CanCan is an authorization library for Ruby on Rails which restricts what resources a given user is allowed to access. All permissions are defined in a single location (the Ability class) and not duplicated across controllers, views, and database queries.
In Rails 3, add this to your Gemfile and run the bundle command.
In Rails 2, add this to your environment.rb file.
Alternatively, you can install it as a plugin.
rails plugin install git://github.com/ryanb/cancan.git
1. Define Abilities
User permissions are defined in an Ability class. CanCan 1.5 includes a Rails 3 generator for creating this class.
rails g cancan:ability
See Defining Abilities for details.
2. Check Abilities & Authorization
The current user's permissions can then be checked using the can? and cannot? methods in the view and controller.
<% if can? :update, @article %> <%= link_to "Edit", edit_article_path(@article) %> <% end %>
See Checking Abilities for more information
The authorize! method in the controller will raise an exception if the user is not able to perform the given action.
def show @article = Article.find(params[:id]) authorize! :read, @article end
Setting this for every action can be tedious, therefore the load_and_authorize_resource method is provided to automatically authorize all actions in a RESTful style resource controller. It will use a before filter to load the resource into an instance variable and authorize it for every action.
class ArticlesController < ApplicationController load_and_authorize_resource def show # @article is already loaded and authorized end end
See Authorizing Controller Actions for more information.
3. Handle Unauthorized Access
If the user authorization fails, a CanCan::AccessDenied exception will be raised. You can catch this and modify its behavior in the ApplicationController.
class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base rescue_from CanCan::AccessDenied do |exception| redirect_to root_url, :alert => exception.message end end
See Exception Handling for more information.
4. Lock It Down
If you want to ensure authorization happens on every action in your application, add check_authorization to your ApplicationController.
class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base check_authorization end
This will raise an exception if authorization is not performed in an action. If you want to skip this add skip_authorization_check to a controller subclass. See Ensure Authorization for more information.
Unfortunately I have not had time to actively work on this project recently. If you find a critical issue where it does not work as documented please ping me on twitter and I'll take a look.
Questions or Problems?
To get the specs running you should call bundle and then rake. See the spec/README for more information.