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Authorization Gem for Ruby on Rails.
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Latest commit e6bf4c8 Feb 21, 2013 @ryanb Merge pull request #673 from juggler/rules_order
Changes rules order in mongoid specs. Fixes #672



This is the branch for CanCan 2.0 which is in very early development. For a stable release please check out the master branch

Here are some instructions for setting up CanCan 2.0. Try this out and provide feedback in the issue tracker.


CanCan expects your controllers to have a current_user method. Add some authentication for this (such as Devise, Authlogic or nifty:authentication). See Changing Defaults to customize this behavior.

To install CanCan, add it to your Gemfile and run the `bundle` command.

gem "cancan", :git => "git://", :branch => "2.0"

Next generate an Ability class, this is where your permissions will be defined.

rails g cancan:ability

Add authorization by calling enable_authorization in your ApplicationController.

class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base

This will add an authorization check locking down every controller action. If you try visiting a page, a CanCan::Unauthorized exception will be raised since you have not granted the user ability to access it.

Defining Abilities

You grant access to controller actions through the Ability class which was generated above. The current_user is passed in allowing you to define permissions based on user attributes. For example:

if user
  can :access, :all
  can :access, :home
  can :create, [:users, :sessions]

Here if there is a user he will be able to perform any action on any controller. If someone is not logged in he can only access the home, users, and sessions controllers.

The first argument to can is the action the user can perform. The second argument is the controller name they can perform that action on. You can pass :access and :all to represent any action and controller respectively.

As shown above, pass an array to either of these will grant permission on each item in the array. It isn't necessary to pass the new action here because CanCan includes some default aliases. See the Aliases page for details.

You can check permissions in any controller or view using the can? method.

<% if can? :create, :comments %>
  <%= link_to "New Comment", new_comment_path %>
<% end %>

Here the link will only show up the user can create comments.

Resource Conditions

What if you need to change authorization based on a model's attributes? You can do so by passing a hash of conditions as the last argument to can. For example, if you want to only allow one to access projects which he owns you can set the :user_id.

can :access, :projects, :user_id =>

A block can also be used for complex condition checks just like in CanCan 1, but here it is not necessary.

If you try visiting any of the project pages at this point you will see a CanCan::InsufficientAuthorizationCheck exception is raised. This is because the default authorization has no way to check permissions on the @project instance. You can check permissions on an object manually using the authorize! method.

def edit
  @project = Project.find(params[:id])
  authorize! :edit, @project

However this can get tedious. Instead CanCan provides a load_and_authorize_resource method to load the @project instance in every controller action and authorize it.

class ProjectsController < ApplicationController
  def edit
    # @project already loaded here and authorized

The index (and other collection actions) will load the @projects instance which automatically limits the projects the user is allowed to access. This is a scope so you can make further calls to where to limit what is returned from the database.

def index
  @projects = @projects.where(:hidden => false)

You can check permissions on instances using the can? method.

<%= link_to "Edit Project", edit_project_path if can? :update, @project %>

Here it will only show the edit link if the user_id matches.

Resource Attributes

In CanCan 2.0 it is possible to define permissions on specific resource attributes. For example, if you want to allow a user to only update the name and priority of a project, pass that as the third argument to can.

can :update, :projects, [:name, :priority]

If you use this in combination with load_and_authorize_resource it will ensure that only those two attributes exist in params[:project] when updating the project. If you do this everywhere it will not be necessary to use attr_accessible in your models.

You can combine this with a hash of conditions. For example, here the user can update all attributes except the price when the product is discontinued.

can :update, :products
cannot :update, :products, :price, :discontinued => true

You can check permissions on specific attributes to determine what to show in the form.

<%= f.text_field :name if can? :update, @project, :name %>
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