XAF - Role-based Access Control & User Authentication API for .NET Apps Powered by the XPO and EF Core ORM

XAF Team Blog
17 July 2019

UPDATED: .NET App Security API (Role-based Access Control) is available free-of-charge (versions 21.2.x and 22.1.x).

We recently began a series of posts designed to explain XAF’s security system and how it can be used in non-XAF .NET apps powered by DevExpress eXpress Persistent Objects (XPO) and Microsoft Entity Framework Core (EF Core) object-relational mapping libraries.

    Demo Apps / Tutorials for different UI Platforms

      Before we do, however, we wanted to summarize some of the reasons we think you should consider XAF’s security system in your next .NET application. If you are interested in these cross-platform APIs, please answer 3 short survey questions below. 

      Target Audience & Common Usage Scenarios 

      • XAF developers who create non-XAF .NET apps and want to reuse existing data models and Security System settings (users, roles and permissions) stored in an XAF application database. Based on experience, XAF customers often create custom Web and mobile UI clients with ASP.NET MVC, DevExtreme; backend servers with ASP.NET Web API/OData or Console, Windows Service, WCF apps for various administrative tasks (data modifications, report generation, scheduled workflows).
      • Non-XAF developers who create standard line-of-business (LOB) apps with login, logout forms and security related functionality for any .NET UI technologies like WinForms, WPF, ASP.NET (WebForms, MVC 5, MVC Core, Razor Pages) and .NET server technologies like ASP.NET Web API/OData, WCF, etc. Yet more use-cases with Blazor & Xamarin.Forms (Android, iOS, UWP) UI technologies may come when XAF v19.2 supports .NET Standard 2.0. 

      App Security Made Easy

      • Getting security right (safe, fast, up-to-date, flexible, and database agnostic) is complicated. Pre-built middleware libraries like ASP.NET Core Identity or Identity Server can be difficult to configure or offer unnecessary functionality. Our User Authentication & Group Authorization API for .NET allows you to integrate a proven, database agnostic security sub-system in the shortest possible time.

      • LOB app developers want to save time and do not want to implement complex security memberships and authentication/authorization algorithms from scratch (for instance, apps that can filter protected data against a user's access rights or check whether the current user is allowed to delete records). Our User Authentication & Group Authorization API for .NET allows you to incorporate advanced security-related capabilities with minimal effort.

      • While certain platforms like ASP.NET simplify authentication and basic authorization with a built-in design time APIs, it is difficult to build a flexible and customizable security system (allowing users to customize the system once the app is deployed). Our User Authentication & Group Authorization API for .NET allows you to incorporate a highly flexible/customizable security system in your next .NET app.

      Feature Overview

      The primary XAF security system features used in line-of-business applications across supported platforms include:

      1. Role-based access control with multi-database permission storage.

      1.1. Access control permissions linked to roles and users that can be stored in more than a dozen popular data stores powered by the XPO ORM (including popular RDBMS like SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySql, Firebird, XML and "in-memory" stores).

      • Type permissions grant Read, Write, Create, and Delete access to all objects that belong to a particular type.
      • Object Permissions work in conjunction with Type Permissions and grant access to object instances that fit a specified criterion.
      • Member Permissions grant access to specific members unconditionally or based on a criterion.

      1.2. Powerful and easy-to-use APIs to configure users, roles and permissions in code or visually in XAF apps.

      1.3. Support for extensions or replacement with fully custom user, role, and permission objects to meet the needs of your business domain or address various integration scenarios.

      2. Authentication.

      2.1. Built-in authentication types: Forms (user name/password), Active Directory (Windows user) and Mixed (several authentication providers).

      2.2. A modern and secure algorithm for password generation and validation.

      2.3. Support for extension or replacement with custom authentication strategies and logon parameters. For instance, our popular example shows how to use OAuth2 with Google, Facebook or Microsoft authentication providers.

      3. Authorization.

      3.1. Just two code lines to read secure records filtered against a logged user (role and permission based). When you set up SecuredObjectSpaceProvider, you can create an unlimited number of secure data contexts - your data query and modification APIs will remain unchanged. A bit more code is required to connect a non-XAF client to the Middle-Tier application server.

      3.2. Fine-grain access control for base and inherited objects, one to many and many to many object relationships, individual columns with or without criteria (example: can read the Full Name field, but cannot see and modify Salary) and specific object instances only.

      3.3. Straightforward APIs to check CRUD or custom access rights for UI element customizations. With this, you can hide or mask protected grid columns, editors in detail forms, and disable menu toolbar commands like New, Delete, Edit, etc.

      3.4. Security permission caching for the best possible performance. Two built-in Permission Policies determine the security system’s behavior when explicitly specified permissions for a specific type, object, or member do not exist.

      3.5. Proven in production environments. DevExpress Support, comprehensive documentation, examples and a diagnostic tool are at your service to troubleshoot complex security permission configurations.

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