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Rails integration for Rodauth authentication framework

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rodauth-rails

Provides Rails integration for the Rodauth authentication framework.

Table of contents

Resources

Useful links:

Articles:

Why Rodauth?

There are already several popular authentication solutions for Rails (Devise, Sorcery, Clearance, Authlogic), so why would you choose Rodauth? Here are some of the advantages that stand out for me:

Upgrading

Upgrading to 0.7.0

Starting from version 0.7.0, rodauth-rails now correctly detects Rails application's

secret_key_base
when setting default
hmac_secret
, including when it's set via credentials or
$SECRET_KEY_BASE
environment variable. This means that your authentication will now be more secure by default, and Rodauth features that require
hmac_secret
should now work automatically as well.

However, if you've already been using rodauth-rails in production, where the

secret_key_base
is set via credentials or environment variable and
hmac_secret
was not explicitly set, the fact that your authentication will now start using HMACs has backwards compatibility considerations. See the Rodauth documentation for instructions on how to safely transition, or just set
hmac_secret nil
in your Rodauth configuration.

Installation

Add the gem to your Gemfile:

gem "rodauth-rails", "~> 0.9"

gem "jwt", require: false # for JWT feature

gem "rotp", require: false # for OTP feature

gem "rqrcode", require: false # for OTP feature

gem "webauthn", require: false # for WebAuthn feature

Then run

bundle install
.

Next, run the install generator:

$ rails generate rodauth:install

Or if you want Rodauth endpoints to be exposed via JSON API:

$ rails generate rodauth:install --json # regular authentication using the Rails session
# or
$ rails generate rodauth:install --jwt # token authentication via the "Authorization" header
$ bundle add jwt

The generator will create the following files:

  • Rodauth migration at
    db/migrate/*_create_rodauth.rb
  • Rodauth initializer at
    config/initializers/rodauth.rb
  • Sequel initializer at
    config/initializers/sequel.rb
    for ActiveRecord integration
  • Rodauth app at
    app/lib/rodauth_app.rb
  • Rodauth controller at
    app/controllers/rodauth_controller.rb
  • Account model at
    app/models/account.rb

Migration

The migration file creates tables required by Rodauth. You're encouraged to review the migration, and modify it to only create tables for features you intend to use.

# db/migrate/*_create_rodauth.rb
class CreateRodauth < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def change
    create_table :accounts do |t| ... end
    create_table :account_password_hashes do |t| ... end
    create_table :account_password_reset_keys do |t| ... end
    create_table :account_verification_keys do |t| ... end
    create_table :account_login_change_keys do |t| ... end
    create_table :account_remember_keys do |t| ... end
  end
end

Once you're done, you can run the migration:

$ rails db:migrate

Rodauth initializer

The Rodauth initializer assigns the constant for your Rodauth app, which will be called by the Rack middleware that's added in front of your Rails router.

# config/initializers/rodauth.rb
Rodauth::Rails.configure do |config|
  config.app = "RodauthApp"
end

Sequel initializer

Rodauth uses Sequel for database interaction. If you're using ActiveRecord, an additional initializer will be created which configures Sequel to use the ActiveRecord connection.

# config/initializers/sequel.rb
require "sequel/core"

initialize Sequel and have it reuse Active Record's database connection

DB = Sequel.connect("postgresql://", extensions: :activerecord_connection)

Rodauth app

Your Rodauth app is created in the

app/lib/
directory, and comes with a default set of authentication features enabled, as well as extensive examples on ways you can configure authentication behaviour.
# app/lib/rodauth_app.rb
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  configure do
    # authentication configuration
  end

route do |r| # request handling end end

Controller

Your Rodauth app will by default use

RodauthController
for view rendering, CSRF protection, and running controller callbacks and rescue handlers around Rodauth actions.
# app/controllers/rodauth_controller.rb
class RodauthController < ApplicationController
end

Account model

Rodauth stores user accounts in the

accounts
table, so the generator will also create an
Account
model for custom use.
# app/models/account.rb
class Account < ApplicationRecord
end

Usage

Routes

We can see the list of routes our Rodauth middleware handles:

$ rails rodauth:routes
Routes handled by RodauthApp:

/login rodauth.login_path /create-account rodauth.create_account_path /verify-account-resend rodauth.verify_account_resend_path /verify-account rodauth.verify_account_path /change-password rodauth.change_password_path /change-login rodauth.change_login_path /logout rodauth.logout_path /remember rodauth.remember_path /reset-password-request rodauth.reset_password_request_path /reset-password rodauth.reset_password_path /verify-login-change rodauth.verify_login_change_path /close-account rodauth.close_account_path

Using this information, we could add some basic authentication links to our navigation header:


These routes are fully functional, feel free to visit them and interact with the pages. The templates that ship with Rodauth aim to provide a complete authentication experience, and the forms use Bootstrap markup.

