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I have read the Salesforce documentation about username/password authentication here:

https://developer.salesforce.com/docs/atlas.en-us.api_rest.meta/api_rest/intro_understanding_username_password_oauth_flow.htm

and it seems that defining a connected app is mandatory as well as including the secret and its key in the headers of the http request. It appears however that some libraries, such as https://pypi.python.org/pypi/simple-salesforce are not requiring a connected-app for the username-password oauth flow.

How is this possible?

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I just yesterday implemented a little Python app using simple-salesforce! As it turns out, simple-salesforce is actually using the SOAP login() call for authentication, but provides an api middleware layer for REST.

I figured that SOAP login thing out out when I was reviewing the code in the login.py method in the simple-salesforce repo That's totally the SOAP endpoint on line 47 there...

Generally speaking, REST integrations use OAuth2.0 for authentication, but it's not carved in stone.

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  • +1 As you've observed, OAuth access tokens and SOAP login sessions are roughly analogous, and you can interchange them freely as long as they are API-enabled (for example, Lightning sessions don't work because they are API-restricted).
    – sfdcfox
    Apr 24 '17 at 20:37

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