Twitter login in Ionic React Capacitor App


Twitter login in Ionic React Capacitor App

In this post, you’ll learn how to implement Twitter login in your Capacitor apps, based on Ionic React framework. We will also retrieve user name and profile photo to show after login. And we’ll see how to auto-login users after first login.

Since this post is a mix of three new frameworks, it is possible you landed here by mistake. If you are looking for Twitter login in

  • Ionic Angular (Cordova) apps — Please check this post
  • React Native — Please check this post
  • Ionic React Capacitor Apps — Continue reading 😎

As you can see from above, there are several options available for Hybrid app development these days, and it is easy to get confused between them. This post is focussed on Ionic framework with React as the front-end framework, and Capacitor as runtime and build environment.

Code for this tutorial is available on Github repo ionic-react-capacitor-twitter-login

Let’s see a brief intro to each of the included frameworks:

  1. Ionic
  2. Capacitor
  3. Ionic-React

What is Ionic ?

In short — If you create Native apps in Android, you code in Java. If you create Native apps in iOS, you code in Obj-C or Swift. Both of these are powerful but complex languages. With Ionic and Cordova/Capacitor you can write a single piece of code for your app that can run on both iOS and Android (and windows!), that too with the simplicity of HTML, CSS, and JS.

It is important to note the contribution of Cordova/Capacitor in this. Ionic is only a UI wrapper made up of HTML, CSS and JS. So, by default, Ionic cannot run as an app in an iOS or Android device. Cordova/Capacitor is the build environment that containerizes (sort of) this Ionic web app and converts it into a device installable app, along with providing this app access to native APIs like Camera etc.

Capacitor — How is it different from Cordova ?

Capacitor is very similar to Cordova, but with some key differences in the app workflow

Cordova helps build Ionic web app into a device installable app. But there are some limitations of Cordova, which Capacitor tries to overcome with a new App workflow.

Capacitor is a cross-platform app runtime that makes it easy to build web apps that run natively on iOS, Android, Electron, and the web. Ionic people call these apps “Native Progressive Web Apps” and they represent the next evolution beyond Hybrid apps.

Here are the differences between Cordova and Capacitor

  1. Capacitor considers each platform project a source asset instead of a build time asset. That means, Capacitor wants you to keep the platform source code in the repository, unlike Cordova which always assumes that you will generate the platform code on build time
  2. Capacitor does not “run on device” or emulate through the command line. Instead, such operations occur through the platform-specific IDE. So you cannot run an Ionic-capacitor app using a command like ionic run ios . You will have to run iOS apps using Xcode, and Android apps using Android studio
  3. Because of the above, Capacitor does not use config.xml or a similar custom configuration for platform settings. Instead, configuration changes are made by editing AndroidManifest.xml for Android and Info.plist for Xcode
  4. Since platform code is not a source asset, you can directly change the native code using Xcode or Android Studio. This give more flexibility to developers. We will do some similar changes for Twitter login as well.

Plugins

Cordova and Ionic Native plugins can be used in Capacitor environment. However, there are certain Cordova plugins which are known to be incompatible with Capacitor. For Twitter login functionality, we’ll use the Capacitor Twitter login plugin

Other than that, Capacitor also doesn’t support plugin installation with variables. Those changes have to be done manually in the native code. We will do something similar in this post.

Why Ionic React ?

Since Ionic 4, Ionic has become framework agnostic. Now you can create Ionic apps in Angular, React, Vue or even in plain JS. This gives Ionic great flexibility to be used by all kinds of developers.

Ionic Angular apps are supported by both Cordova and Capacitor build environments.

Same is not true for Ionic React apps — Ionic React apps are only supported by Capacitor build environment. Hence, if you want to build apps in Ionic React, you need to use Capacitor to build the app on device.

I know if can get confusing as three frameworks are crossing paths here. Bottom line for this post — Ionic + React + Capacitor + Capacitor Twitter Login plugin

A word on Twitter authentication

We will use the Ionic Capacitor Twitter Plugin to interact with Twitter and authenticate the user. Once the login is done, we receive user profile information.

To receive user info, we will call the /users/show.json endpoint from Twitter (more info here). The important thing to note here is — Twitter does not support this API call from front-end (Client). Hence, we’ll have to call this end-point from a server. We will use Firebase Cloud Function to fetch this information. Firebase Cloud Function act as a REST API, and you can call them from your app.

In case you don’t want to use Firebase for this, and you have another server at your disposal, feel free to use that for API call purpose.

