That is Access Control Lists. I’ve been developing with CakePHP this spring and summer and it was all going very well until I actually needed to control access to the application. It’s not even that CakePHP falls short here. There are apparently tons of built-in tools for managing access. They’re just poorly documented and the community is relatively new so no one has built a complete plug in. If you’re looking for a solution like I was, I’m afraid I’m not going to give you the best answer here. I did find something that works, so read on. Especially if you’re learning ACL or Modified Preorder Tree Traversal Algorithm (MPTTA) for the first time.
Disclosure: I’m not formally trained as a programmer/developer. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve taught myself. So there are definitely some silos in my knowledge as I’ve learned things on the basis of necessity. I have, however, been developing in PHP for over six years. So it’s not all that bad.
So the learning curve for implementing ACL has been relatively steep for me. First, I had to get my head around the concept. The big picture is easy. What we’re after is a tree of access with ‘admin’ at the root and everything else branching off from that with diminishing access. That’s not hard to conceptualize. What is hard is putting that into practice.
I messed around with this for a long time before stumbling upon this tutorial about the Modified Preorder Tree Traversal Algorithm. Stop now. Read it. Come back.
Now you should understand the concepts that drive CakePHP’s ACL. Unfortunately here is also where we depart from using CakePHP’s tools. At least until a decent plug-in comes along that allows you to manage Access Request Objects (ARO) and Access Control Objects (ACO) via a good, web-based interface.
- Works in CakePHP 1.2
- User, ARO & ACO adminstration is a snap
- Access control works immediately without modifying anything you’ve built in your app.
- Installation requires you replace the entire CakePHP engine with Authake’s modified version. This will make upgrading CakePHP a lot harder.
- The developer has abandoned it in favor of developing in RoR. No hope for future versions unless the community continues development. Personally, I’d prefer a plug-in like Jeff that I could just drop right into app/plugins without replacing the entire installation. ( ‘s ACL Management PluginThe issue I have with Jeff’s are all listed on his “Known Bugs” list. Namely, “does not show inherited permissions, does not show full path in finder & does not have crud fields”. Unfortunately, those are three very major elements of managing ACL.)
If you are reading this in the not so distant future and someone had developed a plugin that has an admin area like Authake’s but drops into app/plugins like Jeff’s plugin, please, please let me know.
- Wow. ACL is Hard
- CakePHP Console ACL Help File
- CakePHP: Containable Behavior is Your Friend
- And We’re Back!
- WordPress’ Auto Update Is OK, But The Command Line Is Faster
Tags: access control lists, CakePHP, modified preorder tree traversal algorithm, web development
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