Proxy Authentication Against Devise-Based Ruby Applications

computer 30 October 2012 | 0 Comments

(Quick GitHub link!)

My team at TGen has a Rails application using a typical devise + cancan installation for authentication and authorization, respectively, and a related Apache HTTPD proxy server we needed to authenticate against active accounts in the webapp before passing traffic to their destination, which is a single host. We tried mod_authn_dbd for a while, but the combination of Devise’s default adapive bcrypt password encryption that is not supported by mod_authn_dbd by default, a complex set of SQL statements to process the authorization directly, and that none of the existing modules seem to be able to do what we want, made it a messy ordeal.

Instead, we created devise-proxy: a simple proxy server written as Rack Middleware that you can deploy using Passenger within Apache or nginx. You simply provide devise-proxy with a config.yml file defining the hostname and port of the devise webapp to use as an authentication web service, and hostname and port of a single server to use as a forwarding target.

Clients connecting to the proxy use the email/password for their proxy username/password credentials. All authenticated clients will be forwarded to your provided host/port, but using the path in the client’s original HTTP request. Clients failing to authenticate will receive a 403 and the forwarding host will never be hit.

gem install devise-proxy # to install

git clone git://github.com/preston/devise-proxy.git # to clone!

devise-proxy is released under a BSD license via the GitHub project, here. Good luck!

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