Brian Demers edited this page Nov 15, 2016 · 54 revisions

Apache Shiro plugin for Stormpath

The Apache Shiro plugin for Stormpath allows an Apache Shiro-enabled application to easily use the Stormpath User Management & Authentication service for all authentication and access control needs.

Pairing Shiro with Stormpath gives you a full application security system complete with immediate user account support, authentication, account registration and password reset workflows, password security and more - with little to no coding on your part.

Table of Contents


  1. Add the stormpath-shiro-servlet-plugin to your application using Maven, Ant+Ivy, Grails, SBT or whatever maven-compatible tool you prefer:

  2. Ensure you have an API Key so your application can communicate with Stormpath. Store your API Key file somewhere secure (readable only by you), for example:

  3. Configure shiro.ini with the Stormpath ApplicationRealm:

    # Shiro and the Stormpath API can use the same configured Cache Manager
    cacheManager = org.apache.shiro.cache.MemoryConstrainedCacheManager
    securityManager.cacheManager = $cacheManager
    stormpathClient.cacheManager = $cacheManager
    stormpath.application.href = <application-href-here>
  4. Replace the <application-href-here>above with your Application's Stormpath-specific REST URL, or set the stormpath.application.href system property, for example:

    stormpath.application.href =


In a web application, you can use one of Shiro's existing authentication filters to automatically handle authentication requests (e.g. BasicHttpAuthenticationFilter, FormAuthenticationFilter) and you won't have to code anything - authentication attempts will be processed as expected by the Stormpath ApplicationRealm automatically.

However, if you want to execute the authentication attempt yourself (e.g. you have a more complex login form or UI technology) or your application is not a web application, this is easy as well:

Create a Shiro UsernamePasswordToken to wrap your user's submitted username and password and then call Shiro's Subject.login method:

String username = //get from a form or request parameter (OVER SSL!)
String password = //get from a form or request parameter (OVER SSL!)
String host = //end-user's host IP for auditing, e.g. servletRequest.getRemoteHost();

UsernamePasswordToken token = new UsernamePasswordToken(username, password, host);

Subject currentUser = SecurityUtils.getSubject();

that's it - a standard Shiro authentication attempt. If the authentication attempt fails, an AuthenticationException will be thrown as expected.

In Stormpath, you can add, remove and enable accounts for your application and Shiro reflects these changes instantly!


After an account has authenticated, you can perform standard Shiro role and permission checks, e.g. subject.hasRole(roleName) and subject.isPermitted(permission).


Shiro's role concept in Stormpath is represented as a Stormpath Group.

Assigning Roles

Because Shiro roles are represented as Groups in Stormpath, you assign a role to an account simply by adding an account to a group (or by adding a group to an account, depending on how you look at it). For example:

Account account = client.getResource(accountHref, Account.class);
Group group = client.getResource(groupHref, Group.class);

//assign the account to the group:

//this would have achieved the same thing:
//    account.addGroup(group);

Checking Roles

Role checks with the Group href

The recommended way to perform a Shiro role check is to use the Stormpath group's href property as the Shiro role 'name'.

While it is possible (and maybe more intuitive) to use the Group name for the role check, this secondary approach is not enabled by default and not recommended for most usages: role names can potentially change over time (for example, someone changes the Group name in the Stormpath administration console without telling you). If you code a role check in your source code, and that role name changes in the future, your role checks will likely fail!

Instead, it is recommended to perform role checks with a stable identifier.

You can use a Stormpath Group's href property as the role 'name' and check that:

String groupHref = stormpathGroup.getHref();
if (subject.hasRole(groupHref)) { 
    //do something 
Role checks with the Group name

If you still want to use a Stormpath Group's name as the Shiro role name for role checks - perhaps because you have a high level of confidence that no one will change group names once your software is written - you can still use the Group name if you wish by adding a little configuration.

In your shiro.ini (or compatible configuration mechanism), you can set the supported naming modes of what will be represented as a Shiro role:

; ... continued ...
groupRoleResolver = com.stormpath.shiro.realm.DefaultGroupRoleResolver
groupRoleResolver.modeNames = NAME
stormpathRealm.groupRoleResolver = $groupRoleResolver

The modes (or mode names) allow you to specify which Group properties Shiro will consider as role 'names'. The default is href, but you can specify more than one if desired. The supported modes are the following:

  • HREF: the Group's href property will be considered a Shiro role name. This is the default mode if not configured otherwise. Allows a Shiro role check to look like the following: subject.hasRole(group.getHref()).
  • NAME: the Group's name property will be considered a Shiro role name. This allows a Shiro role check to look like the following: subject.hasRole(group.getName()). This however has the downside that if you (or someone else on your team or in your company) changes the Group's name, you will have to update your role check code to reflect the new names (otherwise the existing checks are very likely to fail).
  • ID: the Group's unique id will be considered a Shiro role name. The unique id is the id at the end of the Group's HREF url. This is a deprecated mode and should ideally not be used in new applications.

