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Rails Internals: Secure Password

Active Model provides an easy way to add password authentication to your models without relying on third party tools. Here's a basic example:

require 'rubygems'
require 'active_model'
require 'bcrypt-ruby'

class User
  include ActiveModel::SecurePassword
  include ActiveModel::Validations

  attr_accessor :password_digest # This would normally be a database column


user =
user.password = 'test'
user.password_confirmation = 'test'
p user.authenticate 'sdas' # => false
p user.authenticate 'test' # => user

SecurePassword's implementation is almost trivial. It uses bcrypt behind the scenes and the whole implementation fits inside a single, small file:

module ActiveModel
  module SecurePassword
    extend ActiveSupport::Concern

    module ClassMethods

      def has_secure_password
        # Load bcrypt-ruby only when has_secure_password is used.
        # This is to avoid ActiveModel (and by extension the entire framework) being dependent on a binary library.
        gem 'bcrypt-ruby', '~> 3.0.0'
        require 'bcrypt'

        attr_reader :password

        validates_confirmation_of :password
        validates_presence_of     :password_digest

        include InstanceMethodsOnActivation

        if respond_to?(:attributes_protected_by_default)
          def self.attributes_protected_by_default
            super + ['password_digest']

    module InstanceMethodsOnActivation
      # Returns self if the password is correct, otherwise false.
      def authenticate(unencrypted_password) == unencrypted_password && self

      # Encrypts the password into the password_digest attribute.
      def password=(unencrypted_password)
        unless unencrypted_password.blank?
          @password = unencrypted_password
          self.password_digest = BCrypt::Password.create(unencrypted_password)

Notice how password_digest is added to the attributes protected by default, and that a blank password is not allowed. You can overwrite authenticate and password= to provide custom behavior, but the implementation is so simple that your best bet at this time is to roll your own authentication system or use one of the third party libraries available.

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