SKY API add-in client


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30Sep 15, 2018Aug 23, 2017Minified + gzip package size for @blackbaud/sky-api-addin in KB



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The SKY API add-in library facilitates creating custom add-ins to extend UI experiences within Blackbaud applications. There are various flavors of extension points, but the general pattern is the same. The add-in is registered by providing the URL that will be loaded in an iframe within the application.

This library must be used in your add-in for it to render in the Blackbaud application. The AddinClient class will integrate with the host page, passing data and commands between the host and the add-in.



This library makes extensive use of ES6-style Promises, so in order to support browsers that do not yet have native support for Promises (such as Internet Explorer 11) you will need to include a Promise polyfill such as es6-promise and use the auto-polyfill feature of the library so that Promise is added to the global environment. This will need to be loaded on your page before the add-in library.


  • Ensure that you have Node v6+ and NPM v3+. To verify this, run node -v and npm -v at the command line.
  • Install the library as a dependency of your project by running npm install @blackbaud/sky-api-addin --save in your project's folder.

Vanilla JavaScript/ES5

The SKY API add-in library is also distributed as a UMD bundle. If you're using ES5 with Node or a tool like Browserify you can require() it:

var BBSkyApiAddin = require('@blackbaud/sky-api-addin');
var client = new BBSkyApiAddin.AddinClient({...});

If you are not using a module loader at all, then you can load the dist/bundles/sky-api-addin.umd.js file onto your page via a <script> element or concatenated with the rest of your page's JavaScript, and access it via the global BBSkyApiAddin variable:

// BBSkyApiAddin is global here.
var client = new BBSkyApiAddin.AddinClient({...});


Initializing the add-in

All add-ins must use this library in order to show in the host application. You will need to construct the AddinClient and register for any callbacks from the host page that you wish to handle. You must register for init, which will pass key context information to your add-in.

Your init function will be called with an arguments object that contains:

  • envId - The environment ID for the host page
  • context - Additional context of the host page, which will vary for different extension points.
  • ready - A callback to inform the add-in client that the add-in is initialized and ready to be shown.

Using the information provided in the init arguments, the add-in should determine if and how it should be rendered. Then it should call the ready callback, informing the host page.

var client = new AddinClient({
  callbacks: {
    init: (args) => {
      args.ready({ showUI: true, title: 'My Custom Tile Title' });

Tile and tab add-ins

For tile or tab add-ins, the URL for the add-in will be rendered in a visible iframe on the page, where you can render any custom content. The iframe will initially be hidden until an initialize protocol is completed between the host and the add-in.

The host page will handle rendering the tile or tab component around the add-in iframe. When calling the ready callback, the title field will indicate the title for the tile or tab component. Initially, the entire tile/tab will be hidden, and will show on the page if showUI is set to true in the callback. You can set it to false to indicate that the tile/tab should not be shown, based on the user's privileges or context of the current record, etc.

Tile and tab add-ins will automatically track the height of the add-in's content and resize its container accordingly.

Note: at this time, only Tile add-ins are supported. Tab add-ins are planned as a future enhancement.

Button add-ins (also not yet supported, but coming soon)

For button add-ins, the add-in iframe will always be hidden. The init protocol is still used, where showUI indicates whether the button should show or not on the page. The title field will specify the label for the button.

When doing a button add-in, an additional callback for buttonClick should be configured. This will be invoked whenever the user clicks the button for the add-in to take action.

var client = new AddinClient({
  callbacks: {
    init: (args) => {
      args.ready({ showUI: true, title: 'My Custom Button Label' });
    buttonClick: () => {
      // Show a modal or take action.

Showing a modal

Add-ins are capable of launching a "modal" user experience to show more details or gather additional input from the user. The modal will be rendered in a separate full-screen iframe to maximum the available real estate (meaning, it will not be scoped to the bounds of the add-in's iframe).

To launch a modal, call the showModal function on the client, passing the URL for the modal and any context data needed by the modal:

// Parent add-in launching a modal
var client = new AddinClient({...});
  url: '<modal-addin-url>',
  context: { /* arbitrary context object to pass to modal */ }
Modal add-in

The host page will launch a full screen iframe for the URL provided, and load it as an add-in the same way it does for other types of add-ins. The modal page must also pull in the SKY API add-in library and make use of the AddinClient.

The modal add-in will be responsible for rendering the modal element itself (including any chrome around the modal content). To create a native modal experience, the add-in may set the body background to transparent and launch a SKY UX modal within its full screen iframe.

