User Authorization in Laravel 5.4 with Spatie Laravel-Permission

Caleb Oki

What We'll Build

When building an application, we often need to set up an access control list (ACL). An ACL specifies the level of permission granted to a user of an application. For example a user John may have the permission to read and write to a resource while another user Smith may have the permission only to read the resource.

In this tutorial, I will teach you how to add access control to a Laravel app using Laravel-permission package. For this tutorial we will build a simple blog application where users can be assigned different levels of permission. Our user admin page will look like this:

Why Use Laravel-Permission

The Laravel-Permission package is built on top of Laravel's authorization features introduced in the 5.1.1 release. Although there are other packages that claim to offer similar functionalities, none of them have the same level of activity and maintenance as the laravel-permission package.

Development Environment and Installation

You can get Laravel up and running by first downloading the installer

composer global require "laravel/installer"

Then add $HOME/.composer/vendor/bin to your $PATH so the laravel executable can be located by your system. Now you can install the latest stable version of Laravel by running

laravel new

To install the laravel-permission package run

composer require spatie/laravel-permission

Next include the package to our list of service providers, in config/app.php add Spatie\Permission\PermissionServiceProvider::class so our file looks like this

'providers' => [
    ...
    Spatie\Permission\PermissionServiceProvider::class,
];

Next publish the migration file for this package with the command

php artisan vendor:publish --provider="Spatie\Permission\PermissionServiceProvider" --tag="migrations"

Database Setup and Migrations

Next create the database and update the .env file to include the database information. For example, for this tutorial the database information section of the .env looks like this:

DB_CONNECTION=mysql
DB_HOST=127.0.0.1
DB_PORT=3306
DB_DATABASE=acl4
DB_USERNAME=root
DB_PASSWORD=

To build the tables, run

php artisan migrate

Please note that in Laravel 5.4 the default character set is changed to utf8mb4, therefore if you are running MariaDB or MYSQL version lower than 5.7.7 you may get this error when trying to run migration files

[Illuminate\Database\QueryException]
SQLSTATE[42000]: Syntax error or access violation: 1071 Specified key was too long; max key length is 767 bytes (SQL: alter table users add unique users_email_unique(email))

[PDOException]
SQLSTATE[42000]: Syntax error or access violation: 1071 Specified key was too long; max key length is 767 bytes

To fix this error edit the app\Providers\AppServiceProvider.php file, setting the default string length in the boot method

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Schema;

public function boot()
{
    Schema::defaultStringLength(191);
}

After that run the migration again. If it works as normal you would find the following tables in your database:

  • migrations: This keeps track of migration process that have ran
  • users: This holds the users data of the application
  • password_resets: Holds token information when users request a new password
  • permissions: This holds the various permissions needed in the application
  • roles: This holds the roles in our application
  • role_has_permission: This is a pivot table that holds relationship information between the permissions table and the role table
  • user_has_roles: Also a pivot table, holds relationship information between the roles and the users table.
  • user_has_permissions: Also a pivot table, holds relationship information between the users table and the permissions table.

Publish the configuration file for this package by running

php artisan vendor:publish --provider="Spatie\Permission\PermissionServiceProvider" --tag="config"

The config file allows us to set the location of the Eloquent model of the permission and role class. You can also manually set the table names that should be used to retrieve your roles and permissions. Next we need to add the HasRoles trait to the User model:

use Illuminate\Foundation\Auth\User as Authenticatable;
use Spatie\Permission\Traits\HasRoles;

class User extends Authenticatable {
    use HasRoles;

    // ...
}

Laravel Collective HTML Form builder

Next install Laravel Collective HTML Form builder as this will be useful further on when we are creating our forms:

composer require laravelcollective/html

Then add your new provider to the providers array of config/app.php:

'providers' => [
    ...
    Collective\Html\HtmlServiceProvider::class,
];

Finally, add two class aliases to the aliases array of config/app.php:

'aliases' => [
     // ...
     'Form' => Collective\Html\FormFacade::class,
     'Html' => Collective\Html\HtmlFacade::class,
     // ...
     ], 

That's all the installation and configuration needed. A role can be created like a regular Eloquent model, like this:

use Spatie\Permission\Models\Role;
use Spatie\Permission\Models\Permission;

$role = Role::create(['name' => 'writer']);
$permission = Permission::create(['name' => 'edit articles']);

You can also get the permissions associated to a user like this:

$permissions = $user->permissions;

And using the pluck method, pluck() you can get the role names associated with a user like this:

$roles = $user->roles()->pluck('name');

Other methods available to us include:

  • givePermissionTo(): Allows us to give persmission to a user or role
  • revokePermissionTo(): Revoke permission from a user or role
  • hasPermissionTo(): Check if a user or role has a given permission
  • assignRole(): Assigns role to a user
  • removeRole(): Removes role from a user
  • hasRole(): Checks if a user has a role
  • hasAnyRole(Role::all()): Checks if a user has any of a given list of roles
  • hasAllRoles(Role::all()): Checks if a user has all of a given list of role

The methods assignRole, hasRole, hasAnyRole, hasAllRoles and removeRole can accept a string, a Spatie\Permission\Models\Role-object or an \Illuminate\Support\Collection object. The givePermissionTo and revokePermissionTo methods can accept a string or a Spatie\Permission\Models\Permission object.

Laravel-Permission also allows to use Blade directives to verify if the logged in user has all or any of a given list of roles:

@role('writer')
    I'm a writer!
@else
    I'm not a writer...
@endrole

@hasrole('writer')
    I'm a writer!
@else
    I'm not a writer...
@endhasrole

@hasanyrole(Role::all())
    I have one or more of these roles!
@else
    I have none of these roles...
@endhasanyrole

@hasallroles(Role::all())
    I have all of these roles!
@else
    I don't have all of these roles...
@endhasallroles

The Blade directives above depends on the users role. Sometimes we need to check directly in our view if a user has a certain permission. You can do that using Laravel's native @can directive:

@can('Edit Post')
    I have permission to edit
@endcan

Controllers, Authentication and Views

You will need a total of four controllers for this application. Let's use resource controllers, as this automatically adds stub methods for us. Our controllers will be called

  1. PostController
  2. UserController
  3. RoleController
  4. PermissionController

Before working on these controllers let's create our authentication system. With one command Laravel provides a quick way to scaffold all of the routes and views needed for authentication.

php artisan make:auth

After running this command you would notice two new links for user login and registration in the home page.