Current account

To be able to fetch currently authenticated account, let's define a

#current_account
method that fetches the account id from session and retrieves the corresponding account record:
# app/controllers/application_controller.rb
class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  before_action :current_account, if: -> { rodauth.logged_in? }

private

def current_account @current_account ||= Account.find(rodauth.session_value) rescue ActiveRecord::RecordNotFound rodauth.logout rodauth.login_required end helper_method :current_account end

This allows us to access the current account in controllers and views:

Authenticated as:

Requiring authentication

We'll likely want to require authentication for certain parts of our app, redirecting the user to the login page if they're not logged in. We can do this in our Rodauth app's routing block, which helps keep the authentication logic encapsulated:

# app/lib/rodauth_app.rb
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  # ...
  route do |r|
    # ...
    r.rodauth # route rodauth requests

# require authentication for /dashboard/* and /account/* routes
if r.path.start_with?("/dashboard") || r.path.start_with?("/account")
  rodauth.require_authentication # redirect to login page if not authenticated
end

end end

We can also require authentication at the controller layer:

# app/controllers/application_controller.rb
class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  private

def authenticate rodauth.require_authentication # redirect to login page if not authenticated end end

# app/controllers/dashboard_controller.rb
class DashboardController < ApplicationController
  before_action :authenticate
end
# app/controllers/posts_controller.rb
class PostsController < ApplicationController
  before_action :authenticate, except: [:index, :show]
end

Or at the Rails router level:

# config/routes.rb
Rails.application.routes.draw do
  constraints -> (r) { r.env["rodauth"].require_authentication } do
    namespace :admin do
      # ...
    end
  end
end

Views

The templates built into Rodauth are useful when getting started, but soon you'll want to start editing the markup. You can run the following command to copy Rodauth templates into your Rails app:

$ rails generate rodauth:views

This will generate views for the default set of Rodauth features into the

app/views/rodauth
directory, which will be automatically picked up by the
RodauthController
.

You can pass a list of Rodauth features to the generator to create views for these features (this will not remove any existing views):

$ rails generate rodauth:views login create_account lockout otp

Or you can generate views for all features:

$ rails generate rodauth:views --all

You can also tell the generator to create views into another directory (in this case make sure to rename the Rodauth controller accordingly):

# generates views into app/views/authentication
$ rails generate rodauth:views --name authentication

Layout

To use different layouts for different Rodauth views, you can compare the request path in the layout method:

class RodauthController < ApplicationController
  layout :rodauth_layout

private

def rodauth_layout case request.path when rodauth.login_path, rodauth.create_account_path, rodauth.verify_account_path, rodauth.reset_password_path, rodauth.reset_password_request_path "authentication" else "dashboard" end end end

Mailer

Depending on the features you've enabled, Rodauth may send emails as part of the authentication flow. Most email settings can be customized:

# app/lib/rodauth_app.rb
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  # ...
  configure do
    # ...
    # general settings
    email_from "[email protected]"
    email_subject_prefix "[MyApp] "
    send_email(&:deliver_later)
    # ...
    # feature settings
    verify_account_email_subject "Verify your account"
    verify_account_email_body { "Verify your account by visting this link: #{verify_account_email_link}" }
    # ...
  end
end

This is convenient when starting out, but eventually you might want to use your own mailer. You can start by running the following command:

$ rails generate rodauth:mailer

This will create a

RodauthMailer
with the associated mailer views in
app/views/rodauth_mailer
directory:
# app/mailers/rodauth_mailer.rb
class RodauthMailer < ApplicationMailer
  def verify_account(recipient, email_link) ... end
  def reset_password(recipient, email_link) ... end
  def verify_login_change(recipient, old_login, new_login, email_link) ... end
  def password_changed(recipient) ... end
  # def email_auth(recipient, email_link) ... end
  # def unlock_account(recipient, email_link) ... end
end

