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Access control

Control who can do what with your GraphQL API.

Note: This is the API documentation for access control. For getting started, see the Access control guide or the Authentication Guide.

There are three domains of access control:

  1. List level
  2. Field level
  3. Custom schema

To set defaults for all lists, fields, and custom schema, use the defaultAccess config when creating a Keystone instance. Each defaults to true if omitted.

JS
const keystone = new Keystone('My App', {
  defaultAccess: {
    list: true,
    field: true,
    custom: true,
  },
});

The auth operation

In addition to the standard Create/Read/Update/Delete (CRUD) operations, Keystone includes an Authenticate (auth) operation. Access to this operation may be configured at list level (not field level) and controls whether authentication queries and mutations are accessible on that list.

If you have a List which is being used as the target of an Authentication Strategy, you should set access: { auth: true } on that list.

List level access control

List level access control can have varying degrees of specificity depending on how much control you need.

A key on the list config, access can be specified either as a single control, covering all CRUDA operations, or as an object keyed by CRUDA operation names.

There are 3 ways to define the values of access, in order of flexibility:

  1. Static
  2. Imperative
  3. Declarative
TS
interface GraphQLWhere {
  [key: string]: any;
}

interface AccessInput {
  authentication: {
    item?: {};
    listKey?: string;
  };
  listKey?: string;
  operation?: string;
  originalInput?: {};
  gqlName?: string;
  itemId?: string;
  itemIds?: [string];
}

type StaticAccess = boolean;
type ImperativeAccess = (arg: AccessInput) => boolean;
type DeclarativeAccess = GraphQLWhere | ((arg: AccessInput) => GraphQLWhere);

interface GranularAccess {
  create?: StaticAccess | ImperativeAccess;
  read?: StaticAccess | ImperativeAccess | DeclarativeAccess;
  update?: StaticAccess | ImperativeAccess | DeclarativeAccess;
  delete?: StaticAccess | ImperativeAccess | DeclarativeAccess;
  auth?: StaticAccess;
}

type ListConfig = {
  access: StaticAccess | ImperativeAccess | GranularAccess;
};

GraphQLWhere matches the where clause on the GraphQl type. For instance, on the list User it would match the input type UserWhereInput.

AccessInput has the following properties:

PropertyDescription
authenticationThe currently authenticated user.
authentication.itemThe details of the current user. Will be undefined for anonymous users.
authentication.listKeyThe list key of the currently authenticated user. Will be undefined for anonymous users.
listKeyThe key of the list being operated on.
operationThe CRUDA operation being performed ('create', 'read', 'update', 'delete', 'auth').
originalInputFor create and update mutations, this is the data as passed in the mutation.
gqlNameThe name of the query or mutation which triggered the access check.
itemIdThe id of the item being updated/deleted in singular update and delete operations.
itemIdsThe ids of the items being updated/deleted in multiple update and delete operations.
contextThe context of the originating GraphQL operation.

When resolving StaticAccess:

  • true: Allow access
  • false: Do not allow access

Definition of access operations:

OperationDescription
createAbility to create new items in the list.
readAbility to view / fetch data on any items in the list.
updateAbility to alter data on any items in the list.
deleteAbility to remove an item from the list.
authAbility to use this list for authentication.

When access is denied, the GraphQL response will contain an error with type: 'AccessDeniedError', and null for the data.

Note: The create operation cannot be given DeclarativeAccess - it does not make sense to do so and will throw an error if attempted. Additionally, the auth operation control must be of type StaticAccess.

Shorthand static Boolean

Great for blanket access control for lists you want everyone/no one to see.

JS
keystone.createList('User', {
  access: true,
});

Note: When set to false, the list queries/mutations/types will not be included in the GraphQL schema.

Granular static Boolean

Use when you need some more fine grained control over what actions users can perform.

JS
keystone.createList('User', {
  access: {
    create: true,
    read: true,
    update: true,
    delete: true,
    auth: true,
  },
});

Note: When set to false, the list queries/mutations/types exclusive to that operation will not be included in the GraphQL schema. For example, setting create: false will cause the createXXXX mutation to be excluded from the schema, update: false will cause the updateXXXX mutation to be excluded, and so on.