This command also creates a HomeController (you can delete this as it won't be needed), a resources/views/layouts/app.blade.php file which contains markup that would be shared by all our views and an app/Http/Controllers/Auth directory which contains the controllers for registration and login. Switch into this directory and open the RegisterController.phpfile. Remove the bcrypt function in the create method, so the the method looks like this

protected function create(array $data)
{
    return User::create([
        'name' => $data['name'],
        'email' => $data['email'],
        'password' => $data['password'],
    ]);
}  

Instead let's define a mutator in app\User.php which would encrypt all our password fields. In app\User.php add this method:

public function setPasswordAttribute($password)
{   
    $this->attributes['password'] = bcrypt($password);
}

This would provide the same functionality as before but now you don't need to write the bcrypt function when dealing with the password field in subsequent controllers.

Also in the RegisterController.phpfile. Change the $redirectTo property to:

protected $redirectTo = '/';

Do the same thing in the LoginController.phpfile.

Since the HomeController has been deleted our users are now redirected to the home page which would contain a list of our blog posts.

Next let's edit the resources/views/layouts/app.blade.php file to include: an extra drop-down 'Admin' link to view all users and an errors file which checks if our form produced any error. The 'Admin' link would only be viewed by users with the 'Admin' Role. We would also create a custom styles.css which would have extra styling for our resources/views/posts/index.blade.php view. The styling is just a paragraph in the teaser of our index view, the file should be located in public/css/styles.css

{{-- resources/views/layouts/app.blade.php --}}
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="{{ config('app.locale') }}">
<head>
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">

    <!-- CSRF Token -->
    <meta name="csrf-token" content="{{ csrf_token() }}">

    <title>{{ config('app.name', 'Laravel') }}</title>

    <!-- Styles -->
    <link href="{{ asset('css/app.css') }}" rel="stylesheet">

    <link href="{{ asset('css/styles.css') }}" rel="stylesheet">

    <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/3.3.7/css/bootstrap.min.css" integrity="sha384-BVYiiSIFeK1dGmJRAkycuHAHRg32OmUcww7on3RYdg4Va+PmSTsz/K68vbdEjh4u" crossorigin="anonymous">

    <!-- Scripts -->
    <script>
        window.Laravel = {!! json_encode([
            'csrfToken' => csrf_token(),
        ]) !!};
    </script>
    <script src="https://use.fontawesome.com/9712be8772.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
    <div id="app">
        <nav class="navbar navbar-default navbar-static-top">
            <div class="container">
                <div class="navbar-header">

                    <!-- Collapsed Hamburger -->
                    <button type="button" class="navbar-toggle collapsed" data-toggle="collapse" data-target="#app-navbar-collapse">
                        <span class="sr-only">Toggle Navigation</span>
                        <span class="icon-bar"></span>
                        <span class="icon-bar"></span>
                        <span class="icon-bar"></span>
                    </button>

                    <!-- Branding Image -->
                    <a class="navbar-brand" href="{{ url('/') }}">
                        {{ config('app.name', 'Laravel') }}
                    </a>
                </div>

                <div class="collapse navbar-collapse" id="app-navbar-collapse">
                    <!-- Left Side Of Navbar -->
                    <ul class="nav navbar-nav">
                        <li><a href="{{ url('/') }}">Home</a></li>
                        @if (!Auth::guest())
                            <li><a href="{{ route('posts.create') }}">New Article</a></li>
                         @endif
                    </ul>

                    <!-- Right Side Of Navbar -->
                    <ul class="nav navbar-nav navbar-right">
                        <!-- Authentication Links -->
                        @if (Auth::guest())
                            <li><a href="{{ route('login') }}">Login</a></li>
                            <li><a href="{{ route('register') }}">Register</a></li>
                        @else
                            <li class="dropdown">
                                <a href="#" class="dropdown-toggle" data-toggle="dropdown" role="button" aria-expanded="false">
                                    {{ Auth::user()->name }} <span class="caret"></span>
                                </a>

                                <ul class="dropdown-menu" role="menu">
                                    <li>
                                        @role('Admin') {{-- Laravel-permission blade helper --}}
                                        <a href="#"><i class="fa fa-btn fa-unlock"></i>Admin</a>
                                        @endrole
                                        <a href="{{ route('logout') }}"
                                            onclick="event.preventDefault();
                                                     document.getElementById('logout-form').submit();">
                                            Logout
                                        </a>

                                        <form id="logout-form" action="{{ route('logout') }}" method="POST" style="display: none;">
                                            {{ csrf_field() }}
                                        </form>
                                    </li>
                                </ul>
                            </li>
                        @endif
                    </ul>
                </div>
            </div>
        </nav>

        @if(Session::has('flash_message'))
            <div class="container">      
                <div class="alert alert-success"><em> {!! session('flash_message') !!}</em>
                </div>
            </div>
        @endif 

        <div class="row">
            <div class="col-md-8 col-md-offset-2">              
                @include ('errors.list') {{-- Including error file --}}
            </div>
        </div>

        @yield('content')

    </div>

    <!-- Scripts -->
    <script src="{{ asset('js/app.js') }}"></script>
</body>
</html>

The error file is:

{{-- resources\views\errors\list.blade.php --}}
@if (count($errors) > 0)
    <div class="alert alert-danger">
        <ul>
            @foreach ($errors->all() as $error)
                <li>{{ $error }}</li>
            @endforeach
        </ul>
    </div>
@endif

and the styles.css file is simply:

p.teaser {
    text-indent: 30px; 
    }

Post Controller

First, let's create the migration and model files for the PostController

php artisan make:model Post -m

This command generates a migration file in app/database/migrations for generating a new MySQL table named posts in our database and a model file Post.phpin the app directory. Let's edit the migration file to include title and body fields of our post. Add a title and body field so the migration file looks like this:

<?php
//database\migrations\xxxx_xx_xx_xxxxxx_create_posts_table.php

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Schema;
use Illuminate\Database\Schema\Blueprint;
use Illuminate\Database\Migrations\Migration;

class CreatePostsTable extends Migration
{
    /**
     * Run the migrations.
     *
     * @return void
     */
    public function up()
    {
        Schema::create('posts', function (Blueprint $table) {
            $table->increments('id');
            $table->string('title');
            $table->text('body');
            $table->timestamps();
        });
    }

    /**
     * Reverse the migrations.
     *
     * @return void
     */
    public function down()
    {
        Schema::dropIfExists('posts');
    }
}

After saving the file, run migration again

php artisan migrate

You can now check the database for the post table and columns.

