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Cover image for Adding roles to the authentication with Vue(x)+Firebase

Adding roles to the authentication with Vue(x)+Firebase

crisarji
・10 min read

Greetings and Recap

Hello again developer pal!, if you have come across this repo on purpose great! thanks for reading, otherwise, maybe you want to take a look at its predecesor login-vuex-firebase.

Anyway, let me tell you that this repo is the next step to the authentication using Vuex and Firebase, yes, this is for the authorization; it is a simple one, using an assigned role for some users by email. I can bet that there are several ways to do it, I wont go too deep because:

  1. These are my first posts so I am taking it easy.
  2. Want to give you a sample, you are allowed to fork and reimplement as much as you want/require.
  3. Any feedback is more than welcome as a PR or thread in this post.

If you checked my aforementioned code and post, you remember we ended up having a functional authentication like this:

So far so good!, but what would happen if you want to limitate the access to the users?, depending whether dealing with an admin or a player(yeap these are the couple roles we could have for this case), we want to have a way to allow certain views to the admin and some others to the player, something like this:

Admin

Allow the access as an administrator to a dashboard page, but forbid to access other users page

Login Admin

Player

Allow the access as a player to a landing page, but forbid to access admin pages

Login Player

Too much text and gifs, let see the code!

Show Me The Code

Disclaimer: For the last post, I mentioned that there are plenty of posts related to Firebase and how to set it up, and that you should have a basic knowledge of the platform, at least have 1 project and the API Keys available. In this ocassion I'll be a bit more picky, it is imperative to have some knowledge of Firebase functions, in case you are not familiar you can read about it here.
Also, for running functions there are 2 main requirements: 1. node version when deploying must be 10 or above, 2. some interactions may require an upgrade from Spark to Blaze plan.

Let me share to you the Github code here, you can find the requirements for running the app locally, also a functions folder which is required for the roles implementation; since it is still in an early stage, no live demo yet.

Want some explanation? sure thing! keep reading below

As you already know, we are diving in a bay called Firebase, we'll interact a bit more with one of its islands the Firebase console, so please have an active project, that will make it easier for you to follow the explanations, I'll split them into steps for trying to make it easier to read.

Step 1

Roles collection on Firebase

Since the goal is give you an idea of what you can do with the platform roles collection only requires 2 properties: one for the email and one for the isAdmin, remember that you can make it suit your requirements whatever other way you want or need.

Login Player

Now on, whenever a user with this email is created, Firebase on its own will turn it into an admin user, any other user will be treated as a player role, keep reading to see the how!

Step 2

Firebase and Custom Claims

First thing to know is the way the platform exposes the authorization interaction, this is through the use of Custom Claims and Security Rules; we are aboarding the first in here. According to the official documentation:

The Firebase Admin SDK supports defining custom attributes on user accounts. This provides the ability to implement various access control strategies, including role-based access control, in Firebase apps. These custom attributes can give users different levels of access (roles), which are enforced in an application's security rules.
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What does that mean?, well in summay it means that after creating a new user, we can append some new attributes to the claims object present in the background, and we can take advantage of that behavior for handling roles, not too hard to follow right?

You can read much more about Claims here in case you are not convinced with my shallow explanation.

Step 3

Setting Custom Claims

For setting a custom claim is necessary to make a couple changes in the previous code we used for the login.

First of all, a small tweak needs to be done on signup action on store/modules/authentication.js; just flip the enable to false:

  ...
  async signup({ commit }, payload) {
    commit('setLoading', true);
    await fb.auth.createUserWithEmailAndPassword(payload.email, payload.password)
      .then(firebaseData => {
        fb.usersCollection.doc(firebaseData.user.uid).set({
          nickname: payload.nickname,
          name: payload.name,
          email: payload.email,
          enable: false // <= this from true to false
        })
          .then(_ => {
  ...
  ...
  ...
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This will force every single created user to be flipped to enable = true manually or programatically.

You could ask yourself Why would I disable every new user?, well imagine that you have a selected group of users for your application, you dont want to control the signup but the signin, so you can filter who interacts with your before hand.

Important: take into account that what we just did was to disconnect the user created in our custom users collection, remember that this is an extension for the authorization user, this last is the one which possesses the claim that we need to modify for the role.

So, how can we add the claim for a brand new created user?, well with a predefined trigger background function of course!

Long story short => Firebase has some triggers to be used out of the box in cases of create, update, delete, etc a user; the trigger we do care in particular is onCreate.

After knowing this, in the root folder of the project, there is new folder called functions, it is a simple structure with an index.js, a package.json, and a few more required-but-simple files, take a look at the first:

index.js

const functions = require('firebase-functions');
const admin = require('firebase-admin');
admin.initializeApp();
exports.processSignUp = functions.auth.user().onCreate(async user => {
  if (user.email) {
    const adminUsers = admin.firestore().collection('adminUsers');
    const snapshot = await adminUsers.where('email', '==', user.email).get();
    const customClaims = snapshot.empty ? { player: true } : { admin: true };
    return admin
      .auth()
      .setCustomUserClaims(user.uid, customClaims)
      .then(_ => {
        if (!snapshot.empty) {
          const userUpdate = admin.firestore().collection('users');
          userUpdate.doc(user.uid).set({
            nickname: user.email,
            name: user.email,
            email: user.email,
            enable: true,
          });
          functions.logger.info(`User with email ${user.email} was added as admin and enabled!`);
        }
        const metadataRef = admin.database().ref('metadata/' + user.uid);
        return metadataRef.set({ refreshTime: new Date().getTime() });
      })
      .catch(error => {
        functions.logger.error(`There was an error whilst adding ${user.email} as admin`, error);
        return;
      });
  }
  functions.logger.console.warn(`There was no email supplied for user, no role added.`);
  return;
});
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Saw that?, in only 32 lines of code(it could be even less) resides all the logic for checking the role, add it if required, modify the extended user and report the execution status of the function, let's split it bit by bit.

