Adding ACL rules to your component

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This tutorial will demonstrate how to add custom action permissions to your component down to object level. Normally we are familiar with ACL in global configuration level, category level and component level. Now we will learn how to add action permission control in our component.

ACL Architecture Overview

Action permissions for components in Joomla! 2.5 can be defined at up to 3 levels:

  1. Global Configuration: determines the default permissions for each action and group.
  2. Component Options->Permissions: can override the default permissions for our component
  3. Record Options->Permissions: this is what we discuss in this tutorial.

The other level that you will see is Category which can override the default permissions for objects assigned to category. We can use this if we use category in our component. I separate this one from others as it's parent is Global Configuration.

Modify own database table

The own database table needs to have a column with an asset-ID. If this kind of column is missing in your own database table structure, then add something like this:

ALTER TABLE `#__asterman_units` ADD `asset_id` INT(255) UNSIGNED NOT NULL DEFAULT '0' AFTER `id`;

Using JTable To Handle Action Control Saving and Loading

The JTable class has some built-in support for ACL, to use this you have to add one integer field in your table named 'asset_id'. This field will be used to perform action control for your object. Do not confuse this with the 'access' field, which is only for access permission (read side) as Joomla! separates other actions from read access.

Normally, we have to override the __construct() method in our descendant class. We may also override the check() method to validate our data before saving to the database. For ACL action support we have to override these methods:-

  • public function bind($array, $ignore = ) to let JTable save rule data to Joomla's assets table.
  • protected function _getAssetName() to give an asset name to our asset.
  • protected function _getAssetParentId($table = null, $id = null) to give a parent id to our asset. Normally Joomla! uses root (1) as a parent. Generally we will change parent of node to our component. Doing all of these makes JTable handle storing and loading action control settings for us.

JTable Example

class AstermanTableUnit extends JTable
	public function __construct($db)
		parent::__construct('#__asterman_units', 'id', $db);
	public function bind($array, $ignore = '')
		// Bind the rules. 
		if (isset($array['rules']) && is_array($array['rules'])) { 
			$rules = new JRules($array['rules']); 
		return parent::bind($array, $ignore);
	 * Redefined asset name, as we support action control
        protected function _getAssetName() {
		$k = $this->_tbl_key;
		return 'com_asterman.unit.'.(int) $this->$k;
         * We provide our global ACL as parent
     	 * @see JTable::_getAssetParentId()
	protected function _getAssetParentId($table = null, $id = null)
		$asset = JTable::getInstance('Asset');
		return $asset->id;

Add Rules Field to Your Form

Next, we have to add two fields to our form so we will have action control setting input in the view. The first one is 'asset_id' and it's type is hidden. This is same name as we provided in our table. The second one is 'rules' and it's type is rules. We have to provide this name as it will be processed by JTable's descendant class. Please see the JTable class for more detail.

	<fieldset name="accesscontrol">
		<field name="asset_id" type="hidden" filter="unset" /> 
			section="unit" />

For the rules field type, we have to provide the component attribute as our component name and section attribute according to the section defined in our access.xml. Please see the example below.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<access component="com_asterman">
	<section name="component">
        <!-- Actions to be used in our global component -->
		<action name="core.admin" title="JACTION_ADMIN" description="JACTION_ADMIN_COMPONENT_DESC" />
		<action name="core.manage" title="JACTION_MANAGE" description="JACTION_MANAGE_COMPONENT_DESC" />
		<action name="core.create" title="JACTION_CREATE" description="JACTION_CREATE_COMPONENT_DESC" />
		<action name="core.delete" title="JACTION_DELETE" description="JACTION_DELETE_COMPONENT_DESC" />
		<action name="core.edit" title="JACTION_EDIT" description="JACTION_EDIT_COMPONENT_DESC" />
		<action name="core.edit.state" title="JACTION_EDITSTATE" description="JACTION_EDITSTATE_COMPONENT_DESC" />
		<action name="core.edit.own" title="JACTION_EDITOWN" description="JACTION_EDITOWN_COMPONENT_DESC" />
	<section name="unit">
        <!-- Actions to be used in for unit -->
		<action name="core.create" title="JACTION_CREATE" description="COM_ASTERMAN_ACTION_CREATE_UNIT_DESC" />
		<action name="core.delete" title="JACTION_DELETE" description="COM_ASTERMAN_ACTION_DELETE_UNIT_DESC" />
		<action name="core.edit" title="JACTION_EDIT" description="COM_ASTERMAN_ACTION_EDIT_UNIT_DESC" />
		<action name="asterman.edit.basic" title="COM_ASTERMAN_ACTION_EDITBASIC" description="COM_ASTERMAN_ACTION_EDITBASIC_DESC" />
		<action name="core.edit.state" title="JACTION_EDITSTATE" description="COM_ASTERMAN_ACTION_EDITSTATE_UNIT_DESC" />
		<action name="core.edit.own" title="JACTION_EDITOWN" description="COM_ASTERMAN_ACTION_EDITOWN_UNIT_DESC" />

You will see that I have also created a new action for my component. The "asterman.edit.basic" action controls whether the user has rights to edit some part of the record or not.

Put Action Control In Action

Using action control in your code is easier than you think. We use JUser's method authorise() which requires two parameters; one is action and the second is asset name. Unlike our global component access control, here we refer to asset name per record, please see the JTable descendant class above.

      JFactory::getUser()->authorise($action, $assetName);

This is an example of a JModelAdmin descendant class that uses this function.

public function getForm($data = array(), $loadData = true)
    // Get the form.
    $form = $this->loadForm('com_asterman.extension', //form name
            'extension', //XML file name
                'control' => 'jform',
                'load_data' => $loadData
    if (empty($form)) {
        return false;
    if ($this->getState('suffix') == '14') {
        // theses fields do not exists in Asterisk version 1.4
        $form->setFieldAttribute('call-limit', 'disabled', 'true');
        $form->setFieldAttribute('call-limit', 'filter', 'unset');
    $user = JFactory::getUser();
    if (!empty($data['unit_id'])) {
        $assetName = $this->option . '.unit.' . $data['unit_id'];
        $canEdit = $user->authorise('core.edit', $assetName);
        $canEditBasic = $user->authorise('asterman.edit.basic', $assetName);
        $canEditState = $user->authorise('core.edit.state', $assetName);
    } else {
        $canEdit = $user->authorise('core.create', $this->option);
    if (!$canEdit) {
        $form->setFieldAttribute('unit_id', 'disabled', 'true');
        $form->setFieldAttribute('unit_id', 'filter', 'unset');
        if (!$canEditBasic) {
            $form->setFieldAttribute('callerid', 'disabled', 'true');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('secret', 'disabled', 'true');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('allow', 'disabled', 'true');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('callgroup', 'disabled', 'true');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('pickupgroup', 'disabled', 'true');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('call-limit', 'disabled', 'true');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('callerid', 'filter', 'unset');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('secret', 'filter', 'unset');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('allow', 'filter', 'unset');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('callgroup', 'filter', 'unset');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('pickupgroup', 'filter', 'unset');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('call-limit', 'filter', 'unset');
        // Modify the form based on access controls.
        if (!$canEditState) {
            // Disable fields for display.
            $form->setFieldAttribute('host', 'disabled', 'true');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('context', 'disabled', 'true');
            // Disable fields while saving.
            // The controller has already verified this is a record you can edit.
            $form->setFieldAttribute('host', 'filter', 'unset');
            $form->setFieldAttribute('context', 'filter', 'unset');
    return $form;

And this is the output of the action permission setting on the unit object of my component.



Prasit Gebsaap