Next make the title and body field of the Post model mass assignable

namespace App;
use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model;

class Post extends Model {
    protected $fillable = [
        'title', 'body'
    ];
}

Now let's generate our resource controller.

php artisan make:controller PostController --resource

This will create our controller with all the stub methods needed. Edit this file to look like this

<?php
// app/Http/Controllers/PostController.php

namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use Illuminate\Http\Request;

use App\Post;
use Auth;
use Session;

class PostController extends Controller {

    public function __construct() {
        $this->middleware(['auth', 'clearance'])->except('index', 'show');
    }

    /**
     * Display a listing of the resource.
     *
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */

    public function index() {
        $posts = Post::orderby('id', 'desc')->paginate(5); //show only 5 items at a time in descending order

        return view('posts.index', compact('posts'));
    }

    /**
     * Show the form for creating a new resource.
     *
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function create() {
        return view('posts.create');
    }

    /**
     * Store a newly created resource in storage.
     *
     * @param  \Illuminate\Http\Request  $request
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function store(Request $request) { 

    //Validating title and body field
        $this->validate($request, [
            'title'=>'required|max:100',
            'body' =>'required',
            ]);

        $title = $request['title'];
        $body = $request['body'];

        $post = Post::create($request->only('title', 'body'));

    //Display a successful message upon save
        return redirect()->route('posts.index')
            ->with('flash_message', 'Article,
             '. $post->title.' created');
    }

    /**
     * Display the specified resource.
     *
     * @param  int  $id
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function show($id) {
        $post = Post::findOrFail($id); //Find post of id = $id

        return view ('posts.show', compact('post'));
    }

    /**
     * Show the form for editing the specified resource.
     *
     * @param  int  $id
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function edit($id) {
        $post = Post::findOrFail($id);

        return view('posts.edit', compact('post'));
    }

    /**
     * Update the specified resource in storage.
     *
     * @param  \Illuminate\Http\Request  $request
     * @param  int  $id
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function update(Request $request, $id) {
        $this->validate($request, [
            'title'=>'required|max:100',
            'body'=>'required',
        ]);

        $post = Post::findOrFail($id);
        $post->title = $request->input('title');
        $post->body = $request->input('body');
        $post->save();

        return redirect()->route('posts.show', 
            $post->id)->with('flash_message', 
            'Article, '. $post->title.' updated');

    }

    /**
     * Remove the specified resource from storage.
     *
     * @param  int  $id
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function destroy($id) {
        $post = Post::findOrFail($id);
        $post->delete();

        return redirect()->route('posts.index')
            ->with('flash_message',
             'Article successfully deleted');

    }
}

Here the Post class was imported from our model and the Auth class which was generated with the make:auth command earlier. These were imported so that you would be able to make Eloquent queries on the Post table and so as to be able to have access to authentication information of our users. In the constructor two middlewares were called, one is auth which restricts access to the PostController methods to authenticated users the other is a custom middleware is yet to be created. This would be responsible for our Permissions and Roles system. Next, index and show are passed into the except method to allow all users to be able to view posts.

The index() method lists all the available posts. It queries the post table for all posts and passes this information to the view. Paginate() allows us to limit the number of posts in a page, in this case five.

The create() method simply returns the posts/create view which would contain a form for creating new posts. The store() method saves the information input from the posts/create view. The information is first validated and after it is saved, a flash message is passed to the view posts/index.

Our show() method of the PostController allows us to display a single post. This method takes the post id as an argument and passes it to the method Post::find(). The result of the query is then sent to our posts/show view.

The edit() method, similar to the create() method simply returns the posts/edit view which would contain a form for creating editing posts. The update() method takes the information from the posts/edit view and updates the record. The destroy() method let's us delete a post.

Now that you have the PostController you need to set up the routes. Edit your app/routes/web.php file to look like this:

<?php

Route::get('/', function () {
    return view('welcome');
});

Auth::routes();

Route::get('/', 'PostController@index')->name('home');

Route::resource('users', 'UserController');

Route::resource('roles', 'RoleController');

Route::resource('permissions', 'PermissionController');

Route::resource('posts', 'PostController');

The / route is the route to our home page, here it was renamed to home The Auth route was generated when you ran the make:auth command. It handles authentication related routes. The other four routes are for resources that would be created later.

Post Views

Only four views are needed for our PostController. Create the files \resources\views\posts\index.blade.php, \resources\views\posts\create.blade.php, \resources\views\posts\show.blade.php, \resources\views\posts\edit.blade.php

Edit the index.blade.phpfile to look like this

@extends('layouts.app')
@section('content')
    <div class="container">
        <div class="row">
            <div class="col-md-10 col-md-offset-1">
                <div class="panel panel-default">
                    <div class="panel-heading"><h3>Posts</h3></div>
                    <div class="panel-heading">Page {{ $posts->currentPage() }} of {{ $posts->lastPage() }}</div>
                    @foreach ($posts as $post)
                        <div class="panel-body">
                            <li style="list-style-type:disc">
                                <a href="{{ route('posts.show', $post->id ) }}"><b>{{ $post->title }}</b><br>
                                    <p class="teaser">
                                       {{  str_limit($post->body, 100) }} {{-- Limit teaser to 100 characters --}}
                                    </p>
                                </a>
                            </li>
                        </div>
                    @endforeach
                    </div>
                    <div class="text-center">
                        {!! $posts->links() !!}
                    </div>
                </div>
            </div>
        </div>
@endsection

Notice that this file extends views\layouts\app.php file, which was generated earlier by the make:auth command.

