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    0.1.7 • Public • Published

    Role Based Access Control (RBAC)

    Many Role Based Access Control (RBAC) implementations differ, but the basics is widely adopted since it simulates real life role (job) assignments. But while data is getting more and more complex; you need to define policies on resources, subjects or even environments, this is called Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC).

    Core Features

    • Chainable, friendly API, e.g. ac.can(role).create(resource)
    • Role hierarchical inheritance.
    • Define grants at once (e.g. from database result) or one by one.
    • Grant/deny permissions by attributes defined by glob notation.
    • Ability to control access on own or any resources.
    • No silent errors.
    • Fast. (Grants are stored in memory, no database queries.)


    yarn add @minddoc/accesscontrol


    import { AccessControl } from 'accesscontrol';

    Basic Example

    Define roles and grants one by one.

    const ac = new AccessControl();
    ac.grant('user') // define new or modify existing role. also takes an array.
      .createOwn('video') // equivalent to .createOwn('video', ['*'])
      .grant('admin') // switch to another role without breaking the chain
      .extend('user') // inherit role capabilities. also takes an array
      .updateAny('video', ['title']) // explicitly defined attributes
    const permission = ac.can('user').createOwn('video');
    console.log(permission.granted); // —> true
    console.log(permission.attributes); // —> ['*'] (all attributes)
    permission = ac.can('admin').updateAny('video');
    console.log(permission.granted); // —> true
    console.log(permission.attributes); // —> ['title']


    You can create/define roles simply by calling .grant(<role>) or .deny(<role>) methods on an AccessControl instance.

    • Roles can extend other roles.
    // user role inherits viewer role permissions
    // admin role inherits both user and editor role permissions
    ac.grant('admin').extend(['user', 'editor']);
    // both admin and superadmin roles inherit moderator permissions
    ac.grant(['admin', 'superadmin']).extend('moderator');
    • Inheritance is done by reference, so you can grant resource permissions before or after extending a role.
    // case #1
      .extend('user') // assuming user role already exists
    // case #2
    // below results the same for both cases
    const permission = ac.can('admin').createOwn('video');
    console.log(permission.granted); // true

    Notes on inheritance:

    • A role cannot extend itself.
    • Cross-inheritance is not allowed.
      e.g. ac.grant('user').extend('admin').grant('admin').extend('user') will throw.
    • A role cannot (pre)extend a non-existing role. In other words, you should first create the base role. e.g. ac.grant('baseRole').grant('role').extend('baseRole')

    Actions and Action-Attributes

    [CRUD][crud] operations are the actions you can perform on a resource. There are two action-attributes which define the possession of the resource: own and any.

    For example, an admin role can create, read, update or delete (CRUD) any account resource. But a user role might only read or update its own account resource.

    Action Possession
    Own The C|R|U|D action is (or not) to be performed on own resource(s) of the current subject.
    Any The C|R|U|D action is (or not) to be performed on any resource(s); including own.

    Note that own requires you to also check for the actual possession.

    Checking Permissions

    You can call .can(<role>).<action>(<resource>) on an AccessControl instance to check for granted permissions for a specific resource and action.

    const permission = ac.can('user').readOwn('account');
    permission.granted; // true

    Defining All Grants at Once

    You can pass the grants directly to the AccessControl constructor. It accepts either an Object:

    // This is actually how the grants are maintained internally.
    let grantsObject = {
      admin: {
        video: {
          'create:any': ['*'],
          'read:any': ['*'],
          'update:any': ['*'],
          'delete:any': ['*'],
      user: {
        video: {
          'create:own': ['*'],
          'read:own': ['*'],
          'update:own': ['*'],
          'delete:own': ['*'],
    const ac = new AccessControl(grantsObject);

    ... or an Array (useful when fetched from a database):

    // grant list fetched from DB (to be converted to a valid grants object, internally)
    let grantList = [
      { role: 'admin', resource: 'video', action: 'create:any', attributes: '*' },
      { role: 'admin', resource: 'video', action: 'read:any', attributes: '*' },
      { role: 'admin', resource: 'video', action: 'update:any', attributes: '*' },
      { role: 'admin', resource: 'video', action: 'delete:any', attributes: '*' },
      { role: 'user', resource: 'video', action: 'create:own', attributes: '*' },
      { role: 'user', resource: 'video', action: 'read:any', attributes: '*' },
      { role: 'user', resource: 'video', action: 'update:own', attributes: '*' },
      { role: 'user', resource: 'video', action: 'delete:own', attributes: '*' },
    const ac = new AccessControl(grantList);

    You can set grants any time...

    const ac = new AccessControl();

    Contribution Guidelines

    Never commit directly to master, create a new branch and submit a pull request.


    npm i @minddoc/accesscontrol

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    • darioblanco
    • nicolaspearson
    • akash.manjunath