Creating a Secure App

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1 Introduction

Each application must have a proper security configuration in order to have its data secured. This how-to will teach you how to turn the security on and configure it.

You will start with the configuration of user and module roles for access to pages and microflows, so we’ll turn on the prototype/demo security. Next you will deal with production security.

This how-to will teach you how to do the following:

  • Configure prototype/demo security
  • Configure production security

2 Prerequisites

Before starting with this how-to, make sure you have completed the following prerequisites:

3 Preparing the Data Structure, GUI, and Example Data

To see the results of this how-to, you must set up a test project with test data by following these steps:

  1. Create the following domain model:

  2. Create overview and detail pages to manage objects of Customer and Order type.

  3. Create menu items to access the Customer and Order overview pages.

  4. Add a new microflow to your module

  5. Name the microflow IVK_SetOrderToComplete:

  6. Save the new menu item by clicking OK. You should see an empty microflow like this:

  7. Add a Microflow button to the toolbar of the orders overview and change its caption to Set Processing to Complete:

  8. Right-click the microflow button and select Select microflow… from the context menu:

  9. Select the IVK_SetOrderToComplete microflow and click Select:

  10. Add the following customer data to your app:

  11. Add the following order data to your app:

4 Setting the Scurity Level to Prototype/Demo

In this part of the how-to, you will learn how to configure the security at the prototype/demo level. Be aware that this level of security is only applicable for development/demo purposes. This level is available for the quick development of demo applications. It simulates security without the more complex configuration of data access. When deploying to the Mendix cloud, production security is mandatory.

To set the security level to prototype/demo, follow these steps:

  1. Open the project Security:

    This will open the Project Security properties editor.

  2. Switch the Security level to Prototype / demo:

  3. Go to the Administrator tab and set the master administrator Password:

4.1 Creating Module Roles Within a Module

You have added one or more modules while the security was turned off, so there is currently no security configured for those modules. Now that security is turned on, you have to configure it from scratch. Access to a module is managed using module roles. You will now add these.

To create module roles within a module, follow these steps:

  1. Open the module Security of the MyFirstModule module:

  2. On the Module Security Type ‘Security’ properties editor, click New:

  3. In the New Module Role dialog box, create a module role with the Name of Administrator:

  4. Create the User module role:

4.2 Connecting the User Roles to Module Roles

The two module roles that have been created should be assigned to a user role. When an end-user has a specific user role, the end-user has access to the data, forms, and microflows according to the assigned module roles of that user role:

  1. Open the project Security.
  2. On the Project Security dialog box, go to the User roles tab and double-click the Administrator user role:

  3. In the Module roles section of the User Role ‘Administrator’ properties editor, click Edit:

  4. In the Select Module Roles pop-up window, select the Administrator module role for all the modules:

  5. Repeat steps 2–4 for the User user role:

4.3 Configuring the Page and Microflow Access of a Module

To configure the page and microflow access of a module, follow these steps:

  1. Open the module Security of the MyFirstModule module:

  2. Open the Page access tab:

  3. Check the pages according to the example shown here:

  4. On the Microflow access tab, check the microflows according to the example shown here:

  5. Deploy the application.

  6. Create new users with different roles.

  7. Log in with these users.

  8. Test the differences in your application.

5 Setting the Security Level to Production

In this section of the how-to, you will configure the security at the production level. At this level, all security settings must be configured. In addition to prototype/demo security, you have to configure the entity (data) access. Production security is mandatory when deploying to the Mendix cloud.

To set the security level to production, follow these steps:

  1. Open the project Security:

  2. On the Project Security dialog box, switch the security level to Production:

5.1 Configuring Form Entity Access

To configure the form entity access, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Security module of the MyFirstModule module:

  2. On the Module Security Type ‘Security’ dialog box, open the Entity Access tab:

  3. Click New to create access rules for the Role Administrator module. Make sure you allow an administrator to read/write all and restrict some of the user’s read/write rights so that you can clearly see the difference in these roles.

5.2 Creating Access Rules for the Administrator Module Role

You will now create access rules for the Administrator module role. Since this role represents an administrator, let’s assume that he/she is allowed to create, delete, read, and write everything, so you can create the rules in a quick batch.

To create access roles for the Administrator module role, follow these steps:

  1. Select all the entities and click OK:

  2. Set up the rule configuration:

    • Rule applies to the following module roles: Administrator
    • Allow creating new objects: true
    • Allow deleting existing objects: true
    • Member read and write rights: Read, Write
  3. Click OK.

5.3 Creating Access Rules for the User Module Role

Next you have to create access rules for the User module role. Since this role represents a user with limited access, let’s assume he/she is only allowed to read most data and is allowed to write some of the Order data. This means you have to configure all the access rules individually.

To create access roles for the User module role, follow these steps:

  1. On the Module Security Type ‘Security”’ dialog box, click New to create a new access rule for the User module role:

  2. Select the Customer entity and click OK:

  3. Set up the rule configuration:

    • Rule applies to the following module roles: User
    • Allow creating new objects: false
    • Allow deleting existing objects: false
    • Default rights for new members: Read
  4. Adjust the rule for the Order and set up the rule configuration:

    • Rule applies to the following module roles: User
    • Allow creating new objects: true
    • Allow deleting existing objects: false
    • Default rights for new members: Read, Write
    • Access rights for each member: Read, Write
  5. Deploy the application.

  6. Log in with the different users and test the differences in your application.

6 Defining the Access Rules on the Order Entity Using XPath

In the previous section you set some access rules on your domain model. In this section you you will define the access rules on the Order entity so that orders can only be viewed by a user if the payment status of the order is set to open. You will do this by adding an XPath constraint to the Order entity for the User module role.

An XPath constraint can be used to constrain the set of objects to which the access rule applies. If the XPath constraint is empty, the rule applies to all the objects of the entity. For more information, see XPath Constraints in the Mendix Reference Guide.

6.1 Adding an Account with the User User Role

  1. Click the Accounts in the Administration menu:

  2. On the Accounts screen, click New user:

  3. Add an account with a user role named User:

  4. Click Save.

6.2 Set the Entity Access to Open Order Status

  1. Double-click the Order entity:

  2. On the Properties of Entity ‘MyFirstModule.Order’ editor, open the Access rules tab:

  3. Double-click the User module role to open the Edit Access Rule of Entity ‘MyFirstModule.Order’ editor and select the XPath constraint tab:

  4. To constrain the access of the financial administrator to only the open orders, add the following XPath statement:

  5. Click OK. The properties editor of your Order entity should look like this:

  6. Re-deploy your application.

  7. If you log in with the Test User account, you will see that only orders with the Order status of Open are shown in the overview:

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