Creating a Custom Login and Registration Form with Meteor

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Right out of the box, one of the simplest things you can do with the Meteor JavaScript framework is to create a user accounts system. Just install a pair of packages — accounts-password and accounts-ui — and you’ll end up with the following, fully-functional interface: login buttons template But while this simplicity is convenient, relying on this boilerplate interface doesn’t exactly allow for a lot of flexibility. So what if we want to create a custom interface for our users to register and log into our website? Luckily, it’s not too difficult at all. In this article I’ll show you how to create a custom login and registration form with Meteor. However, this article assumes that you know how to set up a project using this framework by your own. To play with the code developed in this article, take a look at the GitHub repository I set up.

Basic Setup

Inside a new Meteor project, add the accounts-password package by executing the command:
meteor add accounts-password
By adding this package to a project a Meteor.users collection will be created to store our user’s data and we won’t have to write custom logic for user-related functions. So, although creating a custom interface means we’ll lose the convenience of the accounts-ui package, that doesn’t mean we have to lose the convenience of the back-end “magic” that Meteor can provide.

Developing the Interface

For a complete login and registration system, there are a lot of features for which we have to create interfaces for, including:
  • registration
  • login
  • forgot password
  • “confirm your email” page
  • “email confirmed” page
But for the moment, we’ll talk about the first two points listed (registration and login) forms. The reason is that it won’t be difficult for you to figure out how to create the other interfaces once you’ve got a handle on the fundamentals. The following snippet shows the code of the registration form:
<template name="register">
    <form>
        <input type="email" name="registerEmail">
        <input type="password" name="registerPassword">
        <input type="submit" value="Register">
    </form>
</template>
The next snippet shows the code of the login form instead:
<template name="login">
    <form>
        <input type="email" name="loginEmail">
        <input type="password" name="loginPassword">
        <input type="submit" value="Login">
    </form>
</template>
As you can see, the templates are very similar. They contain a form, the fields for the email and password, and the submit button. The only difference is the value of the name attribute for the input fields and the template. (We’ll reference those values soon, so make sure they’re unique.) We only want these templates to be shown for a not-yet-logged user. Therefore we can refer to a currentUser object between the opening and closing body tags:
<head>
    <title>Custom Registration Tutorial</title>
</head>
<body>
    {{#if currentUser}}
        <p>You're logged in.</p>
    {{else}}
        {{> register}}
        {{> login}}
    {{/if}}
</body>
This code shows the “You’re logged in” message if the current user is logged in, and the “register” and “login” templates otherwise.

Creating the Events

At the moment, our forms are static. To make them do something, we need them to react to the submit event. Let’s demonstrate this by focusing on the “register” template. Inside the project’s JavaScript file, write the following:
if (Meteor.isClient) {
    Template.register.events({
        'submit form': function(event) {
            event.preventDefault();
            console.log("Form submitted.");
        }
    });
}
Here, we’ve written code so that the form inside the “register” template:
  1. Responds to the submit event
  2. Doesn’t have any default behavior
  3. Outputs a confirmation message on the console
We’ve also placed this code inside the isClient conditional since we don’t want this code running on the server (as it’s only meant for the interface). Inside the event, we’ll want to grab the values of the email and password fields, and store them in a pair of variables. So let’s modify the previous code:
Template.register.events({
    'submit form': function(event){
        event.preventDefault();
        var emailVar = event.target.registerEmail.value;
        var passwordVar = event.target.registerPassword.value;
        console.log("Form submitted.");
    }
});
For the “login” template, the code is almost identical:
Template.login.events({
    'submit form': function(event) {
        event.preventDefault();
        var emailVar = event.target.loginEmail.value;
        var passwordVar = event.target.loginPassword.value;
        console.log("Form submitted.");
    }
});

Hooking Things Together

After adding the accounts-password package to the project, a number of methods became available to us:
  • Accounts.createUser()
  • Accounts.changePassword()
  • Accounts.forgotPassword()
  • Accounts.resetPassword()
  • Accounts.setPassword()
  • Accounts.verifyEmail()
We’ll focus on the createUser method but, based on the method names, it’s not hard to figure out the purpose of the other ones. At the bottom of the submit event for the “register” template, write:
Accounts.createUser({
    // options go here
});
This is the code we can use to create a new user and, by default, it requires two options: an email and a password. To pass them through, write:
Accounts.createUser({
    email: emailVar,
    password: passwordVar
});
The final code for the event should resemble:
Template.register.events({
    'submit form': function(event) {
        event.preventDefault();
        var emailVar = event.target.registerEmail.value;
        var passwordVar = event.target.registerPassword.value;
        Accounts.createUser({
            email: emailVar,
            password: passwordVar
        });
    }
});
By using this code instead of a generic insert function we have the advantage that passwords are automatically encrypted. Moreover, users are logged in after signing up and we don’t have to write much code. There is also a loginWithPassword() method that we can use within the “login” event:
Meteor.loginWithPassword();
It also accepts the email and password values:
Meteor.loginWithPassword(emailVar, passwordVar);
And in context, this is what the code should look like:
Template.login.events({
    'submit form': function(event){
        event.preventDefault();
        var emailVar = event.target.loginEmail.value;
        var passwordVar = event.target.loginPassword.value;
        Meteor.loginWithPassword(emailVar, passwordVar);
    }
});

