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java HttpClient 3.x : a portable SSL Socket Factory implementation

I was just trying to implement client and server authentication over SSL on IBM Websphere 6 (JRE 1.4.2)...

[...]

It may sound awkward in 2012, but if you wish the HTTPS server to identify your Java client (versus : only the server is identified), you will have to write your own implementation of a socket factory.

The Java Runtime Environment doesn't provide ready-to-use classes to do this. Yes : there is javax.net.ssl.SSLSocketFactory.getDefault() but it requires to set some system (therefore global) properties to point to the certificates files !!!

Even with Apache's HttpClient (at least version 3.x), you have to use a custom SSLProtocolSocketFactory.

The HttpClient SSL Guide provides sample code to implement mutual client and server authentication ; unfortunately the latest stable release of it (contrib 3.1) is bound to Sun's API with imports such as com.sun.net.ssl.KeyManagerFactory. Needless to say that this will not work on an IBM Websphere JRE...

This article contains an implementation of a SSLProtocolSocketFactory for HttpClient, to whom may be interested...

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