Exercise - Create ASP.NET MVC web app and register Azure AD app

In this exercise, you'll create an ASP.NET MVC web application with Visual Studio and Azure AD application with the Azure Active Directory admin center. Once the application is created, you'll then add the necessary packages and libraries that support user authentication and requesting data from Microsoft Graph.

Create ASP.NET MVC web application

Open Visual Studio, and select Create a new project.

In the Create new project dialog, choose the ASP.NET Web Application (.NET Framework) option that uses C#, then select Next.

Visual Studio 2019 Create New Project dialog

Enter graph-tutorial in the Project name field and select Create.

Visual Studio 2019 Configure New Project dialog


Ensure that you enter the exact same name for the Visual Studio Project that is specified in these instructions. The Visual Studio Project name becomes part of the namespace in the code. The code inside these instructions depends on the namespace matching the Visual Studio Project name specified in these instructions. If you use a different project name the code will not compile unless you adjust all the namespaces to match the Visual Studio Project name you enter when you create the project.

Select MVC and select Create.

Visual Studio 2019 Create new ASP.NET web application dialog

Press F5 or select Debug > Start Debugging. If everything is working, your default browser should open and display a default ASP.NET page.

Add NuGet packages

Before moving on, update the bootstrap NuGet package, and install some additional NuGet packages that you'll use later:

Select Tools > NuGet Package Manager > Package Manager Console.

In the Package Manager Console, enter the following commands.

Update-Package bootstrap
Install-Package Microsoft.Owin.Host.SystemWeb
Install-Package Microsoft.Owin.Security.OpenIdConnect
Install-Package Microsoft.Owin.Security.Cookies
Install-Package Microsoft.Identity.Client -Version 4.22.0
Install-Package Microsoft.Graph -Version 3.21.0


There is currently an issue with Visual Studio tooling when using versions of the Microsoft.Identity.Client package later that 4.22.0. There is a workaround for this issue but it involves manually editing the project file and thus is not covered in this tutorial. For more information, please see ASP.NET Classic projects fail to build because of MSAL's WinRT reference (Must use PackageReference).

Design the app

In this section, you'll create the basic structure of the application.

Create a basic OWIN startup class. Right-click the graph-tutorial folder in Solution Explorer and select Add > New Item. Choose the OWIN Startup Class template, name the file Startup.cs, and select Add.

Right-click the Models folder in Solution Explorer and select Add > Class.... Name the class Alert and select Add. Replace the entire contents of Alert.cs with the following code.

namespace graph_tutorial.Models
    // Used to flash error messages in the app's views.
    public class Alert
        public const string AlertKey = "TempDataAlerts";
        public string Message { get; set; }
        public string Debug { get; set; }

Open the ./Views/Shared/_Layout.cshtml file, and replace its entire contents with the following code to update the global layout of the app.

    var alerts = TempData.ContainsKey(graph_tutorial.Models.Alert.AlertKey)
        ? (List<graph_tutorial.Models.Alert>)TempData[graph_tutorial.Models.Alert.AlertKey]
        : new List<graph_tutorial.Models.Alert>();

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <meta charset="utf-8" />
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <title>ASP.NET Graph Tutorial</title>

    <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://use.fontawesome.com/releases/v5.1.0/css/all.css"

    <nav class="navbar navbar-expand-md navbar-dark fixed-top bg-dark">
        <div class="container">
            @Html.ActionLink("ASP.NET Graph Tutorial", "Index", "Home", new { area = "" }, new { @class = "navbar-brand" })
            <button class="navbar-toggler" type="button" data-toggle="collapse" data-target="#navbarCollapse"
                    aria-controls="navbarCollapse" aria-expanded="false" aria-label="Toggle navigation">
                <span class="navbar-toggler-icon"></span>
            <div class="collapse navbar-collapse" id="navbarCollapse">
                <ul class="navbar-nav mr-auto">
                    <li class="nav-item">
                        @Html.ActionLink("Home", "Index", "Home", new { area = "" },
                            new { @class = ViewBag.Current == "Home" ? "nav-link active" : "nav-link" })
                    @if (Request.IsAuthenticated)
                        <li class="nav-item" data-turbolinks="false">
                            @Html.ActionLink("Calendar", "Index", "Calendar", new { area = "" },
                                new { @class = ViewBag.Current == "Calendar" ? "nav-link active" : "nav-link" })
                <ul class="navbar-nav justify-content-end" style="align-items:center;">
                    <li class="nav-item">
                        <a class="nav-link" href="https://developer.microsoft.com/graph/docs/concepts/overview" target="_blank">
                            <i class="fas fa-external-link-alt mr-1"></i>Docs
                    @if (Request.IsAuthenticated)
                        <li class="nav-item dropdown">
                            <a class="nav-link dropdown-toggle" data-toggle="dropdown" href="#" role="button" aria-haspopup="true" aria-expanded="false">
                                @if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(ViewBag.User.Avatar))
                                    <img src="@ViewBag.User.Avatar" class="rounded-circle align-self-center mr-2" style="width: 32px;">
                                    <i class="far fa-user-circle fa-lg rounded-circle align-self-center mr-2" style="width: 32px;"></i>
                            <div class="dropdown-menu dropdown-menu-right">
                                <h5 class="dropdown-item-text mb-0">@ViewBag.User.DisplayName</h5>
                                <p class="dropdown-item-text text-muted mb-0">@ViewBag.User.Email</p>
                                <div class="dropdown-divider"></div>
                                @Html.ActionLink("Sign Out", "SignOut", "Account", new { area = "" }, new { @class = "dropdown-item" })
                        <li class="nav-item">
                            @Html.ActionLink("Sign In", "SignIn", "Account", new { area = "" }, new { @class = "nav-link" })
    <main role="main" class="container">
        @foreach (var alert in alerts)
            <div class="alert alert-danger" role="alert">
                <p class="mb-3">@alert.Message</p>
                @if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(alert.Debug))
                    <pre class="alert-pre border bg-light p-2"><code>@alert.Debug</code></pre>

