A New Personal Project With Keychain and DAS

Jan 11, 2012, 7:18 PM

Tags: domino

With Apple's transition to iCloud, they're getting rid of Keychain sync. This is too bad, since that was one of the MobileMe features I actually used, loved, and never had problems with. Fortunately, all is not lost: worse comes to worse, I can pick up a copy of 1Password, which has the advantage over MobileMe of being cross-platform.

But I'm a programmer, right? Why buy something - especially for $50+ - when I can just write something myself? My needs at the moment are fairly simple - I only REALLY want a way to back up my Keychain and view it on the web, for when I'm in Windows or on my phone and want to check a password. I only use the one Mac currently, so I don't need proper sync, and I don't need to pull new passwords back down into the Keychain. Maybe down the line, but one step at a time.

The Keychain itself takes the form of a file housing a collection of records with a body of essentially arbitrary data (usually a string, but it can be different for certificates or notes), with a composite key consisting of, I think, the type, server, account, and maybe some other fields. The only thing that would make this a better test case for Domino 8.5.3's shiny new Data Access Services would be a 32-digit hexadecimal unique identifier, but it's pretty darn close as it is.

The main problem I have to getting starting is actually getting at the data. I think there are two main ways: the C-based security/Keychain API or using the "security" command-line tool, which is a more-or-less friendly wrapper for much of the same functionality. Being the lazy type that I am that only deals with C when I have to, I'm starting with the "security" tool. It has a handy "dump-keychain" command, so I can type something like "security dump-keychain login.keychain" and get a formatted list of all entries in that keychain, minus the "data" field. I can add the "-d" switch after "dump-keychain" to include that field, but that comes with a big caveat: you have to click an "Allow" button for every single item. Given that I have about 1,100 items, I'd rather avoid this fate. I've tried running it through sudo, but to no avail. I've tried fiddling with the "authorize" command in the tool, but also with no luck - I'm not sure if I'm just doing it wrong or if it's related to something else, which may or may not be what I want. I could use the "-r" switch instead of "-d" to get the encrypted data, which would satisfy my backup desire, but not my "check it from the web" desire. Absolute worst case, I could put on a movie or podcast and click "Always Allow" a thousand times.

However, once I get past that hurdle - whether it be via the C API or a lot of clicking - the rest should be easy. I should be able to create a basic database, grant DAS access to it, create a view sorted by the various components of the items' composite keys, and do a basic "view lookup, then update or create the doc" routine, pushing up the field values pretty much as-is. That should act as a perfect basic-case project for trying DAS out while also solving an actual problem I have.

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Matt Cook - Jan 12, 2012, 9:35 AM

LastPass works for me. Free for desktop. $12/year for mobile. They cover nearly all platforms and browsers.

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