Sunday, May 11, 2008

Writing a Simple Issue Tracker in Grails, Part 2

This is the long overdue follow up to my Writing a Simple Issue Tracker in Grails post. In this post I'll be detailing how to add security with the JSecurity plugin.

So let's dive right in and work on securing our application. I opted to use the JSecurity plugin for no other reason than I've used the Acegi plugin in the past and wanted to see how JSecurity compares. You could use the Acegi plugin with a similar process and results.

Following the JSecurity Quick Start guide, we'll begin by installing the plugin and running the quick start script:

grails install-plugin jsecurity
grails quick-start


The quick start script created a few domain classes as well as a controller for logging in and out. Now we need to setup an Administrator user and role to test things with. We'll just cut and paste the Administrator role setup right from the Quick Start guide into our Bootstrap.groovy file:

import org.jsecurity.crypto.hash.Sha1Hash

class BootStrap {

def init = {servletContext ->
// Administrator user and role.
def adminRole = new JsecRole(name: "Administrator").save()
def adminUser = new JsecUser(username: "admin", passwordHash: new Sha1Hash("admin").toHex()).save()
new JsecUserRoleRel(user: adminUser, role: adminRole).save()
}

def destroy = {
}
}


With the administrator user in place, we can start securing our controllers. JSecurity makes this drop dead simple by letting you specify rules in the conf/SecurityFilters.groovy file.

Before we dive in and start writing our rules, let's think about what we want users to be able to do. I'm going to keep things simple and have two classes of users: anonymous and administrators. However, you could easily create a third class of users, authenticated, that would have more permissions than the anonymous users but less than the administrators.

Administrators should be able to create, edit, and delete Projects, Components, and Issues. Additionally, Administrators should be able to access the admin controller.

Depending on how private you want your issue tracker, anonymous users might be able to list and show the Projects, Components, and Issues or they might not. They may also create new issues or they may not. To handle this, I'm going to create two new configuration parameters that control how secure the application is by adding the following lines to Config.groovy:

issue.secure.create = true
issue.secure.view = false


These configuration options will let us configure whether anonymous users can create issues (issue.secure.create = true) and whether anonymous users can view issues (issue.secure.view = false). In the above example, creating a new issue is secured (requires the user be logged in) but viewing is not.

Now that we have an idea of our security rules, let's codify them in the conf/SecurityFilters.groovy file:

import org.codehaus.groovy.grails.commons.ApplicationHolder

class SecurityFilters {
def filters = {

// secure the project controller
projectCreationAndEditing(controller: "project", action: "(create|edit|save|update|delete)") {
before = {
accessControl {
role("Administrator")
}
}
}

// secure the component controller
componentCreationAndEditing(controller: "component", action: "(create|edit|save|update|delete)") {
before = {
accessControl {
role("Administrator")
}
}
}

// secure issue editing
issueEditing(controller: "issue", action: "(edit|update|delete)") {
before = {
accessControl {
role("Administrator")
}
}
}

// secure admin controller
admin(controller: "admin", action: "*") {
before = {
accessControl {
role("Administrator")
}
}
}

// secure creating issues if Config#issue.secure.create = true
if (ApplicationHolder.application.config?.issue?.secure?.create) {
issueCreation(controller: "issue", action: "(create|save)") {
before = {
accessControl {
role("Administrator")
}
}
}
}

// secure viewing issues if Config#issue.secure.view = true
if (ApplicationHolder.application.config?.issue?.secure?.view) {
issueBrowsing(controller: "issue", action: "(show|list)") {
before = {
accessControl {
role("Administrator")
}
}
}

componentBrowsing(controller: "component", action: "(show|list)") {
before = {
accessControl {
role("Administrator")
}
}
}

projectBrowsing(controller: "project", action: "(show|list)") {
before = {
accessControl {
role("Administrator")
}
}
}
}
}
}


So with that we should have a secured grails app. Obviously there are plenty of things we can improve. First off, there is no user management code. We'll probably want to generate a controller to allow new users to register as well as to allow Administrators to add new users. The views could be cleaned up quite a bit and we could add a custom logo. Finally there are numerous other options that folks have suggested, including saved searches, internationalization, etc.

I've gone ahead and created a new Google Code project with the code from this article. If you're interested in hacking on this code, let me know. In the next installment, which I promise won't take a month, I'll be adding search/filtering support via the Searchable plugin and creating an API so I can create new issues from external applications.

Cheers,
Josh

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting series. Keep up the good work!

You might want to add user level security so that only creator of project / issues can edit them.

Filippo said...

Thank you for sharing!
Personally I use the Acegi plugin for security management in Grails, but it's nice to have more (at least 3 at the moment, I guess) choices.
Have you tried Acegi security? Why do you prefer JSecurity over it?

Josh Reed said...

Hi Filippo,

I'm using Acegi in another project and it worked similarly. I chose JSecurity this time around to see how it compared.

Overall, the process to use either is quite similar. I like the fact that Acegi comes with a registration controller. I actually prefer JSecurity's SecurityFilters approach to Acegi's Requestmap approach. It seems like with the SecurityFilters you can reduce the number of rules/requestmaps you need to create.

Cheers,
Josh

Sam said...
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