Authentication is the process of identity verification and authorization is the process of determining access rights to resources in an application.

The authentication and authorization support in Axelor Open Platform is based on Apache Shiro, while the different kinds of authentications mechanisms are implemented with the PAC4J security engine.

In the next few sections, we will see how authentication and authorization are supported in Axelor Open Platform.


Authentication is the process of identity verification, i.e. allowing users to log in into to the system to use it.

Axelor Open Platform is a web application framework used to create web applications. So by default, it provides form-based user authentication.

User information is backed by the application database and it’s also possible to integrate LDAP backend.


The User object has various properties, most important of them are:

  • code - the user login name

  • name - the display name

  • password - the password (stored encrypted in database)

  • blocked - whether the uses is blocked

  • activateOn - the time from when access should be activated

  • expiresOn - the time from when access should be expired

  • groups - the groups assigned to the user

  • roles - the roles assigned to the user

  • permissions - explicit permissions granted to the user

The groups, roles, and permissions are associated with authorization which we will see in next section.


Authorization, also called access control, is the process of determining access rights to resources in an application.

Authorization is a critical element of any application but it can quickly become very complex. Based on the simplicity of Apache Shiro, the Axelor Open Platform provides very simple yet powerful way to define authorization rules.

Special user admin and members of group admins have full access to all the resources.


  • Role based permissions

  • Permission defines single access rule (finer granularity)

  • Groups are for organizational structure but also supports roles & permissions

  • Deny all, grant selectively (proven most secure as all permissions are denied by default)

  • Package level permission rules

Authorization has four core elements permissions, roles, groups and users. They are represented by corresponding backing domain objects Permission, Role, Group and User respectively.


  • User has one Group

  • User has many Role

  • User has many Permission

  • Group has many Role

  • Group has many Permission

  • Role has many Permission

The relationship between the authorization objects allows achieve finer level of granularity on access control.


The permission object defines the access rule. It has the following properties:

  • name - permission name

  • object - the object name (class name or wild card package name)

  • canRead - whether to grant read permission

  • canWrite - whether to grant update permission

  • canCreate - whether to grant create permission

  • canRemove - whether to grant delete permission

  • canExport - whether to grant export data permission

  • condition - permission condition (JPQL where clause with positional parameters)

  • conditionParams - comma separated list of condition params (evaluates against current context)

The condition is optional and the boolean flags are grant only, that is, false value doesn’t mean deny.

Some permission examples (pseudo code):

canRead: true
canCreate: true
canRead: true
canWrite: true
canRemove: true
canExport: true
condition: self.createdBy = ?
conditionParams: __user__

The first rule grants readonly permission to all the objects under package. The second rule grants create permission to all the objects under package. The third rule grants read, write, delete, export permission on to the creator user.

The permission resolution is done in this order:

  • check for permissions assigned to the user object

  • check for permissions assigned to the roles of the user

  • check for the permissions assigned to the group of the user

  • check for the permissions assigned to the group’s roles

View Access

Similar to the object authorization, view access permissions can be used to control object view fields for users, groups and roles.

The Permission (fields) defined on User, Group and Role objects can be used to define permission rules for view item.

The permission rules are applied to all the views associated with the given object. The view items should have a name in order to define a rule for them.

The rule also allows setting client side conditions (js expressions) to control readonly/visibility of the fields/items.

Some examples (pseudo code):

Define a rule to hide total amount
name: perm.sales.hide-total
  field: totalAmount
  canRead: false
  canWrite: false
  canExport: false
Define a rule to control customer field
name: perm.sales.customer-change
  field: customer
  canRead: true
  canWrite: true
  canExport: true
  readonlyIf: confirmed && __group__ == 'manager'
  hideIf: __group__ == 'user'

The first rule hides the totalAmount field from the views. The second rule defines how the customer field should behave depending on user group.

Unlike the object permission rules, view permission rules follows Grant all → Deny Selectively strategy.

Single Sign-On

Single sign-on in Axelor Open Platform relies on the various clients from the PAC4J security engine. There are two kinds of clients: direct and indirect clients.

For indirect clients, the user is redirected to an external identity provider for login and then back to the application. If no callback URL is configured, it defaults to "base URL" + "/callback".

