An unobtrusive ruby authentication library based on ActiveRecord.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

1.a. Overview

Authlogic introduces a new type of model. You can have as many as you want, and name them whatever you want, just like your other models. In this example, we want to authenticate with our User model, which is inferred from the name:

“by class UserSession < Authlogic::Session::Base # specify configuration here, such as: # logout_on_timeout true # …many more options in the documentation end

In a UserSessionsController, login the user by using it just like your other models:

“by UserSession.create(:login => “bjohnson”, :password => “my password”, :remember_me => true)

session = => “bjohnson”, :password => “my password”, :remember_me => true)

requires the authlogic-oid “add on” gem

UserSession.create(:openid_identifier => “identifier”, :remember_me => true)

skip authentication and log the user in directly, the true means “remember me”

UserSession.create(my_user_object, true)

The above handles the entire authentication process for you by:

  1. authenticating (i.e. validating the record)
  2. sets up the proper session values and cookies to persist the session (i.e. saving the record).

You can also log out (i.e. destroying the session):

“uby session.destroy

After a session has been created, you can persist it (i.e. finding the record) across requests. Thus keeping the user logged in:

“uby session = UserSession.find

To get all of the nice authentication functionality in your model just do this:

“by class User < ApplicationRecord acts_as_authentic do |c| c.my_config_option = my_value end # the configuration block is optional end

It is also “smart” in the sense that if a login or username field is present it will use that to authenticate, if not it will look for an email field. This is all configurable, but for 99% of cases the above is all you will need to do.

You may specify how passwords are cryptographically hashed (or encrypted) by setting the Authlogic::CryptoProvider option:

“uby c.crypto_provider = Authlogic::CryptoProviders::BCrypt

Also, sessions are automatically maintained. You can switch this on and off with configuration, but the following will automatically log a user in after a successful registration:

“uby User.create(params[:user])

You can switch this on and off with the following configuration:

“by class User < ApplicationRecord acts_as_authentic do |c| c.log_in_after_create = false end # the configuration block is optional end

Authlogic also updates the session when the user changes his/her password. You can also switch this on and off with the following configuration:

“by class User < ApplicationRecord acts_as_authentic do |c| c.log_in_after_password_change = false end # the configuration block is optional end

Authlogic is very flexible, it has a strong public API and a plethora of hooks to allow you to modify behavior and extend it. Check out the helpful links below to dig deeper.

1.b. Reference Documentation

This README is just an introduction, but we also have reference documentation.

To use the reference documentation, you must understand how Authlogic’s code is organized. There are 2 models, your Authlogic model and your ActiveRecord model:

  1. Authlogic::Session, your session models that extend Authlogic::Session::Base.
  2. Authlogic::ActsAsAuthentic, which adds in functionality to your ActiveRecord model when you call acts_as_authentic.

1.c. Installation

To install Authlogic, add this to your Gemfile:

gem 'authlogic'

And run bundle install.

2. Rails

Let’s walk through a typical rails setup. (Compatibility)

2.a.1 The users table

If you want to enable all the features of Authlogic, a migration to create a User model might look like this:

“uby class CreateUser < ActiveRecord::Migration def change create_table :users do |t| # Authlogic::ActsAsAuthentic::Email t.string :email t.index :email, unique: true

  # Authlogic::ActsAsAuthentic::Login
  t.string    :login

  # Authlogic::ActsAsAuthentic::Password
  t.string    :crypted_password
  t.string    :password_salt

  # Authlogic::ActsAsAuthentic::PersistenceToken
  t.string    :persistence_token
  t.index     :persistence_token, unique: true

  # Authlogic::ActsAsAuthentic::SingleAccessToken
  t.string    :single_access_token
  t.index     :single_access_token, unique: true

  # Authlogic::ActsAsAuthentic::PerishableToken
  t.string    :perishable_token
  t.index     :perishable_token, unique: true

  # See "Magic Columns" in Authlogic::Session::Base
  t.integer   :login_count, default: 0, null: false
  t.integer   :failed_login_count, default: 0, null: false
  t.datetime  :last_request_at
  t.datetime  :current_login_at
  t.datetime  :last_login_at
  t.string    :current_login_ip
  t.string    :last_login_ip

  # See "Magic States" in Authlogic::Session::Base
  t.boolean   :active, default: false
  t.boolean   :approved, default: false
  t.boolean   :confirmed, default: false


end end

In the User model,

“by class User < ApplicationRecord acts_as_authentic

# Validate email, login, and password as you see fit. # # Authlogic < 5 added these validation for you, making them a little awkward # to change. In 4.4.0, those automatic validations were deprecated. See # validates :email, format: { with: /@/, message: “should look like an email address.” }, length: { maximum: 100 }, uniqueness: { case_sensitive: false, if: :will_save_change_to_email? }

validates :login, format: { with: /\A[a-z0-9]+\z/, message: “should use only letters and numbers.” }, length: { within: 3..100 }, uniqueness: { case_sensitive: false, if: :will_save_change_to_login? }

validates :password, confirmation: { if: :require_password? }, length: { minimum: 8, if: :require_password? } validates :password_confirmation, length: { minimum: 8, if: :require_password? } end

2.a.2. UserSession model

And define a corresponding model in app/models/user_session.rb:

“by class UserSession < Authlogic::Session::Base end

2.b. Controller

Your sessions controller will look just like your other controllers.

