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יובל קוג'מן (Yuval Kogman) > Catalyst-Plugin-Authentication-0.09 > Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication



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Module Version: 0.09   Source   Latest Release: Catalyst-Plugin-Authentication-0.10023


Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication - Infrastructure plugin for the Catalyst authentication framework.


    use Catalyst qw/

    # later on ...
    # ->login is provided by the Credential::Password module
    $c->login('myusername', 'mypassword');
    my $age = $c->user->age;


The authentication plugin provides generic user support. It is the basis for both authentication (checking the user is who they claim to be), and authorization (allowing the user to do what the system authorises them to do).

Using authentication is split into two parts. A Store is used to actually store the user information, and can store any amount of data related to the user. Multiple stores can be accessed from within one application. Credentials are used to verify users, using the store, given data from the frontend.

To implement authentication in a Catalyst application you need to add this module, plus at least one store and one credential module.

Authentication data can also be stored in a session, if the application is using the Catalyst::Plugin::Session module.


The Authentication/Authorization Process

Web applications typically need to identify a user - to tell the user apart from other users. This is usually done in order to display private information that is only that user's business, or to limit access to the application so that only certain entities can access certain parts.

This process is split up into several steps. First you ask the user to identify themselves. At this point you can't be sure that the user is really who they claim to be.

Then the user tells you who they are, and backs this claim with some piece of information that only the real user could give you. For example, a password is a secret that is known to both the user and you. When the user tells you this password you can assume they're in on the secret and can be trusted (ignore identity theft for now). Checking the password, or any other proof is called credential verification.

By this time you know exactly who the user is - the user's identity is authenticated. This is where this module's job stops, and other plugins step in. The next logical step is authorization, the process of deciding what a user is (or isn't) allowed to do. For example, say your users are split into two main groups - regular users and administrators. You should verify that the currently logged in user is indeed an administrator before performing the actions of an administrative part of your application. One way to do this is with role based access control.

The Components In This Framework

Credential Verifiers

When user input is transferred to the Catalyst application (typically via form inputs) this data then enters the authentication framework through these plugins.

These plugins check the data, and ensure that it really proves the user is who they claim to be.

Storage Backends

The credentials also identify a user, and this family of modules is supposed to take this identification data and return a standardized object oriented representation of users.

When a user is retrieved from a store it is not necessarily authenticated. Credential verifiers can either accept a user object, or fetch the object themselves from the default store.

The Core Plugin

This plugin on its own is the glue, providing store registration, session integration, and other goodness for the other plugins.

Other Plugins

More layers of plugins can be stacked on top of the authentication code. For example, Catalyst::Plugin::Session::PerUser provides an abstraction of browser sessions that is more persistent per users. Catalyst::Plugin::Authorization::Roles provides an accepted way to separate and group users into categories, and then check which categories the current user belongs to.


Let's say we were storing users in an Apache style htpasswd file. Users are stored in that file, with a hashed password and some extra comments. Users are verified by supplying a password which is matched with the file.

This means that our application will begin like this:

    package MyApp;

    use Catalyst qw/

    __PACKAGE__->config->{authentication}{htpasswd} = "passwdfile";

This loads the appropriate methods and also sets the htpasswd store as the default store.

So, now that we have the code loaded we need to get data from the user into the credential verifier.

Let's create an authentication controller:

    package MyApp::Controller::Auth;

    sub login : Local {
        my ( $self, $c ) = @_;

        if (    my $user = $c->req->param("user")
            and my $password = $c->req->param("password") )
            if ( $c->login( $user, $password ) ) {
                $c->res->body( "hello " . $c->user->name );
            } else {
                # login incorrect
        else {
            # invalid form input

This code should be very readable. If all the necessary fields are supplied, call the "login" in Authentication::Credential::Password method on the controller. If that succeeds the user is logged in.

It could be simplified though:

    sub login : Local {
        my ( $self, $c ) = @_;

        if ( $c->login ) {

Since the login method knows how to find logically named parameters on its own.

The credential verifier will ask the default store to get the user whose ID is the user parameter. In this case the default store is the htpasswd one. Once it fetches the user from the store the password is checked and if it's OK $c->user will contain the user object returned from the htpasswd store.

We can also pass a user object to the credential verifier manually, if we have several stores per app. This is discussed in Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Store.

