What Does Your User Agent Say About You?


A user agent is a computer program representing a person, for example, a browser in a Web context.

Besides a browser, a user agent could be a bot scraping webpages, a download manager, or another app accessing the Web. Along with each request they make to the server, browsers include a self-identifying User-Agent HTTP header called a user agent (UA) string. This string often identifies the browser, its version number, and its host operating system.

Spam bots, download managers, and some browsers often send a fake UA string to announce themselves as a different client. This is known as user agent spoofing.

The user agent string can be accessed with JavaScript on the client side using the navigator.userAgent property.

A typical user agent string looks like this: "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:35.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/35.0".


User Agent String

Browser Data

Useragentapplication React

Bob Roberts
• Tuesday, 05 July, 2022
• 15 min read

It’s sort of a 1990s style text MUD, but I’m bringing it “up to this century” with a host of new features. Well, I’m not into storing usernames and password anymore, so I’m going to use a Microsoft OAuth service instead of a user database.

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My front end application handles state through Redux. I’ve added redux-logger for logging the Redux store state transitions, and redux-thunk for asynchronous actions.

Redux is a uni-directional flow state storage system. If you don’t understand this flow, I recommend reading this tutorial.

This is used to display a warning symbol to alert the user that something went wrong. As an example, for smaller apps, I tend to keep everything for one reducer or section of the state in one file, and export the actions as needed.

The purpose of the reducer is to create a new version of the state that is modified according to the action. I like to abstract away the implementation details for the authentication service.

This allows me to use asynchronous/await by returning a function that takes dispatch instead of the normal action. This will dispatch an initialization action, which will then do an asynchronous silent token acquisition.


The redux-thunk middleware will execute the function asynchronously, and then the various methods will get called. The net result of this is that I only have to dispatch a signing() action creator to get the authentication service to interactively sign in.

To initiate that, I’ve got a SignInButton component that I can use anywhere on my UI to allow the user to sign-in or sign-out: It took me a while to figure out hooks, but once I saw it used with Redux, things fell into place.

I love this syntax now since I don’t have to create extra props just to hook up the store. This sort of encapsulation means I can keep a library of authentication services elsewhere and just re-use them.

The CSS for this component has a media selector that displays the long version above a certain width (768px in my case), and the short version below that same width. When the response comes back, the store is updated with the new identity.

The only thing remaining is to create the authentication service. In addition, I need to set up an app registration in Azure Active Directory.

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Microsoft login clients are managed through Azure Active Directory. Sign in to your Azure account, then go to App registrations and follow the quick start.

Later on, it will be something else and I’ll add a redirect URI to the configuration in the Azure portal at that point. You need the application or client ID from the Azure portal.

Replace the YOUR_APPLICATION_ID_HERE with the application I'd of your app registration from the Azure Portal. I’ll be using it to configure the rest of the application as well, so I don’t want it to be dedicated to Meal.

There are situations (especially in mobile web) where you can’t create an iframe to do the transport to get the token from the remote service silently. The code in the identity() method handles both situations, but throws the original error if anything else happens.

I’ve only just managed to get an identity token, so I know about the user, but I haven’t provided any permissions to my API as yet. Microsoft Authentication Library (Meal) enables developers to acquire tokens from the Microsoft identity platform endpoint in order to access secured web APIs like MS Graph, etc.

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Up until now, most developers have worked with Azure AD for developers (v1.0) to authenticate Azure AD identities (work and school accounts) by requesting tokens using Adam. In the example below, we will see how to create a React .js app, prepare for AAD integration, Integrate and configure AAD authentication with the React app running locally on-premise environment, Fetch currently logged-in user profile and calendar data for display using Graph API.

Create a default React.JS TypeScript application Design the application with Sign-in/Sign-out links Register the app in azure portal Configure and implement Sign-in/Sign-out functionality Retrieve and display logged-in user’s profile data Retrieve and display logged-in user’s Calendar data Step-1: Open NodeJS command prompt –> Navigate to the folder where you want to create the project.