This twitter plugin supports 3 functions

  • Login
  • Logout
  • isLogged — Checks if user is already logged in via Twitter.

Structure of post

I always go step-by-step for readers of all experience level. If you know certain steps, feel free to skip them

Step 1: Create a basic Ionic React app

Step 2: Connect Capacitor with your app

Step 3: Create a Twitter app in Developer console

Step 4: Setup Twitter Login Plugin and functions

Step 5: Fetch User profile from Twitter

Step 6: Build and Test your app on Android

Let’s get started with Ionic React Twitter login !



Let’s get started !!!! 

Step 1 — Create a basic Ionic-React app

First you need to make sure you have the latest Ionic CLI. This will ensure you are using everything latest. Ensure latest Ionic CLI installation using

$ npm install -g ionic@latest

Creating a basic Ionic-React app is not much different or difficult from creating a basic Ionic-Angular app. Start a basic blank starter using

$ ionic start IonCapTwitter blank --type=react

The --type=react told the CLI to create a React app, not an Angular app !!

Run the app in browser using (yes you guessed it right)

$ ionic serve

You won’t see much in the homepage created in the starter. Let’s modify this page to include a button, icon and a title for login. Also, I have created a Homepage, where the user is redirected after successful login. The user profile information in this page comes after login and single API call.


Login and Homepage for Ionic React Capacitor Twitter Login starter app

Login and Homepage for Ionic React Capacitor Twitter Login starter app

The code for this can be found in the attached Github repository.

Step 2 — Attach Capacitor to your Ionic-React app

Capacitor can be attached to an existing Ionic app as well. To attach Capacitor to your existing Ionic app, run

$ ionic integrations enable capacitor

This will attach Capacitor to your Ionic app. After this, you have to init the Capacitor app with

$ npx cap init

It will ask you the app name and ID. Give app name whatever you want. App ID is the domain identifier of your app (ex: com.example.app). Note this ID as this will be required later when you create app in Twitter developer console.

Step 3 — Create a Twitter app in Developer console

To implement a twitter login, you will need a Twitter app (not THE Twitter app) i.e. you need to create an app in Twitter developer account.


Create a Twitter App with required options

Create a Twitter App with required options
  • Once your app is created, find your Consumer API Key and Secret

Twitter consumer API key and secret

Twitter consumer API key and secret

Step 4 — Setup Twitter Login Plugin and functions

To setup Twitter login in the app, we’ll do following things

4.1 Install Capacitor Twitter Login plugin

4.2 Setup plugin functions for login

4.3 Enable routing between two pages of the app

4.4 Control navigation via login / logout from Twitter

4.1 Install Capacitor Twitter Login plugin

Install the plugin using

$ npm install —-save capacitor-twitter

Add the following info in your capacitor.config.json 

...
"plugins": {
"TwitterPlugin": {
"consumerKey": "YOUR_API_KEY",
"consumerSecret":  "YOUR_API_SECRET"
}
}
...

After this, build your app using following commands

// Build web assets
$ ionic build
// Add android platform
$ npx cap add android
// Copy all changes to Android platform
$ npx cap sync
// Open the project in Android studio
$ npx cap open android

In Android studio, locate file android/app/src/main/java/**/**/MainActivity.java, and add the plugin to the initialization list:

...
import io.stewan.capacitor.twitter.TwitterPlugin;
...
public class MainActivity extends BridgeActivity {
...
this.init(savedInstanceState, new ArrayList<Class<? extends Plugin>>() {{
...
add (TwitterPlugin.class);
...
}});

Import plugin in main.activity for Twitter login

Import plugin in main.activity for Twitter login

4.2 Setup plugin functions for login

We have to setup four major functions for Twitter functionality

  1. Login
  2. Logout
  3. Check if user is logged in (for auto-log in)
  4. Get user profile information

Login page will have #1 and #3 functions, while the inner page (Home) will have #2 and #4.

Login Page

The complete code for Login Page looks like this


Some basic things

history.push({
pathname: '/home',
state: { userName: result.userName
}
});

Here, state field contains navigation params (props). These will be accessed in next page from the location object of props .

getCurrentState function gets the current user state from isLogged method, and you can use this to auto-login user after first time authentication. This way, you won’t ask user to authenticate each time he opens the app.

Home Page

The complete code for Home Page looks like this


The userName sent from first page is accessed via this.props.location.state.userName . This will be used further to fetch user’s profile information.

