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Next.js

Next.js is a highly popular JavaScript framework for Server-Side Rendering. It tries to combine the reactivity of React and the performance of backend technologies. As such, it has many subtelties and comes with very specific challenges, especially regarding user authentication.

To help you with this, the Fief JavaScript client provides tools dedicated to Next.js. Let's see how to use them!

Install the client

npm install @fief/fief

The big picture

As we said, Next.js is a hybrid framework combining backend technologies and frontend technologies. It means that managing authentication will have to happen at several levels.

graph LR
    subgraph Next.js
        M[Middleware]
        A[API]
        R[React]
    end
    F[Fief]
    RQ((Request))
    RQ --> M
    M -- not authenticated --> F
    F -- callback --> M
    M -- authenticated --> R
    R -- useFiefUserinfo --> A

Middleware level

In most recent versions, Next.js introduced Middleware. It's a useful mechanism allowing us to define logic before every request. Next.js team designed it to be highly performant: it's executed by their Edge Runtime technology, a special runtime different from Node.js.

In Fief implementation, we'll use the Middleware to check if the user is authenticated and if they have the right scope and permissions.

Besides, it'll also automatically handle special routes dedicated to authentication:

  • /login will redirect to Fief authentication page.
  • /auth-callback will complete the OAuth2 callback and set the session cookie;
  • /logout will clear the session cookie and redirect to Fief logout.

API level

Next.js allows us to define API routes. They can be used to perform backend logic and are executed by a standard Node.js runtime.

In Fief implemenetation, we'll define an API route allowing the React application to retrieve the current user information.

React level

Finally, the React level is the interface shown to the user.

In Fief implementation, we provide hooks allowing you to retrieve the current user information and authentication state.

Configure your project

This is for you if...

  • You'll use Next.js.

Prerequisites

  • Bootstrap a Next.js project as described in Automatic Setup section of the Next.js documentation.
  • Allow the following Redirect URI on your Fief Client: http://localhost:3O00/auth-callback

1. Create a fief module

Let's create a fief.ts module at the root of the project. It'll contain the basic instantiation of Fief helpers.

fief.ts
import { Fief, FiefUserInfo } from '@fief/fief';
import { FiefAuth, IUserInfoCache } from '@fief/fief/nextjs';

export const SESSION_COOKIE_NAME = "user_session";  // (1)!

export const fiefClient = new Fief({  // (2)!
  baseURL: 'https://example.fief.dev',
  clientId: 'YOUR_CLIENT_ID',
  clientSecret: 'YOUR_CLIENT_SECRET',
});

class MemoryUserInfoCache implements IUserInfoCache {  // (3)!
  private storage: Record<string, any>;

  constructor() {
    this.storage = {};
  }

  async get(id: string): Promise<FiefUserInfo | null> {
    const userinfo = this.storage[id];
    if (userinfo) {
      return userinfo;
    }
    return null;
  }

  async set(id: string, userinfo: FiefUserInfo): Promise<void> {
    this.storage[id] = userinfo;
  }

  async remove(id: string): Promise<void> {
    this.storage[id] = undefined;
  }

  async clear(): Promise<void> {
    this.storage = {};
  }
}

export const fiefAuth = new FiefAuth({  // (4)!
  client: fiefClient,  // (5)!
  sessionCookieName: SESSION_COOKIE_NAME,  // (6)!
  redirectURI: 'http://localhost:3000/auth-callback',  // (7)!
  logoutRedirectURI: 'http://localhost:3000',  // (8)!
  userInfoCache: new MemoryUserInfoCache(),  // (9)!
});
  1. Define a session cookie name constant

    We'll use a cookie to maintain the user session.

    For convenience, we set its name in a constant.

  2. Fief client instantiation

    As we showed in the standard JavaScript section, we instantiate here a Fief client here with the base tenant URL and client credentials.

  3. Implement a user information cache

    To make sure we don't call the Fief API every time we want the user data, we'll cache it in our application. It'll be way more performant!

    To do this, we impement a class following the IUserInfoCache interface.

    In this example, we use very simple approach that will just store the data in memory. If your server is rebooted, the cache will be lost.

    It can work quite well when starting, but you'll probably need more robust approaches in the long run, like writing to a Redis store. The good thing is that you'll only need to change this class when the time comes!

  4. Fief helper for Next.js

    This is the helper doing the tedious work for you with Next.js.

    We'll review here the required parameters. You can have a complete list of parameters in the reference documentation.