As with a typical add-in, the modal add-in should register for the init callback and will receive envId in the arguments. The context field for arguments will match the context object passed into the showModal call from the parent add-in. Note that this is crossing iframes so the object has been serialized and deserialized. It can be used for passing data but not functions.

Closing the modal

The modal add-in is responsible for triggering the close with the closeModal function on the client. It is able to pass context information back to the parent add-in:

// Modal add-in rendered in full screen iframe
var client = new AddinClient({...});
  context: { /* arbitrary context object to pass to parent add-in */ }

The parent add-in can listen to the close event via the modalClosed Promise returned from showModal. The Promise will resolve when the modal is closed, and will include the context data returned from the modal:

// Parent add-in launching a modal
var client = new AddinClient({...});
var modal = client.showModal({
  url: '<modal-addin-url>',
  context: { /* arbitrary context object to pass to modal */ }

modal.modalClosed.then((context) => {
  // Handle that the modal is closed.
  // Use the context data passed back from closeModal.

Navigating the parent page

The add-in can choose to navigate the parent page based on user interactions. To do so, call the navigate method on the AddinClient object. This function takes an object argument with property url for where to navigate. A fully qualified url should be used.

var client = new AddinClient({...});
client.navigate({ url: '<target_url>' });

Opening a BB Help tab

The add-in can instruct the parent page to display the Help tab, and specify which page to display. To do this, call the openHelp method on the AddinClient object. This function takes an object argument with property helpKey for the name of the help tab to display. A single .html file should be named.

var client = new AddinClient({...});
client.openHelp({ helpKey: '<target_page>.html' });


SKY API add-ins support a single-sign-on (SSO) mechanism that can be used to correlate the Blackbaud user with a user in the add-in's native system.

The AddinClient provides a getAuthToken function for getting a short-lived "user identity token" from the host page. This token is a signed value that is issued to the SKY API application and represents the Blackbaud user's identity.

The general flow is that when an add-in is instantiated, it can request a user identity token from the host page using the getAuthtoken function. The host page will return the user identity token to the add-in. The add-in can then pass the token to its own backend, where it can be validated and used to look up a user in the add-in's native system. If a user mapping exists, then the add-in can present content to the user. If no user mapping exists, the add-in can prompt the user to login. Once the user's identity in the native system is known, the add-in can persist the user mapping so that on subsequent loads the user doesn't have to log in again (even across devices).

Note that the user identity token is a JWT that is signed by the SKY API OAuth 2.0 service, but it cannot be used to make calls to the SKY API. In order to make SKY API calls, a proper SKY API access token must be obtained.

Getting the user identity token

The getAuthToken function will return a Promise which will resolve with the token value.

var client = new AddinClient({...});
client.getAuthToken().then((token: string) => {
  // use the token.
  var userIdentityToken = token;
  . . .
Validating the token

After obtaining a user identity token from the host page, the add-in can pass the token to its own backend. The backend should first validate the token against the SKY API OpenIDConnect endpoint in order to ensure that it hasn't expired or been altered in any way. This validation step is required in order for the backend to trust the user identity token.

The OpenIDConnect configuration can be found at https://oauth2.sky.blackbaud.com/.well-known/openid-configuration.

Developers building add-ins in .NET can make use of a Blackbaud-provided library to assist with validating the user identity token. This library is distributed as a NuGet package named Blackbaud.Addin.TokenAuthentication. The package wraps up the logic for validating the user identity token JWT, and can be found at https://www.nuget.org/packages/Blackbaud.Addin.tokenAuthentication.

The following C# code snippet shows how to use the Blackbaud.Addin.TokenAuthentication library to validate the raw JWT token value passed in from the add-in client:

// this represents the user identity token returned from getAuthToken()
var rawToken = "(raw token value)";

// this is the ID of the developer's SKY API application
var applicationId = "(some application ID)";

// create and validate the user identity token
UserIdentityToken uit;
    uit = await UserIdentityToken.ParseAsync(rawToken, applicationId);

    // if valid, the UserId property contains the Blackbaud user's ID
    var userId = uit.UserId;
catch (TokenValidationException ex)
    // process the exception

Once the token has been validated, the add-in's backend will know the Blackbaud user ID and can determine if a user mapping exists for a user in the add-in's system. If a mapping exists, then the add-in's backend can immediately present the content for the add-in. If no user mapping exists, the add-in can prompt the user to login.

If you find any bugs or have a feature request, please open an issue on github!

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