    @RenderSection("scripts", required: false)


This code adds Bootstrap for simple styling, and Font Awesome for some simple icons. It also defines a global layout with a nav bar, and uses the Alert class to display any alerts.

Open Content/Site.css and replace its entire contents with the following code.

body {
    padding-top: 4.5rem;

.alert-pre {
    word-wrap: break-word;
    word-break: break-all;
    white-space: pre-wrap;

Open the Views/Home/Index.cshtml file and replace its contents with the following.

    ViewBag.Current = "Home";

<div class="jumbotron">
    <h1>ASP.NET Graph Tutorial</h1>
    <p class="lead">This sample app shows how to use the Microsoft Graph API to access a user's data from ASP.NET</p>
    @if (Request.IsAuthenticated)
        <h4>Welcome @ViewBag.User.DisplayName!</h4>
        <p>Use the navigation bar at the top of the page to get started.</p>
        @Html.ActionLink("Click here to sign in", "SignIn", "Account", new { area = "" }, new { @class = "btn btn-primary btn-large" })

Right-click the Controllers folder in Solution Explorer and select Add > Controller.... Choose MVC 5 Controller - Empty and select Add. Name the controller BaseController and select Add. Replace the contents of BaseController.cs with the following code.

using graph_tutorial.Models;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Web.Mvc;

namespace graph_tutorial.Controllers
    public abstract class BaseController : Controller
        protected void Flash(string message, string debug=null)
            var alerts = TempData.ContainsKey(Alert.AlertKey) ?
                (List<Alert>)TempData[Alert.AlertKey] :
                new List<Alert>();

            alerts.Add(new Alert
                Message = message,
                Debug = debug

            TempData[Alert.AlertKey] = alerts;

Open Controllers/HomeController.cs and change the public class HomeController : Controller line to:

public class HomeController : BaseController

Save all of your changes and restart the server. Now, the app should look different.

A screenshot of the redesigned home page

Create an Azure AD application

In this section, you'll create a new Azure AD web application registration using the Azure Active Directory admin center.

Determine your ASP.NET app's SSL URL. In Visual Studio's Solution Explorer, select the graph-tutorial project. In the Properties window, find the value of SSL URL. Copy this value.

Screenshot of the Visual Studio Properties window

Open a browser and navigate to the Azure Active Directory admin center (https://aad.portal.azure.com). Sign in using a Work or School Account that has global administrator rights to the tenancy.

Select Azure Active Directory in the left-hand navigation.

Select Manage > App registrations in the left-hand navigation.

Screenshot of the App registrations

On the App registrations page, select New registration.

Screenshot of App Registrations page

Select New registration. On the Register an application page, set the values as follows.

  • Set Name to ASP.NET Graph Tutorial.
  • Set Supported account types to Accounts in any organizational directory and personal Microsoft accounts.
  • Under Redirect URI, set the first drop-down to Web and set the value to the ASP.NET app URL you previously obtained in this section.

A screenshot of the Register an application page

Select Register. On the ASP.NET Graph Tutorial page, copy the value of the Application (client) ID and save it, you'll need it in the next step.

A screenshot of the application ID of the new app registration

Select Authentication under Manage. Locate the Implicit grant section and enable ID tokens.

Select Save in the top menu to save your changes.

A screenshot of the Implicit grant section

Select Certificates & secrets under Manage. Select the New client secret button. Enter a value in Description and select one of the options for Expires and select Add.

A screenshot of the Add a client secret dialog

Copy the client secret value before you leave this page. You'll need it in the next step.


This client secret is never shown again, so make sure you copy it now.

A screenshot of the newly added client secret


In this exercise, you created an ASP.NET MVC web application with Visual Studio and Azure AD application with the Azure Active Directory admin center. With the application created, you then added the necessary packages and libraries that support user authentication and requesting data from Microsoft Graph.

Test your knowledge


Microsoft Graph supports access tokens generated for users that are signed in using which types of accounts?


What benefits does Microsoft Graph have over using individual service endpoints?