You can then uncomment the lines in your Rodauth configuration to have it call your mailer. If you've enabled additional authentication features that send emails, make sure to override their

create_*_email
methods as well.
# app/lib/rodauth_app.rb
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  # ...
  configure do
    # ...
    create_reset_password_email do
      RodauthMailer.reset_password(email_to, reset_password_email_link)
    end
    create_verify_account_email do
      RodauthMailer.verify_account(email_to, verify_account_email_link)
    end
    create_verify_login_change_email do |login|
      RodauthMailer.verify_login_change(login, verify_login_change_old_login, verify_login_change_new_login, verify_login_change_email_link)
    end
    create_password_changed_email do
      RodauthMailer.password_changed(email_to)
    end
    # create_email_auth_email do
    #   RodauthMailer.email_auth(email_to, email_auth_email_link)
    # end
    # create_unlock_account_email do
    #   RodauthMailer.unlock_account(email_to, unlock_account_email_link)
    # end
    send_email do |email|
      # queue email delivery on the mailer after the transaction commits
      db.after_commit { email.deliver_later }
    end
    # ...
  end
end

This approach can be used even if you're using a 3rd-party service for transactional emails, where emails are sent via HTTP instead of SMTP. Whatever the

create_*_email
block returns will be passed to
send_email
, so you can be creative.

Migrations

The install generator will create a migration for tables used by the Rodauth features enabled by default. For any additional features, you can use the migration generator to create the corresponding tables:

$ rails generate rodauth:migration otp sms_codes recovery_codes
# db/migration/*_create_rodauth_otp_sms_codes_recovery_codes.rb
class CreateRodauthOtpSmsCodesRecoveryCodes < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def change
    create_table :account_otp_keys do |t| ... end
    create_table :account_sms_codes do |t| ... end
    create_table :account_recovery_codes do |t| ... end
  end
end

Multiple configurations

If you need to handle multiple types of accounts that require different authentication logic, you can create different configurations for them:

# app/lib/rodauth_app.rb
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  # primary configuration
  configure do
    # ...
  end

alternative configuration

configure(:admin) do # ... enable features ... prefix "/admin" session_key_prefix "admin_" remember_cookie_key "_admin_remember" # if using remember feature # ... end

route do |r| r.rodauth r.on("admin") { r.rodauth(:admin) } # ... end end

Then in your application you can reference the secondary Rodauth instance:

rodauth(:admin).login_path #=> "/admin/login"

Calling controller methods

When using Rodauth before/after hooks or generally overriding your Rodauth configuration, in some cases you might want to call methods defined on your controllers. You can do so with

rails_controller_eval
, for example:
# app/controllers/application_controller.rb
class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  private
  def setup_tracking(account_id)
    # ... some implementation ...
  end
end
# app/lib/rodauth_app.rb
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  configure do
    after_create_account do
      rails_controller_eval { setup_tracking(account_id) }
    end
  end
end

Rodauth instance

In some cases you might need to use Rodauth more programmatically, and perform Rodauth operations outside of the request context. rodauth-rails gives you the ability to retrieve the Rodauth instance:

rodauth = Rodauth::Rails.rodauth # or Rodauth::Rails.rodauth(:admin)

rodauth.login_url #=> "https://example.com/login" rodauth.account_from_login("[email protected]") # loads user by email rodauth.password_match?("secret") #=> true rodauth.setup_account_verification rodauth.close_account

This Rodauth instance will be initialized with basic Rack env that allows is it to generate URLs, using

config.action_mailer.default_url_options
options.

How it works

Middleware

rodauth-rails inserts a

Rodauth::Rails::Middleware
into your middleware stack, which calls your Rodauth app for each request, before the request reaches the Rails router.
$ rails middleware
...
use Rodauth::Rails::Middleware
run MyApp::Application.routes

The Rodauth app stores the

Rodauth::Auth
instance in the Rack env hash, which is then available in your Rails app:
request.env["rodauth"]       #=> #<:auth>
request.env["rodauth.admin"] #=> #<:auth> (if using multiple configurations)

For convenience, this object can be accessed via the

#rodauth
method in views and controllers:
class MyController < ApplicationController
  def my_action
    rodauth         #=> #<:auth>
    rodauth(:admin) #=> #<:auth> (if using multiple configurations)
  end
end
 #<:auth> %>
 #<:auth> (if using multiple configurations) %>

App

The

Rodauth::Rails::App
class is a Roda subclass that provides Rails integration for Rodauth:
  • uses Action Dispatch flash instead of Roda's
  • uses Action Dispatch CSRF protection instead of Roda's
  • sets HMAC secret to Rails' secret key base
  • uses Action Controller for rendering templates
  • runs Action Controller callbacks & rescue handlers around Rodauth actions
  • uses Action Mailer for sending emails

The

configure
method wraps configuring the Rodauth plugin, forwarding any additional plugin options.
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  configure { ... }             # defining default Rodauth configuration
  configure(json: true) { ... } # passing options to the Rodauth plugin
  configure(:admin) { ... }     # defining multiple Rodauth configurations
end

The

route
block is provided by Roda, and it's called on each request before it reaches the Rails router.
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  route do |r|
    # ... called before each request ...
  end
end

Since

Rodauth::Rails::App
is just a Roda subclass, you can do anything you would with a Roda app, such as loading additional Roda plugins:
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  plugin :request_headers # easier access to request headers
  plugin :typecast_params # methods for conversion of request params
  plugin :default_headers, { "Foo" => "Bar" }
  # ...
end

Sequel

Rodauth uses the Sequel library for database queries, due to more advanced database usage (SQL expressions, database-agnostic date arithmetic, SQL function calls).

