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A client library which allows easy integration of our Frontier authentication framework with JavaScript applications
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README.md

Frontier JavaScript Client Build Status

Include Frontier Authentication Support In Your Application

This module makes it trivial to include Frontier authentication support in your next application, with an easy to use API wrapper which automatically signs requests and validates and caches responses according to the server's preferences.

Application

The core of the Frontier client is an Application instance, which is responsible for delegating all API calls and creating the required Express middlewares you will be using. When creating an application instance, you need to provide an options object with a number of configuration details which are used to ensure everything works smoothly.

The default MemoryStore is extremely fast, however it isn't the best option if you're looking to scale your application horizontally - in which case you should look at implementing a custom store based on something like Redis.

var requiredOptions = {
	server: 'http://auth.sierrasoftworks.com',

	id: 'app_id',
	privatekey: 'private_key',
	callback: 'http://myapp.com/auth'
};

var extraOptions = {
	store: new Frontier.MemoryStore(), // Default
	sessionCookie: '_frontier', // Default
	sessionHeader: 'x-frontier' // Default
};

var myApp = new Frontier.Application(options);

Options

  • server allows you to specify the web address of the authentication server you plan to be using for your users. If you have your own Frontier server, or a custom server which implements the Frontier API, you can specify it here.
  • id is your application's unique identifier, you can view this on your application's management page within Frontier.
  • privatekey is your application's secure private key, you can also find this on the application's management page and you should keep it secret if possible.
  • callback is the address of the callback you provided when registering your application with Frontier. It is used to check the validity of an authentication request and you should ensure that it is correct.

Extra Options

  • store is the caching store you wish to use, the default Frontier.MemoryStore is useful for debugging or basic applications but doesn't scale well horizontally, or with sparse requests - you should replace it with something like Redis.
  • sessionCookie determines the cookie used by Frontier to store your user's authentication/session token. The default _frontier should suffice for most situations.
  • sessionHeader is useful if you are providing an API and need a better way of authenticating requests than attempting to hack cookies into them. You can use the default x-frontier header to provide the user's session token and the session middleware will handle the rest.

API Methods

The Frontier API gives you a number of tools for managing your application's users - you can read the documentation for more information. This module provides a lightweight wrapper around the API with automatic response caching in line with the server's response X-Expires field.

Accounts

The accounts API allows you to quickly retrieve all pertinent information relating to the specific user or users. It effectively includes the output of the Tags, Permissions and Details APIs, allowing you to access this information using a single request.

myApp.api.account.get(username, function(err, account) {
	/*
	{
		id: "username",
		details: {
			fullname: "User Name",
			email: "user@name.com",
			birthdate: "1993-02-14T00:00:00.000Z",
			avatar: "https://www.gravatar.com/avatar/0000000000000000"
		},
		permissions: {},
		tags: []
	}
	*/	
});

myApp.api.account.get(query, function(err, account) {
	/*
	{
    	"user_id": {
	        "id": "user_id",
	        "details": {
	            "fullname": "My Full Name",
	            "email": "my_email@test.com",
	            "birthdate": "1993-02-14T00:00:00.000Z",
	            "avatar": "https://www.gravatar.com/avatar/0000000000000000"
	        },
	        "permissions": { },
	        "tags": []
	    }
	}
	*/	
});

Login

If you're implementing an application which is unable to redirect the user to the Frontier login page (the preferred method of authentication) then you can use the login API to acquire a session key for the user. Take note that this will only allow users who have previously authorized your application to login, other users will return a 404 Not Found error (the same as for invalid usernames).

myApp.api.login(username, password, deviceName, function(err, response) {
	/*
	{
		sessionkey: 'xxxxxxxxxxx',
		expires: new Date(1234567890)
	}
	*/
});

Permissions

The permissions API allows you to easily access, assign, grant and revoke permissions for specific users - or groups of tagged users. The query parameter can either be a username or a tag query.

