Where are the Authentication views in AspNet Core App?

I am struggling with Visual Studio for Mac. I have been a Visual Studio user since it came in multiple CDs in a box. Visual Studio has been improved a lot, I like it more now than I did before. But there is a problem, the VS version for the Mac is a completely different product. I am both a Mac and PC user, I like both operating systems, Windows and Mac OS. However, I have been trying to use my personal laptop (MacBook Pro M1) for my personal software projects, and a lot of them were initially created with VS for Windows.

Visual Studio for Mac lacks some important things I use in my projects, for example, SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) projects. I know that this is because we cannot install SQL in a Mac, and also know that there are alternatives to SSDT, like Azure Data Studio… but guess what? It’s not compatible with the ARM architecture which is what Apple’s new chip (M1) uses, and that’s the laptop I have 😕.

New Web project using Visual Studio for Mac

Anyways, that’s a topic for another post, this is about finding the Authentication views in an ASP.NET Core app. Since I couldn’t use this MacBook to continue working on my existing projects, I decided to use it only for new ones. That should be fine. So I have an idea for a book-sharing app, and I wanted to use VS for Mac to create this web app. I started with one of the templates and in less than a minute I had a working web app on my laptop. Next, I decided to scaffold the Authentication stuff to get authentication features and allow users to do stuff like the following:

  • Register
  • Login/Logout
  • Forgot Password
  • Reset Password
  • Confirm Email
  • Etc.

Scaffolding Identity features

I ran the following commands in my Terminal and on my project’s root directory to add the ability to scaffold the identity stuff. You might not need to do this if you have already installed the aspnet codegenerator:

dotnet tool install -g dotnet-aspnet-codegenerator

dotnet add package Microsoft.VisualStudio.Web.CodeGeneration.Design
dotnet add package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Design
dotnet add package Microsoft.AspNetCore.Identity.EntityFrameworkCore
dotnet add package Microsoft.AspNetCore.Identity.UI
dotnet add package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.SqlServer
dotnet add package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Tools

dotnet aspnet-codegenerator identity -h

Where are my Identity views?

After this, I ran the following command to add the Authentication features to my project. The following command needs to be run inside your project’s directory:

dotnet aspnet-codegenerator identity -dc ReadMoreBooks.Data.ApplicationDbContext --files "Account.Register;Account.Login;Account.Logout"

After doing this, I didn’t see many changes in my solution, but when I ran my application again, I noticed I had the option to register, login, and logout. I registered a test user, and everything worked fine. Until I wanted to edit the page where a user confirms registration and also the page to reset the password. I was expecting to see ConfirmEmail and ResetPassword views under Areas > Identity > Pages > Account – but they weren’t there, only Register, Login, and Logout.

Where are they? After doing some research and spending a good amount of time searching for them in my solution, I found out that Microsoft hid these views to make projects smaller and more organized. This is the blog post where they announced that and that I clearly missed: https://devblogs.microsoft.com/dotnet/aspnetcore-2-1-identity-ui/

So, it turns out that by using the command line to scaffold these views I was already halfway from where I needed to be. What I mean by that is, by using the command tool (I think this is available through the UI but only in VS for Windows), all I had to do was either not specify which views I wanted to scaffold or specify all the views I wanted to include in my project so I could customize them.

The first command is what I ran initially, which helped create the Register, Login, and Logout views, and while everything else within the Authentication was available, the actual files were hidden.

dotnet aspnet-codegenerator identity -dc ReadMoreBooks.Data.ApplicationDbContext --files "Account.Register;Account.Login;Account.Logout"

Bringing back the Identity views into my project

So what I ran after was the following command, which added the views I wanted to my project so I could access them and customize them as much as I needed.

dotnet aspnet-codegenerator identity -dc ReadMoreBooks.Data.ApplicationDbContext --files "Account.ConfirmEmail;Account.ForgotPassword;Account.ForgotPasswordConfirmation;Account.Lockout;Account.LoginWith2fa;Account.ResetPassword;Account.ResetPasswordConfirmation"

That’s it! As soon as the command above was executed, all the authentication-related views appeared in my solution, just like in the old times. Perfect.

Now, I learned that I also have the option to run the same command without specifying the –files command, which will then add all of the available views related to Authentication to your project.

dotnet aspnet-codegenerator identity -dc ReadMoreBooks.Data.ApplicationDbContext

Conclusion and suggestions

So there you have it folks, a feature by Microsoft was a bug for me, at least for a while, until I understood what was happening, and then I learned how to navigate through the changes and get what I wanted.

If you want to learn more about the scaffolding options and how you can use them in your projects, check out this page from Microsoft: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/aspnet/core/security/authentication/scaffold-identity?view=aspnetcore-6.0&tabs=netcore-cli&viewFallbackFrom=aspnetcore-2.1

The moral of the story, read the documentation, keep up to date so you are aware of what’s changing and why, and maybe you’ll save some headaches and be more proficient with your coding. Hope this is useful. Cheers!


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