# Single sign-on common configuration
# callback URL for all indirect clients (defaults to application.baseUrl + "/callback")
auth.callback.url = http://localhost:8080/open-platform-demo/callback

You can define how users provided by central authentication should be dealt with. You can choose between "create" (create and update users), "link" (only update users), and "none" (do nothing). You can also specify the default group for new users.

# user provisioning: create / link / none
auth.user.provisioning = create
# default group for created users = users

You can define what logout URL to use when no url request parameter is provided to the logout endpoint. You can also define the logout URL pattern that the url parameter must match (only relative URLs are allowed by default). By default, only local logout is performed, but you may choose whether central logout should be performed as well (needs to be supported by the configured central authentication).

# logout URL
auth.logout.url =
# logout URL pattern
auth.logout.url.pattern =
# remove profiles from session
auth.logout.local = true
# call identity provider logout endpoint
auth.logout.central = false

OpenID Connect

Various OpenID Connect clients are built-in. client ID and secret are the base configurations, but a few more configurations might be required, depending on the client.

Built-in clients

# OpenID Connect

# Google client
# Google client ID =
# Google client secret = qySuozNl72zzM5SKW-0kczwV

# Azure Active Directory client
# Azure Active Directory client ID = 53baf26b-526d-4f5c-e08a-dc207a808854
# Azure Active Directory client secret
auth.oidc.azuread.secret = NMubGVqkcDwwGs6fa01tBBqlkTisfUd4nCpYgcxxx=
# Azure Active Directory tenant ID
auth.oidc.azuread.tenant = 491caf37-da1b-774c-b91f-f428b77d5055

# Keycloak client
# Keycloak client ID =
# Keycloak client secret
auth.oidc.keycloak.secret =
# Keycloak authentication realm
auth.oidc.keycloak.realm =
# Keycloak server base URI
auth.oidc.keycloak.base.uri =

Each built-in client has a default icon and a default title (text displayed beside the icon on the login page), but you can customize them. = path/to/custom_icon.svg = My custom Google title

By default, users can log in with either the configured central authentications or form authentication. If you want to disable form authentication, you need to configure only one central client and add the exclusive configuration. = true

Custom clients

You can configure several custom OpenID Connect clients. Just replace generic in the parameter names with your own unique client name.

# Generic OpenID Connect client
# name of the generic client (needs to be unique) = OidcClient
# client title
auth.oidc.generic.title = OpenID Connect
# client icon URL (a generic one is used if not specified)
auth.oidc.generic.icon =
# exclusive client (no form authentication) if no other client is specified
auth.oidc.generic.exclusive = false

In addition to client ID and secret configurations, you need to specify the discovery URI, ie. the URI to the document that provides details about the OpenID Connect provider’s configuration.

# client ID =
# client secret
auth.oidc.generic.secret =
# discovery URI
auth.oidc.generic.discovery.uri =

You can reinforce security by using the nonce parameter, which is a random value generated by your application that enables replay protection when present.

# Additional configuration
# use the nonce parameter
auth.oidc.generic.use.nonce = false

You can define the flow you want to use by defining the response type and the response mode. For the response type, if the value is code, launches a Basic flow, requiring a POST to the token endpoint to obtain the tokens. If the value is token id_token or id_token token, launches an Implicit flow, requiring the use of JavaScript at the redirect URI to retrieve tokens from the URI #fragment. If response mode is set to form_post, Authorization Response parameters are encoded as HTML form values that are auto-submitted in the User Agent.

# define flow's response_type
auth.oidc.generic.response.type = code
# define flow's response_mode
auth.oidc.generic.response.mode =

You can customize the scope. In that case, the value must begin with the string openid and then include profile, email, and/or any other user details supported by your configured OpenID Connect client.

# define the scope
auth.oidc.generic.scope =

You can define a direct client by defining the header name and the prefix header.

# Direct client
# header name =
# prefix header
auth.oidc.generic.prefix.header =


Built-in clients

Various OAuth clients are built-in. For each of them, the key and secret configurations are required.

