What's the difference between passport and oauth?

I'm trying to build an authentication service with express.js, but I didn't catch the idea of authentication modules yet.

What's difference between passport and oauth middleware? Are they dependent of each other? Is useless to have the BearerStrategy without an oauth server to generate tokens to the BearerStrategy validate? Am I on the right way?

I've read about oAuth2 and Its authentication flow, but I'm still lost with this uncoupled code.

I'm trying to build the Resourse Owner Password authentication with refresh token for my AngularJS frontend communicating with the backend API, and I'm facing with many combinations of password.js strategies (Basic, Bearer, ClientPassword) with oauth2orize on the other side.

So, I'd like to know a very simple explanation of how authentication works on NodeJS. At really I know that Express is not inventing a new way of how authentication works, but the modules are too unobtrusive that I need to understand the base of how It works to achieve them working together.


Passport is authentication middleware. OAuth is authorization middleware.

To understand the difference:

Authentication is the process of ascertaining that somebody really is who he claims to be.

Authorization refers to rules that determine who is allowed to do what. E.g. Bob may be authorized to create and delete databases, while Bobbette is only authorized to read.

In other words. Authentication is your username + password. Authorization is what you're allowed to do.

Passport will allow you to authenticate the user before allowing access to your API. It does not (directly, it's possible) allow to check if a user is allowed to perform an action after authentication.

Check this Wikipedia for more on Authentication vs Authorization.

What OAuth does that Passport doesn't, is that it allows users to grant a service access to their personal information. It also allows users to allow or disallow certain privilages (scopes in OAuth).

Do note that there are a lot of OAuth flavors. The most common is the version with authorization grant types seen when authorizing with Facebook or Google. But there are many others including the Resource Owner Password strategy you mentioned.

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