Now imagine each admin user has a comment set in the htpasswd file saying "admin".

A restricted action might look like this:

    sub restricted : Local {
        my ( $self, $c ) = @_;

          unless $c->user_exists
          and $c->user->extra_info() eq "admin";

        # do something restricted here

This is somewhat similar to role based access control. Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Store::Htpasswd treats the extra info field as a comma separated list of roles if it's treated that way. Let's leverage this. Add the role authorization plugin:

    use Catalyst qw/

    sub restricted : Local {
        my ( $self, $c ) = @_;

        $c->detach("unauthorized") unless $c->check_roles("admin");

        # do something restricted here

This is somewhat simpler and will work if you change your store, too, since the role interface is consistent.

Let's say your app grew, and you now have 10000 users. It's no longer efficient to maintain an htpasswd file, so you move this data to a database.

    use Catalyst qw/

    __PACKAGE__->config->{authentication}{dbic} = ...; # see the DBIC store docs

The rest of your code should be unchanged. Now let's say you are integrating typekey authentication to your system. For simplicity's sake we'll assume that the user's are still keyed in the same way.

    use Catalyst qw/

And in your auth controller add a new action:

    sub typekey : Local {
        my ( $self, $c ) = @_;

        if ( $c->authenticate_typekey) { # uses $c->req and Authen::TypeKey
            # same stuff as the $c->login method
            # ...

You've now added a new credential verification mechanizm orthogonally to the other components. All you have to do is make sure that the credential verifiers pass on the same types of parameters to the store in order to retrieve user objects.



Returns the currently logged in user or undef if there is none.


Whether or not a user is logged in right now.

The reason this method exists is that $c->user may needlessly load the user from the auth store.

If you're just going to say

        if ( $c->user_exists ) {
                # foo
        } else {

it should be more efficient than $c->user when a user is marked in the session but $c->user hasn't been called yet.


Delete the currently logged in user from user and the session.

get_user $uid

Fetch a particular users details, defined by the given ID, via the default store.



Whether or not to store the user's logged in state in the session, if the application is also using the Catalyst::Plugin::Session plugin. This value is set to true per default.


If multiple stores are being used, set the module you want as default here.


If multiple stores are being used, you need to provide a name for each store here, as a hash, the keys are the names you wish to use, and the values are the the names of the plugins.

 # example
 __PACKAGE__->config( authentication => {
                        store => 'Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Store::HtPasswd',
                        stores => { 
                           'dbic' => 'Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Store::DBIC'



Return the store whose name is 'default'.

This is set to $c->config->{authentication}{store} if that value exists, or by using a Store plugin:

        use Catalyst qw/Authentication Authentication::Store::Minimal/;

Sets the default store to Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Store::Minimal::Backend.

get_auth_store $name

Return the store whose name is $name.

get_auth_store_name $store

Return the name of the store $store.


A hash keyed by name, with the stores registered in the app.


A ref-hash keyed by store, which contains the names of the stores.

register_auth_stores %stores_by_name

Register stores into the application.


set_authenticated $user

Marks a user as authenticated. Should be called from a Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Credential plugin after successful authentication.

This involves setting user and the internal data in session if Catalyst::Plugin::Session is loaded.

auth_restore_user $user

Used to restore a user from the session, by user only when it's actually needed.

save_user_in_session $user

Used to save the user in a session.


Revives a user from the session object if there is one.


Sets the default configuration parameters.


This list might not be up to date.

User Storage Backends

Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Store::Minimal, Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Store::Htpasswd, Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Store::DBIC (also works with Class::DBI).

Credential verification

Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Credential::Password, Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Credential::HTTP, Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Credential::TypeKey


Catalyst::Plugin::Authorization::ACL, Catalyst::Plugin::Authorization::Roles

Internals Documentation



Catalyst::Plugin::Session, Catalyst::Plugin::Session::PerUser


This module along with its sub plugins deprecate a great number of other modules. These include Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Simple, Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::CDBI.

At the time of writing these plugins have not yet been replaced or updated, but should be eventually: Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::OpenID, Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::LDAP, Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::CDBI::Basic, Catalyst::Plugin::Authentication::Basic::Remote.


Yuval Kogman,

Jess Robinson

David Kamholz


        Copyright (c) 2005 the aforementioned authors. All rights
        reserved. This program is free software; you can redistribute
        it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.
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