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A Fastify plugin for employ CASL restraints on the preHook body and preSerialization payload of a request
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README.md

Fastify plugin adapter for CASL

NPM

CircleCI

Installation

npm i fastify-casl -s

Usage

This plugin relies on the fastify-jwt core package to extract a user's role and apply access-control lists on the endpoint the user is interacting with by sanitizing both the input (request body) and the output (return body). The plugin exposes utility methods to attach them to the preHandler or preSerialization hooks of an endpoint, sanitizing input and output respectively.

By default, the library looks for a type attribute being present in the decoded JWT payload that signifies the role of a user. This value can be overriden when declaring the handler.

If a user does not possess the necesssary permissions to conduct the CRUD operation of the endpoint he / she interacts with, an "Insufficient Privileges" error is thrown. The CRUD operations are mapped to the corresponding RESTful methods (C -> POST, R -> GET, U -> PATCH, D -> DELETE).

The configuration object structure can be found below:

{
  mongooseSchemas: MONGOOSE_INSTANCE,
  assets: ASSET_RULE_ARRAY,
  denyByDefault: BOOLEAN,
  verbose: BOOLEAN
}

The mongooseSchemas property accepts a fastify-mongoose-driver instance to extract all the fields of a specific asset. The inclusion of the above library is optional, as the internal code of the library simply looks at the mongooseSchemas[NAME_OF_ASSET].paths property, but is provided to prevent schema repetition. For instance, this library pairs nicely with fastify-mongoose-driver as one can declare the plugin configuration as follows:

fastify.register(
  require("fastify-mongoose-driver").plugin,
  {
    uri: MONGODB_URI,
    settings: MONGOOSE_SETTINGS,
    models: MONGOOSE_MODELS,
    useNameAndAlias: true
  }
);

fastify.register(
  require("fastify-casl"),
  parent => ({
    mongooseSchemas: parent.mongoose,
    assets: ASSET_RULE_ARRAY
  })
);

Alternatively, if you do not want to pass in a mongoose instance you can simply specify a proper object conforming to the mongooseSchemas[NAME_OF_ASSET].paths lookup:

fastify.register(
  require("fastify-casl"),
  parent => ({
    mongooseSchemas: {
      ASSET_NAME: {
        paths: ["ALL_ASSET_PROPERTY_NAMES"]
      }
    },
    assets: ASSET_RULE_ARRAY
  })
);

If a permission is inexistent, it is possible to either deny by default or allow by default depending on the denyByDefault option passed during plugin registration. This value is set to false when omitted so make sure to specify true for sensitive applications.

The verbose parameter, whose default value is false, specifies whether to return the custom path that failed when retrieving nested values in f.e. the JWT decoded payload or the response body. This is useful for debugging purposes as the exact path that failed can be viewed in the thrown Error. If set to false, the Error that is thrown simply states "Fatal Error".

The assets property of the configuration object contains an Array of asset rules. A basic structure of an asset rule is as follows:

{
  name: "NAME_OF_ASSET",
  actions: {
    HTTP_ACTION: {
      ROLE: RULE_CONFIGURATION
    }
  }
}

As an example, if we have an asset we call "Post" which only users with the writer role are allowed to create and update, we can create the following configuration:

{
  name: "Post",
  actions: {
    POST: {
      writer: {}
    },
    PATCH: {
      writer: {}
    }
  }
}

You can also specify the $default role permissions that will be applied to any role that does not match a RULE_CONFIGURATION.

The RULE_CONFIGURATION parameter can provide more fine-grained control with regards to the permissions a role has. It allows one to specify specific fields ($fields property) of an asset a role is allowed to conduct the operation as well as conditionals ($if property).

The $fields property is pretty straightforward. If we wish to allow editor users to edit the content of Posts but only writers to create and update them, we can write the following:

{
  name: "Post",
  actions: {
    POST: {
      writer: {}
    },
    PATCH: {
      writer: {},
      editor: {
        $fields: ["content"]
      }
    }
  }
}

The plugin supports basic and dynamic context-based rules via the $if operator. For a basic rule, one may specify the value directly that will be checked via strict equality. As an example, if we wish to allow only objects that possess the _id 2, we write the following rule:

{
  $if: {
    _id: 2
  }
}

In dynamic rules, we prefix the attribute we wish to check with the $ operator, noting that the following string value represents a path inside the decoded JWT payload that the program must traverse to extract the dynamic value to check. For instance, if we wish to ensure that the user ID is equal to the author of an asset that is being returned and our encoded JWT structure contains a user object that possesses the id value containing that ID, we can construct the following $if rule:

{
  $if: {
    $author: 'user.id'
  }
}

It is also possible to specify multiple rules for a rosle that reveal certain attributes of an object depending on the context. For instance, if we wish to allow all asset attributes to be seen only when the author of a post is equal to the user ID and otherwise only show the titles, it is possible to do so with the following configuration:

{
  $fields: [
    ["title", "author", "summary", "comments", "content"],
    ["title"]
  ],
  $if: [
    {
      $author: 'user.id'
    },
    {}
  ]
}

The above filter works even if the returned value is an Array of multiple assets and each asset is stripped atomically.

The sanitization operation occurs either before or after a specific endpoint via the preHandler or the preSerialization hook. As the plugin injects the CASL instance under fastify.casl after it has been registered, the plugin can only be used in routes registered after the plugin.

The CASL class exposes two main function factories, guardPath and sanitizeOutput. The former is used to guard the input of a path whereas the second sanitizes the output of a path. As a basic example:

fastify.post("/", { preHandler: fastify.casl.guardPath() }, pathFunction);

The guardPath factory takes two arguments. The first is the path of the decoded JWT payload that represents a user role, which by default is type, and the second is the asset whose rules should be applied on the path. If no asset name is explicitly given, the library deduces the path by capitalizing the first segment of the full URL path. For example, if we register the following:

fastify.post("/post", { preHandler: fastify.casl.guardPath() }, pathFunction);

It will automatically deduce that the asset currently concerned is the Post asset. As the plugin simply looks for the first URL segment after the domain in the raw property of the request, it pairs nicely with prefix option of fastify.register for prefixing routes.

The sanitization operation of guardPath is done on the request.body of the request.

The sanitizeOutput factory takes three arguments. The first is once again the path of the decoded JWT payload that represents a user role defaulting to type, the second is the path that contains the asset to be sanitized in the response payload and the third parameter is the explicitly specified asset name.

The new parameter here allows one to only sanitize a specific portion of a response payload. This is especially useful in contexts when the API response includes a message property and a post for instance property that contains the actual Post. In such a case, we can specify "post" as the second argument of the sanitizeOutput factory to only sanitize that part of the request. An exemplary usage of the above can be found below:

fastify.get(
  "/post",
  { preSerialization: fastify.casl.sanitizeOutput("type", "posts") },
  async () => ({
    message: "Successfully fetched posts",
    posts: ARRAY_OF_POSTS
  })
);

The library automatically detects if the provided object to parse is an Array or a simple Object and sanitizes accordingly.

Author

Alex Papageorgiou

License

Licensed under GPLv3.

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