The GroupRoleResolver Interface

If the above default role name resolution logic does not meet your needs or if you want full customization of how a Stormpath Group resolves to one or more Shiro role names, you can implement the GroupRoleResolver interface and configure the implementation on the StormpathRealm:

; ... continued ...
groupRoleResolver =
stormpathRealm.groupRoleResolver = $groupRoleResolver


The 0.5.0 release of the Apache Shiro plugin for Stormpath enabled the ability to assign ad-hoc sets of permissions directly to Stormpath Accounts or Groups using the accounts' or groups' Custom Data resource.

Once assigned, the Stormpath ApplicationRealm will automatically check account and group CustomData for permissions to perform Shiro permission checks.

Assigning Permissions

The easiest way to assign permissions to an account or group is to get the account or group's CustomData resource and use the Shiro Stormpath plugin's CustomDataPermissionsEditor to assign or remove permissions. The following example uses both the Stormpath Java SDK API and the Shiro Stormpath plugin API:

//Instantiate an account (this is the normal Stormpath Java SDK API):
Account acct = client.instantiate(Account.class);
String password = "Changeme1!";
//Now let's add some Shiro permissions to the account's customData:
//(this class is in the Shiro Stormpath Plugin API):
new CustomDataPermissionsEditor(acct.getCustomData())
//Add the new account with its custom data to an application (normal Stormpath Java SDK API):
acct = anApplication.createAccount(Accounts.newCreateRequestFor(acct).build());

You can assign permissions to a Group too:

Group group = client.instantiate(Group.class);
new CustomDataPermissionsEditor(group.getCustomData()).append("user:login");
group = anApplication.createGroup(group)

You might want to assign that account to the group. Any permissions assigned to a group are automatically inherited by accounts in the group:


This is very convenient: You can assign permissions to many accounts simultaneously by simply adding them once to a group that the accounts share. In doing this, the Stormpath Group is acting much more like a Shiro role.

That means, that if the jsmith account logs in, you can perform the following Shiro permission check:


And this would return true, because, while user:login isn't directly assigned to the account, it is assigned to one of the account's groups. Very nice.

Checking Permissions

There is nothing special here - you check permissions as you would normally using Shiro:


The Stormpath ApplicationRealm will automatically know how to determine the permissions assigned to the account to help Shiro give a true or false answer. The next sections cover the storage and retrieval details in case you're curious how it works, or if you'd like to customize the behavior or CustomData field name.

Permission Storage

The CustomDataPermissionsEditor shown above, and the Shiro Stormpath ApplicationRealm default implementation assumes that a default field named apacheShiroPermissions in an account's or group's CustomData resource can be used to store permissions assigned directly to the account or group. This implies the CustomData resource's JSON would look something like this:

    "apacheShiroPermissions": [

If you wanted to change the name to something else, you could specify the setFieldName property on the CustomDataPermissionsEditor instance:

new CustomDataPermissionsEditor(group.getCustomData())

and this would result in the following JSON structure instead:

    "whateverYouWantHere": [

But NOTE: While the CustomDataPermissionsEditor implementation will modify the field name you specify, the, ApplicationRealm needs to read that same field during permission checks. So if you change it as shown above, you must also change the realm's configuration to reference the new name as well:

; ... continued ...
stormpathRealm.groupPermissionResolver.customDataFieldName = whateverYouWantHere
stormpathRealm.accountPermissionResolver.customDataFieldName = whateverYouWantHere

This section explained the default implementation strategy for storing and checking permissions, using CustomData. You can use this immediately, as it is the default behavior, and it should suit 95% of all use cases.

However, if you need another approach, you can fully customize how permissions are resolved for a given account or group by customizing the ApplicationRealm's accountPermissionResolver and groupPermissionResolver properties, described next.

How Permission Checks Work

The Stormpath ApplicationRealm will use any configured AccountPermissionResolver and GroupPermissionResolver instances to create the aggregate of all permissions attributed to a Subject during a permission check. In other words, the following call:


will return true if the following is true:

  • any of the permissions returned by the AccountPermissionResolver for the Subject's backing Account implies aPermission
  • any of the permissions returned by the GroupPermissionResolver for any of the backing Account's Groups implies aPermission

false will be returned if aPermission is not implied by any of these permissions.