Step-2: Execute the following commands to navigate to project folder and then run the app in development environment. Step-4: Execute the following command “code.” to open the project in Visual Studio code editor –> Add the following 3 new files and update 2 existing files under “src” folder.

Enter the details like “Name”, “Supported account types” respectively –> Select “Web” under “Redirect URI (optional)” and paste the React application host URL as shown below –> Finally click “Register” button Picture-10Click on the “Branding” link shown in the left navigation under “Manage” section –> Copy “Publisher Domain” value as well to notepad.

Click on the “Authentication” link shown in the left navigation under “Manage” section –> Check both “Access Token” & “ID tokens” under “Implicit grant” as shown below and click save. Picture-11 Step-8: Stop the app hosting by entering the key combination “Ctrl + c” on command prompt –> Install the Meal module packages by executing the following code on Node.js command prompt.

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Note: Stop the running app by entering the key combination “Ctrl + c” on Node.js command prompt! Step-13: To support Graph API, the respective NPM package must be added –> Kindly execute the following command on NodeJS command windows to install the required modules.

Note: This implements the getUserDetails function, which uses the Microsoft Graph SDK to call the /me endpoint and return the result.) Step-15: Open the “AuthProvider.TSX” file and perform the following updates to include the references –> Save all the changes made and execute the command “NPM start” –> Observe the changes post sign in, your name appears on the page welcome content and also in the profile flout menu.

This is the last stage of this article, and we will use another Graph API to retrieve the calendar data and display. Step-16: Open the “GraphService.TSX” file add the following function at the end –> This will retrieve the Calendar details of the logged-in user.

Step-18: Open the main component “/src/App.TSX” –> Add the following code references as mentioned below. Step-19: To display the results in a structured way, Open the “src/Calendar.TSX” and replace the “render” function with following code.

Click the “Calendar” link on top navigation –> Observe the logged-in user’s meeting details results displayed. This tutorial teaches you how to build a React single-page app that uses the Microsoft Login and retrieve user information using MSAL.js and Microsoft Graph API for a logged-in user.

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Meal for JavaScript enables client-side JavaScript web applications, running in a web browser, to authenticate users using Azure AD work and school accounts (AAD), Microsoft personal accounts (MSA) and social identity providers like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft accounts, etc. Msal for authenticating to Azure Active Directory and retrieving access tokens.

Initialize the authentication context by instantiating a UserAgentApplication with a configuration object. The minimum required configuration property is the client ID of your application, shown as the Application (client) ID on the Overview page of the app registration in the Azure portal.

Login Popup Methodist an access token to call an API In Meal, you can get access tokens for the APIs your app needs to call using the acquireTokenSilent method which makes a silent request (without prompting the user with UI) to Azure AD to obtain an access token.

The Azure AD service then returns an access token containing the user consented scopes to allow your app to securely call the API. If you are using an interactive token call, it must match the login method used in your application.

This could happen for many reasons including scopes that have been revoked, expired tokens, or password changes. Interaction Required Auth ErrorS ave your changes and refresh the browser.

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Get User Details using Microsoft Graph API This implements the getUserDetails function, which uses the Microsoft Graph SDK to call the /me endpoint and return the result. Click the user avatar in the top right corner to access the Sign Out link.

Clicking Sign Out resets the session and returns you to the home page. Because the app is using the Meal library, you do not have to implement any token storage or refresh logic.

The acquireTokenSilent method first checks the cached token, and if it is not expired, it returns it. With this GitHub project I am showing you how to authenticate against Azure AD using React.

I have removed the calendar section and migrated the React part to Hooks. Note: You can get the Application (client) ID from Azure portal from the Overview tab of your App-registrations panel.

The reason for this warning is the code is using getUserProfile and userAgentApplication inside the effect. Implementing our own is great, but for reusability I wondered if there was an existing library we could utilize instead.

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Open up Visual Studio and create a new ASP.NET Core web application project. Build the VS project and make sure that the /API/secure route returns a list of SecureRecord objects as JSON.

