Admin GUI configuration is a specialized data structure that is present in system configuration object, in all the role-like objects (roles, orgs, services) and also in the user objects. The admin GUI configuration structure influences how to user interface is displayed. Despite its name it applies both to the self-service part and administration part of the user interface.
The admin GUI configuration structure contains:
objectForms: User interface displays forms that use for editing various aspects of the objects. There is form that display basic properties, assignments, projections, history and so on. These are usually displayed as tabs on object detail pages in the user interface. The objectForms part of the admin GUI configuration controls which of these forms/tabs are displayed and which are not.
userDashboard: (since midPoint 3.6) This setting controls which widgets are displayed on user dashboard (home screen).
defaultTimezone: Defines the timezone that will be used by the user interface to display date and time information.
preferredDataLanguage: (since midPoint 3.6) Defines the data language that will use used by the user interface to display content of objects (XML, JSON or YAML)
additionalMenuLink: Links that will be displayed as an additional items in the user interface menu. It can be used to point the user to other services in your deployment.
- userDashboardLink: Application or shortcut links placed on end-user dashboard. Note: this configuration will be most likely placed inside the
userDashboradin the future. However the compatibility will be maintained and this setting will also remain here.
How It Works
The same admin GUI configuration structure may be specified in system configuration object, in all the role-like objects (roles, orgs, services) and also in the user objects. When a specific user logs in, midPoint will process all of user's roles to check for applicable authorizations. At the same time midPoint also compiles the effective admin GUI configuration. Following algorithm is used:
- Admin GUI configuration in the system configuration object is applied first (if present).
- Admin GUI configuration from all of the active roles, orgs and services is applied on top of that.
- The simple single-valued configuration properties such as default timezone are overwritten. Therefore the role setting completely overrides the system global setting. If several roles specify conflicting values then the behavior is unpredictable. It is a responsibility of midPoint administrator to ensure the consistency.
- Complex configuration structures such as objectForms and dashboard definitions are merged. The system global definition is merged with the definition from all the roles.
- Admin GUI config provided in the user object is applied last (if present).
The resulting merged configuration is used to display the user interface for a particular user.
This mechanism provides a very flexible customization of user interface. And the customization is inherently role-based. This mechanism can be used to display different object detail forms to different users. E.g. auditors will see the object history tab, but other user will not see it. Each role can have unique combination of the tabs. And as we have a merging algorithm in place, if a user has many roles he will see all the tabs specified by all the roles. Similar approach can be used to pre-define time zones and languages. If users are placed to organizational units according to their physical location then a time zone can be easily defined in that organizational unit admin GUI configuration.
The last step that applies admin GUI configuration from the user object is meant to store and re-apply user's own preferences about user interface look and feel. At the time of this writing (midPoint 3.6) it is only partially implemented.
The merged configurations (forms, widgets) have one quite specific characteristic. If no configuration is present at all, then a default configuration will be used (all default tabs, all default widgets). However if only a single form or widget is defined then the default configuration is not applied. All forms/widgets need to be explicitly defined. The forms have additional setting that includes all the default forms (
includeDefaultForms) if that is needed. However, there is no such setting for widgets. Any number of forms can be combined together as each form is in a separate tab. But there is only a limited number of widgets and they all are built to have their fixed place. This may change in the future and the dashboards may become more flexible. But they are not that flexible yet. Therefore all the widgets need to be explicitly defined in order to appear in a customized dashboard.
The default (built-in) forms has their URIs that can be used to refer to them (see an example below). These are the URIs:
|Request a role|
|Delegated to me|
Show Only Some Default Forms
Suppose you want to show only "Basic" and "Assignment" tabs in the user details page. The you can define a role like this:
If user has this role the he will see only basic tab and assignments. The projections, history and other tabs will be hidden. Of course, if the user has more roles that gives access to more tabs that he will see these tabs as well.
New Custom Form in a Role
The following example adds a completely custom user form (Java class). The form will appear as a new tab in the user details page. This definition is set in a role, therefore only the users that have this role will see the form.
The form implemented in the
com.piracy.form.PirateUserPanel will be used to display user details for all the users that have this role. There is no
includeDefaultForms setting. Therefore the default forms will not be displayed in this case. User that have just this one role will see just this one custom tab.
Hiding User Dashboard Widgets
Following example can be used to customize the look of the user dashboard (home screen).
The users that have this role will see only a very limited dashboard. They will see only the shortcuts and "my requests" box. There will be no search, no work items, not anything else.
Let's have another role:
This role defines just one widget. Therefore if a user has just this one role then he will see only the workitems widget. But if the user has both roles then the configuration will be merged and he will see all three widgets.
Admin GUI Congifuration and Authorizations
At the first sight the use of admin GUI configuration to define object forms and dashboard widgets may seem to be redundant. It may look that authorization mechanism provides the same services. But there are subtle differences.
- The authorization mechanism is designed to answer one very specific question: can subject S do action A with object O? However, in user interface it is often desired to hide information that the user is entitled to see. E.g. maybe we do not want to display the default assignments tab (even though the user can read assignments) because we want to replace it with a simplified custom tab. Maybe we do not want to display some dashboard widgets to keep the dashboard simple. There may be many use cases when authorizations allow something but we still do not want to display it.
- The authorizations are designed for very easy, efficient and unambiguous merging. The authorizations defined by many roles are all executed together. It is not good if one authorization allows something (e.g. read access to
assignmentcontainer in the user object) but other authorization subtly influences the decision (e.g. do not display the default assignments tab). It is best if all authorizations in midPoint remain "positive" (
allowauthorizations). If we want to follow that principle then we would need special authorization for every little GUI element and typical end user will need to have them all. This is very likely to multiply the number of required authorization and it might easily make the system unmaintainable.
- The authorizations are designed to be very efficient. They are evaluated for every operation (even several times in some cases). We have to do this as authorizations are our security barrier and there must be no way how to go around them. We do not really want to overuse authorizations as that may impact system performance. On the other hand, look and feel of user interface is not critical. We can afford to pre-process the settings and keep a cached copy of the results. We do not need to re-evaluate it every time.
However, the autorizations and the admin GUI configuration work together in several cases.
Firstly, shortcuts and menu links may explicitly specify an authorization (action) that is required for this shortcut/link to be displayed:
This link will be displayed only if the user has authorization that allow the action specified in the link.
Secondly, inclusion of default forms and the
automatic visibility mode of widgets are authorization-sensitive. This means that form or widget will be displayed only if the user has access to the data that are displayed.