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useAuth – the simplest way to add authentication to your React app

Omg I just built the simplest way to add authentication to your React app. Should seriously open source it

Handles everything for you. Users, login forms, redirects, sharing state between components. Everything

Click through for source
Click through for source

So I did 😎

Announcing useAuth

useAuth is the simplest way to add authentication to your React app. Handles everything for you – user management, cookies, sharing state between components, login forms, everything you need to get started.

A lot of that is handled through Auth0 right now and I'm very open to adding other providers. I like Auth0 because it's free for way more users than I'll ever have and it isn't Google 😛

You can try it out here 👉

See the code here 👉

Example code here 👉

How to use useAuth

useAuth is designed to be quick to setup. You'll need an Auth0 account with an app domain and client id.

1. Install the hook

Click through for source
Click through for source

Downloads from npm, adds to your package.json, etc. You can use npm as well.

2. Set up AuthProvider

useAuth uses an AuthProvider component to configure the Auth0 client and share state between components. It's using React context with a reducer behind the scenes, but that's an implementation detail.

I recommend adding this around your root component. In Gatsby that's done in gatsby-browser.js and gatsby-ssr.js. Yes useAuth is built so it doesn't break server-side rendering. ✌️

But of course server-side "you" will always be logged out.

Click through for source
Click through for source

<AuthProvider> creates a context, sets up a state reducer, initializes an Auth0 client and so on. Everything you need for authentication to work in your whole app :)

The API takes a couple config options:

  1. navigate – your navigation function, used for redirects. I've tested with Gatsby, but anything should work
  2. auth0_domain – from your Auth0 app
  3. auth0_client_id – from your Auth0 app
  4. auth0_params – an object that lets you overwrite any of the default Auth0 client parameters

PS: even though Auth doesn't do anything server-side, useAuth will throw errors during build, if its context doesn't exist

Default Auth0 params

By default useAuth's Auth0 client uses these params:

Click through for source
Click through for source

domain and clientID come from your props.

redirectUri is set to use the auth0_callback page on the current domain. Auth0 redirects here after users login so you can set cookies and stuff. useAuth will handle this for you ✌️

audience is set to use api/v2. I know this is necessary but honestly have been copypasting it through several of my projects.

responseType same here. I copy paste this from old projects so I figured it's a good default.

scope you need openid for social logins and to be able to fetch user profiles after authentication. Profile and Email too. You can add more via the auth0_params override.

3. Create the callback page

Auth0 and most other authentication providers use OAuth. That requires redirecting your user to their login form. After login, the provider redirects the user back to your app.

Any way of creating React pages should work, here's what I use for Gatsby.

Click through for source
Click through for source

The goal is to load a page, briefly show some text, and run the handleAuthentication method from useAuth on page load.

That method will create a cookie in local storage with your user's information and redirect back to homepage. Redirecting to other post-login pages currently isn't supported but is a good idea now that I thought of it 🤔

PS: Make sure you add <domain>/auth0_callback as a valid callback URL in your Auth0 config

4. Enjoy useAuth

You're ready to use useAuth for authentication in your React app.

Here's a login button for example:

Click through for source
Click through for source

isAuthenticated is a method that checks if the user's cookie is still valid. login and logout trigger their respective actions.

You can even say hello to your users

Click through for source
Click through for source

Check isAuthenticated then use the user object. Simple as that.

You can try it out here 👉

See the code here 👉

Example code here 👉

Hope you like it :)


PS: we'll be using and talking about useAuth in more depth at my Barcelona workshop in September

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Published on August 9th, 2019 in Front End, Technical

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