This code imports the required modules, initialize the app and registers the trigger for the OnCreate; therefore whenever a new user is added, via signUp or manually it will pass through this function.

const functions = require('firebase-functions');
const admin = require('firebase-admin');

admin.initializeApp();

exports.processSignUp = functions.auth.user().onCreate(async user => {
  ...
  ...
  ...
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Next, if no email is registered for any reason, the logger exposed by firebase-functions writes in the web logs

if (user.email) {
  ...
  ...
  }
  functions.logger.console.warn(`There was no email supplied for user, no role added.`);
  return;
});
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In case a valid email is in place(this should be almost always), the function will look for the roles collection, will execute a query where looking up for the email, in case of match, the snapshot will not be empty, thus the customClaim is set as admin, otherwise it will be dealing with a player

exports.processSignUp = functions.auth.user().onCreate(async user => {
  if (user.email) {
    const adminUsers = admin.firestore().collection('adminUsers');
    const snapshot = await adminUsers.where('email', '==', user.email).get();
    const customClaims = snapshot.empty ? { player: true } : { admin: true };
    return admin
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The final step is setCustomUserClaims using the uid identifying the user and the customClaim which determines whether dealing with an admin or a player; also notice that in case the function is dealing with an admin it will add a new record in the extended users collection(pretty much what we do in the signup action in our authentication module).

const customClaims = snapshot.empty ? { player: true } : { admin: true };
return admin
  .auth()
  .setCustomUserClaims(user.uid, customClaims)
  .then(_ => {
    if (!snapshot.empty) {
      const userUpdate = admin.firestore().collection('users');
      userUpdate.doc(user.uid).set({
        nickname: user.email,
        name: user.email,
        email: user.email,
        enable: true,
      });
      functions.logger.info(`User with email ${user.email} was added as admin and enabled!`);
    }
    const metadataRef = admin.database().ref('metadata/' + user.uid);
    return metadataRef.set({ refreshTime: new Date().getTime() });
  })
  .catch(error => {
    functions.logger.error(`There was an error whilst adding ${user.email} as admin`, error);
    return;
  });
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Look the code above, among the props notice the enable = true, this has a double purpose:

  1. Enable the admin user immediately
  2. Allows the creation of admin users directly from Firebase console instead of going through the whole signup process

So, something like this is possible, easier and more viable than running the whole signup:

Login Player

In case you were wondering, yes, this user above is the same added in the Step 1.

Step 4

Deploying the processSignUp function

Hope you have followed the previous steps, may look a bit complicated, but after a couple more reads will be cristal clear!, so for the next step we need to deploy the processSignUp function, let's take a look at Firebase's console first:

In console, in Functions section, if no functions created a 2-steps wizard will appear

Step 1

Config Functions Step1

Step 2

Config Functions Step2

Final Panel

Functions Panel

Now, how to deploy the function in Firebase?, it is an easy process(the followinf steps must be executed inside functions folder):

Connect your functions with your Firebase project executing:

  firebase use --add
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Pick the project and an alias(this works better when multiple projects exist under the same instance)

Firebase Use Add

Next, run the script:

  npm run deploy
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After that, the deploy should be completed and successful

Firebase Use Add

Now if you navigate to the Firebase functions console again, there must be a new entry for the just created function

Firebase Use Add

And that's it! every time a matching-role user is added, an information message will be displayed in the records of the function

Firebase Use Add

Step 5

New Routes to be validated

The routes are pretty much the same, just add the new views, add a meta attribute with the custom prop requiresAuth, and register them.

  ...
  const routerOptions = [
    { path: '/', component: 'Landing', meta: { requiresAuth: true } },
    { path: '/auth', component: 'Auth' },
    { path: '/landing', component: 'Landing', meta: { requiresAuth: true } },
    { path: '/dashboard', component: 'Dashboard', meta: { requiresAuth: true } },
    { path: '*', component: 'Auth' },
  ];

  const routes = routerOptions.map(route => {
    return {
      ...route,
      component: () => import(/* webpackChunkName: "{{route.component}}" */ `../views/${route.component}.vue`)
    };
  });

  Vue.use(Router);
  ...
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Remember the method beforeEach? now is more important than before, the claims added in the processSignUp are checked before navigating to every single view; when an admin tries to navigate a player page, is inmediately redirected to its scope of enabled view(s) and vice versa; this way the app is ready to authenticate and authorize users(in a simple way)

  ...
  const router = new Router({
    mode: 'history',
    routes
  });
  router.beforeEach((to, from, next) => {
  auth.onAuthStateChanged(userAuth => {
    if (userAuth) {
      auth.currentUser.getIdTokenResult()
        .then(({claims}) => {
          if (claims.admin) {
            if (to.path !== '/dashboard')
              return next({
                path: '/dashboard',
              });
          }
          if (claims.player) {
            if (to.path !== '/landing')
              return next({
                path: '/landing',
              });
          }
        })
      }
      const requiresAuth = to.matched.some(record => record.meta.requiresAuth);
      const isAuthenticated = auth.currentUser;
      if (requiresAuth && !isAuthenticated) {
        next('/auth');
      } else {
        next();
      }
    })
    next();
  });
  ...
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Conclusion

Protect the app views is possible using Firebase and Vue, it is a bit trickier than the simple login but not impossible; maybe you could have a better way to do it, let's discuss in a thread below!

Thanks for reading!

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