clortho
friendly, OS-appropriate password handling for node scripts
Last updated 5 years ago by jzetlen .
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Clortho is a library for asking for service passwords from node scripts. It is not the first library to be named after Louis Tully, but I chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor!

Use Clortho if:

  • You're using Node as a scripting language with user interaction, such as a Yeoman generator, or a Grunt or Gulp plugin.
  • You need to prompt the user for a password to some external service.
  • You want to prompt the user in a friendly way, using GUI tools where available.
  • You want to store the password securely.

Clortho combines keychain authentication with user prompting, so if user interaction isn't a part of your app--that is, if it's a server--then Clortho is not appropriate. If you just want keychain access, you're looking for node-keytar.

Usage

clortho is a function that returns a promise for a credential. A credential is an object with username and password properties. The password will be in plaintext, so don't cross the streams with it.

  const clortho = require('clortho');

  clortho({
    service: 'Gozer',
    username: 'vinz@clortho.horse',
    message: 'I am Vinz, Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer. Volguus Zildrohar, Lord of the Sebouillia. Are you the Gatekeeper?'
  }).then(credential => {
    console.log(credential.username);
    console.log(credential.password);
  });

The above is the simplest usage; it should work for most cases, because it does some sane things.

  1. First, it checks your operating system's credential store or keychain for a password for the named service and username, using the security utility on OSX, a PowerShell script on Windows, or a simple in-memory storage (that never writes to disk) if neither are available.

  2. If it finds a password available in the keychain, it skips prompting the user and resolves the promise with the credential.

  3. If it doesn't find a password, it prompts the user with an OS-appropriate authentication prompt. In Windows 7 and above, it looks like this:

Windows PowerShell style

In OSX, it looks like this:

OSX AppleScript style

On other operating systems, or if the username was not supplied on OSX, the prompt occurs in the terminal running the program.

CLI terminal style

  1. If the user clicks "Cancel", the promise rejects. If the user enters a password, however...

  2. It stores the username and password in the system keychain.

  3. Then, it fulfills the promise with the credential object.

The available options for the clortho(opts) function are:

  • service: Required. Name of the service for which Clortho is getting a credential. This can be any arbitrary string, like "zuul" or "AWS Sandbox".
  • username: Optional. The username for which Clortho is getting a password. If this is not supplied, Clortho will ask for both a username and password.
  • message: Optional. A custom message to display with the password prompt, instead of the default "Please enter your username and password".
  • cli: Optional. If this is true, the prompt step will always use the CLI in-terminal prompt style. If it is false, the prompt step will never use that style. Default is undefined, which will allow Clortho to select an OS-appropriate prompt style.
  • refresh: Optional. If this is set to true, then Clortho will not check the keychain before prompting. This is appropriate to use if the password fails the first time. Default false.

API

The sensible default above doesn't work in every case. Fortunately, the default clortho function is composed of several functions that can be exposed as separate steps. For instance, this example:

  const clortho = require('clortho');

  clortho({
    service: 'Gozer',
    username: 'vinz@clortho.horse',
    message: 'I am Vinz, Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer. Volguus Zildrohar, Lord of the Sebouillia. Are you the Gatekeeper?'
  }).then(credential => {
    console.log(credential.username);
    console.log(credential.password);
  });

is equivalent to:

  const vinz = require('clortho').forService('Gozer');
  
  vinz.getFromKeychain('vinz@clortho.horse')
  .catch(() =>
    vinz.prompt(
      'vinz@clortho.horse'
      'I am Vinz, Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer. Volguus Zildrohar, Lord of the Sebouillia. Are you the Gatekeeper?'
    )
    .then(vinz.trySaveToKeychain)
  );

You can obtain a decomposed object like the above, by running clortho.forService(serviceName). It has the following methods, all of which return promises:

getFromKeychain(username)

Takes a string username. Queries the system keychain for the username under the service. Resolves with a credential object. Rejects if a credential is not found or the keychain query failed for another reason.

prompt(username, message, cli)

Prompts the user with a system-appropriate dialog or prompt. The username string is optional (though on OSX, a missing username will make the system fall back to CLI style). The message string is optional, and works as above in the main clortho function. The cli boolean is optional. If it is true, then the prompt will always use the CLI terminal style. If it is false, then the prompt will never use the CLI terminal style. If it is any other value, or missing, then the prompt will detect the appropriate style to use. Resolves with a credential object. Rejects if the user cancels.

saveToKeychain(username, password)

Both arguments are required. Saves the password securely to the system keychain. Resolves true if save was successful. Rejects if save failed for any reason.

trySaveToKeychain(credential)

Instead of separate username and password arguments like saveToKeychain, this method takes a credential object with username and password properties, and attempts to save it to the system keychain. This method always resolves with the credential again. It is meant as a pass-through method that should not notify if it fails.

removeFromKeychain(username)

Remove the password from the keychain for the service. Resolves true if delete was successful.

Installation

NPM:

npm install clortho

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