avatar-bkelley.jpg Braden Kelley

JWTs in React for Secure Authentication

Although authentication is a common requirement for web apps, it can be difficult to get it right, especially if you’re by yourself or part of a small team. That’s why many sites choose to use OAuth 2.0 to let a third-party handle authentication for them. They just need to know how to decode a JSON Web Token (JWT), rather than how to store a bunch of user information and pray they aren’t the next company...

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Build a Secure React Application with JWTs and Redux

If you’ve worked with React at all, chances are you’ve at least heard of Redux. But you may not know what it is, how it fits in with React, or how to use it in your app. It can sometimes be complicated to set up but can be a very useful addition to a React app depending on your use cases. And if you’ve done much work with web apps, you also probably know how...

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Build Simple Authentication in Express in 15 Minutes

Building web pages with user authentication can be a huge pain. You typically need to set up some sort of database to manage users even if you’re not using the database for anything else. You would then need to store their password hashes, and you almost need a degree on internet security to know the safest ways to do that. What if I told you it didn’t have to be so complicated? Using Okta and...

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Build a CRUD App with Node.js and GraphQL

There are so many options when it comes to building out a simple CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) app. The most refreshing data access layer to work with recently by far has been GraphQL. It’s great because the developer can use a simple, strongly typed language to define models and their relationships, then provide functions to define how each piece should be resolved. The user can then pick and choose which pieces they want and...

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Build a Node.js API with TypeScript

JavaScript has been turning into more and more of a robust language and is no longer just seen in browsers. Server-side JavaScript has become quite relevant. However, one major thing that JavaScript is not, is a strongly typed language. Being explicit with what types to expect from function parameters or object and class properties can help prevent bugs from creeping into the code. It can also help make the code easier to understand if you...

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Build a REST API with Node and Postgres

If you haven’t heard of PostgreSQL (often called Postgres), today’s your lucky day. It’s a robust, open source relational database that powers some of the world’s largest applications. In this post, I’ll show you how to create a REST API in Node that uses Postgres as a data store. I’ll walk you through setting everything up, so if you’re not familiar with Postgres, don’t worry. Specifically, I’m going to walk you through building an API...

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A Beginner's Guide to Redux

React has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years, and Redux is a term often heard in combination with it. While technically separate concepts, they do work quite nicely together. React is a component-based framework, often used to create a Single-Page App (SPA), but can also be used to add any amount of independent components to any website. Redux is a state management system with a great set of dev tools useful...

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Simple User Authentication in React

In 2019, it’s quite easy to find React components for pretty much everything. For example, if you want to add user authentication to your app, you can do so easily with Okta’s React component. Here I’ll walk you through creating a simple, fun React app that fetches random Chuck Norris jokes. I’ll then show you how you can add user authentication and customize your user experience, so the jokes will replace Chuck Norris’ name with...

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Build Your First Router in Node with Express

If you’ve done any web development with Node in the last few years, you’ve probably used Express. Even if you haven’t used it directly, many frameworks meant to make web development even simpler are still built on Express. One of the key features in Express is the ability to create routes. An infinite combination of URLs can hit the same Express server, and routes are how you can determine which URLs run what piece of...

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Create and Verify JWTs with Node

Authentication on the internet has evolved quite a bit over the years. There are many ways to do it, but what worked well enough in the 90s doesn’t quite cut it today. In this tutorial, I’ll briefly cover some older, simpler forms of authentication, then show you how a more modern and more secure approach. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to create and verify JWTs yourself in Node. I’ll also show...

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Build a Simple Web App with Express, React and GraphQL

GraphQL and React have both become quite popular in the last few years, and it’s safe to say they go together like avocado and toast. A GraphQL server can be written in Node and lets you easily create a flexible API using JavaScript classes and functions. When a frontend developer queries the server, only the information asked for gets processed. This means you can make the backend as robust as you want while keeping the...

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Build a Simple API Service with Express and GraphQL

GraphQL has become an immensely popular alternative to REST APIs. The flexibility you get from using GraphQL makes it easier for developers to get any information they need for an app, and just the information they need for that portion of the app. That gives you the feel of a very customized API and can help cut down on bandwidth. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to write a custom GraphQL API using Node...

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Build a Simple REST API with Node and OAuth 2.0

JavaScript is used everywhere on the web - nearly every web page will include at least some JavaScript, and even if it doesn’t, your browser probably has some sort of extension that injects bits of JavaScript code on to the page anyway. It’s hard to avoid in 2018. JavaScript can also be used outside the context of a browser, for anything from hosting a web server to controlling an RC car or running a full-fledged...

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Build a CRUD-y SPA with Node and Angular

Even before the release of Angular 6, Angular had gone through some changes over the years. The biggest one was the jump from AngularJS (v1.x) to Angular (v2+), which included a lot of breaking syntax changes and made TypeScript the default language instead of JavaScript. TypeScript is actually a superset of JavaScript, but it allows you to have strongly typed functions and variables, and it will get compiled down to JavaScript so that it can...

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Build a Basic CRUD App with Node and React

There are a lot of JavaScript frameworks out there today. It seems like I hear about a new one every month or so. They all have their advantages and are usually there to solve some sort of problem with an existing framework. My favorite to work with so far has been React. One of the best things about it is how many open source components and libraries there are in the React ecosystem, so you...

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How to Securely Manage Users in Your Node App

If you’re building a non-trivial website, chances are you’ll want some way to keep track of users. This can be quite complex and require a good deal of infrastructure, but one of the most secure and scalable ways is also one of the easiest. Using an OAuth 2.0 provider allows you to offload these tasks to an external provider, making your life as a developer so much simpler. When using an OAuth provider, it’s simple...

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Secure a Node API with OAuth 2.0 Client Credentials

Securing server-to-server API services can be tricky. OAuth 2.0 is an excellent way to offload user authentication to another service, but what if there is no user to authenticate? In this article, I’ll show you how you can use OAuth 2.0 outside the context of a user, in what is also known as the Client Credentials Flow. Instead of storing and managing API keys for your clients (other servers), you can use a third-party service...

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Simple Multi-Factor Authentication in Node

If you’re building a web application, chances are you’re going to want to serve different content depending on the user. Authenticating users can be difficult for a number of reasons. The simplest route is to allow users to sign in with a username and password. The problem with this is, no matter how strongly you hash passwords, there’s no stopping someone from guessing that your user’s password is hunter2, letmein, or correct horse battery staple....

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Simple Node Authentication

Authenticating users for Node.js/Express.js web apps can be difficult. You have to set up a database, define a user schema (or use something more flexible like NoSQL), write code to handle password hashing, etc. It’s annoying. Using Okta’s API service, however, you can easily register and log in users to your Node website using our OpenID Connect integration. Set Up Your Node Environment If you’re new to Node and don’t already have it installed, you’ll...

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