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Custom authorization on class, action/function, code, area level under Asp.Net MVC application

With evolution of ASP.Net MVC there are lot of inbuilt feature came and evolved with time. One of those is Authorization and Custom Authorization. The in-built function is sufficient enough to handle anonymous user restriction, user based on there name, specific roles for user with just single class AuthorizeAttribute.
To implement we need to decorate attribute on any given class, action based on need.
Example:

 [Authorize]  
 public ActionResult Test()  
 {  
 }  

By just providing Authorize attribute anonymous user are restricted. It has Roles and Users property parameters to restrict access based on certain role or user which can accept multiple values by comma separated as string format.

In one of the situation, I got chance to built an authorization where roles keep changing. Administrator can add new role, delete any role or modify existing role. In that situation we cannot map roles with codes. So, there were two way to achieve by creating group of roles and letting administrator to modify those groups or sub-dividing roles to permission level. Both approaches are vice-versa to each other.

For me normalizing roles to permission level sounded better approach since I was never happy with inbuilt weakly typed way for authorization as we can miss-type anything which can go wrong. Going with this approach we can create table relation like this:
|--User (One to Many between User and Role)
   |--Role (One to Many between Role and Permission)
       |--Permission

My examples would be based on above approach but there is no restriction with concept we can go ahead for making role based authorization strong typed and extend approach for code level authorization.

There are number of things that need to be followed to achieve it. The brief description are as follows which would easier to understand and to follow article.

  1. Creating tables based on permission structure or skip if we are looking for strongly typed role authorization.
  2. Creating Enums for permission or roles.
  3. Creating common functionalities at common place to be used on Custom authorization, base controller function and Html helper for implementing authorization on HTML elements.
  4. Custom authorization based on enum.
  5. Html helper for authorization on elements.
  6. Base controller, generic function implementation to handle permissions on action level code.
  7. Area level authorization.
Creating tables based on permission structure or skip if we are looking for strongly typed role authorization.
There are two things we need to create the first one is permission model and associate permission model with roles.

   public class AppPermission  
   {  
     public int PermissionId { get; set; }  
     public string PermissionName { get; set; }  
   }  

Based on ORM theses need to be mapped with Membership role class. In case of Asp.Identity EF Provider IdentityRole need to be extended to have many to many relationship between AppPermission and the extend class from IdentityRole.
Asp.Net Identity UserManager can be also extended to interact with AppPermission on DB.

Based on ORM and Membership the implementation may vary but key idea is to have many to many relationship between roles and permission and have a way to interact with DB.

Creating Enums for permission or roles.
Since the application authorization would be entirely dependent on Enum values. We need to create enum based on Permission Names. This could be easily done by fpllowing http://vikutech.blogspot.in/2014/01/enumeration-generation-for-lookup-table.html.
We can use similar approach to generate roles. 

After generating it can look like this:

   public enum PermissionRule  
   {  
     CanAddBlog,  
     CanEditBlog,  
     CanViewBlog,  
   }  

Now, all authorization parts would be dependent on PermissionRule enum.

If we are going with Permission approach we can extent functionality to check any or all provided permission with new enum called ComparisonType:
   /// <summary>  
   /// Comparison request  
   /// </summary>  
   public enum ComparisonType  
   {  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Comparison based on all fields  
     /// </summary>  
     All,  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Comparison based on any available fields  
     /// </summary>  
     Any,  
   }  
Example for implementation that would look like:
[AppAuthorize(PermissionRule.CanAddBlog, PermissionRule.CanEditBlog, ComparisonType =  ComparisonType.Any)]

Creating common functionalities at common place to be used on Custom authorization
In this common functionality we are going to pass all user permission, the requested permission and comparison type to check whether user is authorized or not.

public class WebHelper  
   {  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Determines whether the specified user permissions has requested permission.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <param name="userPermissions">The user's permissions.</param>  
     /// <param name="requestedPermissions">The expected permissions.</param>  
     /// <param name="userName">Name of the user.</param>  
     /// <param name="comparisonType">Type of the comparison.</param>  
     /// <returns>  
     /// True, If requested permissions exists in User's permission list  
     /// </returns>  
     internal static bool HasPermission(IEnumerable<PermissionRule> userPermissions, IEnumerable<PermissionRule> requestedPermissions,  
       string userName, ComparisonType comparisonType = ComparisonType.All)  
     {  
       // TODO: if having any direct user name who is having global permissions.  
       //if (String.Equals(userName, Constant.ADMIN_NAME, StringComparison.OrdinalIgnoreCase))  
       //{  
       //  return true;  
       //}  
       if (requestedPermissions == null || userPermissions == null)  
       {  
         return false;  
       }  
       bool hasPermission = false;  
       switch (comparisonType)  
       {  
         case ComparisonType.All:  
           hasPermission = requestedPermissions.All(reqPerm => userPermissions.Any(usrPerm => usrPerm == reqPerm));  
           break;  
         case ComparisonType.Any:  
           hasPermission = requestedPermissions.Any(reqPerm => userPermissions.Any(usrPerm => usrPerm == reqPerm));  
           break;  
         default:  
           throw new ArgumentException("New comparison type need to be included");  
       }  
       return hasPermission;  
     }  
   }  


