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Version: 5.0.0-beta

Getting Started with Identity Vault in `@ionic/vue`

This application walks through the basic setup and use of Ionic's Identity Vault in an @ionic/vue application. Rather than connecting to a back end service and storing the session data this application will just store information that you type in and tell it to store. Almost all of the work done here will be concentrated on a couple of files:

  • src/services/useVault.ts: a composition API function that abstracts the logic associated with using Identity Vault. This functions and reactive variable exported here model what might be done in a real application.
  • src/views/Home.vue: the main view will have several form controls that allow the user to manipulate the vault. An application would not typically do this. Rather, it would call the methods from useVault() within various workflows. In this "getting started" demo application, however, this allows us to easily play around with the various APIs to see how they behave.

See the final project on Github

Generate the Application#

The first thing we need to do is generate our application.

ionic start getting-started-iv-vue blank --type=vue

Now that the application has been generated, let's also add the native platforms.

Open the capacitor.config.ts file and change the appId to something unique like io.ionic.gettingstartedivvue:

import { CapacitorConfig } from '@capacitor/cli';
const config: CapacitorConfig = {
appId: 'io.ionic.gettingstartedivvue',
appName: 'getting-started-iv-vue',
webDir: 'dist',
bundledWebRuntime: false
};
export default config;

Next, build the application, then install and create the platforms:

npm run build
ionic cap add android
ionic cap add ios

Finally, in order to ensure that a cap copy with each build, add it to the build script in the package.json file as such:

"scripts": {
"build": "vue-cli-service build && cap copy",
...
},

Install Identity Vault#

In order to install Identity Vault, you will need to use ionic enterprise register in order to register your product key. This will create a .npmrc file containing the product key. If you have already performed that step for your production application, you can just copy the .npmrc file from your production project. Since this application is just for learning purposes, you don't need to obtain another key. You can then install Identity Vault.

npm install @ionic-enterprise/identity-vault@next

Create the Vault#

In this step, we will create the vault and test it by storing an retrieving a value from it. We will call this value the session since storing session data in a vault is the most common use case. However, it is certainly not the only use case.

First, create a file named src/services/useVault.ts. Within this file, we will define the vault as well as create a composition function that abstracts all of the logic we need in order to interact with the vault.

import { ref } from 'vue';
import { Vault, IdentityVaultConfig } from '@ionic-enterprise/identity-vault';
const vault: Vault = new Vault({
key: 'io.ionic.getstartedivvue',
type: 'SecureStorage',
deviceSecurityType: 'SystemPasscode',
lockAfterBackgrounded: 2000,
shouldClearVaultAfterTooManyFailedAttempts: true,
customPasscodeInvalidUnlockAttempts: 2,
unlockVaultOnLoad: false,
});
const key = 'sessionData';
const session = ref<string | null | undefined>();
export default function useVault() {
const setSession = async (value: string): Promise<void> => {
session.value = value;
await vault.setValue(key, value);
};
const restoreSession = async () => {
const value = await vault.getValue(key);
session.value = value;
};
return {
session,
setSession,
restoreSession,
};
}

Let's look at this file section by section. The first thing we do is instantiate our vault object. The key gives the vault a name. The other properties provide a default behavior for our vault. As we shall see later, the configuration can be changed as we use the vault.

const vault: Vault = new Vault({
key: 'io.ionic.getstartedivvue',
type: 'SecureStorage',
deviceSecurityType: 'SystemPasscode',
lockAfterBackgrounded: 2000,
shouldClearVaultAfterTooManyFailedAttempts: true,
customPasscodeInvalidUnlockAttempts: 2,
unlockVaultOnLoad: false,
});

Next, we will define a key for storing data. All data within the vault is stored as a key-value pair, and you can store multiple key-value pairs within a single vault. We will also create a reactive property that will be used to reflect the current session data to the outside world.

const key = 'sessionData';
const session = ref<string | null | undefined>();

Finally, we create a composition function that returns our session as well defining a couple of functions that are used to set and restore our session:

export default function useVault() {
const setSession = async (value: string): Promise<void> => {
session.value = value;
await vault.setValue(key, value);
};
const restoreSession = async () => {
const value = await vault.getValue(key);
session.value = value;
};
return {
session,
setSession,
restoreSession,
};
}

Note: rather than create define functions such as setSession() and restoreSession(), we could just return the vault from the composition function and use its API directly in the rest of the application. However, that would expose the rest of the application to potential API changes as well as potentially result in duplicated code. In our opinion, it is a much better option to return functions that define how we would like the rest of the application to interact with the vault. This makes the code more maintainable and easier to debug.

