SimpleSAMLphp module to provide additional attributes from a SQL database

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v1.4 2019-03-16 13:45 UTC

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Last update: 2022-05-09 15:32:52 UTC


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This SimpleSAMLphp auth proc filter allows you to provides additional attributes from a SQL datastore. It is useful in situations where your primary authsource is a directory (e.g. AD) that you do not have direct control over, and you need to add additional attributes for specific users but cannot add them into the directory/modify the schema.


Once you have installed SimpleSAMLphp, installing this module is very simple. Just execute the following command in the root of your SimpleSAMLphp installation:

composer.phar require safire-ac-za/simplesamlphp-module-sqlattribs:dev-master

where dev-master instructs Composer to install the master (development) branch from the Git repository. See the releases available if you want to use a stable version of the module.

You then need to create the following table in your SQL database:

    `uid` VARCHAR(100) NOT NULL,
    `sp` VARCHAR(250) DEFAULT '%',
    `attribute` VARCHAR(30) NOT NULL,
    `value` TEXT,
    `expires` DATE DEFAULT '9999-12-31',
     PRIMARY KEY (`id`)

Note that if you are upgrading from v1.2 or earlier you need to make the following change to your existing database:

ALTER TABLE `AttributeFromSQL` ADD `expires` DATE DEFAULT '9999-12-31';


This module provides the sqlattribs:AttributeFromSQL auth proc filter, which can be used as follows:

50 => [
    'class'     => 'sqlattribs:AttributeFromSQL',
    'attribute' => 'eduPersonPrincipalName',
    'limit'     => ['eduPersonEntitlement', 'eduPersonAffiliation'],
    'replace'   => false,
    'database'  => [
        'dsn'       => 'mysql:host=localhost;dbname=simplesamlphp',
        'username'  => 'yourDbUsername',
        'password'  => 'yourDbPassword',
        'table'     => 'AttributeFromSQL',

Where the parameters are as follows:

  • class - the name of the class, must be sqlattribs:AttributeFromSQL

  • attribute - the attribute to use as the uid/key for database searches, defaults to eduPersonPrincipalName if not specified.

  • limit - an optional array specifying the attribute names we can add. If not specified, all attributes that are found in the database are added. Defaults to allowing all attributes.

  • replace - behaviour when an existing attribute of the same name is encountered. If false (the default) then new values are pushed into an array, creating a multi-valued attribute. If true, then existing attributes of the same name are replaced (deleted).

  • ignoreExpiry - ignore any expiry date (default is to ignore attributes that are beyond the date in the expires column).

  • database - an array containing information about the data store, with the following parameters:

    • dsn - the data source name, defaults to mysql:host=localhost;dbname=simplesamlphp

    • username - the username to connect to the database, defaults to none (blank username)

    • password - the password to connect to the database, defaults to none (blank password)

    • table - the name of the table/view to search for attributes, defaults to AttributeFromSQL

Adding attributes

This module provides no interface to add attributes into the database. This can be done manually with SQL similar to the following:

INSERT INTO AttributeFromSQL (uid, sp, attribute, value) VALUES ('', '%', 'eduPersonEntitlement', '');
INSERT INTO AttributeFromSQL (uid, sp, attribute, value) VALUES ('', '', 'eduPersonEntitlement', '');
INSERT INTO AttributeFromSQL (uid, sp, attribute, value, expires) VALUES ('', '%', 'eduPersonAffiliation', 'faculty', '2020-12-31');
INSERT INTO AttributeFromSQL (uid, attribute, value) VALUES ('', 'mail', '');

The optional sp field (defaults to '%' with the above SQL CREATE) is used to limit which SP sees a particular attribute. The special value % is used to indicate all SPs. If you wish to indicate more than one SP but not all, insert multiple lines.

Where multiple attributes of the same name occur, these become a single multi-valued attribute. Thus assuming the user started with attributes of:

$attributes = [
   'eduPersonPrincipalName' => '',
   'eduPersonAffiliation' => ['member'],
   'displayName' => 'Example User',

The the above SQL table and example auth proc filter would lead to a combined attribute set of:

$attributes = [
    'eduPersonPrincipalName' => '',
    'displayName' => 'Example User',
    'eduPersonEntitlement' => [
    'eduPersonAffiliation' => [

Note that because the the limit parameter, the mail attribute was not added. And because replace was false, eduPersonAffiliation was merged. It is assumed that this SP has an Entity Id of - other SPs would not see the SP-specific eduPersonEntitlement attribute.