This plugin provides an easy way to make sure that your rails actions are only called with the method, protocol, and parameters that you expect.
This can save a considerable amount of error-checking code, uncover hidden bugs, and prevent security holes.
Here's a typical update action:
def update @person = Person.find params[:id] if @person.update_attributes(params[:person]) flash[:notice] = 'Person was successfully updated.' redirect_to :action => 'show', :id => @person else render :action => 'edit' end end
This code works fine as long as the request is always well formed, but we need to plan for incomplete, broken, or simply strange requests, both intentional and unintentional.
If we were to hand-code all of the contingencies that we might run into while dealing with anonymous input from the request, we'd have a pretty messy action that's littered with lots of conditions for detecting and dealing with bad parameters.
Instead, we can call assert_request at the beginning of the method to make sure that the request contains exactly what we expect. This makes the code far more robust, and saves us from writing a considerable amount of error-checking code. Here's an example of how we might use assert_request on the same action:
def update assert_request do |r| r.method :post r.params.must_have :id, Person end # the rest of the action is unchanged end
We've now ensured several things for this action:
The request method must be POST
The params hash contains an “id” attribute
The params hash contains a “person” attribute whose value is a hash that represents the Person model
assert_request examines the Person model, and expands it in place as if you'd specified all of its attributes by hand.
Now if we receive a request that doesn't match our specification, then the application will raise a RequestError exception, and we'll get a detailed message in the logs. In development mode, the exception and its explanation will be displayed in the browser. In production mode, a 404 Not Found response is returned.
Install the plugin by running the following command in your rails application's directory:
ruby script/plugin install svn://rubyforge.org//var/svn/validaterequest/plugins/assert_request
That's it. You're ready to add calls to assert_request to your actions.
The four assertions that come with this plugin are documented in AssertRequest::PublicMethods. If assert_request seems too heavy-handed for your needs, the other three are more narrowly targeted:
Finally, the plugin includes a patch for the rails scaffold generators (both the original and scaffold_resource), so that they include the appropriate calls to assert_request when they generate your scaffolding. This might save some time, and it can be a good way to see the plugin in actual use. The patch is called scaffold_patch.rb, and is located in the plugin source (probably under vendor/plugins/assert_request/). You can apply it to your rails installation by running it as the superuser (at least on MacOS, Linux, and Cygwin):
sudo ruby scaffold_patch.rb
Scott A. Woods West Arete Computing, Inc. http://westarete.com scott at westarete dot com
© Copyright 2007 by West Arete Computing, Inc.