ASP.NET MVC – Alternative to Role Provider?

I’m trying to avoid the use of the Role Provider and Membership Provider since its way too clumsy in my opinion, and therefore I’m trying to making my own “version” which is less clumsy and more manageable/flexible. Now is my question.. is there an alternative to the Role Provider which is decent? (I know that I can do custom Role provier, membership provider etc.)

By more manageable/flexible I mean that I’m limited to use the Roles static class and not implement directly into my service layer which interact with the database context, instead I’m bound to use the Roles static class which has its own database context etc, also the table names is awful..

Thanks in advance.

Answers:

Thank you for visiting the Q&A section on Magenaut. Please note that all the answers may not help you solve the issue immediately. So please treat them as advisements. If you found the post helpful (or not), leave a comment & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Method 1

I’m in the same boat as you – I’ve always hated the RoleProviders. Yeah, they’re great if you want to get things up and running for a small website, but they’re not very realistic. The major downside I’ve always found is that they tie you directly to ASP.NET.

The way I went for a recent project was defining a couple of interfaces that are part of the service layer (NOTE: I simplified these quite a bit – but you could easily add to them):

public interface IAuthenticationService
{
    bool Login(string username, string password);
    void Logout(User user);
}

public interface IAuthorizationService
{
    bool Authorize(User user, Roles requiredRoles);
}

Then your users could have a Roles enum:
public enum Roles
{
    Accounting = 1,
    Scheduling = 2,
    Prescriptions = 4
    // What ever else you need to define here.
    // Notice all powers of 2 so we can OR them to combine role permissions.
}

public class User
{
    bool IsAdministrator { get; set; }
    Roles Permissions { get; set; }
}

For your IAuthenticationService, you could have a base implementation that does standard password checking and then you could have a FormsAuthenticationService that does a little bit more such as setting the cookie etc. For your AuthorizationService, you’d need something like this:
public class AuthorizationService : IAuthorizationService
{
    public bool Authorize(User userSession, Roles requiredRoles)
    {
        if (userSession.IsAdministrator)
        {
            return true;
        }
        else
        {
            // Check if the roles enum has the specific role bit set.
            return (requiredRoles & user.Roles) == requiredRoles;
        }
    }
}

On top of these base services, you could easily add services to reset passwords etc.

Since you’re using MVC, you could do authorization at the action level using an ActionFilter:

public class RequirePermissionFilter : IAuthorizationFilter
{
    private readonly IAuthorizationService authorizationService;
    private readonly Roles permissions;

    public RequirePermissionFilter(IAuthorizationService authorizationService, Roles requiredRoles)
    {
        this.authorizationService = authorizationService;
        this.permissions = requiredRoles;
        this.isAdministrator = isAdministrator;
    }

    private IAuthorizationService CreateAuthorizationService(HttpContextBase httpContext)
    {
        return this.authorizationService ?? new FormsAuthorizationService(httpContext);
    }

    public void OnAuthorization(AuthorizationContext filterContext)
    {
        var authSvc = this.CreateAuthorizationService(filterContext.HttpContext);
        // Get the current user... you could store in session or the HttpContext if you want too. It would be set inside the FormsAuthenticationService.
        var userSession = (User)filterContext.HttpContext.Session["CurrentUser"];

        var success = authSvc.Authorize(userSession, this.permissions);

        if (success)
        {
            // Since authorization is performed at the action level, the authorization code runs
            // after the output caching module. In the worst case this could allow an authorized user
            // to cause the page to be cached, then an unauthorized user would later be served the
            // cached page. We work around this by telling proxies not to cache the sensitive page,
            // then we hook our custom authorization code into the caching mechanism so that we have
            // the final say on whether or not a page should be served from the cache.
            var cache = filterContext.HttpContext.Response.Cache;
            cache.SetProxyMaxAge(new TimeSpan(0));
            cache.AddValidationCallback((HttpContext context, object data, ref HttpValidationStatus validationStatus) =>
            {
                validationStatus = this.OnCacheAuthorization(new HttpContextWrapper(context));
            }, null);
        }
        else
        {
            this.HandleUnauthorizedRequest(filterContext);
        }
    }

    private void HandleUnauthorizedRequest(AuthorizationContext filterContext)
    {
        // Ajax requests will return status code 500 because we don't want to return the result of the
        // redirect to the login page.
        if (filterContext.RequestContext.HttpContext.Request.IsAjaxRequest())
        {
            filterContext.Result = new HttpStatusCodeResult(500);
        }
        else
        {
            filterContext.Result = new HttpUnauthorizedResult();
        }
    }

    public HttpValidationStatus OnCacheAuthorization(HttpContextBase httpContext)
    {
        var authSvc = this.CreateAuthorizationService(httpContext);
        var userSession = (User)httpContext.Session["CurrentUser"];

        var success = authSvc.Authorize(userSession, this.permissions);

        if (success)
        {
            return HttpValidationStatus.Valid;
        }
        else
        {
            return HttpValidationStatus.IgnoreThisRequest;
        }
    }
}

