# Authentication and Authorization

Our todo app is nearly functionally complete, but it still doesn't fulfill a very basic requirement - that users should log in before they can view, create or modify tasks.

Remult provides a flexible mechanism that enables placing code-based authorization rules at various levels of the application's API. To maintain high code cohesion, entity and field-level authorization code should be placed in entity classes.

Remult is completely unopinionated when it comes to user authentication. You are free to use any kind of authentication mechanism, and only required to provide Remult with an object which implements the Remult UserInfo interface.

In this tutorial, we'll use NextAuth.js (opens new window) for authentication.

# Tasks CRUD Requires Sign-in

This rule is implemented within the Task @Entity decorator, by modifying the value of the allowApiCrud property. This property can be set to a function that accepts a Remult argument and returns a boolean value. Let's use the Allow.authenticated function from Remult.

src/shared/Task.ts


 


@Entity("tasks", {
    allowApiCrud: Allow.authenticated
})

Import Allow

This code requires adding an import of Allow from remult.

After the browser refreshes, the list of tasks disappeared and the user can no longer create new tasks.

Inspect the HTTP error returned by the API using cURL
curl -i http://localhost:3000/api/tasks

Use authorization metadata to avoid redundant api requests

Although not necessary, it's a good idea to avoid sending GET api requests for tasks from our React app, if the current user is not authorized to access the endpoint.

A simple way to achieve this is by adding the highlighted code lines to the fetchTasks function in home/index.tsx:

pages/index.tsx


 
 







async function fetchTasks(hideCompleted: boolean) {
   if (!taskRepo.metadata.apiReadAllowed)
      return [];
   return taskRepo.find({
      limit: 20,
      orderBy: { completed: "asc" },
      where: { completed: hideCompleted ? false : undefined }
   });
}

Authorized server-side code can still modify tasks

Although client CRUD requests to tasks API endpoints now require a signed-in user, the API endpoint created for our setAll server function remains available to unauthenticated requests. Since the allowApiCrud rule we implemented does not affect the server-side code's ability to use the Task entity class for performing database CRUD operations, the setAll function still works as before.

To fix this, let's implement the same rule using the @BackendMethod decorator of the setAll method of TasksController.

src/shared/TasksController.ts

@BackendMethod({ allowed: Allow.authenticated })

This code requires adding an import of Allow from remult.

# User Authentication

Let's set-up NextAuth.js to authenticate users to our app.

# Backend setup

  1. Install next-auth:
npm i next-auth
  1. Create the following [...nextauth].ts API route.

    pages/api/auth/[...nextauth].ts

    import NextAuth from "next-auth"
    import CredentialsProvider from "next-auth/providers/credentials"
    
    const validUsers = [
        { id: "1", name: "Jane", roles: ["admin"] },
        { id: "2", name: "Steve", roles: [] },
    ];
    
    const secret = process.env['NEXTAUTH_SECRET'] || "my secret";
    
    export default NextAuth({
        providers: [
            CredentialsProvider({
                name: "Username",
                credentials: {
                    name: { label: "", type: "text", placeholder: "Username, try Steve or Jane" },
                },
                authorize(credentials) {
                    return validUsers.find((user) => user.name === credentials?.name) || null;
                },
            })],
        secret: secret
    })
    

    This (very) simplistic NextAuth.js CredentialsProvider (opens new window) authorizes users by looking up a username in a predefined list of valid users.

# Frontend setup

Add the highlighted code to the Home Next.js page:

pages/index.tsx


 




 





 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 






//... imports
import { signIn, signOut, useSession } from "next-auth/react";

//... fetchTasks

const Home: NextPage = () => {
  const { data: session } = useSession();

  //,,,

  return (
    <div>
      <header>
        {session
          ? (
            <>
              Hello {session?.user?.name}{" "}
              <button onClick={() => signOut()}>Sign Out</button>
            </>
          )
          : <button onClick={() => signIn()}>Sign In</button>}
      </header>
      
      //...
    </div>
  )
}

# Connect Remult middleware

Once an authentication flow is established, integrating it with Remult in the backend is as simple as providing Remult with a getUser function that extracts a UserInfo object from a Request.

  1. Add the following getUserFromNextAuth function to [...nextauth].ts.

pages/api/auth/[...nextauth].ts

export async function getUserFromNextAuth(req: NextApiRequest) {
    const token = await getToken({ req, secret }); // import getToken from 'next-auth/jwt'
    return validUsers.find(u => u.id === token?.sub);
}
  1. Set the getUser property of the options object of createRemultServer to the getUserFromNextAuth function:

src/server/api.ts





 


//...

export const api = createRemultServer({
    //...
    getUser: getUserFromNextAuth
});

The todo app now supports signing in and out, with all access restricted to signed in users only.

# Role-based Authorization

Usually, not all application users have the same privileges. Let's define an admin role for our todo app, and enforce the following authorization rules:

  • All signed in users can see the list of tasks.
  • All signed in users can set specific tasks as completed.
  • Only users belonging to the admin role can create, delete or edit the titles of tasks.
  • Only users belonging to the admin role can mark all tasks as completed or uncompleted.
  1. Create a roles.ts file in the src/shared/ folder, with the following Roles:

src/shared/Roles.ts

export const Roles = {
   admin: 'admin'
}
  1. Modify the highlighted lines in the Task entity class to reflect the top three authorization rules.

src/shared/Task.ts


 


 
 
 
 







 







import { Allow, Entity, Fields, Validators } from "remult";
import { Roles } from "./Roles";

@Entity<Task>("tasks", {
      allowApiRead: Allow.authenticated,
      allowApiUpdate: Allow.authenticated,
      allowApiInsert: Roles.admin,
      allowApiDelete: Roles.admin
})
export class Task {
      @Fields.uuid()
      id!: string;

      @Fields.string({
         validate: Validators.required,
         allowApiUpdate: Roles.admin
      })
      title = '';

      @Fields.boolean()
      completed = false;
}
  1. Modify the highlighted line in the TasksController class to reflect the fourth authorization rule.

src/shared/TasksController.ts



 


 









import { Allow, BackendMethod, remult } from "remult";
import { Task } from "./Task";
import { Roles } from "./Roles";

export class TasksController {
   @BackendMethod({ allowed: Roles.admin })
   static async setAll(completed: boolean) {
      const taskRepo = remult.repo(Task);

      for (const task of await taskRepo.find()) {
            await taskRepo.save({ ...task, completed });
      }
   }
}
  1. Let's give the user "Jane" the admin role by modifying the roles array of her validUsers entry.

pages/api/auth/[...nextauth].ts


 



const validUsers = [
      { id: "1", name: "Jane", roles: [Roles.admin] },
      { id: "2", name: "Steve", roles: [] }
];

Sign in to the app as "Steve" to test that the actions restricted to admin users are not allowed. 🔒