The create.blade.php file looks like this

@extends('layouts.app')

@section('title', '| Create New Post')

@section('content')
    <div class="row">
        <div class="col-md-8 col-md-offset-2">

        <h1>Create New Post</h1>
        <hr>

    {{-- Using the Laravel HTML Form Collective to create our form --}}
        {{ Form::open(array('route' => 'posts.store')) }}

        <div class="form-group">
            {{ Form::label('title', 'Title') }}
            {{ Form::text('title', null, array('class' => 'form-control')) }}
            <br>

            {{ Form::label('body', 'Post Body') }}
            {{ Form::textarea('body', null, array('class' => 'form-control')) }}
            <br>

            {{ Form::submit('Create Post', array('class' => 'btn btn-success btn-lg btn-block')) }}
            {{ Form::close() }}
        </div>
        </div>
    </div>

@endsection

The show view looks like this:

@extends('layouts.app')

@section('title', '| View Post')

@section('content')

<div class="container">

    <h1>{{ $post->title }}</h1>
    <hr>
    <p class="lead">{{ $post->body }} </p>
    <hr>
    {!! Form::open(['method' => 'DELETE', 'route' => ['posts.destroy', $post->id] ]) !!}
    <a href="{{ url()->previous() }}" class="btn btn-primary">Back</a>
    @can('Edit Post')
    <a href="{{ route('posts.edit', $post->id) }}" class="btn btn-info" role="button">Edit</a>
    @endcan
    @can('Delete Post')
    {!! Form::submit('Delete', ['class' => 'btn btn-danger']) !!}
    @endcan
    {!! Form::close() !!}

</div>

@endsection

Here the can directive checks if a user has the permission to Edit or Delete Posts, if so the Edit and Delete button will be displayed. If the user does not have these permissions, only the Back button would be displayed.

The edit view just displays a edit form that will be used to update records:

@extends('layouts.app')

@section('title', '| Edit Post')

@section('content')
<div class="row">

    <div class="col-md-8 col-md-offset-2">

        <h1>Edit Post</h1>
        <hr>
            {{ Form::model($post, array('route' => array('posts.update', $post->id), 'method' => 'PUT')) }}
            <div class="form-group">
            {{ Form::label('title', 'Title') }}
            {{ Form::text('title', null, array('class' => 'form-control')) }}<br>

            {{ Form::label('body', 'Post Body') }}
            {{ Form::textarea('body', null, array('class' => 'form-control')) }}<br>

            {{ Form::submit('Save', array('class' => 'btn btn-primary')) }}

            {{ Form::close() }}
    </div>
    </div>
</div>

@endsection

If you visit the home page you would see this

User Controller

The UserController will handle displaying all users, creating of new users, editing users, assigning roles to users and deleting users. As before generate the controller by running

php artisan make:controller UserController --resource

Then replace the content of this file with:

<?php

namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use Illuminate\Http\Request;

use App\User;
use Auth;

//Importing laravel-permission models
use Spatie\Permission\Models\Role;
use Spatie\Permission\Models\Permission;

//Enables us to output flash messaging
use Session;

class UserController extends Controller {

    public function __construct() {
        $this->middleware(['auth', 'isAdmin']); //isAdmin middleware lets only users with a //specific permission permission to access these resources
    }

    /**
    * Display a listing of the resource.
    *
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function index() {
    //Get all users and pass it to the view
        $users = User::all(); 
        return view('users.index')->with('users', $users);
    }

    /**
    * Show the form for creating a new resource.
    *
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function create() {
    //Get all roles and pass it to the view
        $roles = Role::get();
        return view('users.create', ['roles'=>$roles]);
    }

    /**
    * Store a newly created resource in storage.
    *
    * @param  \Illuminate\Http\Request  $request
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function store(Request $request) {
    //Validate name, email and password fields
        $this->validate($request, [
            'name'=>'required|max:120',
            'email'=>'required|email|unique:users',
            'password'=>'required|min:6|confirmed'
        ]);

        $user = User::create($request->only('email', 'name', 'password')); //Retrieving only the email and password data

        $roles = $request['roles']; //Retrieving the roles field
    //Checking if a role was selected
        if (isset($roles)) {

            foreach ($roles as $role) {
            $role_r = Role::where('id', '=', $role)->firstOrFail();            
            $user->assignRole($role_r); //Assigning role to user
            }
        }        
    //Redirect to the users.index view and display message
        return redirect()->route('users.index')
            ->with('flash_message',
             'User successfully added.');
    }

    /**
    * Display the specified resource.
    *
    * @param  int  $id
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function show($id) {
        return redirect('users'); 
    }

    /**
    * Show the form for editing the specified resource.
    *
    * @param  int  $id
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function edit($id) {
        $user = User::findOrFail($id); //Get user with specified id
        $roles = Role::get(); //Get all roles

        return view('users.edit', compact('user', 'roles')); //pass user and roles data to view

    }

    /**
    * Update the specified resource in storage.
    *
    * @param  \Illuminate\Http\Request  $request
    * @param  int  $id
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function update(Request $request, $id) {
        $user = User::findOrFail($id); //Get role specified by id

    //Validate name, email and password fields  
        $this->validate($request, [
            'name'=>'required|max:120',
            'email'=>'required|email|unique:users,email,'.$id,
            'password'=>'required|min:6|confirmed'
        ]);
        $input = $request->only(['name', 'email', 'password']); //Retreive the name, email and password fields
        $roles = $request['roles']; //Retreive all roles
        $user->fill($input)->save();

        if (isset($roles)) {        
            $user->roles()->sync($roles);  //If one or more role is selected associate user to roles          
        }        
        else {
            $user->roles()->detach(); //If no role is selected remove exisiting role associated to a user
        }
        return redirect()->route('users.index')
            ->with('flash_message',
             'User successfully edited.');
    }

    /**
    * Remove the specified resource from storage.
    *
    * @param  int  $id
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function destroy($id) {
    //Find a user with a given id and delete
        $user = User::findOrFail($id); 
        $user->delete();

        return redirect()->route('users.index')
            ->with('flash_message',
             'User successfully deleted.');
    }
}

Here the User class, the Role class, the Permission class and the Auth class are imported. In the constructor the auth middleware is called to make sure only authenticated users have access to the User resource. A custom middleware isAdmin is also called. This checks if the authenticated user has administrator privileges. This middleware will be created later.