  5. The Fief client

    The first mandatory parameter is the Fief client we just created above.

  6. The session cookie name

    We pass the constant we defined above.

  7. Absolute redirect URI

    After the user has succesfully authenticated on Fief, our user will need to be redirected to our application so we can get the access token and set our session.

    This constant is an absolute URL to the /auth-callback route the Middleware will handle.

  8. Absolute redirect URI after logout

    When logging out, the user is redirected to Fief so the session stored on Fief's side can also be cleared.

    After that, Fief will redirect the user to your application. This parameter allows you to set the page where they should be redirected.

    Typically, this can be the home page of your application.

  9. We use our user information cache

    We tell about our user information cache, so the helper can use it to save and retrieve the data.

2. Add the Middleware

If not already, create a middleware.ts module at the root of the project.

middleware.ts
import type { NextRequest } from 'next/server';

import { fiefAuth } from './fief';  // (1)!

const authMiddleware = fiefAuth.middleware([  // (2)!
  {
    matcher: '/private',  // (3)!
    parameters: {},
  },
  {
    matcher: '/castles/:path*',  // (4)!
    parameters: {
      permissions: ['castles:read'],  // (5)!
    },
  },
]);

export async function middleware(request: NextRequest) {  // (6)!
  return authMiddleware(request);  // (7)!
};
  1. Import the fiefAuth instance from fief module

    This is the instance of FiefAuth we created in the previous section.

  2. Create an instance of the middleware

    Using the fiefAuth.middleware method, we create an instance of a Next.js Middleware that'll check the authentication on our routes.

    All it needs is an array of routes, consisting of the elements described below.

  3. Match the /private path

    By doing this, we tell the middleware to ensure a user is authenticated before accessing the /private page.

    If they're not, they will be automatically redirected to the Fief login page.

  4. Match all the routes starting with /castles

    The matcher property follows the same syntax as the one supported by Next.js.

    It means that you can match a single path, a group of paths or a specific pattern.

    Here, we match all the routes starting with /castles. We'll be sure that the user is authenticated before accessing those routes.

  5. Require a permission to access /castles routes

    You can add AuthenticateRequestParameters to a path matcher.

    Here, we require the user to have castles:read permission to access those routes.

    If they don't have the required permission, the middleware will redirect them to the /forbidden page.

  6. Define the Middleware function

    This is the standard way to define a Next.js Middleware.

  7. Call the authMiddleware function

    You can now call the authMiddleware function with the request object.

    This function returns a NextResponse, so you can very well add your own middleware logic if needed to further customize it.

Don't mix it with default config matcher

The Next.js Middleware documentation shows you how to filter the execution of your Middleware using path matchers.

export const config = {
    matcher: ['/about/:path*', '/dashboard/:path*'],
}

When using Fief middleware, it's better to avoid it to make sure the authentication logic is called on the routes you defined.

Indeed, let's imagine you have this configuration:

const authMiddleware = fiefAuth.middleware([
    {
        matcher: '/private',
        parameters: {},
    },
]);
// ❌ Don't do this
export const config = {
    matcher: ['/another-route'],
}

The authentication middleware will never be called in this configuration, because Next.js will only run the Middleware for /another-route, not /private.

3. Add the current-user API

In the /pages/api directory, create a current-user.ts module.

/pages/api/current-user.ts
import { fiefAuth } from '../../fief';  // (1)!

export default fiefAuth.currentUser();  // (2)!
  1. Import the fiefAuth instance from fief module

    This is the instance of FiefAuth we created in the first section.

  2. Instantiate and export the currentUser API route

    Thanks to the fiefAuth.currentUser method, you can generate an API route that'll return the user information of the authenticated user.

    Nothing more to do!

4. Create a forbidden page

When the user tries to access a page they are not authorized to see, e.g. if they lack a scope or a permission; the Middleware will automatically render the pages/forbidden.tsx page.

You should implement it to show a useful error message to the user. It can be as simple as the following:

/pages/forbidden.tsx
import type { NextPage } from 'next';

const Forbidden: NextPage = () => {
  return (
    <h2>Sorry, you are not authorized to access this page.</h2>
  )
};

export default Forbidden;

5. Prepare your React application

On the React side, we'll need to declare a context so the frontend application can store the authentication state and user information in its state. It'll also let us use a set of useful hooks.

