Implementing a singleton token service

It is common to use the Singleton pattern when creating services that are consumed in multiple places in an application's codebase. The singleton pattern helps enforce the notion that only one instance of a service should exist. The following steps will walk through the implementation of generic abstract base class for a singleton and the use of it in the creation of the TokenService.


If you want to learn more about the Singleton pattern and how it can be implemented in C#, review the following resource:

As detailed in the document above, singletons share common characteristics:

  • A single constructor, which is private and parameter-less.
  • The class is sealed.
  • A static variable which holds a reference to the single created instance, if any.
  • A public static means of getting the reference to the single created instance, creating one if necessary.

When using Dependency Injection (DI), it is often possible to register services as singletons and have the DI container inject the instances as required.

The next steps will discuss a Singleton base class.

Singleton base

  1. In the Shared project, create a new folder and name it Services.

  2. Within the Services folder, create a new class and name it SingletonBase.

  3. Update the using statements to match:

    using System;
    using System.Reflection;
  4. Replace the class definition with the following:

    public abstract class SingletonBase<T> where T : class
        private static readonly Lazy<T> _instance = new Lazy<T>(() =>
                var constructor = typeof(T).GetConstructor(
                    BindingFlags.Instance |
                    BindingFlags.Public |
                    null, Type.EmptyTypes, null);
                return (T)constructor.Invoke(null);
        public static T Instance => _instance.Value;

    The class defines a private instance variable referencing an instance of the Lazy<T> class. Lazy<T> class is instantiated with a constructor that accepts an initialization function definition. This function returns an instance of type T and the Lazy<T> class ensures this function is executed in a thread-safe manner, ensuring only one instance exists.

    As the type T; that this class will be instantiating must support the singleton pattern, it will have a single constructor, which is private and parameterless. So, in order to instantiate T, reflection must be used.

    The Instance property returns the instance of T;.

TokenService implementation

The TokenService simplifies the use of the IdentityServerClient and exposes the access token. As the retrieval of the access toke is asynchronous, the class also exposes a task that is completed once the initialization is completed.

  1. Within the Services folder, create a new class and name it TokenService.

  2. Update the using statements to match:

    using System.Threading.Tasks;
    using TimeEntryUno.Shared.WebServices;

    The TimeEntryUno.Shared.WebServices namespace may differ depending on the project name.

  3. Replace the class definition with the following:

    public sealed class TokenService
        : SingletonBase<TokenService>

    Notice that the class inherits from SingletonBase.

  4. Add the following member to hold an instance of the IdentityServerClient class created earlier:

    private IdentityServerClient _identityServerClient;
  5. Add the following properties:

    public string AccessToken { get; private set; }
    // To ensure initialized, use await TokenService.Instance.Initialization;
    public Task Initialization { get; private set; }

    The first will expose the access token, whereas the second exposes the Task that tracks the completion of initialization.

  6. As this class must support the singleton pattern, add the following private constructor:

    private TokenService()
        _identityServerClient = new IdentityServerClient(
            identityServerBaseAddress: "https://localhost:5001",
            clientId: "TimeEntryUno",
            clientSecret: "A2W7aQVFQWRX",
            scope: "TimeEntryApi");
        // starts the initialization
        Initialization = InitializeAsync();

    Notice the construction of the IdentityServerClient instance, using the server properties, and the assignment of the Initialization property.


    Initialization is assigned the Task returned by the InitializeAsync call, rather than the result of an await. This allows a caller to await the initialization by using code similar to await TokenService.Instance.Initialization.

  7. Next, add the asynchronous initialization task:

    private async Task InitializeAsync()
        AccessToken = await _identityServerClient.GetAccessTokenAsync();

    As can be seen, this starts the process of retrieving the access token

  8. Finally, add an async method that ensures the service is initialized and then returns the AccessToken:

    public async Task<string> GetAccessTokenAsync()
        await Initialization;
        if (Initialization.IsCompleted && Initialization.Status == TaskStatus.RanToCompletion)
            return AccessToken;
        throw new InvalidOperationException("AccessToken is unavailable");

    This method provides the means for a consumer to ensure initialization has completed and then retrieve the access token. It first awaits the completion of the Initialization task, then checks to see if it RanToCompletion (i.e. was successful). If successful, the retrieved access token is returned, otherwise an exception is thrown.

    Here is an example of the usage:

    var api = new IdentityApi("https://localhost:6001", await TokenService.Instance.GetAccessTokenAsync());

The next task will discuss an approach to initializing the service.

TokenService initialization

As the TokenService utilizes asynchronous initialization, there is an advantage to starting the initialization process as early as feasible in the application lifecycle. An example would be adding it to the App.xaml.cs OnLaunched method, as shown below:

protected override void OnLaunched(LaunchActivatedEventArgs e)
    // start helpers
    var tokenTask = TokenService.Instance;
        async ct =>
            this.Log().LogCritical($"Unable to initialize token service - {ct.Exception.Message}");
            await ErrorDialogHelper.ShowFatalErrorAsync<FatalErrorPage>("FatalErrorTitle", "FatalInitializeError");

Notice the use of the ContinueWith method that logs an error and displays the fatal error dialog should the initialization fail.

In the next task, the token service will be leveraged within the identity service.

Next unit: Implementing an identity service client