The index() method gets all users from the Users table and passes it to the index view which will display all users in a table. The create() method first gets all the Roles from the Roles table and passes it to the create view. This is so that Roles can be added when creating a User.

The store() method saves the input from the create view, after validating the input, looping through the Roles that was passed in the form and assigning these Roles to the User. The show()method just redirects back to the users page as for this demonstration, we wont need to show each user individually.

The edit() method gets the user corresponding to the id passed, then gets all roles and passes it to the edit view. The update() method validates data from the edit view and saves the updated name and password fields. It gets all roles from the roles table and while looping through them, removes any role assign to the user. It then takes the role data inputted from the form, matches them with the values in the databases and assigns these roles to the user.

The destroy() method allows us to delete a user along with it's corresponding role.

User Views

Three views are needed here: index, create and edit views. The index view would contain a table that lists all our users and their roles.

{{-- \resources\views\users\index.blade.php --}}
@extends('layouts.app')

@section('title', '| Users')

@section('content')

<div class="col-lg-10 col-lg-offset-1">
    <h1><i class="fa fa-users"></i> User Administration <a href="{{ route('roles.index') }}" class="btn btn-default pull-right">Roles</a>
    <a href="{{ route('permissions.index') }}" class="btn btn-default pull-right">Permissions</a></h1>
    <hr>
    <div class="table-responsive">
        <table class="table table-bordered table-striped">

            <thead>
                <tr>
                    <th>Name</th>
                    <th>Email</th>
                    <th>Date/Time Added</th>
                    <th>User Roles</th>
                    <th>Operations</th>
                </tr>
            </thead>

            <tbody>
                @foreach ($users as $user)
                <tr>

                    <td>{{ $user->name }}</td>
                    <td>{{ $user->email }}</td>
                    <td>{{ $user->created_at->format('F d, Y h:ia') }}</td>
                    <td>{{  $user->roles()->pluck('name')->implode(' ') }}</td>{{-- Retrieve array of roles associated to a user and convert to string --}}
                    <td>
                    <a href="{{ route('users.edit', $user->id) }}" class="btn btn-info pull-left" style="margin-right: 3px;">Edit</a>

                    {!! Form::open(['method' => 'DELETE', 'route' => ['users.destroy', $user->id] ]) !!}
                    {!! Form::submit('Delete', ['class' => 'btn btn-danger']) !!}
                    {!! Form::close() !!}

                    </td>
                </tr>
                @endforeach
            </tbody>

        </table>
    </div>

    <a href="{{ route('users.create') }}" class="btn btn-success">Add User</a>

</div>

@endsection

The create view is just a form that allows us to create new users and assign roles to them.

{{-- \resources\views\users\create.blade.php --}}
@extends('layouts.app')

@section('title', '| Add User')

@section('content')

<div class='col-lg-4 col-lg-offset-4'>

    <h1><i class='fa fa-user-plus'></i> Add User</h1>
    <hr>

    {{ Form::open(array('url' => 'users')) }}

    <div class="form-group">
        {{ Form::label('name', 'Name') }}
        {{ Form::text('name', '', array('class' => 'form-control')) }}
    </div>

    <div class="form-group">
        {{ Form::label('email', 'Email') }}
        {{ Form::email('email', '', array('class' => 'form-control')) }}
    </div>

    <div class='form-group'>
        @foreach ($roles as $role)
            {{ Form::checkbox('roles[]',  $role->id ) }}
            {{ Form::label($role->name, ucfirst($role->name)) }}<br>

        @endforeach
    </div>

    <div class="form-group">
        {{ Form::label('password', 'Password') }}<br>
        {{ Form::password('password', array('class' => 'form-control')) }}

    </div>

    <div class="form-group">
        {{ Form::label('password', 'Confirm Password') }}<br>
        {{ Form::password('password_confirmation', array('class' => 'form-control')) }}

    </div>

    {{ Form::submit('Add', array('class' => 'btn btn-primary')) }}

    {{ Form::close() }}

</div>

@endsection

The edit view is a form that allows us to edit users and their roles. Using Laravel's form model binding the form is automatically populated with the previous values.

{{-- \resources\views\users\edit.blade.php --}}

@extends('layouts.app')

@section('title', '| Edit User')

@section('content')

<div class='col-lg-4 col-lg-offset-4'>

    <h1><i class='fa fa-user-plus'></i> Edit {{$user->name}}</h1>
    <hr>

    {{ Form::model($user, array('route' => array('users.update', $user->id), 'method' => 'PUT')) }}{{-- Form model binding to automatically populate our fields with user data --}}

    <div class="form-group">
        {{ Form::label('name', 'Name') }}
        {{ Form::text('name', null, array('class' => 'form-control')) }}
    </div>

    <div class="form-group">
        {{ Form::label('email', 'Email') }}
        {{ Form::email('email', null, array('class' => 'form-control')) }}
    </div>

    <h5><b>Give Role</b></h5>

    <div class='form-group'>
        @foreach ($roles as $role)
            {{ Form::checkbox('roles[]',  $role->id, $user->roles ) }}
            {{ Form::label($role->name, ucfirst($role->name)) }}<br>

        @endforeach
    </div>

    <div class="form-group">
        {{ Form::label('password', 'Password') }}<br>
        {{ Form::password('password', array('class' => 'form-control')) }}

    </div>

    <div class="form-group">
        {{ Form::label('password', 'Confirm Password') }}<br>
        {{ Form::password('password_confirmation', array('class' => 'form-control')) }}

    </div>

    {{ Form::submit('Add', array('class' => 'btn btn-primary')) }}

    {{ Form::close() }}

</div>

@endsection

Permission Controller

Now let's tackle the PermissionControllerCreate the file and paste the following code:

<?php

namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use Illuminate\Http\Request;

use Auth;

