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Control access to protected areas, files, operations and objects from requests
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ACL (Access Control List) component

ACL's allow an application to control access to its protected areas, files, operations and objects from requests.

  • a resource represents an area or element to which access is controlled.
  • a role represents a user, users' group or object that may request access to a resource.
  • a privilege is an access right (or permission) for a resource, such as read and write permissions to a file.

Why Another ACL Component?

The ACL component was primarily written to add support for defining rules on path resources. You will find the basic usage in the following sections but by then, if you are already a little familiar to ACL, you can already have a look at the quick excerpt below demonstrating the utility and advantage of the component.

$memberArea = new Gobline\Acl\Resource('/member-area', new Gobline\Acl\Matcher\StartsWithMatcher());

	->allow('member', $memberArea, '*');
$adminArea = new Gobline\Acl\Resource('/admin-area', new Gobline\Acl\Matcher\StartsWithMatcher());

	->allow('admin', $adminArea, '*');

$acl->isAllowed('guest', '/member-area/edit/profile'); // returns false
$acl->isAllowed('member', '/member-area/edit/profile'); // returns true
$acl->isAllowed('member', '/admin-area/user/list'); // returns false

In a web application, this is particularly useful to control access on the application's areas through the URL path.

Creating an ACL

$acl = new Gobline\Acl\Acl();

Adding Roles to the ACL



$roleGuest = new Gobline\Acl\Role('guest');

Defining Access Controls

After adding the relevant roles, rules can be established that define how resources may be accessed by roles.

$acl->allow('guest', 'page', 'view'); // the role "guest" is now allowed to "view" the "page" resource
$acl->allow('member', 'page', ['view', 'create', 'edit']); // the role "member" is allowed to "view", "create" and "edit" the "page" resource

To define a rule applied to all resources, the special resource named "*" can be used:

$acl->allow('guest', '*', 'view'); // the role "guest" is now allowed to "view" any resource

To define a rule with all privileges, the special privilege named "*" can be used:

$acl->allow('admin', 'page', '*'); // the role "admin" is now allowed to access any privilege on the "page" resource
$acl->allow('superadmin', '*', '*'); // the role "superadmin" is now allowed to access any privilege on any resource

Querying the ACL

After adding the rules, we can query the ACL to check if a role has been given permission or not.

$acl->isAllowed('guest', 'page', 'edit'); // returns false

$acl->isAllowed('admin', 'page', 'edit'); // returns true

$acl->isAllowed('admin', 'user', 'edit'); // returns false

$acl->isAllowed('superadmin', 'user', 'edit'); // returns true

You will note that by default, until a developer specifies an allow rule, Gobline\Acl\Acl denies access to every privilege upon every resource by every role.


As you might have noticed in the examples above, the resources are registered when defining the rules, while the roles must have previously been added to the ACL.

The reason for this is because the resources can not only just be a name or identifier, but also a pattern or regex, or even a custom object implementing the matches() method of the Gobline\Acl\ResourceInterface interface.

The most straightforward example demonstrating the use of matchers, would be implementing an ACL managing access rights to files.

$resource = new Gobline\Acl\Resource('/home/john', new Gobline\Acl\Matcher\StartsWithMatcher());

	->allow('john', $resource, 'read');

$acl->isAllowed('john', '/home/john/file.txt', 'read'); // returns true
$acl->isAllowed('john', '/home/john/file.txt', 'write'); // returns false
$acl->isAllowed('john', '/home/matthew/file.txt', 'read'); // returns false

Another example:

$resource = new Gobline\Acl\Resource('%^/page/(.*?)/view%', new RegexMatcher());

	->allow('guest', $resource, '*');

$acl->isAllowed('guest', '/page/42/view')); // returns true
$acl->isAllowed('guest', '/page/42/edit')); // returns false

Roles Inheritance

Roles can inherit from other roles, and consequently inherit their rules.

  ->addRole('member', 'guest') // "member" inherits the rules of "guest"
  ->addRole('moderator', 'member'); // "moderator" inherits the rules of "member"
$acl->allow('guest', 'page', 'view') // guests can only view pages
  ->allow('member', 'page', ['create', 'edit']) // members can view, create and edit pages
  ->deny('moderator', 'page', 'create') // moderators cannot create a new page
  ->allow('moderator', 'page', 'delete'); // moderators can view, edit and delete pages

The example above also demonstrates the use of deny() (because one might wonder what is the purpose of having a deny() method if anything is denied by default anyway). The moderators inherit the view privilege from the guest role and the create and edit privileges from the member role. However, we don't want to allow a moderator to be able to create new pages, but only moderate existing pages. To achieve this, we simply add a deny rule overriding the inherited rule that granted create persmission, as shown above.

Sharing Roles among Multiple ACL Instances

There are cases where you might need to have multiple ACL instances. For instance, you might need to define rules for path resources, and rules for different resources in your application. To avoid mixing different type of resources in your ACL, you can create multiple ACL instances and share a unique role registry.

$roles = new Gobline\Acl\Roles(); // registry of roles

  ->add('member', 'guest')
  ->add('moderator', 'member');

$acl1 = new Gobline\Acl\Acl($roles);

// defining rules for $acl1

$acl2 = new Gobline\Acl\Acl($roles);

// defining rules for $acl2


You can install the ACL component using the dependency management tool Composer. Run the require command to resolve and download the dependencies:

composer require gobline/acl
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