React Native Login SDK
By Said El Hachemy
October 22, 2021
A few decades ago, creating an application and integrating it with features such as authentication and user management was time-consuming, and in most cases came with a high cost. In short, it was not always easy to make an application. As of now, a single developer can create, integrate, and finalize a whole application in a matter of days or up to weeks depending on the complexity of the project. This is due to the usage of development frameworks.
Frameworks like Spring, Angular, React, FireBase, Django, Laravel, and several others, offer many libraries and kits that the coder only has to use in order to make certain tasks. The use of a framework makes the development process easier and more time-efficient. The diversity of frameworks obliges businesses that offer online services, such as authentication platforms, to offer their services using different frameworks and technologies. This will allow their solutions to reach and satisfy a larger number of clients. In this article, we do a case study of the React Native framework, its different usages, security, privacy, and authentication features.
Frontend and Backend
There exist two main parts of an application, the frontend and the backend. The frontend is responsible for the look and feel of the application including the different User Interface (UI) components, the colors, the animations, and the interactions between the users and these components. On the other hand, the backend is responsible for everything that runs in the background such as core application logic, storage management, databases, security, and authentication. As an example, Discord’s look and feel is made using React Native on the frontend, and on the backend it uses Rust as of today.
What’s React Native?
As of today, there exist tens of well known mobile applications developed using React Native such as Facebook, Instagram, Discord, Shopify, Pinterest, and others. React Native is likely to have more success as it has the second highest number of projects in GitHub repositories, and is the top trending topic on GitHub.
The map below shows a better perspective on how widely React is used around the world. Considering its popularity, it is necessary for React and React Native to be capable of satisfying all of the user’s demands and offer a variety of libraries to implement multiple features, and most importantly to offer ways to guarantee the safety and security of authentication and the privacy of data.
React Native Login SDK
Just like every other frontend framework, React Native offers ways to integrate login Application Programming Interface (APIs) using Software Development Kits (SDKs) to authenticate users on the application or the website. Taking a concrete example, humanID offers their React Native SDK which developers can use to link the application to the humanID authentication API. Another pair of terms used in this case is the client side which is the React Native side, and the server-side which is the API.
In general, businesses are required to install the necessary modules to integrate humanID (or any other authentication solution) with their application. These modules contain different components serving tasks like configuration, login, handling the authentication tokens, and logout. These components are imported into the application’s code whenever needed and could be used directly.
These components are used in other frameworks as well. What changes is the programming language, the syntax, and some of the parameters used to implement the SDKs, but the logic stays the same.
React Native Support
React and React Native are widely used around the world, obliging authentication platforms to take it into account and use it to implement their solutions. Fortunately, React Native is supported by many if not most platforms such as Auth0, AWS amplify, Firebase, humanID and others. On the other hand, it is essential for these types of platforms to offer React Native SDK to be taken into consideration by React developers and React-based businesses, which could lead to potential partners.
As performant, easy, and efficient React Native is, not every developer can bring the best out of it, since different tasks require a different set of skills. Specific skills are especially needed when user security and data privacy is involved. Hence, for better user and data management, it is optimal for businesses to delegate the authentication task to specialized platforms. Platforms like Auth0 and humanID take advantage of the efficiency of frameworks to develop SDKs for user authentication, while guaranteeing data privacy. Utilizing these tools is greatly beneficial in the case of the encryption or hashing of user credentials before storing them in databases. While the framework itself does not have control over user data and privacy, it is essential for it to offer the needed libraries to maintain user authentication. The responsibility then falls upon the businesses in question, or the authentication platforms they are partnered with. Hence, comes the choice of which platform should be used for a safe and secure authentication.