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Only Allow Owners to Edit

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New security quest: I want to allow only the owner of a treasure to edit it. Right now, you're allowed to edit a treasure as long as you have this role. But that means you can edit anyone's treasure. Someone keep changing my Velvis painting's coolFactor to 0. That's super uncool.

TDD: Testing the only Owners can Edit

Let's write a test for this. At the bottom say public function testPatchToUpdateTreasure. And we'll start like normal: $user = UserFactory::createOne() then $this->browser->actingAs($user).

Since we're editing a treasure, let's ->patch() to /api/treasures/... and then we need a treasure to edit! Create one on top: $treasure = DragonTreasureFactory::createOne(). And for this test, we want to make sure that the owner is definitely this $user. Finish the URL with $treasure->getId().

For the data, send some json to update just the value field to 12345, then assertStatus(200) and assertJsonMatches('value', 12345).

Excellent! This should be allowed because we're the owner. Copy the method name, then find your terminal and run it:

symfony php bin/phpunit --filter=testPatchToUpdateTreasure

No surprise, it passes.

Now let's try the other case: let's log in as someone else and try to update this treasure.

Copy the entire $browser section. We could create another test method, but this will work fine all in one. Before this, add $user2 = UserFactory::createOne() - then log in as that user. This time, change the value to 6789 and, since this should not be allowed, assert that the status code is 403.

When we try the test now:

symfony php bin/phpunit --filter=testPatchToUpdateTreasure

It fails! This is being allowed: the API returned a 200!

More Complex security Expressions

So how can we make it so that only the owner of a treasure can edit it? Well, over in DragonTreasure, the answer is all about the security option.

One thing that gets tricky with Put and Patch is that both are used to edit users. So if you're going to have both, you need keep their security options in sync. I'm actually going to remove Put so we can focus on Patch.

The string inside of security is an expression... and we can get kinda fancy. We can grant access if you have ROLE_TREASURE_EDIT and if object.owner == user.

Inside the security expression, Symfony gives us a few variable. One is user, which is the current User object. Another is object, which will be the current object for this operation. So the DragonTreasure object. So we're saying that access should be allowed if the DragonTreasures owner is equal to the currently authenticated user. That's... exactly what we want!

So, try the test again!

symfony php bin/phpunit --filter=testPatchToUpdateTreasure

And... uh oh! We downgraded to a 500 error! This is where that saved log file comes in handy. I'll click to open that up. If this is hard to read, view the page source. Much better. It says:

Cannot access private property DragonTreasure::$owner.

And it's coming from Symfony's ExpressionLanguage. Ah, I know what's wrong. The expression language is like Twig... but not exactly the same. We can't do fancy things like .owner when owner is a private property. We need to call the public method.

Drumroll please:

symfony php bin/phpunit --filter=testPatchToUpdateTreasure

It passes with flying colors!

Preventing Changing Owners: securityPostDenormalize

But you know me, I've gotta make it trickier. Copy part of the test. This time, log in as the owner and edit our own treasure. So far, this is all good. But now try to change the owner to someone else: $user2->getId().

Now maybe this is something you want to allow. Maybe you say:

If you can edit a DragonTreasure, then you're free to assign it a different owner.

But let's pretend that we want to prevent this. So assertStatus(403). Do you think the test will pass? Try it:

symfony php bin/phpunit --filter=testPatchToUpdateTreasure

It fails! It did allow us to change the owner! Spin back over to DragonTreasure. The security expression is run before the new data is deserialized onto the object. In other words, object will be the DragonTreasure from the database, before any of the new JSON is applied to it. This means that it's checking that the current owner is equal to the currently logged-in user, which is the main case that we want to protect.

But sometimes you want to run security after the new data has been put onto the object. In that case, use an option called securityPostDenormalize. Remember denormalize is the process of taking the data and putting it onto the object. So security will still run first... and make sure we're the original owner. Now we can also say object.getOwner() == user.

That looks identical... but this time object will be the DragonTreasure with the new data. So we're checking that the new owner is also equal to the currently logged-in user.

By the way, in securityPostDenormalize, you also have a previous_object variable, which is equal to the object before denormalization. So, it's identical to object up in the security option. But, we don't need that.

Try the test now:

symfony php bin/phpunit --filter=testPatchToUpdateTreasure

We got it!

Security vs Validation

This last example highlights two different types of security checks. The first check determines whether or not the user can perform this operation at all. Like: is the current user allowed to make a PATCH request to this treasure? That depends on the current user and the current DragonTreasure in the database.

But the second check is saying:

Okay, now that I know I'm allowed to make a PATCH request, am I allowed to change the data in this exact way?

This depends on the currently logged-in user and the data that's being sent.

I'm bringing up this difference because, for me, the first case - where you're trying to figure out whether an operation is allowed at all - regardless of what data is being sent - that is a job for security. And this is exactly how I would implement it.

However, the second case - where you're trying to figure out whether the user is allowed to send this exact data - like are they allowed to change the owner or not - for me, I think that's better handled by the validation layer.

I'm going to keep this in the security layer right now. But later when we talk about custom validation, we'll move this into that.

Up next: can we flex the security option enough to also let admin users edit anyone's treasure? Stay tuned!

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What PHP libraries does this tutorial use?

// composer.json
    "require": {
        "php": ">=8.1",
        "ext-ctype": "*",
        "ext-iconv": "*",
        "api-platform/core": "^3.0", // v3.1.2
        "doctrine/annotations": "^2.0", // 2.0.1
        "doctrine/doctrine-bundle": "^2.8", // 2.8.3
        "doctrine/doctrine-migrations-bundle": "^3.2", // 3.2.2
        "doctrine/orm": "^2.14", // 2.14.1
        "nelmio/cors-bundle": "^2.2", // 2.2.0
        "nesbot/carbon": "^2.64", // 2.66.0
        "phpdocumentor/reflection-docblock": "^5.3", // 5.3.0
        "phpstan/phpdoc-parser": "^1.15", // 1.16.1
        "symfony/asset": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/console": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/dotenv": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/expression-language": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/flex": "^2", // v2.2.4
        "symfony/framework-bundle": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/property-access": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/property-info": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/runtime": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/security-bundle": "6.2.*", // v6.2.6
        "symfony/serializer": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/twig-bundle": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/ux-react": "^2.6", // v2.7.1
        "symfony/ux-vue": "^2.7", // v2.7.1
        "symfony/validator": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/webpack-encore-bundle": "^1.16", // v1.16.1
        "symfony/yaml": "6.2.*" // v6.2.5
    "require-dev": {
        "doctrine/doctrine-fixtures-bundle": "^3.4", // 3.4.2
        "mtdowling/jmespath.php": "^2.6", // 2.6.1
        "phpunit/phpunit": "^9.5", // 9.6.3
        "symfony/browser-kit": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/css-selector": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/debug-bundle": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/maker-bundle": "^1.48", // v1.48.0
        "symfony/monolog-bundle": "^3.0", // v3.8.0
        "symfony/phpunit-bridge": "^6.2", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/stopwatch": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "symfony/web-profiler-bundle": "6.2.*", // v6.2.5
        "zenstruck/browser": "^1.2", // v1.2.0
        "zenstruck/foundry": "^1.26" // v1.28.0