Logging Out

Users can now register and log in but, to allow them to log out, let’s first make a new “dashboard” template that will be shown when logged in:
<template name="dashboard">
    <p>You're logged in.</p>
    <p><a href="#" class="logout">Logout</a></p>
</template>
Then include the following code within the if statement we wrote earlier in this article:
<body>
    {{#if currentUser}}
        {{> dashboard}}
    {{else}}
        {{> register}}
        {{> login}}
    {{/if}}
</body>
Now we can create an event that’s attached to the “logout” link within the “dashboard” template:
Template.dashboard.events({
    'click .logout': function(event){
        event.preventDefault();
    }
});
To execute the logging out process, we only have to use a logout method as such:
Template.dashboard.events({
    'click .logout': function(event){
        event.preventDefault();
        Meteor.logout();
    }
});
Registering, logging in, and logging out should now all work as expected.

Conclusions

We’ve made a good amount of progress with a tiny amount of code, but if we want to create a complete interface for the accounts system, there’s still a lot left to do. Here’s what I’d suggest:
  1. Enable the verification of new user’s emails.
  2. Validate the creation (and logging in) of users.
  3. Add visual validation to the “register” and “login” forms.
  4. Do something when a login attempt fails.
  5. Allow users to change their password.
It might take an afternoon to figure out the specifics on how to implement these features but, based on what we’ve covered in this tutorial, none of it is out of your reach. Meteor does the hard work for us. In case you want to play with the code developed in this article, take a look at the GitHub repository I set up.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Creating Custom Login/Registration Form with Meteor

How can I add additional fields to the registration form in Meteor?

Adding additional fields to the registration form in Meteor is quite straightforward. You can extend the user profile by adding more fields in the Accounts.createUser method. For instance, if you want to add a field for the user’s full name, you can do it like this:

Accounts.createUser({
username: 'testuser',
password: 'password',
profile: {
fullName: 'Test User'
}
});
In this example, ‘fullName’ is an additional field added to the user profile. You can access this field later using Meteor.user().profile.fullName.

How can I customize the appearance of the login/registration form in Meteor?

Meteor doesn’t provide a built-in way to customize the appearance of the login/registration form. However, you can use CSS to style the form according to your needs. You can assign classes to the form elements and then use these classes in your CSS file to apply styles. Alternatively, you can use a UI library like Bootstrap or Material-UI to style your form.

How can I implement email verification in Meteor?

Meteor provides built-in support for email verification. You can use the Accounts.sendVerificationEmail method to send a verification email to the user. This method takes the user’s ID as a parameter and sends an email with a link the user can click to verify their email address. You can call this method after creating a new user like this:

Accounts.createUser({
email: 'test@example.com',
password: 'password'
}, function(err, userId) {
if (err) {
// handle error
} else {
Accounts.sendVerificationEmail(userId);
}
});

How can I handle errors during user registration in Meteor?

When creating a new user with Accounts.createUser, you can provide a callback function that will be called with an error object if an error occurs. This error object contains information about what went wrong. You can use this information to display an appropriate error message to the user. Here’s an example:

Accounts.createUser({
username: 'testuser',
password: 'password'
}, function(err) {
if (err) {
console.log('Error during registration:', err);
}
});

How can I implement password reset functionality in Meteor?

Meteor provides built-in support for password reset functionality. You can use the Accounts.forgotPassword and Accounts.resetPassword methods to implement this. The Accounts.forgotPassword method sends an email to the user with a link they can click to reset their password. The Accounts.resetPassword method is used to actually change the user’s password. It takes the token from the reset link and the new password as parameters.

How can I add social login to my Meteor application?

Meteor supports social login with various providers like Facebook, Google, and Twitter through its accounts packages. To add social login to your application, you need to add the appropriate package (for example, accounts-facebook for Facebook login) and configure it with your app’s credentials from the social provider.

How can I restrict access to certain routes based on user authentication in Meteor?

You can use Meteor’s built-in accounts packages along with a routing package like FlowRouter or Iron Router to restrict access to certain routes based on user authentication. You can check if a user is logged in using Meteor.userId() or Meteor.user() and then redirect them to the login page if they’re not.

How can I store additional user data in Meteor?

In Meteor, you can store additional user data in the user document in the Meteor.users collection. You can add additional fields to this document when creating a new user with Accounts.createUser, or you can update an existing user document with additional data using Meteor.users.update.

How can I implement role-based access control in Meteor?

Meteor doesn’t provide built-in support for role-based access control, but you can use a package like alanning:roles to add this functionality to your application. This package allows you to assign roles to users and then check these roles when deciding whether a user is allowed to perform a certain action.

How can I log out a user in Meteor?

You can log out a user in Meteor using the Meteor.logout method. This method logs out the current user on the client and invalidates the login token on the server. It also takes a callback function that will be called with no arguments when the logout process is complete.

David TurnbullDavid Turnbull
View Author

David Turnbull is the author of the Meteor Tips blog, a regular source of tips, tricks, and tutorials for the Meteor JavaScript framework. He's currently hard at work on a screencast series for beginning developers to get started with Meteor.

AurelioDframeworkJavaScriptjavascript frameworkloginmeteorregistration
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