# OAuth

# Google client key =
# Google client secret = qySuozNl72zzM5SKW-0kczwV

# Facebook client key
auth.oauth.facebook.key =
# Facebook client secret
auth.oauth.facebook.secret =

# Twitter client key
auth.oauth.twitter.key =
# Twitter client secret
auth.oauth.twitter.secret =

# Yahoo! client key =
# Yahoo! client secret =

# LinkedIn client key
auth.oauth.linkedin.key =
# LinkedIn client secret
auth.oauth.linkedin.secret =

# Windows Live client key
auth.oauth.windowslive.key =
# Windows Live client secret
auth.oauth.windowslive.secret =

# WeChat client key
auth.oauth.wechat.key =
# WeChat client secret
auth.oauth.wechat.secret =

# GitHub client key
auth.oauth.github.key =
# GitHub client secret
auth.oauth.github.secret =

Icon, title, and exclusive mode can be configured the same way as for OpenID Connect clients.

Custom clients

You can configure several custom OAuth 2.0 clients. Just replace generic in the parameter names with your own unique client name.

# Generic OAuth 2.0 client
# name of the generic client (needs to be unique) = GenericOAuth20Client
# client title
auth.oauth.generic.title = OAuth 2.0
# client icon URL (a generic one is used if not specified)
auth.oauth.generic.icon =
# exclusive client (no form authentication) if no other client is specified
auth.oauth.generic.exclusive = false

# client key
auth.oauth.generic.key =
# client secret
auth.oauth.generic.secret =

When configuring a generic OAuth 2.0 client, you may configure an authentication URL (where clients authenticate), a token URL (where clients obtain identity and access tokens), and a profile attribute mapper.

# authentication URL
auth.oauth.generic.auth.url =
# token URL
auth.oauth.generic.token.url =
# profile attributes: list of comma-separated key:type|tag
# supported types: Integer, Boolean, Color, Gender, Locale, Long, URI, String (default)
auth.oauth.generic.profile.attrs = age:Integer|age,is_admin:Boolean|is_admin

SAML 2.0

You can configure login with any SAML identity provider using the SAML v2.0 protocol. Basic configuration consists of the path to the keystore, the keystore password, the private key password, the path to the identity provider metadata, and the path to the service provider metadata.

# SAML 2.0

# Basic configuration
# path to keystore
auth.saml.keystore.path = path/to/samlKeystore.jks
# value of the -storepass option for the keystore
auth.saml.keystore.password = open-platform-demo-passwd
# value of the -keypass option
auth.saml.private.key.password = open-platform-demo-passwd
# path to IdP metadata
auth.saml.identity.provider.metadata.path = path/to/idp-metadata.xml
# path to SP metadata
auth.saml.service.provider.metadata.path = path/to/sp-metadata.xml

By default, the SAML client will accept assertions based on a previous authentication for one hour, but you can change that behavior. The service provider entity ID defaults to "callback URL" + "?client_name=SAML2Client", but you can customize it.

# Additional configuration
# accept assertions based on a previous authentication for one hour by default
auth.saml.maximum.authentication.lifetime = 3600
# custom SP entity ID = http://localhost:8080/open-platform-demo/callback?client_name=SAML2Client

You can control aspects of the authentication request such as forced and/or passive authentication.

# Advanced configuration
# forced authentication
auth.saml.force.auth = false
# passive authentication
auth.saml.passive = false

You can define the binding type for the authentication request.

auth.saml.authn.request.binding.type = SAML2_POST_BINDING_URI

You can define the binding type for the authentication response.

# binding type for the authentication response: SAML2_POST_BINDING_URI / SAML2_ARTIFACT_BINDING_URI
auth.saml.response.binding.type = SAML2_POST_BINDING_URI

By SAML specification, the authentication request must not contain a NameQualifier, if the SP entity is in the format nameid-format:entity. However, some IdP require that information to be present. You can force a NameQualifier in the request.

# force a NameQualifier in the request = false

You can allow the authentication request sent to the identity provider to specify an attribute consuming index and an assertion consumer service index.

# attribute consuming index
auth.saml.attribute.consuming.service.index = -1
# assertion consumer service index
auth.saml.assertion.consumer.service.index = -1

You can configure the supported algorithms and digest methods for the initial authentication request.

# list of blacklisted signature signing algorithms
auth.saml.blacklisted.signature.signing.algorithms =
# list of signature algorithms
auth.saml.signature.algorithms =
# list of signature reference digest methods
auth.saml.signature.reference.digest.methods =
# signature canonicalization algorithm
auth.saml.signature.canonicalization.algorithm =

By default, assertions must be signed, but this may be disabled. You may also want to enable signing of the authentication requests.

