Summary

Security

Uberfire provides a complete authorization management subsystem for protecting user access to specific resources or features. In order to understand how the security mechanism works a few core concepts need to be introduced first.

Roles and groups

Users can be assigned with more than one role and/or group. It is always mandatory to assign at least one role to the user, otherwise he/she won’t be able to login. Roles are defined at application server level and they are part of the webapp’s web.xml descriptor. On the other hand, groups are a more flexible concept, since they can be defined at runtime.

Permissions

A permission is basically something the user can do within the application. Usually, an action related to a specific resource. For instance:

  • View a perspective
  • Save a project
  • View a repository
  • Delete a dashboard

A permission can be granted or denied and it can be global or resource specific. For instance:

  • Global => “Create new perspectives”
  • Specific => “View home perspective”

As you can see, a permission is a resource + action pair. In the concrete case of a perspective we have: save, delete, rename & copy as the available actions. That means that there exist four possible permissions that could be granted for perspectives.

Permissions do not necessarily need to be tied to a resource. Sometimes it is also neccessary to protect access to specific features, like for instance "generate a sales report". That means, permissions can be used not only to protect access to resources but also to custom features within the application.

Authorization policy

The set of permissions assigned to every role and/or group is what's called the authorization (or security) policy. Every Uberfire application contains a single security policy which is used every time the system is checking a permission.

The authorization policy file is stored in a file called WEB-INF/classes/security-policy.properties stored under the application's WAR structure.

NOTE: If no policy is defined then the authorization management features are disabled
and Uberfire takes that as if all the resources & features were granted by default.

Here is an example of a security policy file:

# Role "admin"
role.admin.permission.perspective.read=true
role.admin.permission.perspective.read.Dashboard=false

# Role "user"
role.user.permission.perspective.read=false
role.user.permission.perspective.read.Home=true
role.user.permission.perspective.read.Dashboard=true

As you can see every entry defines a single permission which is assigned to a role/group. On application start up, the policy file is loaded and stored into memory.

Security checks

The AuthorizationManager is the main interface for checking if permissions are granted to users.

@Inject
AuthorizationManager authzManager;

Perspective perpsective1;
User user;
...
boolean result = authzManager.authorize(perspective1, user);

The security check calls always use the permissions defined in the security policy.