“by class UserSessionsController < ApplicationController def new @user_session = end

def create @user_session = if redirect_to root_url else render :action => :new end end

def destroy current_user_session.destroy redirect_to new_user_session_url end


def user_session_params params.require(:user_session).permit(:login, :password, :remember_me) end end

As you can see, this fits nicely into the conventional controller methods.

2.b.1. Helper Methods

“by class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base helper_method :current_user_session, :current_user

private def current_user_session return @current_user_session if defined?(@current_user_session) @current_user_session = UserSession.find end

def current_user
  return @current_user if defined?(@current_user)
  @current_user = current_user_session && current_user_session.user


2.b.2. Routes

“by Rails.application.routes.draw do # … resources :users resource :user_session end

2.b.3. ActionController::API

Because ActionController::API does not include ActionController::Cookies metal and ActionDispatch::Cookies rack module, Therefore, our controller can not use the cookies method. - #684.

2.c. View

For example, in app/views/user_sessions/new.html.erb:

“b <%= form_for @user_session, url: user_session_url do |f| %>

2.d. CSRF Protection

Because Authlogic introduces its own methods for storing user sessions, the CSRF (Cross Site Request Forgery) protection that is built into Rails will not work out of the box.

No generally applicable mitigation by the authlogic library is possible, because the instance variable you use to store a reference to the user session in def current_user_session will not be known to authlogic.

You will need to override ActionController::Base#handle_unverified_request to do something appropriate to how your app handles user sessions, e.g.:

“by class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base … protected

def handle_unverified_request # raise an exception fail ActionController::InvalidAuthenticityToken # or destroy session, redirect if current_user_session current_user_session.destroy end redirect_to root_url end end

The SameSite attribute tells browsers when and how to fire cookies in first- or third-party situations. SameSite is used by a variety of browsers to identify whether or not to allow a cookie to be accessed.

Up until recently, the standard default value when SameSite was not explicitly defined was to allow cookies in both first- and third-party contexts. However, starting with Chrome 80+, the SameSite attribute will not default to Lax behavior meaning cookies will only be permitted in first-party contexts.

Authlogic can allow you to explicitly set the value of SameSite to one of: Lax, Strict, or None. Note that when setting SameSite to None, the secure flag must also be set (secure is the default in Authlogic).


3. Testing

See Authlogic::TestCase

  • API Reference:
  • Repository:
  • Railscasts Screencast:
  • Example repository with tutorial in README:
  • Tutorial: Rails Authentication with Authlogic
  • Issues:
  • Chrome is not logging out on browser close!topic/chrome/9l-gKYIUg50/discussion

5. Add-ons

  • Authlogic OpenID addon:
  • Authlogic LDAP addon:
  • Authlogic Facebook Connect:
  • Authlogic Facebook Connect (New JS API):
  • Authlogic Facebook Shim
  • Authlogic OAuth (Twitter):
  • Authlogic Oauth and OpenID:
  • Authlogic PAM:
  • Authlogic x509:

If you create one of your own, please let us know about it so we can add it to this list. Or just fork the project, add your link, and send us a pull request.

6. Internals

Interested in how all of this all works? Think about an ActiveRecord model. A database connection must be established before you can use it. In the case of Authlogic, a controller connection must be established before you can use it. It uses that controller connection to modify cookies, the current session, login with HTTP basic, etc. It connects to the controller through a before filter that is automatically set in your controller which lets Authlogic know about the current controller object. Then Authlogic leverages that to do everything, it’s a pretty simple design. Nothing crazy going on, Authlogic is just leveraging the tools your framework provides in the controller object.

7. Extending

7.a. Extending UserSession

Your UserSession is designed to be extended with callbacks.

Example: Custom logging.


class UserSession < Authlogic::Session::Base after_persisting :my_custom_logging


def my_custom_logging format( ‘After authentication attempt, user id is %d’, record.send(record.class.primary_key) ) ) end end

To learn more about available callbacks, see the “Callbacks” documentation in authlogic/session/base.rb.

90. Compatibility

6.46-4-stable>= 2.4.0>= 5.2, < 6.2
5.25-2-stable>= 2.3.0>= 5.2, < 6.1
4.54-5-stable>= 2.3.0>= 4.2, < 5.3
4.34-3-stable>= 2.3.0>= 4.2, < 5.3
4.24-2-stable>= 2.2.0>= 4.2, < 5.3
33-stable>= 1.9.3>= 3.2, < 5.3
2rails2>= 1.9.3~> 2.3.0

Under SemVer, changes to dependencies do not require a major release.

Intellectual Property

Copyright (c) 2012 Ben Johnson of Binary Logic, released under the MIT license