avatarURL = commonProfile.avatarURL,
      email =,
      gender = gender)

As you can see there is no need to duplicate any Json parsing. The only thing to do is to query the gender field from the Json response returned by the Facebook API.

Now you can mixin the profile builder by instantiating the Facebook provider with the profile builder.

new FacebookProvider(cacheLayer, httpLayer, oAuthSettings) with CustomFacebookProfileBuilder