1.1.5 • Public • Published


Bifröst, Access control for node.js, as simple as that. Suited for building SaaS apps due to the concept of scope.


Note: Works with MongoDB only (more databases coming, you're welcome to contribute)




Import the library to your project and create an instance

const Bifrost = require('node-bifrost');
const bifrost = new Bifrost('mongodb://localhost:27017/mydb', {
    cb() {
        // rest of the database dependent code goes here
    err_cb(err) {
        // In case error occurs

Define ACL

bifrost.allow('librarian', 'books', 'create');
bifrost.allow('librarian', 'books', 'read');
bifrost.allow('librarian', 'books', 'update');
bifrost.allow('librarian', 'books', 'delete');
// ------------- OR -------------------------
bifrost.allow('librarian', 'books', ['create', 'read', 'update', 'delete']);
bifrost.allow('member', 'books', 'read');
bifrost.allow('member', 'reviews', ['create', 'read', 'update']);

Here we allowed the librarian role to create, read, update and delete the books resource.

We allowed the member role to just read the books and create, read and update the reviews resource.

The roles and resources are created implicitly, i.e. they are automatically created if they don't exist.

Assign roles to users

Assume that we have three users, john, rajesh and alfred.

  1. john is a librarian
  2. rajesh is a member
  3. alfred is both a librarian and a member

We can implement this as follows:

await bifrost.assign('john', 'librarian');
await bifrost.assign('rajesh', 'member');
await bifrost.assign('alfred', 'librarian');
await bifrost.assign('alfred', 'member');
// We're using `await` keyword because `bifrost.assign` returns a Promise.
// Don't forget to wrap this code inside an async function

Finally, check for permission

await bifrost.allowed('john', 'books', 'create'); // true
await bifrost.allowed('john', 'reviews', 'update'); // false
await bifrost.allowed('rajesh', 'books', 'delete'); // false
await bifrost.allowed('rajesh', 'reviews', 'read'); // true
await bifrost.allowed('alfred', 'books', 'update'); // true
await bifrost.allowed('alfred', 'reviews', 'create'); // true
await bifrost.allowed('alfred', 'issues', 'create'); // false
// We're using `await` keyword because `bifrost.allowed` returns a Promise.
// Don't forget to wrap this code inside an async function

Note: Every action on every resource is denied to every user unless explicitly allowed.

Wildcard support

You can use * to give wildcard permission. for example,

bifrost.allow('accountant', 'fees', '*'); // Gives accountant the permission to all actions for fees resource.
bifrost.allow('vice-principal', '*', 'update'); // Gives vice-principal the delete permission for all resources
bifrost.allow('principal', '*', '*'); // Gives principal all permissions for all resources.

Concept of scope

In some applications, especially SaaS, there is a need to implement a multi-tenancy architecture. In those apps, a user should not be able access resources belonging to other tenants.

For example, assume we have a library management system as a SaaS offering. There will be multiple libraries, and every library will have its own set of users, even though the roles are same across schools (i.e. Librarian, Accountant, Member etc.). We wouldn't want, for example, the librarian of Library A to have librarian privileges at Library B.

Here comes in Scope. When assigning role using bifrost.assign, you can pass a third argument called scope. e.g.

bifrost.assign('john', 'librarian', 'library-a');

Now, john is declared as a librarian of only the library-a scope. When checking for permission using bifrost.allowed, you can pass a fourth argument called scope. e.g.

await bifrost.allowed('john', 'books', 'create', 'library-a'); // true
await bifrost.allowed('john', 'books', 'create', 'library-b'); // false
// We're using `await` keyword because `bifrost.allowed` returns a Promise.
// Don't forget to wrap this code inside an async function

Scope hierarchy

Sometimes there is a need to implement hierarchy for scopes. For example, lets say there are several kingdoms under an empire. Then the emperor of the empire should have access over the kindgoms but not the other way around i.e. the kings of the kingdoms shouldn't have power over the empire.

bifrost.allow('emperor', '*', '*'); // Emperor can do everything
bifrost.allow('king', 'subjects', '*'); // Kings can do everything to his subjects
await bifrost.assign('aurangzeb', 'emperor', 'mughal-empire'); // aurangzeb has been assigned as the emperor of the Mughal Empire
await bifrost.assign('shivaji', 'king', 'maratha-kingdom'); // shivaji has been assigned as the king of the Maratha Kingdom
await bifrost.assign('godapani', 'king', 'ahom-kingdom'); // godapani has been assigned as the king of the Ahom Kingdom
// Assign the mughal kingdom as the parent scope of the maratha kingdom
await bifrost.addParentScope('maratha-kingdom', 'mughal-empire');
// Aurangzeb is allowed to perfrom the action on maratha kingdom because its a child scope of mughal empire
await bifrost.allowed('aurangzeb', 'finance', 'update', 'maratha-kingdom'); // true
// Aurangzeb isn't allowed to perfrom the action on ahom kingdom because its not a child scope of mughal empire
await bifrost.allowed('aurangzeb', 'finance', 'update', 'ahom-kingdom'); // false

Note: The hierarchy is a transitive relation. i.e. If A is a parent of B, and B is a parent of C, then A is also parent of C.

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