Which you can then decorate on your controller actions:
[RequirePermission(Roles.Accounting)]
public ViewResult Index()
{
   // ...
}

The advantage of this approach is you can also use dependency injection and an IoC container to wire things up. Also, you can use it across multiple applications (not just your ASP.NET one). You would use your ORM to define the appropriate schema.

If you need more details around the FormsAuthorization/Authentication services or where to go from here, let me know.

EDIT: To add “security trimming”, you could do it with an HtmlHelper. This probably needs a little more… but you get the idea.

public static bool SecurityTrim<TModel>(this HtmlHelper<TModel> source, Roles requiredRoles)
{
    var authorizationService = new FormsAuthorizationService();
    var user = (User)HttpContext.Current.Session["CurrentUser"];
    return authorizationService.Authorize(user, requiredRoles);
}

And then inside your view (using Razor syntax here):
@if(Html.SecurityTrim(Roles.Accounting))
{
    <span>Only for accounting</span>
}

EDIT: The UserSession would look something like this:
public class UserSession
{
    public int UserId { get; set; }
    public string UserName { get; set; }
    public bool IsAdministrator { get; set; }
    public Roles GetRoles()
    {
         // make the call to the database or whatever here.
         // or just turn this into a property.
    }
}

This way, we don’t expose the password hash and all other details inside the session of the current user since they’re really not needed for the user’s session lifetime.

Method 2

I have implemented a role provider based on @TheCloudlessSky post here. There are few things that I thought I can add and share what I have done.
First if you want to use the RequirepPermission class for your action filters as an attribute you need to implement ActionFilterAttribute class for RequirepPermission class.

Interface classes IAuthenticationService and IAuthorizationService

public interface IAuthenticationService
{
    void SignIn(string userName, bool createPersistentCookie);
    void SignOut();
}

public interface IAuthorizationService
{
    bool Authorize(UserSession user, string[] requiredRoles);
}

FormsAuthenticationService class
/// <summary>
/// This class is for Form Authentication
/// </summary>
public class FormsAuthenticationService : IAuthenticationService
{

    public void SignIn(string userName, bool createPersistentCookie)
    {
        if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(userName)) throw new ArgumentException(@"Value cannot be null or empty.", "userName");

        FormsAuthentication.SetAuthCookie(userName, createPersistentCookie);
    }

    public void SignOut()
    {
        FormsAuthentication.SignOut();
    }
}

UserSession calss
public class UserSession
{
    public string UserName { get; set; }
    public IEnumerable<string> UserRoles { get; set; }
}

Another point is FormsAuthorizationServiceclass and how we can assign a user to the httpContext.Session["CurrentUser"]. My Approach in this situation is to create a new instance of userSession class and directly assign the user from httpContext.User.Identity.Name to the userSession variable as you can see in FormsAuthorizationService class.
[AttributeUsageAttribute(AttributeTargets.Class | AttributeTargets.Struct | AttributeTargets.Constructor | AttributeTargets.Method, Inherited = false)]
public class RequirePermissionAttribute : ActionFilterAttribute, IAuthorizationFilter
{
    #region Fields

    private readonly IAuthorizationService _authorizationService;
    private readonly string[] _permissions;

    #endregion

    #region Constructors

    public RequirePermissionAttribute(string requiredRoles)
    {
        _permissions = requiredRoles.Trim().Split(',').ToArray();
        _authorizationService = null;
    }