For further clarity, the isPermitted check works something like this (simplified for brevity):

Set<Permission> accountPermissions = accountPermissionResolver.resolvePermissions(account);
for (Permission accountPermission : accountPermissions) {
    if (accountPermission.implies(permissionToCheck)) {
        return true;

for (Group group : account.getGroups()) {
    Set<Permission> groupPermissions = resolvePermissions(group);
    for (Permission groupPermission : groupPermissions) {
        if (groupPermission.implies(permissionToCheck)) {
            return true;

//otherwise not permitted:
return false;

The StormpathRealm's AccountPermissionResolver inspects a Stormpath Account and returns a set of Shiro Permissions that are considered directly assigned to that Account.

This interface is provided to resolve permissions that are directly assigned to a Stormpath Account. Permissions that are assigned to an account's groups (and therefore implicitly or indirectly associated with an Account) are best provided by a GroupPermissionResolver instance instead.

Your AccountPermissionResolver implementation could then be configured on the StormpathRealm instance. For example, in shiro.ini:

; ...
accountPermissionResolver = com.mycompany.stormpath.shiro.MyAccountPermissionResolver
stormpathRealm.accountPermissionResolver = $accountPermissionResolver

After you've configured this you can perform permission checks. For example, perhaps you want to check if the current account is allowed to update their own information:

String updateSelf = "account:" + subject.getPrincipal() + ":update";
if (subject.isPermitted(updateSelf)) {
    //do something

This check would succeed if the MyAccountPermissionResolver implementation returned that permission for the Subject's backing Account.


The StormpathRealm's GroupPermissionResolver inspects a Stormpath Group and returns a set of Shiro Permissions that are considered assigned to that Group.

You can configure a custom GroupPermissionResolver implementation on the StormpathRealm instance. For example, in shiro.ini:

; ...
groupPermissionResolver = com.mycompany.stormpath.shiro.MyGroupPermissionResolver
stormpathRealm.groupPermissionResolver = $groupPermissionResolver

After you've configured this you can perform group permission checks. For example, perhaps you want to check if the current Subject is allowed to edit a specific blog article:

String editArticle = "blogArticle:" + article.getId() + ":edit";
if (subject.isPermitted(editArticle)) {
    //do something

This check would succeed if the Subject's direct permissions or any of its Groups' permissions (as returned by the MyGroupPermissionResolver implementation) implied the 'editArticle` permission.


Reducing round-trips to the Stormpath API servers can be a beneficial performance boost, so you will likely want to enable caching.

The Configuration section example already shows caching being used, so if you copied that, you should be good to go - you don't need to configure anything additional. However, if you are interested in what is going on, keep reading.

Shiro has its own Caching support that allows you to plug in to existing caching products (Hazelcast, Ehcache, etc). The Stormpath Java SDK also has an identical concept for Stormpath users that don't rely on Shiro.

Instead of having to configure two caching mechanisms in your Shiro-enabled app (one for Shiro, and another separate one for the Stormpath Java SDK), the Apache Shiro plugin for Stormpath has a caching implementation that uses the Stormpath Java SDK caching API to 'wrap' or 'bridge' the Shiro caching API. This means you can tell the Stormpath Java SDK to use the same CacheManager that Shiro uses, allowing you to use a single cache system for all of your application's needs.

To enable this 'bridge' support, for example, in shiro.ini (or the Spring, Guice or CDI equivalent):


; Enable whatever Shiro CacheManager implementation you want:
cacheManager = my.shiro.CacheManagerImplementation
securityManager.cacheManager = $cacheManager

; Stormpath integration:
stormpathClient = com.stormpath.shiro.client.ClientFactory
; Tell the stormpath client to use the same Shiro CacheManager:
stormpathClient.cacheManager = $cacheManager

If for some reason you don't want the Stormpath SDK to use Shiro's caching mechanism, you can configure the stormpathCacheManager property (instead of the expected Shiro-specific cacheManager property), which accepts a com.stormpath.sdk.cache.CacheManager instance instead:

; ...
stormpathCacheManager =
; etc ...
stormpathClient.stormpathCacheManager = $stormpathCacheManager

But note this approach requires you to set-up/configure two separate caching mechanisms.

See ClientFactory setCacheManager and setStormpathCacheManager JavaDoc for more.

ID Site

See the official docs

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