myApp.api.permissions.get(username, function(err, permissions) {
	/*{ }*/
});

myApp.api.permissions.assign(username, permissions, function(err, latestPermissions) {
	/*{ }*/
});

myApp.api.permissions.grant(username, permissions, function(err, latestPermissions) {
	/*{ }*/
});

myApp.api.permissions.revoke(username, permissions, function(err, latestPermissions) {
	/*{ }*/
});

myApp.api.permissions.get(query, function(err, permissions) {
	/*{ username1: {}, username2: {} }*/
});

myApp.api.permissions.assign(query, permissions, function(err, latestPermissions) {
	/*{ username1: {}, username2: {} }*/
});

myApp.api.permissions.grant(query, permissions, function(err, latestPermissions) {
	/*{ username1: {}, username2: {} }*/
});

myApp.api.permissions.revoke(query, permissions, function(err, latestPermissions) {
	/*{ username1: {}, username2: {} }*/
});

Tags

The tags API allows you to access, assign, add and remove tags from users to make managing them easier. Methods in this API accept both single tags and arrays of tags, and can be called on either a username or a tag query.

myApp.api.tags.get(username, function(err, tags) {
	/*[]*/
});

myApp.api.tags.assign(username, tags, function(err, tags) {
	/*[]*/
});

myApp.api.tags.add(username, tags, function(err, tags) {
	/*[]*/
});

myApp.api.tags.remove(username, tags, function(err, tags) {
	/*[]*/
});

myApp.api.tags.get(query, function(err, tags) {
	/*{ username1: [], username2: [] }*/
});

myApp.api.tags.assign(query, tags, function(err, tags) {
	/*{ username1: [], username2: [] }*/
});

myApp.api.tags.add(query, tags, function(err, tags) {
	/*{ username1: [], username2: [] }*/
});

myApp.api.tags.remove(query, tags, function(err, tags) {
	/*{ username1: [], username2: [] }*/
});

Sessions

The sessions API allows you to check the validity of a session key provided by a user, allowing your application to quickly determine the identify of a user without redirecting them to the Frontier authentication portal each time.

myApp.api.sessions.check(sessionkey, function(err, valid) {
	/*true*/
});

myApp.api.sessions.user(sessionkey, function(err, username) {
	/*{ "id": "user_id" }*/
});

myApp.api.sessions.details(sessionkey, function(err, details) {
	/*
	{
	    "id": ":user_id",
	    "details": {
	        "fullname": "User Name",
	        "email": "user_id@test.com",
	        "birthdate": "2014-01-12T16:40:53.143Z",
	        "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/0000000000000000"
	    },
	    "permissions": { },
	    "tags": []
	}
	*/
});

myApp.api.sessions.close(sessionkey, function(err) {});

Details

You can use the details API to quickly get a small amount of information about a user, including their name, email address and date of birth. In most cases this should be enough information for your application, however if additional info is required you should store it locally.

myApp.api.details.get(username, function(err, details) {
	/*
	{
		"fullname": "My Full Name",
	    "email": "my_email@test.com",
	    "birthdate": "1993-02-14T00:00:00.000Z",
	    "avatar": "https://www.gravatar.com/avatar/0000000000000000"
	}
	*/
});

myApp.api.details.get(query, function(err, details) {
	/*
	{
		"user_id": {
			"fullname": "My Full Name",
		    "email": "my_email@test.com",
		    "birthdate": "1993-02-14T00:00:00.000Z",
		    "avatar": "https://www.gravatar.com/avatar/0000000000000000"
		}
	}
	*/
});

Response Caching

To help improve performance of your application, Frontier allows you to cache responses from its API for a small period of time. This module includes support for caching out of the box, but the default cache store is an in-memory cache. While this is sufficient for testing, we recommend using something like Redis for production environments.

