Monday, June 13, 2016

How to Keep a Secret

If your program needs to ask the user for a password, e.g. to connect to a web site or a database, chances are that it proposes a way to remember this password and not have to enter it the next time. This is convenient for the users, but is quite difficult to implement in any more or less secure way and a lot of programs end up storing the passwords in plain text, or something almost indistinguishable from it, e.g. base64-encoded string, in wxConfig.

But now wxWidgets provides a better way to do it with the new wxSecretStore class. It is still as simple to use as wxConfig but uses the OS-provided password storage facility such as Microsoft Windows credentials vault or OS X keychain, for storing the secrets you confide to it. Here is how you would normally use it:

Currently there is not much more that can be done with this class, the only functionality not illustrated by this example is deleting a previously stored secret, but in the future we could extend it, notably to provide a way to also ask the user to enter the password using the OS-provided dialog. Let us know if you use wxSecretStore and if you see possible improvements, please don't keep them secret!

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