August 8, 2023
All web apps today need users to sign in and share their info to make their own profiles. This helps the app give them a personalized experience securely. There are two ways that the developers can authenticate the users – either they can create their own authentication system or they can use an identity and access management service that provides secure user registration and login capabilities with built-in login pages.
How it works
When your user logs in, Authgear creates a special ID Token that gets sent back to your app:
When the user hits your "login" button or links in your client app, your app sends them to the Authgear sign-in page. You can also customize this page.
The user logs into Authgear using one of the log in options you've set up (like username/password, social media log-in, passwordless, or email magic link).
After the user is authenticated, your app asks for the user's ID Token.
Authgear then gives the user's ID Token back to your app.
The implementation of authentication for SPA apps consists of two parts. In the first part, you create an Authgear app, choose a logging method and customize the sign-in UI page(optional). The second part covers the use of Authgear’s Web SDK to trigger authentication flow such as log-in, and log-out.
You’ll need to create an application so you know which users can log into which apps. The Authgear application is where you will configure how you want authentication to work for the project you are developing.
Once logged into Authgear Portal, navigate to the "Applications" tab and click "Add Application."
Choose an appropriate application type (Single Page Application) and provide a name for your application.
Click “Save” and skip to the next tutorial page or you can also follow the getting started guide to set up the new application.
Configure the application
After creating the application, you'll be directed to the "Settings" tab, where you can configure the application's settings.
Configure Authorized Redirect URIs
An Authorized Redirect URI is a URL in your application where Authgear redirects the user after they have authenticated. You should set it to http://localhost:3000 where our SPA is running. We will create it in part 2.
Configure Post Logout Redirect URIs
A Post Logout Redirect URI is a URL in your application that Authgear can return to after the user has been logged out of the Authgear authorization server. For the logout URL, you need to set the same address http://localhost:3000.
Click "Save" and keep the Endpoint and Client ID in mind. You will need it when initializing the connection through Authgear SDK for Web in your SPA code.
Every application in Authgear is assigned an alphanumeric, unique client ID that your application code will use to call Authgear APIs through the SDK.
Configure the sign-in methods
Authgear supports a wide range of authentication methods. From the “Authentication” tab, you can choose a login method for your users. Options are including, by email, mobile, or social, just using a username or the custom method you specify. For simplicity, you can choose the Email and Passwordless options:
Part 2: Add Authentication to your web page
Follow the steps to create a simple SPA app and learn how to use Authgear Web SDK to integrate Authgear into your application. You can also view a full-source code on the GitHub repo.
Before we start, ensure you have Node.js installed in your system. If not, download and install it from the official website.
Create a basic web server
npm init -y
Next we install two required packages:
npm install express
Also install [nodemon](<https://npmjs.org/package/nodemon>) so that our server can be restarted automatically on any code changes in dev mode:
npm install -D nodemon
Next, open the package.json file and edit scripts entry to have start and dev commands like the below:
To keep the demo simple, we do not use a package manager such as Webpack, we will retrieve the Authgear Web SDK from Authgear's CDN using IIFE(Immediately-invoked Function Expression) bundle. We can reference a script in our HTML directly:
You can install the Authgear Web SDK as a dependency of your application, it is useful if you are building React or React Native apps. See how to install the package.
Create a main.css file
Create a new folder called public folder in the project root folder and create another folder called css inside the public folder. Add a new file in there called main.css. This will be used to determine how the log-in and log-out button elements will be hidden on the main page depending on whether a user is authenticated or not.
Open the newly-created public/css/main.css file and add the following CSS:
After creating an HTML file and applying CSS styles, see now how our page looks like by running npm run dev and accessing it at http://localhost:3000.
Create an app.js file
To add some action to the page, we create a new directory in the public folder called js, and add a new file in there called app.js. Copy and paste the following JS code that reads authgear_config.json file Authgear app specific values (endpoint and clientId) from the endpoint using fetchAuthConfig function. Also, it configures a new Authgear client, and defines login and logout logic:
Let’s breakdown down app.js code in the previous section and understand how authentication is achieved with Authgear:
Configure the Authgear client
fetchAuthConfig: Firstly, this function makes a request to the /authgear_config.json endpoint we exposed in server.js to fetch Authgear app setting values from authgear_config.jsonfile.
configureClient: Once we retrieve the configuration information for the Authgear client from the authgear_config.json file and we set up the Authgear client with these settings. It also logs a message to the console, informing whether the configuration was successful or not.
login: The login function is called by the Login button previously defined in the HTML page. It performs the login action by calling authgearClient.startAuthentication Authgear’s function. It redirects the user to the Auhthgear login page. After the user logs in successfully, they will be redirected back to the same page we set in redirectURI. Run the project and click the Login button. You should be taken to the Authgear Login Page configured for your application. Go ahead and create a new user or log in using an email (we specified the Passwordless Email login method in the first part). When you try to log in with your email, you should receive a magic link to your email box to confirm login operation.
After authenticating successfully, you will be redirected to the page you were before.
logout: This function logs the user out and redirects them back to the original page (at http://localhost:3000). It uses Authgear’s logout function and logs a message to the console indicating the result of the operation.
Update the UI
window.onload: This is a function that runs when the page loads. It configures the Authgear client and updates the UI. If the page's URL contains a "code=" which means the user is authenticated (code query will be received from Authgear server), it updates the UI again and removes the "code=" from the URL.
Evaluate the authentication state
updateUI: This function updates the status of the login and logout buttons based on whether the user is authenticated or not. In Authgear, you can check if the user has logged in or not with sessionState attribute. If the user is authenticated, we disable the login button and enable the logout button, and vice versa if the user is not authenticated.