Defining Abilities with Hashes

ryanb edited this page Aug 13, 2010 · 1 revision

A hash of conditions can be passed for defining user permissions in the Ability class. Here the user will only have permission to read active projects which he owns.

can :read, Project, :active => true, :user_id => user.id

It is important to only use database columns for these conditions so it can be used for Fetching Records.

You can use nested hashes to define conditions on associations. Here the project can only be read if the category it belongs to is visible.

can :read, Project, :category => { :visible => true }

An array or range can be passed to match multiple values. Here the user can only read projects of priority 1 through 3.

can :read, Project, :priority => 1..3

Basically anything that you can pass to a hash of conditions in ActiveRecord will work here. If you need more flexibility, try Defining Abilities with Blocks.

Checking with Class

It is important to note that even if you have a hash of conditions, calling can? on just the class will return true. For example.

can :read, Project, :priority => 3
can? :read, Project # returns true

It is impossible to answer this can? question completely because not enough details are given. The class does not have a priority attribute to check on.

Think of it as asking "can the current user read a project?". The user can read a project, so this returns true. However it depends on which specific project you're talking about. If you are doing a class check, it is important you do another check once an instance becomes available so the hash of conditions can be used.

The reason I went with this approach is because of the controller index action. Since the authorize_resource before filter has no instance to check on, it will use the Project class. If the authorization failed at that point then it would be impossible to filter the results later using accessible_by.

Project.accessible_by(current_ability)

That is why passing a class to can? will return true.