Shorthand imperative Boolean

Enables turning access on/off based on the currently authenticated user.

JS
keystone.createList('User', {
  access: ({ authentication: { item, listKey } }) => {
    return true;
  },
});

Note: Even when returning false, the queries/mutations/types will be included in the GraphQL Schema.

Granular imperative Boolean

Use when you need some more fine grained control over what actions some or all anonymous/authenticated users can perform.

JS
keystone.createList('User', {
  access: {
    create: ({ authentication: { item, listKey } }) => true,
    read: ({ authentication: { item, listKey } }) => true,
    update: ({ authentication: { item, listKey } }) => true,
    delete: ({ authentication: { item, listKey } }) => true,
  },
});

Note: Even when returning false, the queries/mutations/types for that operation will be included in the GraphQL Schema. For example, create: () => false will still include the createXXXX mutation in the GraphQL Schema, and so on.

GraphQLWhere

In the examples below, the name_contains: 'k' syntax matches the UserWhereInput GraphQL type for the list.

  1. For singular read/update/delete operations, when the GraphQLWhere clause results in 0 items, an AccessDeniedError is returned.
  2. For batch read operations (eg; query { allUsers }), when the GraphQLWhere clause results in 0 items returned, no error is returned.
  3. For create operations, an AccessDeniedError is returned if the operation is set to / returns false

Granular static GraphQLWhere

Use when you need some more fine grained control over what items a user can perform actions on.

JS
keystone.createList('User', {
  access: {
    create: true,
    read: { name_contains: 'k' },
    update: { name_contains: 'k' },
    delete: { name_contains: 'k' },
  },

  fields: {
    name: { type: Text },
  },
});

Granular imperative GraphQLWhere

Use when you need some more fine grained control over which items and actions anonymous/authenticated users can perform.

JS
keystone.createList('User', {
  access: {
    create: ({ authentication: { item, listKey } }) => true,
    read: ({ authentication: { item, listKey } }) => ({
      state_not: 'deactivated',
    }),
    update: ({ authentication: { item, listKey } }) => ({
      state_not: 'deactivated',
    }),
    delete: ({ authentication: { item, listKey } }) => ({
      state_not: 'deactivated',
    }),
  },

  fields: {
    state: {
      type: Select,
      options: ['active', 'deactivated'],
      defaultValue: 'active',
    },
  },
});

Field level access control

A key on the field config, access can be specified either as a single control, covering all CRU operations, or as an object keyed by CRU operation names.

Important: Unlike List level access, it is not possible to specify a Declarative where clause for Field level access.

There are 2 ways to define the values of access, in order of flexibility:

  1. Static
  2. Imperative
TS
interface AccessInput {
  authentication: {
    item?: {};
    listKey?: string;
  };
  listKey?: string;
  fieldKey?: string;
  originalInput?: {};
  existingItem?: {};
  operation?: string;
  gqlName?: string;
  itemId?: string;
  itemIds?: [string];
  context?: {};
}

type StaticAccess = boolean;
type ImperativeAccess = (arg: AccessInput) => boolean;

interface GranularAccess {
  create?: StaticAccess | ImperativeAccess;
  read?: StaticAccess | ImperativeAccess;
  update?: StaticAccess | ImperativeAccess;
}

type FieldConfig = {
  access: StaticAccess | ImperativeAccess | GranularAccess;
};

Note: Fields do not have delete or auth access controls - these controls exists on the list level only (it's not possible to "delete" an existing field value - only to modify it, and authentication is list-wide).

