Provides more advanced permission management for data objects in SilverStripe.

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3.0.2 2020-06-22 05:25 UTC


This module changes SilverStripe's object access module to be locked down as the default case, meaning that by default, there are NO permissions to an object except those explicitly granted to a user on a node (or tree), with the exception of admin users, who always have full access to all objects)

The new model of permission access has a few concepts that are slightly different to the existing model, and draws off the model seen in Alfresco

  • Permissions - low level units describing a capability. For example, View, Write, Publish, ChangePermissions. When writing code and you need to check permissions, these are the things checked against
  • Roles - Groupings of permissions. For example, an Editor role is made up of the View and Edit permissions
  • Authority - a user or a group within the system
  • Grant - Being explicit about whether a user can or cannot do something (a permission is GRANTed or DENY'd to an authority)

In the existing SilverStripe model, Roles and Permissions are high level concepts without any context to the content in the system. They cover high level permission concepts such as 'access the CMS'. For node specific control, there is only explicit support for allowing View or Edit permission.

This new model allows you to specify much more finely grained access restrictions directly to a node or tree of nodes. For example, it is possible to specify that a user can perform the Editor role (giving view and write access) in one part of the tree, but also Manager access (Editor plus Publish/Delete etc) to another part of the tree.

Additionally, you can explicitly DENY access to a node inside a tree where the user might already have been granted access at a higher point.

Finally, the new model supports the concept of a content owner, who has (almost) unrestricted access to content that they themselves have created within areas that they have been allowed to create within.

Maintainer Contacts


The master branch of this module is currently aiming for SilverStripe 3.1 compatibility


  • SilverStripe 3.0+


  • Place this directory in the root of your SilverStripe installation. Ensure that the folder name is restrictedobjects.
  • Run dev/build with the ?disable_perms=1 parameter - in dev mode, permissions can be disabled by using this flag, which is needed to ensure things are installed correctly
  • Assign the extensions
Object::add_extension('Page', 'Restrictable');
Object::add_extension('SiteConfig', 'Restrictable');
Object::add_extension('Page', 'RestrictedPage');
  • Run dev/build again, login to your system as an admin
  • On your "Site" object, make sure the "Allow public access" checkbox is enabled so that the site is still viewable.
  • Create the following DB index; SS doesn't give a nice way to do this and static $indexes doesn't seem to work anyway...
    • ALTER TABLE AccessAuthority ADD INDEX ( ItemID , ItemType ) ;

Typical use cases

When would you want to use this model?

From an end user perspective

  • You want to manage access to dataobjects with specificly structured permission sets
  • You want to grant certain access for specific authorities to one part of your site tree, but not to others, and those permissions are not just 'read' or 'write'.
  • You want to define roles that match organisational roles within tree structures.
  • You want to be able to deny specific authorities certain permissions within a section of the site tree, while leaving a broad set of permissions granted above and below.

From a developer perspective

  • You want to define permissions that are specific to the functionality you are managing, using verbs to describe the permissions, and nouns for the role that groups these permissions together.
  • You want to ensure that the code you execute is checking access rights before nodes are accessed or modified
  • You want to avoid writing explicit code to manage custom permission assignment for your own modules or sites

Quick start

To manage permissions using the restricted objects module, there are a few steps commonly performed

  • Navigate to the node (SiteConfig, Page, or custom data object type) that you want permissions applied on.
  • On the Permissions tab, click "Add Access Authority"
  • Select the role to give the user. This will give them the permissions defined for this role in the Access Roles section of the CMS
  • Select which members or groups to grant this role for
  • Select whether to GRANT or DENY this permission
  • Click "Save"
  • Once the permission table refreshes, you will see all the permissions granted for that "Authority".

Some default access roles are automatically created when you install the system. These can be accessed via the Access Roles section. To define new roles, you simply create a new AccessRole item, and select the permissions you want to use within it.

Assigning roles are done from the "Permissions" tab of any content item. You can specify the role to assign for a user or a group, and whether you are granting or denying that role. You can also choose individual permissions to apply or revoke.

To define a new low-level permission item, you must define a class that implements PermissionDefiner (not to be confused with the default SilverStripe interface PermissionProvider) and return a simple array of strings in the definePermissions() method. These strings should be the permissions you check for in $obj->checkPerm('CustomPerm');

See the (wiki)[] for more.

Inherited permissions

Rather than just providing permission inheritance via a ParentID lookup, in some cases that there may be situations where there are multiple objects that would be considered a 'parent' for permission determination. To support this, the permission lookup mechanism allows developers to define a few mechanisms for providing this inherited source object

On a data object directly

  • The method effectiveParents() that can return an SS_List of parent objects
  • The method effectiveParent() that can return a data object directly

Via an Extension subclass

  • updateEffectiveParents(&$parentNodes) which can add additional nodes onto the effective parents list

Permission caching

All permissions are cached immediately after lookup, including the result of any inherited permissions, meaning that subsequent data changes may change this inheritance structure. To work around this, the system also caches some key data relationships, namely

  • the list of nodes that $node derives inherited permissions from, indexed as source_nodeType_nodeID . This includes all generational ancestors, not just immediate parents
  • A graph of all the nodes that an item provides inherited permissions to.

Thus following a change to any node in the hierarchy, the cached data for any dependent node can be immediately purged.