//Importing laravel-permission models
use Spatie\Permission\Models\Role;
use Spatie\Permission\Models\Permission;

use Session;

class PermissionController extends Controller {

    public function __construct() {
        $this->middleware(['auth', 'isAdmin']); //isAdmin middleware lets only users with a //specific permission permission to access these resources
    }

    /**
    * Display a listing of the resource.
    *
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function index() {
        $permissions = Permission::all(); //Get all permissions

        return view('permissions.index')->with('permissions', $permissions);
    }

    /**
    * Show the form for creating a new resource.
    *
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function create() {
        $roles = Role::get(); //Get all roles

        return view('permissions.create')->with('roles', $roles);
    }

    /**
    * Store a newly created resource in storage.
    *
    * @param  \Illuminate\Http\Request  $request
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function store(Request $request) {
        $this->validate($request, [
            'name'=>'required|max:40',
        ]);

        $name = $request['name'];
        $permission = new Permission();
        $permission->name = $name;

        $roles = $request['roles'];

        $permission->save();

        if (!empty($request['roles'])) { //If one or more role is selected
            foreach ($roles as $role) {
                $r = Role::where('id', '=', $role)->firstOrFail(); //Match input role to db record

                $permission = Permission::where('name', '=', $name)->first(); //Match input //permission to db record
                $r->givePermissionTo($permission);
            }
        }

        return redirect()->route('permissions.index')
            ->with('flash_message',
             'Permission'. $permission->name.' added!');

    }

    /**
    * Display the specified resource.
    *
    * @param  int  $id
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function show($id) {
        return redirect('permissions');
    }

    /**
    * Show the form for editing the specified resource.
    *
    * @param  int  $id
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function edit($id) {
        $permission = Permission::findOrFail($id);

        return view('permissions.edit', compact('permission'));
    }

    /**
    * Update the specified resource in storage.
    *
    * @param  \Illuminate\Http\Request  $request
    * @param  int  $id
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function update(Request $request, $id) {
        $permission = Permission::findOrFail($id);
        $this->validate($request, [
            'name'=>'required|max:40',
        ]);
        $input = $request->all();
        $permission->fill($input)->save();

        return redirect()->route('permissions.index')
            ->with('flash_message',
             'Permission'. $permission->name.' updated!');

    }

    /**
    * Remove the specified resource from storage.
    *
    * @param  int  $id
    * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
    */
    public function destroy($id) {
        $permission = Permission::findOrFail($id);

    //Make it impossible to delete this specific permission 
    if ($permission->name == "Administer roles & permissions") {
            return redirect()->route('permissions.index')
            ->with('flash_message',
             'Cannot delete this Permission!');
        }

        $permission->delete();

        return redirect()->route('permissions.index')
            ->with('flash_message',
             'Permission deleted!');

    }
}

In the store() method, we are making it possible for a role to be selected as a permission is created. After validating and saving the permission name field, a check is done if a role was selected if it was, a permission is assigned to the selected role.

Permission View

Three views are needed here as well. The index view would list in a table all the available permissions, the create view is a form which would be used to create a new permission and the edit view is a form that let's us edit existing permission.

{{-- \resources\views\permissions\index.blade.php --}}
@extends('layouts.app')

@section('title', '| Permissions')

@section('content')

<div class="col-lg-10 col-lg-offset-1">
    <h1><i class="fa fa-key"></i>Available Permissions

    <a href="{{ route('users.index') }}" class="btn btn-default pull-right">Users</a>
    <a href="{{ route('roles.index') }}" class="btn btn-default pull-right">Roles</a></h1>
    <hr>
    <div class="table-responsive">
        <table class="table table-bordered table-striped">

            <thead>
                <tr>
                    <th>Permissions</th>
                    <th>Operation</th>
                </tr>
            </thead>
            <tbody>
                @foreach ($permissions as $permission)
                <tr>
                    <td>{{ $permission->name }}</td> 
                    <td>
                    <a href="{{ URL::to('permissions/'.$permission->id.'/edit') }}" class="btn btn-info pull-left" style="margin-right: 3px;">Edit</a>

                    {!! Form::open(['method' => 'DELETE', 'route' => ['permissions.destroy', $permission->id] ]) !!}
                    {!! Form::submit('Delete', ['class' => 'btn btn-danger']) !!}
                    {!! Form::close() !!}

                    </td>
                </tr>
                @endforeach
            </tbody>
        </table>
    </div>

    <a href="{{ URL::to('permissions/create') }}" class="btn btn-success">Add Permission</a>

</div>

@endsection

The following is the create view

{{-- \resources\views\permissions\create.blade.php --}}
@extends('layouts.app')

@section('title', '| Create Permission')

@section('content')

<div class='col-lg-4 col-lg-offset-4'>

    <h1><i class='fa fa-key'></i> Add Permission</h1>
    <br>

    {{ Form::open(array('url' => 'permissions')) }}

    <div class="form-group">
        {{ Form::label('name', 'Name') }}
        {{ Form::text('name', '', array('class' => 'form-control')) }}
    </div><br>
    @if(!$roles->isEmpty()) //If no roles exist yet
        <h4>Assign Permission to Roles</h4>

        @foreach ($roles as $role) 
            {{ Form::checkbox('roles[]',  $role->id ) }}
            {{ Form::label($role->name, ucfirst($role->name)) }}<br>

        @endforeach
    @endif
    <br>
    {{ Form::submit('Add', array('class' => 'btn btn-primary')) }}

    {{ Form::close() }}

</div>

@endsection

And finally the edit view:

@extends('layouts.app')

@section('title', '| Edit Permission')

@section('content')

<div class='col-lg-4 col-lg-offset-4'>

    <h1><i class='fa fa-key'></i> Edit {{$permission->name}}</h1>
    <br>
    {{ Form::model($permission, array('route' => array('permissions.update', $permission->id), 'method' => 'PUT')) }}{{-- Form model binding to automatically populate our fields with permission data --}}

    <div class="form-group">
        {{ Form::label('name', 'Permission Name') }}
        {{ Form::text('name', null, array('class' => 'form-control')) }}
    </div>
    <br>
    {{ Form::submit('Edit', array('class' => 'btn btn-primary')) }}