Now that we have the vault in place, let's switch over to src/views/Home.vue and implement some simple interactions with the vault. Here is a snapshot of what we will change:

  1. replace the "container" div with a list of form controls
  2. add a setup() function
  3. remove the existing styling

When we are done, the page will look like this:

<template>
<ion-page>
<ion-header :translucent="true">
<ion-toolbar>
<ion-title>Blank</ion-title>
</ion-toolbar>
</ion-header>
<ion-content :fullscreen="true">
<ion-header collapse="condense">
<ion-toolbar>
<ion-title size="large">Blank</ion-title>
</ion-toolbar>
</ion-header>
<ion-list>
<ion-item>
<ion-label position="floating">Enter the "session" data</ion-label>
<ion-input v-model="data"></ion-input>
</ion-item>
<ion-item>
<ion-label>
<ion-button expand="block" @click="setSession(data)"
>Set Session Data</ion-button
>
</ion-label>
</ion-item>
<ion-item>
<ion-label>
<ion-button expand="block" @click="restoreSession"
>Restore Session Data</ion-button
>
</ion-label>
</ion-item>
<ion-item>
<ion-label>
<div>Session Data: {{ session }}</div>
</ion-label>
</ion-item>
</ion-list>
</ion-content>
</ion-page>
</template>
<script lang="ts">
import {
IonButton,
IonContent,
IonHeader,
IonInput,
IonItem,
IonLabel,
IonList,
IonPage,
IonTitle,
IonToolbar,
} from '@ionic/vue';
import { defineComponent, ref } from 'vue';
import useVault from '@/services/useVault';
export default defineComponent({
name: 'Home',
components: {
IonButton,
IonContent,
IonHeader,
IonInput,
IonItem,
IonLabel,
IonList,
IonPage,
IonTitle,
IonToolbar,
},
setup() {
const data = ref('');
return { ...useVault(), data };
},
});
</script>
<style scoped></style>

Notes:

  1. As we continue with this tutorial, we will just provide the new markup or code that is required. It is up to you to make sure that the correct imports and component definitions are added.
  2. Notice that this view is returning the full return value of the useVault() composition function. This is just being done for convenience. Normally, you would use destructuring to just grab the bits that are needed in any component or service.

Build this and run it on your device(s). You should be able to enter some data and store it in the vault by clicking "Set Session Data." If you then shutdown the app and start it again, you should be able to restore it using "Restore Session Data."

Locking and Unlocking the Vault#

Now that we are storing data in the vault, it would be helpful to lock and unlock that data. The vault will automatically lock after lockAfterBackgrounded milliseconds of the application being in the background. We can also lock the vault manually if we so desire.

Add the following code to the useVault() composition function:

const lockVault = () => {
vault.lock();
};
const unlockVault = () => {
vault.unlock();
};

Remember to return the references to the functions:

return {
session,
lockVault,
unlockVault,
setSession,
restoreSession,
};

We can then add a couple of buttons to our Home.vue component file:

<ion-item>
<ion-label>
<ion-button expand="block" @click="lockVault">Lock Vault</ion-button>
</ion-label>
</ion-item>
<ion-item>
<ion-label>
<ion-button expand="block" @click="unlockVault">Unlock Vault</ion-button>
</ion-label>
</ion-item>

We can now lock and unlock the vault, though in our current case we cannot really tell. Our application should react in some way when the vault is locked. For example, we may want to clear specific data from memory. We may also wish to redirect to a page that will onl allow the user to proceed if they unlock the vault. In our case, we will just clear the session and have a flag that we can use to visually indicate if the vault is locked or not. We can do that by using the vault's onLock event.

Add the following code to src/services/useVault.ts before the start of the useVault() function:

const vaultIsLocked = ref(false);
vault.onLock(() => {
vaultIsLocked.value = true;
session.value = undefined;
});
vault.onUnlock(() => (vaultIsLocked.value = false));

Update the return value from useVault() to include the vaultIsLocked reactive value:

return {
session,
vaultIsLocked,
lockVault,
unlockVault,
setSession,
restoreSession,
};

Then update the Home.vue to display the vaultIsLocked value along with the session.

<ion-item>
<ion-label>
<div>Session Data: {{ session }}</div>
<div>Vault is Locked: {{ vaultIsLocked }}</div>
</ion-label>
</ion-item>

Build and run the application now. When the user clicks the "Lock Vault" button, the "Session Data" will be cleared out and the "Vault is Locked" will show as false. Clicking "Unlock Vault" will cause "Vault is Locked" to show as true again. Notice as well that you can lock the vault, but then also unlock it and get the session data base by clicking "Restore Session Data".

In that latter case, you didn't have to do anything to unlock the vault. That is because we are not using a type of vault that actually locks. As a matter of fact, with the SecureStorage type of vault, the vault also will not automatically lock while the application is in the background.

