NAME

Catalyst::TraitFor::Request::StrongParameters - Enforce structural rules on your body and data parameters

SYNOPSIS

For Catalyst v5.90090+

    package MyApp;
 
    use Catalyst;
 
    MyApp->request_class_traits(['Catalyst::TraitFor::Request::StrongParameters']);
    MyApp->setup;
 

For Catalyst older than v5.90090

    package MyApp;
 
    use Catalyst;
    use CatalystX::RoleApplicator;
 
    MyApp->apply_request_class_roles('Catalyst::TraitFor::Request::StrongParameters');
    MyApp->setup;
 

In a controller:

    package MyApp::Controller::User;

    use Moose;
    use MooseX::MethodAttributes;

    extends 'Catalyst::Controller';

    sub user :Local {
      my ($self, $c) = @_;

      # Basically this is like a whitelist for the allowed parameters.  This is not a replacement
      # for form validation but rather prior layer to make sure the incoming is semantically
      # acceptable.  It also does some sanity cleanup like flatten unexpected arrays.  The following
      # would accept body parameters like the following:
      #
      # $c->req->body_parameters == +{
      #   username => 'jnap',
      #   password => 'youllneverguess',
      #   password_confirmation => 'youllneverguess'
      #   'name.first' => 'John',
      #   'name.last' => 'Napiorkowski',
      #   'email[0]' => 'jjn1056@example1.com',
      #   'email[1]' => 'jjn1056@example2.com',
      # }

      my %body_parameters = $c->req->strong_body
        ->permitted('username', 'password', 'password_confirmation', name => ['first', 'last'], +{email=>[]} )
        ->to_hash;

      # %body_parameters then looks like this, which is a form suitable for validating and creating
      # or updating a database.
      #
      # %body_parameters == (
      #   username => 'jnap',
      #   password => 'youllneverguess',
      #   password_confirmation => 'youllneverguess'
      #   name => +{
      #     first => 'John',
      #     last => 'Napiorkowski',
      #   },
      #   email => ['jjn1056@example1.com', 'jjn1056@example2.com'],
      # );

      # If you don't have theses that meant the request was ill-formed.
      $c->detach('errors/400_bad_request') unless %body_parameters; 

      # Ok so now you know %body_parameters are 'well-formed', you can use them to do stuff like
      # value validation and updating a databases, etc.

      my $new_user = $c->model('Schema::User')->validate_and_create(\%body_parameters);
    }

DESCRIPTION

WARNING: This is a quick midnight hack and the code could have sharp edges. Happy to take broken test cases.

When your web application receives incoming POST body or data you should treat that data with suspicion. Even prior to validation you need to make sure the incoming structure is well formed (this is most important when you have deeply nested structures, which can be a major security risk both in parsing and in using that data to do things like update a database). Catalyst::TraitFor::Request::StrongParameters offers a structured approach to whitelisting your incoming POSTed data, as well as a safe way to introduce nested data structures into your classic HTML Form posted data. It is also compatible for POSTed data (such as JSON POSTed data) although in the case of body data such as JSON we merely whitelist the fields and structure since JSON can already support nested data structures.

This is similar to a concept called 'strong parameters' in Rails although my implementation is somewhat different based on the varying needs of the Catalyst framework. However I consider this beta code and subject to change should real life use cases arise that indicate a different approach is warranted.

METHODS

This role defines the following methods:

strong_body

Returns an instance of Catalyst::Utils::StrongParameters preconfigured with the current contents of ->body_parameters. Any arguments are passed to that instances "permitted" methods before return.

strong_query

Parses the URI query string; otherwise same as "strong_body".

strong_data

The same as "strong_body" except aimed at body data such as JSON post. Basically works the same except the default for handling array values is to leave them alone rather than to flatten.

PARAMETER OBJECT METHODS

The instance of Catalyst::Utils::StrongParameters which is returned by any of the three builder methods above ("strong_body", "strong_query and "strong_data") supports the following methods."

namespace (\@fields)

Sets the current 'namespace' to start looking for fields and values. Useful when all the fields are under a key. For example if the value of ->body_parameters is:

    +{
        'person.name' => 'John',
        'person.age' => 52,
    }

If you set the namespace to ['person'] then you can create rule specifications that assume to be 'under' that key. See the "SYNOPSIS" for an example.

permitted (?\@namespace, @rules)

An array of rule specifications that are used to filter the current parameters as passed by the user and present a sanitized version that can safely be used in your code.

If the first argument is an arrayref, that value is used to set the starting "namespace".

required (?\@namespace, @rules)

An array of rule specifications that are used to filter the current parameters as passed by the user and present a sanitized version that can safely be used in your code.

If user submitted parameters do not match the spec an exception is throw (Catalyst::Exception::MissingParameter If you want to use required parameters then you should add code to catch this error and handle it (see below for more)

If the first argument is an arrayref, that value is used to set the starting "namespace".

flatten_array_value ($bool)

Switch to indicated if you want to flatten any arrayref values to 'pick last'. This is true by default for body and query parameters since its a common hack around quirks with certain types of HTML form controls (like checkboxes) which don't return a value when not selected or checked.

to_hash

Returns the currently filtered parameters based on the current permitted and/or required specifications.

CHAINING

All the public methods for Catalyst::Utils::StrongParameters return the current instance so that you can chain methods easilu (except for "to_hash"). If you chain "permitted" and "required" the accepted hashrefs are merged.

RULE SPECIFICATIONS

Catalyst::TraitFor::Request::StrongParameters offers a concise DSL for describing permitted and required parameters, including flat parameters, hashes, arrays and any combination thereof.