    #endregion

    #region Methods

    private IAuthorizationService CreateAuthorizationService(HttpContextBase httpContext)
    {
        return _authorizationService ?? new FormsAuthorizationService(httpContext);
    }

    public void OnAuthorization(AuthorizationContext filterContext)
    {
        var authSvc = CreateAuthorizationService(filterContext.HttpContext);
        // Get the current user... you could store in session or the HttpContext if you want too. It would be set inside the FormsAuthenticationService.
        if (filterContext.HttpContext.Session == null) return;
        if (filterContext.HttpContext.Request == null) return;
        var success = false;
        if (filterContext.HttpContext.Session["__Roles"] != null)
        {
            var rolesSession = filterContext.HttpContext.Session["__Roles"];
            var roles = rolesSession.ToString().Trim().Split(',').ToList();
            var userSession = new UserSession
            {
                UserName = filterContext.HttpContext.User.Identity.Name,
                UserRoles = roles
            };
            success = authSvc.Authorize(userSession, _permissions);
        }
        if (success)
            {
                // Since authorization is performed at the action level, the authorization code runs
                // after the output caching module. In the worst case this could allow an authorized user
                // to cause the page to be cached, then an unauthorized user would later be served the
                // cached page. We work around this by telling proxies not to cache the sensitive page,
                // then we hook our custom authorization code into the caching mechanism so that we have
                // the final say on whether or not a page should be served from the cache.
                var cache = filterContext.HttpContext.Response.Cache;
                cache.SetProxyMaxAge(new TimeSpan(0));
                cache.AddValidationCallback((HttpContext context, object data, ref HttpValidationStatus validationStatus) =>
                                                {
                                                    validationStatus = OnCacheAuthorization(new HttpContextWrapper(context));
                                                }, null);
            }
            else
            {
                HandleUnauthorizedRequest(filterContext);
            }
    }

    private static void HandleUnauthorizedRequest(AuthorizationContext filterContext)
    {
        // Ajax requests will return status code 500 because we don't want to return the result of the
        // redirect to the login page.
        if (filterContext.RequestContext.HttpContext.Request.IsAjaxRequest())
        {
            filterContext.Result = new HttpStatusCodeResult(500);
        }
        else
        {
            filterContext.Result = new HttpUnauthorizedResult();
        }
    }

    private HttpValidationStatus OnCacheAuthorization(HttpContextBase httpContext)
    {
        var authSvc = CreateAuthorizationService(httpContext);
        if (httpContext.Session != null)
        {
            var success = false;
            if (httpContext.Session["__Roles"] != null)
            {
                var rolesSession = httpContext.Session["__Roles"];
                var roles = rolesSession.ToString().Trim().Split(',').ToList();
                var userSession = new UserSession
                {
                    UserName = httpContext.User.Identity.Name,
                    UserRoles = roles
                };
                success = authSvc.Authorize(userSession, _permissions);
            }
            return success ? HttpValidationStatus.Valid : HttpValidationStatus.IgnoreThisRequest;
        }
        return 0;
    }

    #endregion
}

internal class FormsAuthorizationService : IAuthorizationService
{
    private readonly HttpContextBase _httpContext;

    public FormsAuthorizationService(HttpContextBase httpContext)
    {
        _httpContext = httpContext;
    }

    public bool Authorize(UserSession userSession, string[] requiredRoles)
    {
        return userSession.UserRoles.Any(role => requiredRoles.Any(item => item == role));
    }
}

then in your controller after the user is authenticated you can get roles from the database and assign it to the roles session:
var roles = Repository.GetRolesByUserId(Id);
if (ControllerContext.HttpContext.Session != null)
   ControllerContext.HttpContext.Session.Add("__Roles",roles);
FormsService.SignIn(collection.Name, true);

After the user is logged out of the system you can clear the session
FormsService.SignOut();
Session.Abandon();
return RedirectToAction("Index", "Account");

The caveat in this model is that, when the user is signed into the system, if a role is assigned to the user, authorization doesn’t work unless he logs out and logs back in the system.

Another thing is that there is no need to have a separate class for roles, since we can get roles directly from database and set it into roles session in a controller.

After you are done with implementing all these codes one last step is to bind this attribute to your methods in your controller:

[RequirePermission("Admin,DM")]
public ActionResult Create()
{
return View();
}

Method 3

If you use Castle Windsor Dependency Injection you can inject lists of RoleProviders that can be used to ascertain user rights from any source you choose to implement.

http://ivida.co.uk/2011/05/18/mvc-getting-user-roles-from-multiple-sources-register-and-resolve-arrays-of-dependencis-using-the-fluent-api/

Method 4

You don’t need to use a static class for roles. For instance, the SqlRoleProvider allows you to define the roles in a database.

Of course, if you want to retrieve roles from your own service layer, it’s not that hard to create your own role provider – there really aren’t that many methods to implement.

Method 5

You can implement your own membership and role providers by overriding the appropriate interfaces.

If you want to start from scratch, typically these types of things are implemented as a custom http module which stores the users credentials either in the httpcontext or the session. Either way you’ll probably want to set a cookie with some sort of authentication token.


All methods was sourced from stackoverflow.com or stackexchange.com, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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