Note that the Azure AD component can be used multiple times within the context of your control. Since the MsalAuthProvider is meant to be a singleton, by wrapping the entire control within the React Context, we can make sure we use the same provider instantiated in the index.ts in the child components.

The porcelain prop on the Azure AD, indicates whether the user should be prompted for login automatically when they are not authenticated. When the user is authenticated, it will make a call to retrieve an access token using the getAccessToken method on the MsalAuthProvider.

Hope you enjoyed the post, let me know your thoughts in the comments below or any of my contact channels The acquireTokenSilent method which lies at the core of this functionality will try to get a cached access token from either session or localStorage depending upon your configurations above if it fails to find one or the access token is close to expiring/has expired, it will request a new one if authentication fails when requesting the new access token due to the session expiring in AAD's back end, it will indicate “interaction required” at which point our code makes an interactive request, essentially requiring the user to re-enter their credentials to keep the session alive.

Using our above authService, lets us show how we can use it in combination with React, Redux, Redux-Sagas, and Axis to build the basis of an application. Axis, being our HTTP request client, is the easiest place to start.

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We create a client at the start, you can see that we have an Azure API product subscription key in our headers as a fun side-note. Import axis from 'axis' import configuration from './configuration.Jason' ; import authService from './authService' ; var apical = configuration.gateway; export coast client = axis.create({base URL: apical, rejectUnauthorized: false, crossbowman: true, headers: {'Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key' : configuration. Applications} }); coast request = (options) {return authService.fetchAccessToken() .then((accession) {if (!options.headers) options.headers = {}; options.headers = `bearer ${accession}`; return client(options) .then(response {return;}).

Catch (error Promise.reject(error.response || error.message));});} import axis from 'axis' import configuration from './configuration.Jason' ; import authService from './authService' ; var apical = configuration.gateway; export coast client = axis.create({base URL: apical, rejectUnauthorized: false, crossbowman: true, headers: {'Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key' : configuration. Applications} }); coast request = (options) {return authService.fetchAccessToken() .then((accession) {if (!options.headers) options.headers = {}; options.headers = `bearer ${accession}`; return client(options) .then(response {return;}). If our application is using Redux to manage state, it makes sense to take our abstraction of authService a step further and handle those methods using a reducer and actions.

Tab or window) or code is called to deliberately log the user out. Choosing local Storage will instead create indefinite session life unless code is called to deliberately log the user out.

While this library will remain till then, it is not recommended for new applications since it relies on the older Meal 1.0 dependencies, which are based on the old authentication flow which has known issues. There will be some intermediary updates to help support a migration path to the official library, but at this point, react -aad-msal is scheduled to be deprecated.

Before beginning, it is required to configure an instance of the MsalAuthProvider and give it three parameters: ParametersDescription config Instance of a Meal. Configuration object to configure the underlying provider.

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The recommended approach is to instantiate the MsalAuthProvider in a separate file and import it when needed. Below is the total set of configurable options that are supported currently in the config.

It is possible to change the default parameters later by executing the setAuthenticationParameters() method on the MsalAuthProvider. The set of options that are supported for the Meal. AuthenticationParameters class can be found below as they are defined in the Meal library.

The tokenRefreshUri allows you to set a separate page to load only when tokens are being refreshed. When Meal attempts to refresh a token, it will reload the page in an iframe.

This option allows you to inform Meal of a specific page it can load in the iframe. It is best practice to use a blank HTML file to prevent all your site scripts and contents from loading multiple times.

At any time after instantiating the MsalAuthProvider the login type can be changed using the setProviderOptions() method. The Azure AD component is the primary method to add authentication to your application.

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When the component is loaded it internally uses Meal to check the cache and determine the current authentication state. The users' authentication status determines how the component will render the children.

If the children is an element, it will only be rendered when the Azure AD detects an authenticated user. The Azure AD component will check that the Token is not expired before determining that the user is authenticated.