    {{ Form::close() }}

</div>

@endsection

Role Controller

The RoleController is quite similar to the UserController. This controller will allow us to create roles and assign one or more permissions to a role. Create the file and paste the following code:

<?php

namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use Illuminate\Http\Request;

use Auth;
//Importing laravel-permission models
use Spatie\Permission\Models\Role;
use Spatie\Permission\Models\Permission;

use Session;

class RoleController extends Controller {

    public function __construct() {
        $this->middleware(['auth', 'isAdmin']);//isAdmin middleware lets only users with a //specific permission permission to access these resources
    }

    /**
     * Display a listing of the resource.
     *
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function index() {
        $roles = Role::all();//Get all roles

        return view('roles.index')->with('roles', $roles);
    }

    /**
     * Show the form for creating a new resource.
     *
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function create() {
        $permissions = Permission::all();//Get all permissions

        return view('roles.create', ['permissions'=>$permissions]);
    }

    /**
     * Store a newly created resource in storage.
     *
     * @param  \Illuminate\Http\Request  $request
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function store(Request $request) {
    //Validate name and permissions field
        $this->validate($request, [
            'name'=>'required|unique:roles|max:10',
            'permissions' =>'required',
            ]
        );

        $name = $request['name'];
        $role = new Role();
        $role->name = $name;

        $permissions = $request['permissions'];

        $role->save();
    //Looping thru selected permissions
        foreach ($permissions as $permission) {
            $p = Permission::where('id', '=', $permission)->firstOrFail(); 
         //Fetch the newly created role and assign permission
            $role = Role::where('name', '=', $name)->first(); 
            $role->givePermissionTo($p);
        }

        return redirect()->route('roles.index')
            ->with('flash_message',
             'Role'. $role->name.' added!'); 
    }

    /**
     * Display the specified resource.
     *
     * @param  int  $id
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function show($id) {
        return redirect('roles');
    }

    /**
     * Show the form for editing the specified resource.
     *
     * @param  int  $id
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function edit($id) {
        $role = Role::findOrFail($id);
        $permissions = Permission::all();

        return view('roles.edit', compact('role', 'permissions'));
    }

    /**
     * Update the specified resource in storage.
     *
     * @param  \Illuminate\Http\Request  $request
     * @param  int  $id
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function update(Request $request, $id) {

        $role = Role::findOrFail($id);//Get role with the given id
    //Validate name and permission fields
        $this->validate($request, [
            'name'=>'required|max:10|unique:roles,name,'.$id,
            'permissions' =>'required',
        ]);

        $input = $request->except(['permissions']);
        $permissions = $request['permissions'];
        $role->fill($input)->save();

        $p_all = Permission::all();//Get all permissions

        foreach ($p_all as $p) {
            $role->revokePermissionTo($p); //Remove all permissions associated with role
        }

        foreach ($permissions as $permission) {
            $p = Permission::where('id', '=', $permission)->firstOrFail(); //Get corresponding form //permission in db
            $role->givePermissionTo($p);  //Assign permission to role
        }

        return redirect()->route('roles.index')
            ->with('flash_message',
             'Role'. $role->name.' updated!');
    }

    /**
     * Remove the specified resource from storage.
     *
     * @param  int  $id
     * @return \Illuminate\Http\Response
     */
    public function destroy($id)
    {
        $role = Role::findOrFail($id);
        $role->delete();

        return redirect()->route('roles.index')
            ->with('flash_message',
             'Role deleted!');

    }
}

Roles View

Three views are needed here as well. The index view to display available roles and associated permissions, the create view to add a new role and a view to edit an existing role. Create the index.blade.php file and paste the following:

{{-- \resources\views\roles\index.blade.php --}}
@extends('layouts.app')

@section('title', '| Roles')

@section('content')

<div class="col-lg-10 col-lg-offset-1">
    <h1><i class="fa fa-key"></i> Roles

    <a href="{{ route('users.index') }}" class="btn btn-default pull-right">Users</a>
    <a href="{{ route('permissions.index') }}" class="btn btn-default pull-right">Permissions</a></h1>
    <hr>
    <div class="table-responsive">
        <table class="table table-bordered table-striped">
            <thead>
                <tr>
                    <th>Role</th>
                    <th>Permissions</th>
                    <th>Operation</th>
                </tr>
            </thead>

            <tbody>
                @foreach ($roles as $role)
                <tr>

                    <td>{{ $role->name }}</td>

                    <td>{{ str_replace(array('[',']','"'),'', $role->permissions()->pluck('name')) }}</td>{{-- Retrieve array of permissions associated to a role and convert to string --}}
                    <td>
                    <a href="{{ URL::to('roles/'.$role->id.'/edit') }}" class="btn btn-info pull-left" style="margin-right: 3px;">Edit</a>

                    {!! Form::open(['method' => 'DELETE', 'route' => ['roles.destroy', $role->id] ]) !!}
                    {!! Form::submit('Delete', ['class' => 'btn btn-danger']) !!}
                    {!! Form::close() !!}

                    </td>
                </tr>
                @endforeach
            </tbody>

        </table>
    </div>

    <a href="{{ URL::to('roles/create') }}" class="btn btn-success">Add Role</a>

</div>

@endsection

For the create view:

@extends('layouts.app')

@section('title', '| Add Role')

@section('content')

<div class='col-lg-4 col-lg-offset-4'>

    <h1><i class='fa fa-key'></i> Add Role</h1>
    <hr>

    {{ Form::open(array('url' => 'roles')) }}

    <div class="form-group">
        {{ Form::label('name', 'Name') }}
        {{ Form::text('name', null, array('class' => 'form-control')) }}
    </div>

    <h5><b>Assign Permissions</b></h5>

    <div class='form-group'>
        @foreach ($permissions as $permission)
            {{ Form::checkbox('permissions[]',  $permission->id ) }}
            {{ Form::label($permission->name, ucfirst($permission->name)) }}<br>

        @endforeach
    </div>

    {{ Form::submit('Add', array('class' => 'btn btn-primary')) }}

    {{ Form::close() }}

</div>

@endsection

And for the edit view:

@extends('layouts.app')

@section('title', '| Edit Role')

@section('content')

<div class='col-lg-4 col-lg-offset-4'>
    <h1><i class='fa fa-key'></i> Edit Role: {{$role->name}}</h1>
    <hr>

    {{ Form::model($role, array('route' => array('roles.update', $role->id), 'method' => 'PUT')) }}

    <div class="form-group">
        {{ Form::label('name', 'Role Name') }}
        {{ Form::text('name', null, array('class' => 'form-control')) }}
    </div>

    <h5><b>Assign Permissions</b></h5>
    @foreach ($permissions as $permission)

        {{Form::checkbox('permissions[]',  $permission->id, $role->permissions ) }}
        {{Form::label($permission->name, ucfirst($permission->name)) }}<br>

    @endforeach
    <br>
    {{ Form::submit('Edit', array('class' => 'btn btn-primary')) }}

    {{ Form::close() }}    
</div>

@endsection

Middleware

To restrict access to the roles and permissions page, a middleware was included called isAdmin in our PermissionController and RoleController. This middleware counts how many users are in the Users table, and if there are more than one users, it checks if the current authenticated User has the permission to 'Administer roles & permissions'. To create a permission visit http://localhost:8000/permissions/create. Then go to http://localhost:8000/roles/create to create a role, to which you can now assign the permission you created. For example you can create a permission called 'Administer roles & permissions' and a 'Admin' role to which you would assign this permission. Create the AdminMiddleware in the directory app/Http/Middleware/ and enter the following code:

<?php

namespace App\Http\Middleware;

use Closure;
use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Auth;
use App\User;

class AdminMiddleware
{
    /**
     * Handle an incoming request.
     *
     * @param  \Illuminate\Http\Request  $request
     * @param  \Closure  $next
     * @return mixed
     */
    public function handle($request, Closure $next)
    {
        $user = User::all()->count();
        if (!($user == 1)) {
            if (!Auth::user()->hasPermissionTo('Administer roles & permissions')) //If user does //not have this permission
        {
                abort('401');
            }
        }

        return $next($request);
    }
}

A middleware called clearance was also included in our PostController. This middleware would check if a user has the permissions Administer roles & permissions, Create Post, Edit Post and Delete Post.

<?php

namespace App\Http\Middleware;

use Closure;
use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Auth;

class ClearanceMiddleware {
    /**
     * Handle an incoming request.
     *
     * @param  \Illuminate\Http\Request  $request
     * @param  \Closure  $next
     * @return mixed
     */
    public function handle($request, Closure $next) {        
        if (Auth::user()->hasPermissionTo('Administer roles & permissions')) //If user has this //permission
    {
            return $next($request);
        }

        if ($request->is('posts/create'))//If user is creating a post
         {
            if (!Auth::user()->hasPermissionTo('Create Post'))
         {
                abort('401');
            } 
         else {
                return $next($request);
            }
        }

        if ($request->is('posts/*/edit')) //If user is editing a post
         {
            if (!Auth::user()->hasPermissionTo('Edit Post')) {
                abort('401');
            } else {
                return $next($request);
            }
        }

        if ($request->isMethod('Delete')) //If user is deleting a post
         {
            if (!Auth::user()->hasPermissionTo('Delete Post')) {
                abort('401');
            } 
         else 
         {
                return $next($request);
            }
        }

        return $next($request);
    }
}

Add AdminMiddleware::class and ClearanceMiddleware::class to the $routeMiddleware property of /app/Http/kernel.php like this:

protected $routeMiddleware = [
        'auth' => \Illuminate\Auth\Middleware\Authenticate::class,
        'auth.basic' => \Illuminate\Auth\Middleware\AuthenticateWithBasicAuth::class,
        'bindings' => \Illuminate\Routing\Middleware\SubstituteBindings::class,
        'can' => \Illuminate\Auth\Middleware\Authorize::class,
        'guest' => \App\Http\Middleware\RedirectIfAuthenticated::class,
        'throttle' => \Illuminate\Routing\Middleware\ThrottleRequests::class,
        'isAdmin' => \App\Http\Middleware\AdminMiddleware::class,
        'clearance' => \App\Http\Middleware\ClearanceMiddleware::class,
];

In both middelwares a 401 exception would be thrown if the conditions are not meet. Let's create a custom 401 error page:

{{-- \resources\views\errors\401.blade.php --}}
@extends('layouts.app')

@section('content')
    <div class='col-lg-4 col-lg-offset-4'>
        <h1><center>401<br>
        ACCESS DENIED</center></h1>
    </div>

@endsection

Wrapping Up

First lets create an 'Admin' user and then create the necessary permissions and roles. Click on Register and create a user, then go to http://localhost:8000/permissions and create permissions to Create Post, Edit Post, Delete Post and Administer roles & permissions. After creating these permissions, your permissions page should look like this:

Next, you need to create roles to which you would add the Create, Edit and Delete Permissions. Click on Roles and create these roles:

  • Admin- A user assigned to this role would have all permissions
  • Owner- A user assigned to this role would have selected permissions assigned to it by Admin

Finally assign the Role of 'Admin' to the currently logged in User. Click on Users and then Edit. Check the Admin box under Give Role:

After assigning the 'Admin' role to our user, notice that you now have a new Admin link in the drop of the navigation, this links to our users page. Now create a new user and give it the more restrictive role of Owner. If you login as this user and try to visit the User, Role or Permission pages you get this as expected:

The Owner role does not have permission to Administer Roles & Users hence the exception is thrown.

To demonstrate how this works for posts, create a post by clicking on New Article. After creating the post, view the post and you would notice you have along with the Back button, an Edit and Delete button as shown below:

Now if you logout and view the post only the Back button will be available to us. This also works if you have a logged in user who does not have permissions to Edit or Delete Post.

Conclusion

The laravel-permission package makes it relatively easy to build a role and permission system. To recap we have considered installation of the laravel-permission package, laravel-permission blade directives, creating a custom middleware and implementing an access control list in a Laravel application. You can look at the final product on Github and if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to post them below.

Caleb Oki

2 posts

Laravel and Vue.js web developer