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Spring Boot : Custom Role - Permission Authorization using SpEL

Ashish Rameshan
More than 1.5+ year experience in web application development
・3 min read

This article continues the Registration with Spring Security series with a look at how to properly implement Roles and Permissions.

First, let's start with our entities. We have three main entities:

-> User
-> Role
-> Permission

@Entity
public class User {

    @Id
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY)
    private Long id;
    private String email;
    private String password;

    @ManyToMany 
    @JoinTable( 
        name = "users_roles", 
        joinColumns = @JoinColumn(
          name = "user_id", referencedColumnName = "id"), 
        inverseJoinColumns = @JoinColumn(
          name = "role_id", referencedColumnName = "id")) 
    private Collection<Role> roles;
}
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@Entity
public class Role{

    @Id
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY)
    private Integer id;

    // Ex : ADMIN, USER
    private String name;

    @ManyToMany 
    @JoinTable( 
        name = "role_permissions", 
        joinColumns = @JoinColumn(
          name = "role_id", referencedColumnName = "id"), 
        inverseJoinColumns = @JoinColumn(
          name = "permission_id", referencedColumnName = "id")) 
    private Collection<Permission> permissions;
}
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@Entity
public class Permission {

    @Id
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY)
    private Integer id;

    // Ex: READ,WRITE,UPDATE
    private String name;
}
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@Getter
@Setter
@Builder
public class UserPrincipal implements UserDetails {

    private Long id;
    private String name;
    private String email;
    private Collection<? extends GrantedAuthority> roles;
    private Collection<? extends GrantedAuthority> permissions;

    public static UserPrincipal createUserPrincipal(User user) {
        if (user != null) {
            List<GrantedAuthority> roles= user.getRoles().stream().filter(Objects::nonNull)
                    .map(role -> new SimpleGrantedAuthority(role.getName().name()))
                    .collect(Collectors.toList());

            List<GrantedAuthority> permissions = user.getRoles().stream().filter(Objects::nonNull)
                    .map(Role::getPermissions).flatMap(Collection::stream)
                    .map(permission-> new SimpleGrantedAuthority(permission.getName().name()))
                    .collect(Collectors.toList());

            return UserPrincipal.builder()
                    .id(user.getId())
                    .name(user.getName())
                    .email(user.getEmail())
                    .roles(roles)
                    .permissions(permissions)
                    .build();
        }
        return null;
    }

}
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Note – We're using the Permission – Role terms here, but in Spring, these are slightly different. In Spring, our Permission is referred to as Role, and also as a (granted) authority – which is slightly confusing. Not a problem for the implementation of course, but definitely worth noting.

Also – these Spring Roles (our Permissions) need a prefix; by default, that prefix is “ROLE”, but it can be changed. We're not using that prefix here, just to keep things simple, but keep in mind that if you're not explicitly changing it, it's going to be required.

public class CustomSecurityExpressionRoot extends SecurityExpressionRoot implements MethodSecurityExpressionOperations {

    private Object filterObject;
    private Object returnObject;
    private Object target;

    /**
     * Creates a new instance
     *
     * @param authentication the {@link Authentication} to use. Cannot be null.
     */
    public CustomSecurityExpressionRoot(Authentication authentication) {
        super(authentication);
    }

    public boolean hasAnyPermission(String... permissions) {
        UserPrincipal authentication = (UserPrincipal) getPrincipal();
        for (String permission : permissions) {
            if (authentication.getPermissions()
                    .stream()
                    .map(GrantedAuthority::getAuthority)
                    .anyMatch(a -> a.equals(permission))) {
                return true;
            }
        }
        return false;
    }

    /**
     * Validates if Current User is authorized for ALL given permissions
     *
     * @param permissions cannot be empty
     */
    public boolean hasPermission(String... permissions) {
        UserPrincipal authentication = (UserPrincipal) getPrincipal();
        if (CollectionUtils.isNotEmpty(authentication.getPermissions())) {
            List<String> authenticationPermissions = authentication.getPermissions()
                    .stream()
                    .filter(Objects::nonNull)
                    .map(GrantedAuthority::getAuthority)
                    .collect(Collectors.toList());

            return Arrays.stream(permissions)
                    .filter(StringUtils::isNotBlank)
                    .allMatch(permission -> authenticationPermissions.contains(permission));
        }
        return false;
    }

    @Override
    public void setFilterObject(Object filterObject) {
        this.filterObject = filterObject;
    }

    @Override
    public Object getFilterObject() {
        return filterObject;
    }

    @Override
    public void setReturnObject(Object returnObject) {
        this.returnObject = returnObject;
    }

    @Override
    public Object getReturnObject() {
        return returnObject;
    }

    @Override
    public Object getThis() {
        return target;
    }

    public void setThis(Object target) {
        this.target = target;
    }
}
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@Component
public class CustomMethodSecurityExpressionHandler extends DefaultMethodSecurityExpressionHandler {

    @Override
    protected MethodSecurityExpressionOperations createSecurityExpressionRoot(Authentication authentication, MethodInvocation invocation) {
        CustomSecurityExpressionRoot root = new CustomSecurityExpressionRoot(authentication);
        root.setThis(invocation.getThis());
        root.setPermissionEvaluator(getPermissionEvaluator());
        root.setTrustResolver(getTrustResolver());
        root.setRoleHierarchy(getRoleHierarchy());
        root.setDefaultRolePrefix(getDefaultRolePrefix());
        return root;
    }
}
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@Configuration
@EnableGlobalMethodSecurity( prePostEnabled = true )
public class MethodSecurityConfig extends GlobalMethodSecurityConfiguration {

    @Override
    protected MethodSecurityExpressionHandler createExpressionHandler() {
        CustomMethodSecurityExpressionHandler expressionHandler = new CustomMethodSecurityExpressionHandler();
        return expressionHandler;
    }
}
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We now have two new security expression available and ready to be used: hasPermission & hasAnyPermission.

hasPermission - @param- String[] , checks if current user has ALL permissions.

hasAnyPermission - @param- String[], checks if Current User has ANY permission.

Now similarly how Spring Security has inbuilt expressions like hasRole & hasAnyRole , we can check permissions as well.

Example :

@GetMapping
@PreAuthorize("hasRole('ADMIN') or hasPermission('READ')")
    public ResponseEntity<List<User>> findAll() {
        return new ResponseEntity<>(User.build(userService.getAllUsers()), HttpStatus.OK);
    }

@GetMapping
@PreAuthorize("hasAnyRole('ADMIN') or hasAnyPermission('READ','UPDATE','WRITE')")
    public ResponseEntity<List<User>> findAll() {
        return new ResponseEntity<>(User.build(userService.getAllUsers()), HttpStatus.OK);
    }
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