3.1.2 • Public • Published

Connect Roles

Connect roles is designed to work with connect or express. It is an authorisation provider, not an authentication provider. It is designed to support context sensitive roles/abilities, through the use of middleware style authorisation strategies.

If you're looking for an authentication system I suggest you check out passport.js, which works perfectly with this module.

Build Status Dependency Status NPM version Gratipay


$ npm install connect-roles


var authentication = require('your-authentication-module-here');
var ConnectRoles = require('connect-roles');
var express = require('express');
var app = express();
var user = new ConnectRoles({
  failureHandler: function (req, res, action) {
    // optional function to customise code that runs when
    // user fails authorisation
    var accept = req.headers.accept || '';
    if (~accept.indexOf('html')) {
      res.render('access-denied', {action: action});
    } else {
      res.send('Access Denied - You don\'t have permission to: ' + action);
//anonymous users can only access the home page
//returning false stops any more rules from being
user.use(function (req, action) {
  if (!req.isAuthenticated()) return action === 'access home page';
//moderator users can access private page, but
//they might not be the only ones so we don't return
//false if the user isn't a moderator
user.use('access private page', function (req) {
  if (req.user.role === 'moderator') {
    return true;
//admin users can access all pages
user.use(function (req) {
  if (req.user.role === 'admin') {
    return true;
app.get('/', user.can('access home page'), function (req, res) {
app.get('/private', user.can('access private page'), function (req, res) {
app.get('/admin', user.can('access admin page'), function (req, res) {


To access all methods, you must construct an instance via:

var ConnectRoles = require('connect-roles');
var roles = new ConnectRoles(options);


  • failureHandler {Function} - a function that takes (req, res) when the user has failed authorisation
  • async {Boolean} - experimental support for async rules
  • userProperty {String} - the property name for the user object on req. Defaults to "user"
  • matchRelativePaths {Boolean} - by default, rules use absolute paths from the root of the application.

roles.use(fn(req, action))

Define and authorisation strategy which takes the current request and the action being performed. fn may return true, false or undefined/null

If true is returned then no further strategies are considered, and the user is granted access.

If false is returned, no further strategies are considered, and the user is denied access.

If null/undefined is returned, the next strategy is considerd. If it is the last strategy then access is denied.

roles.use(action, fn(req))

The strategy fn is only used when the action is equal to action. It has the same behaviour with regards to return values as roles.use(fn(req, action)) (see above).

It is equivallent to calling:

roles.use(function (req, act) {
  if (act === action) {
    return fn(req);

N.B. The action must not start with a / character

roles.use(action, path, fn(req))

Path must be an express style route. It will then attach any parameters to req.params.


roles.use('edit user', '/user/:userID', function (req) {
  if (req.params.userID === return true;

Note that this authorisation strategy will only be used on routes that match path.

It is equivallent to calling:

var keys = [];
var exp = pathToRegexp(path, key);
roles.use(function (req, act) {
  var match;
  if (act === action && match = exp.exec(req.path)) {
    req = Object.create(req);
    req.params = Object.create(req.params || {});
    keys.forEach(function (key, i) {
      req.params[] = match[+ 1];
    return fn(req);

roles.can(action) and

can and is are synonyms everywhere they appear.

You can use these as express route middleware:

var user = roles;
app.get('/profile/:id', user.can('edit profile'), function (req, res) {
  req.render('profile-edit', { id: });
app.get('/admin','admin'), function (req, res) {

If you want to skip only the current routes, you can also use .here

app.get('/', user.can('see admin page').here, function (req, res, next) {
app.get('/', function (req, res, next) {

req.userCan(action) and req.userIs(action)

can and is are synonyms everywhere they appear.

These functions return true or false depending on whether the user has access.


app.get('/', function (req, res) {
  if ('admin')) {
  } else if (user.can('login')) {
  } else {

user.can(action) and

Inside the views of an express application you may use userCan and userIs which are equivallent to req.userCan and req.userIs


<% if (userCan('impersonate')) { %>
  <button id="impersonate">Impersonate</button>
<% } %>

or in jade:

if userCan('impersonate')
  button#impersonate Impersonate

N.B. not displaying a button doesn't mean someone can't do the thing that the button would do if clicked. The view is not where your security should go, but it is important for useability that you don't display buttons that will just result in 'access denied'.



If you find it useful, a payment via gittip would be appreciated.

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