In a couple of sections, we will explore on expanding this further by using different vault types. First, though, we will begin exploring the Device API.

The Device API#

Identity Vault allows you to have multiple vaults within your application. However, there are some capabilities that Identity Vault allows you to control that are applicable to the device that the application is running on rather than being applicable to any given vault. For these items, we will use Identity Vault's Device API.

One such item is the "privacy screen." When an application is put into the background, the default behavior is for the OS to take a screenshot of the current page and display that as the user scrolls through the open applications. However, if your application displays sensitive information, you may not want that information displayed at such a time, so another option is to display the splash screen (on iOS) or a plain rectangle (on Android) instead of the screenshot. This is often referred to as a "privacy screen."

We will use the Device.isHideScreenOnBackgroundEnabled() method to determine if our application will currently display the privacy screen or not. We will then use the Device.setHideScreenOnBackground() method to control whether it is displayed or not. Finally, we will hook that all up to a checkbox in the UI to allow the user to manipulate the value at run time.

All of the following code applies to the src/views/Home.vue file.

First, import the Device API:

import { Device } from '@ionic-enterprise/identity-vault';

Then add the following code to the setup() function:

const privacyScreen = ref(false);
Device.isHideScreenOnBackgroundEnabled().then(
x => (privacyScreen.value = x),
);
const privacyScreenChanged = (evt: { detail: { checked: boolean } }) => {
Device.setHideScreenOnBackground(evt.detail.checked);
};

Remember to add privacyScreen and privacyScreenChanged to the return value of setup() so we can use those items in our template:

return { ...useVault(), data, privacyScreen, privacyScreenChanged };

Finally, we can add the checkbox to our template:

<ion-item>
<ion-label>Use Privacy Screen</ion-label>
<ion-checkbox
:checked="privacyScreen"
@ionChange="privacyScreenChanged"
></ion-checkbox>
</ion-item>

Note: remember to import IonCheckbox and add it to the list of components for this view.

Build the app and play around with changing the check box and putting the app in the background. In most applications, you would leave this value set by default, but if you were going to change it, you would most likely just do so on startup and leave it that way.

Using Different Vault Types#

The mechanism used to unlock the vault is determined by a combination of the type and the deviceSecurityType configuration settings. The type can be any of the following:

  • SecureStorage: Securely store the data in the keychain, but do not lock it.
  • DeviceSecurity: When the vault is locked, it needs to be unlocked via a mechanism provided by the device.
  • CustomPasscode: When the vault is locked, it needs to be unlocked via a custom method provided by the application. This is typically done in the form of a custom PIN dialog.
  • InMemory: The data is never persisted. As a result, if the application is locked or restarted, the data is gone.

In addition to these types, if DeviceSecurity is used, it is further refined by the deviceSecurityType, which can be any of the following values:

  • Biometrics: Use the biometric authentication type specified by the device.
  • SystemPasscode: Use the system passcode entry screen.
  • Both: Use Biometrics with the SystemPasscode as a backup when Biometrics fails.

We specified SecureStorage when we set up the vault:

const vault: Vault = new Vault({
key: 'io.ionic.getstartedivvue',
type: 'SecureStorage',
deviceSecurityType: 'SystemPasscode',
lockAfterBackgrounded: 2000,
shouldClearVaultAfterTooManyFailedAttempts: true,
customPasscodeInvalidUnlockAttempts: 2,
unlockVaultOnLoad: false,
});

However, we can use the vault's updateConfig() method to change this at run time.

In our application,we don't want to use every possible combination. Rather than exposing the raw type and deviceSecurityType values to the rest of the application, let's define the types of authentication we do want to support:

NoLocking: We want to store the session data securely, but never lock it. Biometrics: We want to use the device's biometric mechanism to unlock the vault when it is locked. SystemPasscode: We want to use the device's passcode screen (typically a PIN or pattern) to unlock the vault when it is locked.

Now we have the types defined within the domain of our application. The only code within our application that will have to worry about what this means within the context of the Identity Vault configuration is our useVault() composition function.

First let's add a reactive property to src/services/useVault just like the other ones that exist.

const lockType = ref<
'NoLocking' | 'Biometrics' | 'SystemPasscode' | undefined
>();

Note: remember to also return this as part of the object returned by useVault().