This is an example of a Redis cache store which you could use as a drop in replacement for the default MemoryStore.

var redis = require('redis'),
	debug = require('debug')('frontier:cache:redis');

module.exports = RedisStore;
function RedisStore(options) {
	this.client = redis.createClient(options.port, options.host);
	this.prefix = options.prefix;
}

RedisStore.prototype.set = function(key, expiry, value, callback) {
	var ttl = expiry.getTime() - (new Date()).getTime();
	this.client.psetex(this.prefix + key, ttl, JSON.stringify(value), function(err) {
		if(err) debug('SETEX %s FAILED (%s)', key, err.message);
		return callback(err);
	});
};

RedisStore.prototype.get = function(key, callback) {
	this.client.get(this.prefix + key, function(err, value) {
		if(err) {
			debug('GET %s FAILED (%s)', key, err.message);
			return callback(err);
		}

		return callback(err, JSON.parse(value));
	});
};

RedisStore.prototype.remove = function(key, callback) {
	this.client.del(this.prefix + key, function(err) {
		if(err) debug('DEL %s FAILED (%s)', key, err.message);
		return callback(err);
	});
};

Express Middleware

This module includes two Express middlewares which are designed to be used together when implementing Frontier authentication in your application. They are the Authentication Middleware and Session Middleware and they are responsible for processing and verifying the authentication callback's requests and checking session keys respectively.

Authentication Middleware

The authentication middleware is designed to slot into the request sequence for your authentication route, it is responsible for validating requests to the authentication callback and setting the user's authentication cookie if everything is correct. If the request passes validation, this middleware will set the req.authorization property, allowing you to access the user, sessionkey and the session key's expires date.

The req.authorization object will look something like this.

req.authorization = {
	user: 'username',
	sessionkey: 'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx',
	expires: new Date(1234567890)
}

Session Middleware

The session middleware is responsible for verifying a session cookie (if one is present) and setting the req.user property if it is. It automatically makes use of the cache store specified in your application.store, defaulting to an in-memory cache if none is provided - this means that it will generally be very fast, with a minimal impact on your application's performance.

Example

app = express();
var myApp = new Frontier.Application({ ... });

app.use(myApp.express.session);

app.get('/auth', myApp.express.authenticate, function(req, res) {
	if(!req.authorization) return res.send(400, 'Bad Request');

	users.has(req.authorization.user, function(err, userPresent) {
		if(err) return databaseError(req, res, err);
		if(!userPresent)
			users.create(req.authorization.user, function(err, user) {
				if(err) return databaseError(req, res, err);
				return res.redirect('/newuser');
			});
		else return res.redirect('/account');
	})
});

app.get('/account', function(req, res) {
	if(!req.user) return myApp.express.login(req, res);
	return res.render('account', { user: req.user });
});

Socket.IO Middleware

This module includes a socket.io middleware which allows you to easily authenticate and link sessions within your application by simply registering app.io.session or app.io.authenticate as socket.io's authentication handler. It supports both cookie and header based authentication and integrates tightly with Frontier.js' cache system to ensure that sessions are authenticated as quickly as possible.

Session Middleware

The session middleware is responsible for verifying whether a provided session is still valid and, if it is, setting the socket.handshake.user property to the result of an api.sessions.details call. It is useful when you want to get user information for a globally accessible socket or are simply wanting to link a socket to a specific user.

If you wish to perform some type of pre-connection authorization checks then you should rather look at using the Authentication Middleware.

Authentication Middleware

The authentication middleware allows you to participate in the authentication process by providing a callback which is triggered if the session is valid, but before the socket is opened. You may then check the handshakeData.user to determine whether they should have access to the socket or not before calling the provided callback function. See the Socket.IO Authorizing documentation for more information.

Example

var io = require('socket.io').listen(80);
var myApp = new Frontier.Application({ ... });

io.configure(function() {
	io.set('authorization', myApp.socket_io.session);
});

io.sockets.on('connection', function(socket) {
	var user = socket.handshake.user;
	socket.emit('ready');
});

io.of('/admin').authorization(myApp.socket_io.authenticate(function(data, callback) {
	if(!~data.user.tags.indexOf('admin')) return callback(null, false);
	return callback(null, true);
})).on('connection', function(socket) {
	socket.emit('ready');
});
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