If ActiveRecord is used in the application, the

rodauth:install
generator will have automatically configured Sequel to reuse ActiveRecord's database connection, using the sequel-activerecord_connection gem.

This means that, from the usage perspective, Sequel can be considered just as an implementation detail of Rodauth.

JSON API

To make Rodauth endpoints accessible via JSON API, enable the

json
feature:

# app/lib/rodauth_app.rb
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  configure do
    # ...
    enable :json
    only_json? true # accept only JSON requests
    # ...
  end
end

This will store account session data into the Rails session. If you rather want stateless token-based authentication via the

Authorization
header, enable the
jwt
feature (which builds on top of the
json
feature) and add the JWT gem to the Gemfile:
$ bundle add jwt
# app/lib/rodauth_app.rb
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  configure do
    # ...
    enable :jwt
    jwt_secret "" # store the JWT secret in a safe place
    only_json? true # accept only JSON requests
    # ...
  end
end

If you need Cross-Origin Resource Sharing and/or JWT refresh tokens, enable the corresponding Rodauth features and create the necessary tables:

$ rails generate rodauth:migration jwt_refresh
$ rails db:migrate
# app/lib/rodauth_app.rb
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  configure do
    # ...
    enable :jwt, :jwt_cors, :jwt_refresh
    # ...
  end
end

OmniAuth

While Rodauth doesn't yet come with OmniAuth integration, we can build one ourselves using the existing Rodauth API.

In order to allow the user to login via multiple external providers, let's create an

account_identities
table that will have a many-to-one relationship with the
accounts
table:
$ rails generate model AccountIdentity
# db/migrate/*_create_account_identities.rb
class CreateAccountIdentities < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def change
    create_table :account_identities do |t|
      t.references :account, null: false, foreign_key: { on_delete: :cascade }
      t.string :provider, null: false
      t.string :uid, null: false
      t.jsonb :info, null: false, default: {} # adjust JSON column type for your database

  t.timestamps

  t.index [:provider, :uid], unique: true
end

end end

# app/models/account_identity.rb
class AcccountIdentity < ApplicationRecord
  belongs_to :account
end
# app/models/account.rb
class Account < ApplicationRecord
  has_many :identities, class_name: "AccountIdentity"
end

Let's assume we want to implement Facebook login, and have added the corresponding OmniAuth strategy to the middleware stack, together with an authorization link on the login form:

Rails.application.config.middleware.use OmniAuth::Builder do
  provider :facebook, ENV["FACEBOOK_APP_ID"], ENV["FACEBOOK_APP_SECRET"],
    scope: "email", callback_path: "/auth/facebook/callback"
end

Let's implement the OmniAuth callback endpoint on our Rodauth controller:

# config/routes.rb
Rails.application.routes.draw do
  # ...
  get "/auth/:provider/callback", to: "rodauth#omniauth"
end
# app/controllres/rodauth_controller.rb
class RodauthController < ApplicationController
  def omniauth
    auth = request.env["omniauth.auth"]

# attempt to find existing identity directly
identity = AccountIdentity.find_by(provider: auth["provider"], uid: auth["uid"])

if identity
  # update any external info changes
  identity.update!(info: auth["info"])
  # set account from identity
  account = identity.account
end

# attempt to find an existing account by email
account ||= Account.find_by(email: auth["info"]["email"])

# disallow login if account is not verified
if account &amp;&amp; account.status != rodauth.account_open_status_value
  redirect_to rodauth.login_path, alert: rodauth.unverified_account_message
  return
end

# create new account if it doesn't exist
unless account
  account = Account.create!(email: auth["info"]["email"], status: rodauth.account_open_status_value)
end

# create new identity if it doesn't exist
unless identity
  account.identities.create!(provider: auth["provider"], uid: auth["uid"], info: auth["info"])
end

# login with Rodauth
rodauth.account_from_login(account.email)
rodauth.login("omniauth")

end end

Configuring

For the list of configuration methods provided by Rodauth, see the feature documentation.

