R Shiny authentication (incl. demo app)

R Shiny authentication (incl. demo app)

This tutorial comes with a R Shiny demo application which you can access here. Create professional web applications for your company

PREAMBLE

Shiny is extremely powerful to quickly build interactive web applications. It’s also the preferred technological solution for many data scientists, because it’s R-native.

As not all web applications are meant to be public, the ability to control access should be part of the know-how of any aspiring data scientist.

This tutorial will introduce you to a few options to secure your Shiny apps through authentication layer.

Note: in order to get the most from this tutorial, interested reader should already be familiar with basic Shiny principles (e.g. reactivity, how to use a module), web development (e.g. html tags and css), and RStudio projects.

A SHINY APP COMPANION

This tutorial comes with a R Shiny demo application which you can access here.

The complete code is also available on my **[bitbucket account](https://bitbucket.org/cho7tom/authentication/src/master/).**

A QUICK WORD ON THE 3 PROPOSED APPROACHES

This tutorial will cover several approaches to secure access to R Shiny web application.

  1. First, I’ll cover the basics of authentication, building my own login form, making the app appear (and the login form disappear) in case of correct credentials provided by the user.
  2. Then, I’ll pack the login form and the corresponding server logic into a **[module**](https://shiny.rstudio.com/articles/modules.html). This will increase your application readability and maintainability, and make your login form easy to reuse across several applications.
  3. In a third step, I’ll leverage the **[shinyauthr](https://paul.rbind.io/shinyauthr/) package, which is basically an implementation of step 2 with a few additional functionalities, including **password hashing (based on the sodium package).
  4. Lastly, I’ll briefly mention two other approaches.

Note: for the sake of the demonstration, I created a table to store username and password straight from the Shiny server section. Keep in mind that *credentials should be encrypted and stored in a database in the case of apps deployed in production *(database connection is not covered in this particular post).

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