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4.2 Password authentication

In this section we are going to add a common Login View for our application, as well as a service that performs user authentication by email and password.

note

The final implementation of the authentication will depend on the specific technology we use, and we'll describe it for each technology in the subsequent sections.

Defining Authentication data object

As usual, we will begin with defining the relevant things in our Xomega model. Let's open up the person.xom file, and declare a new data object called AuthenticationObject, which will serve as a data model for our Login view.

person.xom
  <objects>[...]
<xfk:data-objects>
<xfk:data-object class="AuthenticationObject"/>
</xfk:data-objects>

Credentials structure

Next we will define a new structure credentials with two parameters for the email and password, which will be added to our AuthenticationObject as properties.

<struct name="credentials">
<param name="email" type="email" required="true"/>
<param name="password" type="plain password" required="true"/>
<config>
<xfk:add-to-object class="AuthenticationObject"/>
</config>
</struct>
note

Notice how we use the email type that we defined earlier, and a plain password type for the password parameter, which is pre-configured in the Xomega model to use a password field.

Customizing Authentication object

Since AuthenticationObject doesn't represent any persisted object, we will want to turn off modification tracking for it in a custom subclass, so we'll add a customize="true" attribute.

Also, to configure the fields for the Login view, we will make them stack up in one column by setting field-cols="1", and will set up access-key values, which allow you to easily navigate to those fields using keyboard shortcuts.

The following snippet illustrates this setup.

<xfk:data-objects>
<xfk:data-object class="AuthenticationObject" customize="true">
<ui:display>
<ui:fields field-cols="1">
<ui:field param="email" access-key="m"/>
<ui:field param="password" access-key="P"/>
</ui:fields>
</ui:display>
</xfk:data-object>
</xfk:data-objects>

Adding Authenticate operation

Next let's add an operation authenticate to the person object, which will use the credentials structure as an input argument. We also don't want to expose it via REST API, since the latter will use its own standard authentication mechanism, so we'll configure our operation to not support REST, as shown below.

person.xom
<object name="person">
<operations>
<operation name="authenticate" type="update">
<input arg="credentials" struct="credentials"/>
<config>
<rest:method not-supported="true"/>
</config>
<doc>
<summary>Authenticates a Person using email and password.</summary>
</doc>
</operation>
...
</operations>
</object>
note

Even though the operation is not going to update anything in the database, we marked it with type="update", so that the Login View would be generated with a Save button plus the logic to call this operation with the supplied credentials, which is pretty much what we want for the Login button.

Defining Login view

So let's go ahead, and add the actual LoginView definition in the model as follows.

person.xom
<xfk:data-objects>[...]
<ui:views>
<ui:view name="LoginView" title="Login" customize="true" child="true">
<ui:view-model data-object="AuthenticationObject"/>
</ui:view>
</ui:views>

Let's have a look at some things that we have configured on our Login View. We will need to customize the logic for the generated view, so we marked it with the customize="true" attribute. We also set the child="true" attribute, so that this view would not be added to the main menu by the generator. And, of course, we set our AuthenticationObject as the view model for the view.

These are all the changes that we need in the model, so we can go ahead and build the Model project now.

Custom service code for Authenticate

Before we provide a custom implementation for the authenticate operation, let's open the Resources.resx file under the AdventureWorks.Services.Entities project, add the following message for invalid credentials, and run the custom tool on the nested Messages.tt file to regenerate message constants.

NameValueComment
InvalidCredentialsInvalid credentials.

Next, let's open the PersonServiceCustomized.cs under the generated PersonService.cs, and provide a custom implementation for the AuthenticateAsync method as shown below.

PersonServiceCustomized.cs
public class PersonServiceCustomized : PersonService
{
...
public override async Task<Output> AuthenticateAsync(
Credentials _credentials, CancellationToken token = default)
{
// lookup password
var pwdQry = from em in ctx.EmailAddress
join pw in ctx.Password on em.BusinessEntityId equals pw.BusinessEntityId
where em.EmailAddress1 == _credentials.Email
select pw;
var pwd = await pwdQry.FirstOrDefaultAsync(token);

// validate credentials
bool valid = false;
if (pwd != null && _credentials.Password != null)
{
valid = _credentials.Password.Equals("password"); // for testing only
// TODO: hash _credentials.Password using pwd.PasswordSalt,
// and compare it with pwd.PasswordHash instead
}
if (!valid) currentErrors.CriticalError(ErrorType.Security, Messages.InvalidCredentials);
return new Output(currentErrors);
}
...
}

This is where we would need to hash the user-supplied password using the salt that is stored in the database along with the hashed password, and compare the result with the latter. For ease of testing though, we will instead just compare it with a hardcoded word "password" for now.

If the email address is not found or if the password is not valid, we'll report a critical error using the generated constant InvalidCredentials for our message.

Custom code for Authentication object

Next, let's open the generated AuthenticationObjectCustomized.cs in the AdventureWorks.Client.Common project, and set it up to not track modifications, as shown below. We also set the IsNew flag to false, so that the view title would say just Login instead of New Login.

AuthenticationObjectCustomized.cs
public class AuthenticationObjectCustomized : AuthenticationObject
{
...
protected override void OnInitialized()
{
base.OnInitialized();
TrackModifications = false;
IsNew = false;
}
}

With this common code we'll have an internal operation that can authenticate a person by email and password, and a generated Login View that can collect this information and call that operation when the user clicks the Save button.

Presenting the Login view and the actual authentication of the user will need to be implemented for each specific technology, as we'll see in subsequent sections.

Before that though, let's see how you can write common platform-independent security logic in the business services and the presentation layer.