The

rails
feature rodauth-rails loads is customizable as well, here is the list of its configuration methods:

| Name | Description | | :---- | :---------- | |

rails_render(**options)
| Renders the template with given render options. | |
rails_csrf_tag
| Hidden field added to Rodauth templates containing the CSRF token. | |
rails_csrf_param
| Value of the
name
attribute for the CSRF tag. | |
rails_csrf_token
| Value of the
value
attribute for the CSRF tag. | |
rails_check_csrf!
| Verifies the authenticity token for the current request. | |
rails_controller_instance
| Instance of the controller with the request env context. | |
rails_controller
| Controller class to use for rendering and CSRF protection. |

The

Rodauth::Rails
module has a few config settings available as well:

| Name | Description | | :----- | :---------- | |

app
| Constant name of your Rodauth app, which is called by the middleware. | |
middleware
| Whether to insert the middleware into the Rails application's middleware stack. Defaults to
true
. |
# config/initializers/rodauth.rb
Rodauth::Rails.configure do |config|
  config.app = "RodauthApp"
  config.middleware = true
end

Custom extensions

When developing custom extensions for Rodauth inside your Rails project, it's better to use plain modules (at least in the beginning), because Rodauth feature design doesn't yet support Zeitwerk reloading well. Here is an example of an LDAP authentication extension that uses the simpleldapauthenticator gem.

# app/lib/rodauth_ldap.rb
module RodauthLdap
  def require_bcrypt?
    false
  end

def password_match?(password) SimpleLdapAuthenticator.valid?(account[:email], password) end end

# app/lib/rodauth_app.rb
class RodauthApp < Rodauth::Rails::App
  configure do
    # ...
    auth_class_eval do
      include RodauthLdap
    end
    # ...
  end
end

Testing

If you're writing system tests, it's generally better to go through the actual authentication flow with tools like Capybara, and to not use any stubbing.

In functional and integration tests you can just make requests to Rodauth routes:

# test/controllers/posts_controller_test.rb
class PostsControllerTest < ActionDispatch::IntegrationTest
  test "should require authentication" do
    get posts_url
    assert_redirected_to "/login"

login
get posts_url
assert_response :success

logout
assert_redirected_to "/login"

end

private

def login(login: "[email protected]", password: "secret") post "/create-account", params: { "login" => login, "password" => password, "password-confirm" => password, }

post "/login", params: {
  "login"    =&gt; login,
  "password" =&gt; password,
}

end

def logout post "/logout" end end

Rodauth defaults

rodauth-rails changes some of the default Rodauth settings for easier setup:

Database functions

By default, on PostgreSQL, MySQL, and Microsoft SQL Server Rodauth uses database functions to access password hashes, with the user running the application unable to get direct access to password hashes. This reduces the risk of an attacker being able to access password hashes and use them to attack other sites.

While this is useful additional security, it is also more complex to set up and to reason about, as it requires having two different database users and making sure the correct migration is run for the correct user.

To keep with Rails' "convention over configuration" doctrine, rodauth-rails disables the use of database functions, though you can always turn it back on.

use_database_authentication_functions? true

To create the database functions, pass the Sequel database object into the Rodauth method for creating database functions:

# db/migrate/*_create_rodauth_database_functions.rb
require "rodauth/migrations"

class CreateRodauthDatabaseFunctions < ActiveRecord::Migration def up Rodauth.create_database_authentication_functions(DB) end

def down Rodauth.drop_database_authentication_functions(DB) end end

Account statuses

The recommended Rodauth migration stores possible account status values in a separate table, and creates a foreign key on the accounts table, which ensures only a valid status value will be persisted.

Unfortunately, this doesn't work when the database is restored from the schema file, in which case the account statuses table will be empty. This happens in tests by default, but it's also commonly done in development.

To address this, rodauth-rails modifies the setup to store account status text directly in the accounts table. If you're worried about invalid status values creeping in, you may use enums instead. Alternatively, you can always go back to the setup recommended by Rodauth.

# in the migration:
create_table :account_statuses do |t|
  t.string :name, null: false, unique: true
end
execute "INSERT INTO account_statuses (id, name) VALUES (1, 'Unverified'), (2, 'Verified'), (3, 'Closed')"

create_table :accounts do |t|

...

t.references :status, foreign_key: { to_table: :account_statuses }, null: false, default: 1

...

end

configure do

...

  • account_status_column :status
  • account_unverified_status_value "unverified"
  • account_open_status_value "verified"
  • account_closed_status_value "closed"

    ...

    end

License

The gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.

Code of Conduct

Everyone interacting in the rodauth-rails project's codebases, issue trackers, chat rooms and mailing lists is expected to follow the code of conduct.

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