Given body_parameters of the following:

    +{
      'person.name' => 'John', 
      'person.age' => '52',
      'person.address.street' => '15604 Harry Lind Road',
      'person.address.zip' => '78621',
      'person.email[0]' => 'jjn1056@gmail.com',
      'person.email[1]' => 'jjn1056@yahoo.com',
      'person.credit_cards[0].number' => '245345345345345',
      'person.credit_cards[0].exp' => '2024-01-01',
      'person.credit_cards[1].number' => '666677777888878',
      'person.credit_cards[1].exp' => '2024-01-01',
      'person.credit_cards[].number' => '444444433333',
      'person.credit_cards[].exp' => '4024-01-01',
    }

    my %data = $c->req->strong_body
      ->namespace(['person'])
      ->permitted('name','age');

    # %data = ( name => 'John', age => 53 );
    
    my %data = $c->req->strong_body
      ->namespace(['person'])
      ->permitted('name','age', address => ['street', 'zip']); # arrayref means the following are subkeys

    # %data = (
    #   name => 'John', 
    #   age => 53, 
    #   address => +{
    #     street => '15604 Harry Lind Road',
    #     zip '78621',
    #   }
    # );

    my %data = $c->req->strong_body
      ->namespace(['person'])
      ->permitted('name','age', +{email => []} );  # wrapping in a hashref mean 'under this is an arrayref

    # %data = (
    #   name => 'John', 
    #   age => 53,
    #   email => ['jjn1056@gmail.com', 'jjn1056@yahoo.com']
    # );
    
    # Combine hashref and arrayref to indicate array of subkeyu
    my %data = $c->req->strong_body
      ->namespace(['person'])
      ->permitted('name','age', +{credit_cards => [qw/number exp/]} ); 

    # %data = (
    #   name => 'John', 
    #   age => 53,
    #   credit_cards => [
    #     {
    #       number => "245345345345345",
    #       exp => "2024-01-01",
    #     },
    #     {
    #       number => "666677777888878",
    #       exp => "2024-01-01",
    #     },
    #     {
    #       number => "444444433333",
    #       exp => "4024-01-01",
    #     },
    #   ]
    # );

You can specify more than one specification for the same key. For example if body parameters are:

    +{
      'person.credit_cards[0].number' => '245345345345345',
      'person.credit_cards[0].exp' => '2024-01-01',
      'person.credit_cards[1].number' => '666677777888878',
      'person.credit_cards[1].exp.year' => '2024',
      'person.credit_cards[1].exp.month' => '01',
    }

    my %data = $c->req->strong_body
      ->namespace(['person'])
      ->permitted(+{credit_cards => ['number', 'exp', exp=>[qw/year month/] ]} ); 

    # %data = (
    #   credit_cards => [
    #     {
    #       number => "245345345345345",
    #       exp => "2024-01-01",
    #     },
    #     {
    #       number => "666677777888878",
    #       exp => +{
    #         year => '2024',
    #         month => '01'
    #       },
    #     },
    #   ]
    # );

ARRAY DATA AND ARRAY VALUE FLATTENING

Please note this only applies to "strong_body" / "strong_query"

In the situation when you have a array value for a given namespace specification such as the following :

    'person.name' => 2,
    'person.name' => 'John', # flatten array should jsut pick the last one

We automatically pick the last POSTed value. This can be a useful hack around some HTML form elements that don't set an 'off' value (like checkboxes).

'EMPTY' FINAL INDEXES

Please note this only applies to "strong_body" / "strong_query"

Since the index values used to sort arrays are not preserved (they indicate order but are not used to set the index since that could open your code to potential hackers) we permit a final 'empty' index:

    'person.credit_cards[0].number' => '245345345345345',
    'person.credit_cards[0].exp' => '2024-01-01',
    'person.credit_cards[1].number' => '666677777888878',
    'person.credit_cards[1].exp' => '2024-01-01',
    'person.credit_cards[].number' => '444444433333',
    'person.credit_cards[].exp' => '4024-01-01',

This 'empty' index will always be considered the finall element when sorting

EXCEPTIONS

The following exceptions can be raised by these methods and you should add code to recognize and handle them. For example you can add a global or controller scoped 'end' action:

    sub end :Action {
      my ($self, $c) = @_;
      if(my $error = $c->last_error) {
        $c->clear_errors;
        if(blessed($error) && $error->isa('Catalyst::Exception::StrongParameter')) {
          # Handle the error perhaps by forwarding to a view and setting a 4xx 
          # bad request response code.
        }
      }
    }

Exception: Base Class

Catalyst::Exception::StrongParameter

There's a number of different exceptions that this trait can throw but they all inherit from Catalyst::Exception::StrongParameter so you can just check for that since those are all going to be considered 'Bad Request' type issues.

EXCEPTION: MISSING PARAMETER

Catalyst::Exception::MissingParameter ISA Catalyst::Exception::StrongParameter

If you use "required" and a parameter is not present you will raise this exception, which will contain a message indicating the first found missing parameter. For example:

    "Required parameter 'username' is missing."

This will not be an exhaustive list of the missing parameters and this feature in not intended to be used as a sort of form validation system.

AUTHOR

John Napiorkowski email:jjnapiork@cpan.org

SEE ALSO

Catalyst, Catalyst::Request

COPYRIGHT & LICENSE

Copyright 20121, John Napiorkowski email:jjnapiork@cpan.org

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

1 POD Error

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