# whether assertions must be signed
auth.saml.wants.assertions.signed = true
# enable signing of the authentication requests
auth.saml.authn.request.signed = false


To login with a CAS server, you need to configure the CAS login URL and/or the CAS prefix URL (when different URLs are required). You can define the CAS protocol you want to support (CAS30 by default).


# Application configuration
# login URL of CAS server
auth.cas.login.url = https://localhost:8443/cas
# CAS prefix URL
auth.cas.prefix.url =
# CAS protocol: CAS10 / CAS20 / CAS20_PROXY / CAS30 / CAS30_PROXY / SAML
auth.cas.protocol = CAS30

Various parameters are available.

# Various parameters
# encoding used for parsing the CAS responses
auth.cas.encoding = UTF-8
# whether the renew parameter will be used
auth.cas.renew = false
# whether the gateway parameter will be used
auth.cas.gateway = false
# time tolerance for the SAML ticket validation
auth.cas.time.tolerance = 1000
# class name for specific CallbackUrlResolver
auth.cas.url.resolver.class =
# class name for default TicketValidator
auth.cas.default.ticket.validator.class =

You can enable proxy support.

# use proxy support = false

You can specify your own implementation of the LogoutHandler interface.

# class name for specific LogoutHandler
auth.cas.logout.handler.class =

By default, an indirect CAS client is used, but you may opt for any of the different kinds of direct clients.

# client type: indirect / direct / direct-proxy / rest-form / rest-basic-auth
auth.cas.client.type = indirect

When using a direct-proxy client, you need to specify the service URL.

# direct-proxy client configuration
# service URL
auth.cas.service.url =

When using a rest-form client, you need to specify the username and password parameters.

# rest-form client configuration
# username parameter
auth.cas.username.parameter =
# password parameter
auth.cas.password.parameter =

When using a rest-basic-auth client, you need to specify the header name and the prefix header.

# rest-basic-auth client configuration
# header name =
# prefix header
auth.cas.prefix.header =


In order to enable LDAP authentication, you typically need at least this kind of configuration in your file:


# server URL
auth.ldap.server.url = ldap://localhost:389

# search base suffix for the users
auth.ldap.user.base = ou=users,dc=example,dc=com

# search base suffix for the groups = ou=groups,dc=example,dc=com

You may tweak user and group search if needed for your LDAP server.

# template to search users by user identifier
auth.ldap.user.filter = (uid={0})

# user identifier attribute: uid / cn = uid

# template to search groups by user identifier = (uniqueMember=uid={0},ou=users,dc=example,dc=com)

If you configure the system user, the LdapProfileService will be able to create, update, and remove profiles.

# system user
auth.ldap.system.user = uid=admin,ou=system
# system password
auth.ldap.system.password = secret

User creation/update on the application side is controlled by the auth.user.provisioning configuration. With the base implementation, the LDAP server is accessed as read-only. If you want to achieve full synchronization, you need to configure the system user and implement your own synchronization logic.

Simple example updating user e-mail address:

public class MyUserRepository extends UserRepository {
  @Inject private AxelorLdapProfileService axelorLdapProfileService;

  public User save(User user) {
    final LdapProfile profile = axelorLdapProfileService.findById(user.getCode());

    if (profile != null) {
      profile.addAttribute(AxelorLdapProfileDefinition.EMAIL, user.getEmail());
      axelorLdapProfileService.update(profile, null);


You may configure the SASL mechanism and the connection security.

# SASL authentication type: simple / CRAM-MD5 / DIGEST-MD5 / EXTERNAL / GSSAPI
auth.ldap.auth.type = simple

# use SSL
auth.ldap.use.ssl = false
# use StartTLS
auth.ldap.use.starttls = false

You may customize the truststore or keystore configuration.

# truststore =
# keystore =

# Truststore/keystore password =
# Truststore/keystore type =
# comma-separated list of truststore/keystore aliases =

You may use X509 certificates for both authentication and trust.

# trust certificates =
# authentication certificate
auth.ldap.credential.authentication.certificate =
# authentication key
auth.ldap.credential.authentication.key =

You may set the timeouts.

# time that connections will block in seconds
auth.ldap.connect.timeout =
# time to wait for responses in seconds
auth.ldap.response.timeout =

Basic Authentication

You can enable direct basic authentication, which is a method to provide username and password when making a request (disabled by default).

# Basic authentication
auth.local.basic.auth.enabled = false