Using OAuth, Twitter and Async To Display Data - Connect to Twitter from a mobile application using OAuth with the Xamarin.Auth library, along with Joe Mayo's LINQ To Twitter library

Authentication has been a part of .NET for a long time. Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems:

  • Users must remember their user ids and passwords. For technologists, this is not a problem. For my parents, this is a huge challenge. Many people are able to remember their Twitter or other social network passwords. Unfortunately, remembering their user IDs and password for your service is most likely a problem.
  • When an application is responsible for the user IDs and passwords, it must store that information securely in some way. If there's one thing we should all understand, no application is 100 percent secure. There is always the chance for some type of data loss.

Depending on the application's needs, it may make sense to let another service store user IDs and passwords. The next question is, "Is there a standard way to interact with other services that can handle authentication?" Thankfully, there is a standard for cross-application authentication: OAuth. OAuth has been implemented by a number of social networks and other services, including Twitter, Facebook, Google and others.

OAuth is an open standard for authorization. It provides the following:

  • A standard method for client authentication.
  • A standard process for end users to authorize third-party access to server resources.
  • The ability to authorize these third parties without the sharing of credentials (username and password pair).

This article will not get into OAuth specifics; that information is available on the OAuth Web site.

For these set of examples, we'll use OAuth as a mechanism to authenticate users. We'll authenticate users, get a response and display information to the user (specifically, a profile image). From there, the example will integrate with Twitter via OAuth and then make calls to Twitter via a third-party library. This will demonstrate the strength of the growing Xamarin ecosystem.


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