4.3 Enable routing between two pages of the app

The routes are defined in App.tsx file like this

<IonApp>
<IonReactRouter>
<IonRouterOutlet>
<Route path="/login" component={Login} exact={true} />
<Route path="/home" component={Home} exact={true} />
<Route exact path="/" render={() => <Redirect to="/login" />} />
</IonRouterOutlet>
</IonReactRouter>
</IonApp>

4.4 Control navigation via login / logout from Twitter

Once user is successfully logged in, we want to redirect to Home page. And when user logs out, we want to come back to Login page.

On Login page, history.push redirects user to next page after successful login

On Login page,history.goBack() takes you back to previous page after logout is successful.

Step 5 —  Fetch user profile from Twitter 

Fetching user’s profile after logging in is a little tricky in Twitter. Since Twitter, does not provide support for client-side API calls for user profile, we will have to call the API through a server. The faster server we can make is a Firebase server, and use the Firebase Cloud Functions same as REST API.

In case you don’t want to use Firebase for this, and you have another server at your disposal, feel free to use that for API call purpose. The API url and other things will remain the same

Initial Setup

To create Firebase Cloud Function, you can follow this detailed blog. Basic steps are

  • Create a Firebase project
  • Install firebase CLI using npm i firebase-tools -g 
  • Initialize a Firebase project using firebase init . Select the project from the list, and select functions from the list of options
  • Install packages. This will create a functions folder in your root. Inside this, the index.js file will contain the actual functions

Get Twitter App Bearer Token

To fetch user’s info after login, you will need a bearer-token to send along with the API request. This bearer-token can be created using a CURL command like following

curl -u 'API key:API secret key' \   --data 'grant_type=client_credentials' \   'https://api.twitter.com/oauth2/token'

where API key is your Twitter API Key, and API secret key is your Twitter App secret. You will receive a response like this, which contains bearer-token

{"token_type":"bearer","access_token":"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMLheAAAAAAA0%2XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXMDjRfXXXXXb0wnz4XsNiRVBChTYbJcE3F"}

Firebase function to fetch profile info

We’ll create a function getUserInfo which will fetch user’s info in the Firebase Function. We will send userName, which we received from login, in the request. In response we will get all the profile details. The function is as follows


Deploy function on Firebase for use

You will need to deploy the function on Firebase to use it as REST API call. To deploy the function, just run

$ firebase deploy

This will deploy the function on your Firebase project. You can access the function using url like https://us-central1-auth-demos.cloudfunctions.net/getUserInfo . This URL will be shown in your terminal when you deploy the functions.

Step 6— Build and Test your app on Android

At this point, you have all the Twitter Login stuff built-in, Android app setup and Twitter app also setup. Build the app once again after all changes using

// Build web assets
$ ionic build
// Copy all changes to Android platform
$ npx cap sync

Build the app on Android device using Android studio. You should be able to login via Twitter, and reach the inner page where you see the user information. Following GIF shows the login flow in my OnePlus device.



Twitter login in Ionic React Capacitor App

The login success response looks like following



When you call the Firebase function to fetch user’s profile information, the response looks like this


Response from Twitter user profile information fetch

This is a lot of info, and you can make use of it as you want. 

Note: To make a successful API call from Firebase function, your Firebase project needs to be on paid plan (Choose Blaze Plan). Don’t worry, it does not deduct any money immediately. Several thousand requests are free, you just need to add a payment method. You can check details for pricing here.

In case you don’t want to use Firebase for this, and you have another server at your disposal, feel free to use that for API call purpose. 

Conclusion

In this post you learnt how to implement Twitter login in your Ionic React Capacitor app. Social logins are very important part of your apps, as they make users trust your apps more. It is also easy to use, and users don’t have to remember any passwords. You can always link the Social logins with your server as well. 

Firebase has a ready-to-integrate solution for this. You can integrate your Twitter login with Firebase to enable Firebase to handle the auth token etc. 

Code for this tutorial is available on Github repo ionic-react-capacitor-twitter-login

Next Steps

Now that you have learned the implementation of Twitter Login in Ionic React Capacitor app, you can also try following blogs for other Ionic apps

Ionic React Capacitor

If you need a base to start your next Ionic 4 React app, you can make your next awesome app using Ionic React Full App



Ionic 4 React Full App with huge number of layouts and features

Ionic Angular

If you need a base to start your next Ionic 4 Angular app, you can make your next awesome app using Ionic 4 Full App



Ionic 4 Full App with huge number of layouts and features



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