PropertyDescription
authenticationThe currently authenticated user.
authentication.itemThe details of the current user. Will be undefined for anonymous users.
authentication.listKeyThe list key of the currently authenticated user. Will be undefined for anonymous users.
listKeyThe key of the list being operated on.
fieldKeyThe key of the field being operated on.
originalInputThe data as passed in the mutation for create and update mutations (undefined for read).
existingItemThe existing item this field belongs to for update mutations and read queries (undefined for create).
operationThe CRU operation being performed ('create', 'read', 'update').
gqlNameThe name of the query or mutation which triggered the access check.
itemIdThe id of the item being updated/deleted in singular update and delete operations.
itemIdsThe ids of the items being updated/deleted in multiple update and delete operations.
contextThe context of the originating GraphQL operation.

When defining StaticAccess:

  • true: Allow access
  • false: Do not allow access

Definition of access operations:

OperationDescription
createAbility to set the value of the field when creating a new item.
readAbility to view / fetch the value of this field on an item.
updateAbility to alter the value of this field on an item.

When access is denied, the GraphQL response will contain an error with type: 'AccessDeniedError', and null for the field.

Let's break it down into concrete examples:

Shorthand static Boolean

Great for blanket access control for fields you want everyone/no one to see.

JS
keystone.createList('User', {
  fields: {
    name: {
      type: Text,
      access: true,
    },
  },
});

Note: When set to false, the list queries/mutations/types will not include this field in the GraphQL schema.

Granular static Boolean

Use when you need some more fine grained control over what actions users can perform with this field.

JS
keystone.createList('User', {
  fields: {
    name: {
      type: Text,
      access: {
        create: true,
        read: true,
        update: true,
      },
    },
  },
});

Note: When set to false, this field will not be included in GraphQL queries/mutations/types exclusively used by that operation. Eg, setting update: false in the example above will remove the name field from the UserUpdateInput type but may still include the field in UserCreateInput for example.

Shorthand imperative Boolean

Enables turning access on/off based on the currently authenticated user.

JS
keystone.createList('User', {
  fields: {
    name: {
      type: Text,
      access: ({ authentication: { item, listKey }, existingItem }) => {
        return true;
      },
    },
  },
});

Note: Even when returning false, the queries/mutations/types will include the field in the GraphQL Schema.

Granular imperative Boolean

Use when you need some more fine grained control over what actions some or all anonymous/authenticated users can perform.

JS
keystone.createList('User', {
  access: {
    create: ({ authentication: { item, listKey }, existingItem }) => true,
    read: ({ authentication: { item, listKey }, existingItem }) => true,
    update: ({ authentication: { item, listKey }, existingItem }) => true,
  },
});

Note: Even when returning false, this field will be included in GraphQL queries/mutations/types exclusively used by that operation. Eg, setting update: () => false in the example above will still include the name field in the UserUpdateInput type.

Custom schema access control

Custom GraphQL schema can also be access-controlled. Each custom type, query, and mutation accepts an access key.

There are two ways to define the value of access:

  1. Static
  2. Imperative
TS
interface AccessInput {
  item {};
  args {} ;
  context: {};
  info: {};
  authentication: {
    item?: {};
    listKey?: string;
  };
  gqlName: string;
}

type StaticAccess = boolean;
type ImperativeAccess = (arg: AccessInput) => boolean;

type CustomOperationConfig = {
  access: StaticAccess | ImperativeAccess;
};

Static boolean

JS
keystone.extendGraphQLSchema({
  queries: [
    {
      schema: 'getUserByName(name: String!): Boolean',
      resolver: async (item, args, context, info, { query, access }) => {...},
      access: true,
    },
  ],
});

Useful if default custom access controls are set to false.

NOTE: When set to false, the custom queries/mutations/types will not be included in the GraphQL schema.

Imperative boolean

JS
keystone.extendGraphQLSchema({
  queries: [
    {
      schema: 'getUserByName(name: String!): Boolean',
      resolver: async (item, args, context, info, { query, access }) => {...},
      access: async ({ item, args, context, info, authentication: { item: authedItem, listKey }, gqlName }) => {
        return true;
      },
    },
  ],
});

Enables turning access on/off based on the currently authenticated user.

NOTE: Even when returning false, the custom queries/mutations/types will be included in the GraphQL Schema.

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