Custom authorization based on enum.
In MVC, we can find dedicated filter name AuthorizeAttribute which can be inherited and customized with implementation of AuthorizeCore method. IActionFilter is also going to be used for setting up permissions under ViewBag so that it can be accessed on Html Helpers through ViewBag.

   /// <summary>  
   /// Custom authorization implementation for checking permission rules.  
   /// </summary>  
   public class AppAuthorizeAttribute  
     : System.Web.Mvc.AuthorizeAttribute, System.Web.Mvc.IActionFilter  
   {  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Gets or sets the requested permissions.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <value>  
     /// The requested permissions.  
     /// </value>  
     public IList<PermissionRule> RequestedPermissions { get; set; }  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Gets or sets the type of the comparison.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <value>  
     /// The type of the comparison.  
     /// </value>  
     public ComparisonType ComparisonType { get; set; }  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Initializes a new instance of the <see cref="AppAuthorizeAttribute"/> class.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <param name="permissions">The permissions.</param>  
     public AppAuthorizeAttribute(params PermissionRule[] permissions)  
     {  
       RequestedPermissions = permissions.ToList();  
     }  
     #region " IActionFilter implementation for saving permission status "  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Called before an action method executes.  
     /// Set users permission into ViewBag  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <param name="filterContext">The filter context.</param>  
     void IActionFilter.OnActionExecuting(ActionExecutingContext filterContext)  
     {  
       if (filterContext.RequestContext.HttpContext.Request.IsAuthenticated)  
       {  
         // Set users permission to ViewBag  
         var usrPermissions = GetUserPermission(filterContext.HttpContext);  
         filterContext.Controller.ViewBag.UserPermissionRules = usrPermissions;  
       }  
     }  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Called after the action method executes.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <param name="filterContext">The filter context.</param>  
     void IActionFilter.OnActionExecuted(ActionExecutedContext filterContext)  
     {  
       // Not required  
     }  
     #endregion " IActionFilter implementation for saving permission status "  
     /// <summary>  
     /// An entry point for custom authorization checks. This will check user roles and  
     /// permission.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <param name="httpContext">The HTTP context, which encapsulates all HTTP-specific  
     /// information about an individual HTTP request.</param>  
     /// <returns>true if the user is authorized; otherwise, false.</returns>  
     protected override bool AuthorizeCore(HttpContextBase httpContext)  
     {  
       if (!base.AuthorizeCore(httpContext))  
       {  
         return false;  
       }  
       var userName = httpContext.User.Identity.Name;  
       if (RequestedPermissions != null && RequestedPermissions.Any())  
       {  
         var usrPermissions = GetUserPermission(httpContext);  
         if (!WebHelper.HasPermission(usrPermissions, RequestedPermissions, userName, ComparisonType))  
         {  
           return false;  
         }  
       }  
       return true;  
     }  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Processes HTTP requests that fail authorization.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <param name="filterContext">Encapsulates the information for using <see cref="T:System.Web.Mvc.AuthorizeAttribute" />. The <paramref name="filterContext" /> object contains the controller, HTTP context, request context, action result, and route data.</param>  
     protected override void HandleUnauthorizedRequest(AuthorizationContext filterContext)  
     {  
       // TODO: Page redirect if having any otherwise no need to override function.  
     }  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Gets the user permission.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <param name="httpContext">The HTTP context.</param>  
     /// <returns>Permissions related to user</returns>  
     protected IList<PermissionRule> GetUserPermission(HttpContextBase httpContext)  
     {  
       var userName = httpContext.User.Identity.Name;  
       // TODO: Get all permission list for user.  
       // TODO: Add caching logic to avoid DB hits  
       return new List<PermissionRule>();  
     }  
   }  

The above implementation is doing two things, first checking permission on AuthorizeCore function and saving user's permission under ViewBag ViewBag.UserPermissionRules.

How to use?

Example 1:
 [AppAuthorize(PermissionRule.CanAddBlog, PermissionRule.CanEditBlog, ComparisonType = ComparisonType.Any)]  
 public ActionResult ViewBlog()  
 {  
 }  

Example 2:
 [AppAuthorize(PermissionRule.CanViewBlog)]  
 public ActionResult ViewBlog()  
 {  
 }  

The same approach can be used on class level as well.

