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Create A Random Nonce String Using JavaScript

Have you ever needed to come up with a random string of characters say for a password? Maybe you’re looking for a random string of characters for an oauth 1.0 nonce. Maybe you’re in a job interview and you’re asked to generate a random alpha numeric string.

Whatever the case, we’re going to look at generating a random string of characters of any given length using JavaScript.

If you’ve been keeping up with my open source work, you’ve probably seen a nonce function I’ve made for use with oauth 1.0a providers.

A nonce via Wikipedia:

An arbitrary number used only once in a cryptographic communication.

Here is one way to create such a function:

var randomString = function(length) {
    var text = "";
    var possible = "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789";
    for(var i = 0; i < length; i++) {
        text += possible.charAt(Math.floor(Math.random() * possible.length));
    }
    return text;
}

This code was actually taken from a popular Stack Overflow example.

So in case you’re not familiar how the code works. We first define a string of all the allowed characters in our final randomized string. We then loop until a given length which will represent the string size. In this loop we will look at the allowed character string as a kind of array (character by character) and randomly choose an index of the array. This then allows us a random string.

Conclusion

Knowing how to create a random string is good for oauth nonce’s, strong passwords, and interview questions for software engineering phone screenings. Good to know and easy to do.

A video version of this article can be seen below.

Nic Raboy

Nic Raboy

Nic Raboy is an advocate of modern web and mobile development technologies. He has experience in Java, JavaScript, Golang and a variety of frameworks such as Angular, NativeScript, and Apache Cordova. Nic writes about his development experiences related to making web and mobile development easier to understand.

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