Next, we will need to watch for changes and update the configuration when they occur. Since we only need a single watch to do this once, we should put that outside the useVault() function, just like our reactive properties and our onLock and onUnlock event handlers.

const setLockType = (
lockType: 'NoLocking' | 'Biometrics' | 'SystemPasscode' | undefined,
) => {
let type: VaultType;
let deviceSecurityType: DeviceSecurityType;
if (lockType) {
switch (lockType) {
case 'Biometrics':
type = 'DeviceSecurity';
deviceSecurityType = 'Biometrics';
break;
case 'SystemPasscode':
type = 'DeviceSecurity';
deviceSecurityType = 'SystemPasscode';
break;
default:
type = 'SecureStorage';
deviceSecurityType = 'SystemPasscode';
}
vault.updateConfig({
...vault.config,
type,
deviceSecurityType,
});
}
};
watch(lockType, lock => setLockType(lock));

Note: when this code is added, you will also need to add watch to the import from "vue."

Also, be sure to import VaultType and DeviceSecurityType from @ionic-enterprise/identity-vault.

We can now add a group of radio buttons to our Home view that will control the vault type. Remember to import any new components we are using and specify them in the view's components object.

<ion-item>
<ion-radio-group v-model="lockType">
<ion-list-header>
<ion-label> Vault Locking Mechanism </ion-label>
</ion-list-header>
<ion-item>
<ion-label>Do Not Lock</ion-label>
<ion-radio value="NoLocking"></ion-radio>
</ion-item>
<ion-item>
<ion-label>Use Biometrics</ion-label>
<ion-radio :disabled="!canUseBiometrics" value="Biometrics"></ion-radio>
</ion-item>
<ion-item>
<ion-label>Use System Passcode</ion-label>
<ion-radio value="SystemPasscode"></ion-radio>
</ion-item>
</ion-radio-group>
</ion-item>

For the "Use Biometric" radio button, we are disabling it based on a canUseBiometrics value. We will need to code for that in our setup().

const canUseBiometrics = ref(false);
Device.isBiometricsEnabled().then(x => (canUseBiometrics.value = x));

Notice that we are using the Device API again here to determine if biometrics are both supported by the current device as well as enabled by the user. We don't want users to be able to choose that option unless the biometrics are properly set up on the device.

Be sure to include canUseBiometrics in the return statement at the end of setup().

One final bit of housekeeping before building and running the application is that if you are using an iOS device you need to open the Info.plist file and add the NSFaceIDUsageDescription key with a value like "Use Face ID to unlock the vault when it is locked."

Now when you run the app, you can choose a different locking mechanism and it should be used whenever you need to unlock the vault. If you change the vault type to use either Biometrics or Session Passcode, you should see that the vault is still using that mode when you restart the application. If a vault already exists for a given key (such as 'io.ionic.getstartedivvue'), the vault remembers which mode it is operating in and will ignore the mode passed into the Vault object's constructor.

Initialize the vaultIsLocked Flag#

Try the following:

  1. Set some session data
  2. Choose either "Use Biometrics" or "Use System Passcode"
  3. Close the app
  4. Restart the app
  5. Note that "Vault is Locked" is shown as false
  6. Press "Restore Session Data"
  7. Note that you are asked to unlock the vault

Clearly the vault was locked. Our flag is wrong because we are just setting it to false on startup, and the onLock event handler is not running on startup. We need a way to detect the current lock status on startup (or any other time that we may want to know it programmatically). The Vault API gives us that via the isLocked() method. Add the following line of code immediately after the onLock and onUnlock event handlers in our useVault.ts file.

vault.isLocked().then(x => (vaultIsLocked.value = x));

Now when we restart the app, the vault should be shown as locked.

Clear the Vault#

One last method we will explore before we leave is the clear() method. The clear() API will remove all items from the vault and then remove the vault itself.

To show this in action, let's add a vaultExists reactive property to our src/services/useVault.ts file. Remember to return it from the useVault() composable function so we bind to it in our view.

const vaultExists = ref(false);

Let's then add a clearVault() function within useVault(). This function will call vault.clear(), reset the lockType to the default of NoLocking, and clear our session data cache.

const clearVault = async () => {
await vault.clear();
lockType.value = 'NoLocking';
session.value = undefined;
};

Remember to add it to the return from useVault() as well.

In order to see when a vault does and does not exist, let's use vaultExists.value = await vault.doesVaultExist(); in a couple of places. Add a call in clearVault() as well as in setSession(). Let's also add a call within useVault() itself, but since that function is not async we will need to use the "promise then" syntax there. Add those call now.

With that in place, open the Home.vue file and do the following:

  • Add a button to clear the vault by calling clearVault() on click
  • Display the current value of vaultExists in a div just like we are currently showing session and vaultIsLocked

Conclusion#

This walk-through has implemented using Identity Vault in a very manual manner, allowing for a lot of user interaction with the vault. In an actual application, a lot of this functionality would instead be a part of several programatic workflows within the aplication.

At this point, you should have a good idea of how Identity Vault works. There is still more functionality that can be implemented. Be sure to check out our HowTo documents to determine how to facilitate specific areas of functionality within your application.