Html helper for authorization on elements
Since, user permission list is already saved under view bag it would be much easier to access.

   /// <summary>  
   /// Native HTML Helper extension  
   /// </summary>  
   public static class HtmlExtensions  
   {  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Determines whether user is having permission.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <param name="htmlHelper">The HTML helper.</param>  
     /// <param name="comparisonType">Type of the comparison.</param>  
     /// <param name="permissions">The permission checks.</param>  
     /// <returns>  
     /// True, if  
     /// </returns>  
     /// <exception cref="System.Exception">The controller used to render this view doesn't inherit from BaseController</exception>  
     public static bool IsUserHavingPermission(this HtmlHelper htmlHelper,  
       ComparisonType comparisonType = ComparisonType.All, params PermissionRule[] permissions)  
     {  
       IEnumerable<PermissionRule> userPermissionRules = htmlHelper.ViewBag.UserPermissionRules;  
       if (userPermissionRules == null)  
       {  
         throw new NotImplementedException("User permissions not set.");  
       }  
       return WebHelper.HasPermission(userPermissionRules, permissions,  
         htmlHelper.ViewContext.RequestContext.HttpContext.User.Identity.Name  
         , comparisonType);  
     }  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Determines whether user is having specified permissions.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <param name="htmlHelper">The HTML helper.</param>  
     /// <param name="permissions">The permissions.</param>  
     /// <returns></returns>  
     public static bool IsUserHavingPermission(this HtmlHelper htmlHelper, params PermissionRule[] permissions)  
     {  
       return IsUserHavingPermission(htmlHelper, ComparisonType.All, permissions);  
     }  
   }  

The Html helper contains overloaded IsUserHavingPermission functions which deals with required permission rule and optional ComparisonType parameter. It is consuming previously created ViewBag to access all user permissions.

How to use?
Please note that the namespace reference need to be added under web.config or need to be used under view.
Example 1:
 @if (Html.IsUserHavingPermission(PermissionRule.CanEditBlog))  
 {  
   <!-- Blog edit button-->  
 }  

Example 2 (Same can be used to add CSS)
@Html.IsUserHavingPermission(PermissionRule.CanEditBlog)

Base controller generic function implementation to handle permissions on action level code.

This is optional, if need authorization on code level under action we can implement. For this implementation we need Base Controller or we can create somewhere at common place to use it.

   public class BaseController  
   : Controller  
   {  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Determines whether the specified comparison type has permission.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <param name="comparisonType">Type of the comparison.</param>  
     /// <param name="permissionRules">The permissions.</param>  
     /// <returns>True, If user has permission.</returns>  
     protected bool HasPermission(ComparisonType comparisonType = ComparisonType.All,  
       params PermissionRule[] permissionRules)  
     {  
       return WebHelper.HasPermission(ViewBag.UserPermissionRules, permissionRules,  
         HttpContext.User.Identity.Name, comparisonType);  
     }  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Gets the result based on authorization.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <param name="resultOnCondition">The result on condition.</param>  
     /// <param name="comparisonType">Type of the comparison.</param>  
     /// <param name="permissionRules">The permission rules.</param>  
     /// <returns>If authorization success then the view else redirect to page not authorized.</returns>  
     protected ActionResult GetResultOnAuthorization(Func<ActionResult> resultOnCondition,  
       ComparisonType comparisonType = ComparisonType.All,  
       params PermissionRule[] permissionRules)  
     {  
       return HasPermission(comparisonType, permissionRules) ? resultOnCondition() :  
           new HttpUnauthorizedResult(); // Unauthorized action redirect  
     }  
     /// <summary>  
     /// Gets the result based on authorization.  
     /// </summary>  
     /// <param name="resultOnCondition">The result on condition.</param>  
     /// <param name="permissionRules">The permission rules.</param>  
     /// <returns>If authorization success then the view else redirect to page not authorized.</returns>  
     protected ActionResult GetResultOnAuthorization(Func<ActionResult> resultOnCondition, params PermissionRule[] permissionRules)  
     {  
       return GetResultOnAuthorization(resultOnCondition, ComparisonType.All, permissionRules);  
     }  
   }  

How to use?


     public ActionResult ManageBlog()  
     {  
       return GetResultOnAuthorization(() =>  
       {  
         // Codes
         return View();  
       }, PermissionRule.CanEditBlog);  
       // If having any other condition  
     }  

Area level authorization, if required.
I am not going have exact code for same but retrieving area is simple enough through HttpContext. Our AppAuthorizeAttribute can be extended to restrict based on area.

httpContext.Request.RequestContext.RouteData.Values["area"]

The above code can extract area name from HttpContext and can be matched against PermissionRule enum where the name could be prefixed with area.




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