Your /pages/_app.tsx file should look like this:

/pages/_app.tsx
import { FiefAuthProvider } from '@fief/fief/nextjs';
import type { AppProps } from 'next/app';

import Header from '../components/Header/Header';

import '../styles/globals.css';

function MyApp({ Component, pageProps }: AppProps) {
  return (
    <FiefAuthProvider currentUserPath="/api/current-user"> {/* (1)! */}
      <Header /> {/* (2)! */}
      <Component {...pageProps} />
    </FiefAuthProvider>
  );
};

export default MyApp;
  1. Wrap Component with FiefAuthProvider

    FiefAuthProvider will provide the necessary React context so we can use the hooks in our application.

    The only property required is currentUserPath, which should be the path of the current user API we defined in the previous section.

  2. A simple demo Header component

    This is a simple demo component to show you how to use hooks. We'll detail it in the next sections.

Good to go!

Our project is now ready! You can run it with:

npm run dev

If you go to http://localhost:3000, you'll see the index public page.

Next.js index page logged out

If you click on the Private page link in the header, you'll be automatically redirected on Fief authentication pages. After a successful login, you'll be taken back to the /private page.

Next.js private page

As you can see, we can show the email address of the current user. This is done quite simply using the provided React hooks:

/pages/private.tsx
import { useFiefUserinfo } from '@fief/fief/nextjs';
import type { NextPage } from 'next';

const Private: NextPage = () => {
  const user = useFiefUserinfo(); // (1)!

  return (
    <h2>You are authenticated. Your user email is {user?.email}</h2>
  )
};

export default Private;
  1. useFiefUserinfo gives you access to the current user information

    The hook useFiefUserinfo returns you a FiefUserInfo object you can use to work with the user data.

Now, let's try to go to the Castles / Index page. If you've not added the correct permission to the user, you'll probably see the Forbidden page:

Next.js forbidden page

If you assign the correct permission to the user and authenticate again, you'll see the actual page.

Next.js castles page

As you can see, we are able to show the list of permissions granted to the user. It can be useful to hide or show parts of the UI depending on those permissions.

You can easily access them using the useFiefAccessTokenInfo hook.

/pages/castles/index.tsx
import { useFiefAccessTokenInfo } from '@fief/fief/nextjs';
import type { NextPage } from 'next';

const CastlesIndex: NextPage = () => {
  const accessTokenInfo = useFiefAccessTokenInfo();

  return (
    <>
      <h2>You have the following permissions:</h2>
      <ul>
        {accessTokenInfo?.permissions.map((permission) => <li key={permission}>{permission}</li>)}
      </ul>
    </>
  );
};

export default CastlesIndex;

If you click on Logout, your session will be cleared and you will be redirected to the index page.

Generating links to login, logout and other pages is no different from a standard Next.js links. Just be sure you use the right path!

/components/Header/Header.tsx
import { useFiefIsAuthenticated, useFiefUserinfo } from '@fief/fief/nextjs';
import Link from 'next/link';
import React from 'react';

const Header: React.FunctionComponent = () => {
  const isAuthenticated = useFiefIsAuthenticated(); /* (1)! */
  const userinfo = useFiefUserinfo();

  return (
    <ul>
      <li><Link href="/">Public page</Link></li>
      <li><Link href="/private">Private page</Link></li>
      <li>
        Castles
        <ul>
          <li><Link href="/castles">Index</Link></li>
          <li><Link href="/castles/create">Create</Link></li>
        </ul>
      </li>
      <li>
        {/* (2)! */}
        {!isAuthenticated && <Link href="/login">Login</Link>}
        {isAuthenticated && userinfo && (
          <div>
            <span>{userinfo.email} - </span>
            {/* (3)! */}
            <Link href="/logout">Logout</Link>
          </div>
        )}
      </li>
    </ul>
  );
};

export default Header;
  1. Use useFiefIsAuthenticated hook to know if a user is authenticated

    useFiefIsAuthenticated is very useful to quickly check if there is a valid session and adapt the UI.

  2. Show a Login link if not authenticated

    Simply add a Link component pointing to the /login path. This path is automatically handled by the Middleware.

  3. Show a Logout link if authenticated

    Simply add a Link component pointing to the /logout path. This path is automatically handled by the Middleware.

Summary

You're Next.js project is now ready and can easily control the authentication and permissions of your users! Here are the most important things to remember while developing your app:

  1. If you want to protect a page, add it to the authMiddleware paths in middleware.ts.
  2. If you want to access user information or permissions, use useFiefUserinfo and useFiefAccessTokenInfo hooks.

If you want to go further and customize more aspects, like the path to login or logout routes, be sure to check the library reference.