AuthenticatedFunction A user defined callback function for the Azure AD component to consume. If no return value is provided, the children of the Azure AD component will be rendered instead.

UnauthenticatedFunction A user defined callback function for the Azure AD component to consume. AccountInfoCallback A user defined callback function for the Azure AD component to consume.

The Azure AD component will call this function when login is complete to pass back the user info as an instance of Accounting. In addition to the tokens, the account info includes the Meal. Account restore You can provide a Redux store which the component will dispatch actions to when changes occur.

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ForceLogin A boolean that identifies whether the login process should be invoked immediately if the current user is unauthenticated. This is a good way to protect routes or quickly require authentication for your entire App in several lines.

The library components will manage authenticating the user without you needing to think about tokens. The library exposes methods for retrieving active Tokens and Access Tokens.

Action TypePayloadDescriptionAAD_INITIALIZINGNoneDispatched when the MsalAuthProvider is instantiated and begins checking the cache to determine if the user is authenticatedAAD_INITIALIZEDNoneSignifies that the MsalAuthProvider has successfully determined the authentication status of the user after being instantiated. It is safest not to use any state until initialization has completedAAD_AUTHENTICATED_STATE_CHANGED AuthenticationState Dispatched whenever the user's authentication status changesAAD_ACQUIRED_ID_TOKEN_SUCCESS IdTokenResponse Identifies that the Token has been retrieved or renewed successfullyAAD_ACQUIRED_ID_TOKEN_ERROR Meal. AuthError Dispatched when an error occurred while attempting to retrieve or renew the IdTokenAAD_ACQUIRED_ACCESS_TOKEN_SUCCESS AccessTokenResponse Identifies that the Access Token has been retrieved or refreshed successfullyAAD_ACQUIRED_ACCESS_TOKEN_ERROR Meal. AuthError Dispatched when an error occurred while attempting to retrieve or refresh the Access TokenAAD_LOGIN_SUCCESS Accounting Dispatched when the user has been authenticated and a valid Access Token has been acquiredAAD_LOGIN_FAILEDNoneDispatched when the authentication process failsAAD_LOGIN_ERROR Meal. AuthError Identifies that an error occurred while login was in processAAD_LOGOUT_SUCCESSNoneDispatched when the user has successfully logged out on the client side While this wrapper attempts to provide a full-featured means of authenticating with Azure AD, for advanced cases you may want to access the underlying Meal API.

The MsalAuthProvider extends the Meal UserAgentApplication class and will give you access to all the functions available, in addition to implementing new methods used by the library components. It is not recommended using this method if it can be avoided, since operations executed via Meal may not reflect in the wrapper.

Maintain feature parity between the official Meal Angular library after it undergoes its planned upgrade. If you've written a blog post, tutorial, or article feel free to create an issue, so we can include it.

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This article describes initializing Microsoft Authentication Library for JavaScript (MSAL.js) with an instance of a user-agent application. The instance and sign-in audience, when concatenated, make up the authority. Directory (tenant) IDOptionalSpecify this if you're building a line-of-business application solely for your organization, often referred to as a single-tenant application. Redirect URIOptionalIf you're building a web app, the redirected specifies where the identity provider (the Microsoft identity platform) should return the security tokens it has issued.

Initialize the Meal authentication context by instantiating a PublicClientApplication with a Configuration object. .then is invoked and tokenResponse is truth: The application is returning from a redirect operation that was successful.

.then is invoked and tokenResponse is false (null): The application is not returning from a redirect operation. Initialize the Meal 1.x authentication context by instantiating a UserAgentApplication with a configuration object.

Explicitly registering the callback is required in MSAL.js 1.2.x and earlier because redirect flows do not return promises like the methods with a pop-up experience do. Multiple instances of UserAgentApplication or PublicClientApplication are not recommended as they cause conflicting cache entries and behavior in the browser.

Making statements based on opinion; back them up with references or personal experience. Making statements based on opinion; back them up with references or personal experience.

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