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Project Description

T4-Permissions is a powerful and efficient light-weight RBAC (role based access control) system that uses permissions instead of roles for controlling access. The implementation in this example uses the T4 templating engine and C# to create the permission classes for an ASP.NET website.

Before T4-Permissions, I was seeing a lot of bad code and it was clear that we needed a more maintainable solution than just checking roles seemingly arbitrarily all over the solution.

Goals

  • Easy to use
    • Combine role checks into a single call. Can the user do the action or not?
    • Autocomplete for IDE to avoid mistakes and speed up development
    • Determine which roles can do which actions
    • Intuitive attributes and utility methods
      • HTTP filter attributes for controllers
      • Can be used in the CsHTML view pages
      • Can be used from within the code
  • Easy to configure
    • Wildcard permission nodes
    • Config is centralized to a single file
    • Easy to change how nodes are organized
  • Fast and efficient
    • Look-up time is <# Roles> * O(1)
    • No IO delays
  • Secure
    • It needs to work!

Features

  • Central configuration file makes code easy to maintain and review
  • Restrict features by permission instead of by role(s)
  • T4 speeds up development time for updates and adds IDE ready auto-complete features based on the generated system.
  • Generates filter attributes for ASP.NET controllers.
  • Generates filter attributes for Web API controllers.
  • Generates HtmlHelper extension method for use in cshtml view pages.
  • O(1) look-up time once compiled.
  • Uses an Enum pattern so developers can take advantage of autocomplete in their IDE’s.

Solving the RBAC problem

The story of how and why the T4 system was created

Installing T4-Permissions in your own project

Download / View Online

Before and after using T4-Permissions:

<!-- CSHTML -->

- @if (HttpContext.Current?.User.IsInRole("Admin") 
- || HttpContext.Current?.User.IsInRole("Editor") 
- || HttpContext.Current?.User.IsInRole("CEO"))
+ @if (Html.HasPermission(Permissions.CanPublishArticles))
{
    <button type="button">Publish</button>
    <!-- 
        We shouldn't have to worry about the ROLEs. 
        We should only have to worry about the PERMISSIONS. 
    -->
}
// C# Controller 

[HttpGet]
- [Authorize(Roles = "Admin,Editor,CEO,Writer,Financial Admin 2, Tech Support, Tech Support 2, Super Admin, Assistant")]
+ [HasPermission(Permissions.CanEditArticles)]
public ActionResult Edit(int id)
{
    return View();
}
// From somewhere in the C# code.
- if (!(HttpContext.Current?.User.IsInRole("Admin") 
- || HttpContext.Current?.User.IsInRole("Accountant") 
- || HttpContext.Current?.User.IsInRole("Sales Manager") 
- || HttpContext.Current?.User.IsInRole("CEO")))
+ if (!Permissions.HasPermission(Permissions.CanViewSalesData))
{
    // have some kind of unauthorized response here, or 
    // perform unauthorized type logic
}

About

An easily configured permissions system for C# projects. The example is for ASP.NET but the core concepts could be used in other C# projects as well.

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