User management extension for Yii2

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1.0.1 2019-05-18 11:38 UTC


User management module for Yii2 framework

Pluto is a complete user management module for the Yii 2.0 PHP Framework.

It manages log in and log out of users, sign up, email-confirmation, blocking and assigning roles. Users can change their email-address, ask for a reset of their password. The site administrator can define roles and permissions and assign permissions to roles.

A demonstration of Pluto is here.


Pluto relies on Role-Based Access Control (RBAC). Therefore, the authManager application component has to be configured. Pluto works with Yii's PhpManager as well as with the DbManager.

Because Pluto sends emails, the mailer component of the application has to be up and running. Be sure that the 'adminEmail' parameter of the application has a sensible value. If you prefer, you may set the 'supportEmail' parameter as well; if set, Pluto will use this.

Pluto uses Yii2 flash messages, so these have to be configured as well. If the site is set up using one of Yii's project templates, this will be taken care of.


Install yii2-pluto in the usual way with Composer. Add the following to the require section of your composer.json file:

"sjaakp/yii2-pluto": "*"

or run:

composer require sjaakp/yii2-pluto

You can manually install yii2-pluto by downloading the source in ZIP-format.


Pluto is a module in the Yii2 framework. It has to be configured in the main configuration file, usually called web.php or main.php in the config directory. Add the following to the configuration array:

// ...
'modules' => [
    'pluto' => [
        'class' => 'sjaakp\pluto\Module',
        // several options
// ...

The module has to be bootstrapped. Do this by adding the following to the application configuration array:

// ...
'bootstrap' => [
// ...

There probably already is a bootstrap property in your configuration file; just add 'pluto' to it.

Important: the module should also be set up in the same way in the console configuration (usually called console.php).

Console commands

To complete the installation, two console commands have to be run. The first will create a database table for the users:

yii migrate

The migration applied is called sjaakp\pluto\migrations\m000000_000000_init.

The second console command is:

yii pluto

This will set up the basic roles and permissions.


Pluto adds a bunch of actions to the application. The most important are:

Route Description
<>/pluto/login to log in
<>/pluto/logout to log out
<>/pluto/signup to sign up (register)
<>/pluto/forgot if the user forgot her password
<>/pluto/settings to change name or email-address
<>/pluto/download to download user data in human and machine readable form (requirement of European legislation)
<>/pluto/delete to be completely forgotten by the site (also a requirement of the EU)
<>/pluto/user User management (only for 'support' and 'admin' Roles)
<>/pluto/role Role management (only for 'admin')


After installation of Pluto, the site recognizes two user Roles and a few Permissions. Read more about them in the Authorization chapter of the Yii-guide. The installed Roles are:

Role Description
'support' user who can manage user data (except those from 'admin')
'admin' user with unlimited Permissions, like creating more Roles and Permissions

Integrate in the user interface

Now that Pluto is installed, it has to be integrated in the user interface of the site. There are dozens of ways to accomplish this, but here are some general guidelines:

  • A guest user should be offered an opportunity to log in. Pluto's login screen has options to sign up (register) for new users, and to reset the password.
  • An authenticated user should be offered an opportunities to log out, as well as to change her settings, etc.
  • Users with special permissions should have options to access Pluto's User Management Pages and the like.

LoginMenu is a widget to integrate Pluto in the site's main menu:

use ...
use sjaakp\pluto\widgets\LoginMenu

$user = Yii::$app->user;

$navItems = [
    ['label' => 'Home', 'url' => '/' ],
    // ...
    ['label' => 'About', 'url' => ['/site/about']],
    // ... more menu items ...,
        'options' => [
           'class' => 'bg-primary'

    'options' => [
        'class' => '... navbar-dark bg-primary',
    // ... more NavBar options ...
echo Nav::widget([
    'items' => $navItems,

Take care to give LoginMenu the same background defining CSS class as NavBar, for instance bg-primary.


The Pluto module has an extensive range of options. They are set in the application configuration like so:

 // ...
 'modules' => [
     'pluto' => [
         'class' => 'sjaakp\pluto\Module',
         'passwordHint' => 'At least eight characters, one uppercase, one digit',
         // ...
         // ... more options ...
 // ...

The options (all are optional) are:

  • viewOptions array CSS options for certain aspects of Pluto's views, with the following key-value pairs. Optimized for Bootstrap4.
    • 'row' Options for the outer 'row'-div. Default value: [ 'class' => 'row justify-content-center' ].
    • 'col' Likewise for the inner 'col'-div. Default: [ 'class' => 'col-md-6 col-lg-5' ].
    • 'button' Options for the view's main button. Default: [ 'class' => 'btn btn-success' ].
    • 'link' Options for the secondary links. Default: [ 'class' => 'btn btn-sm btn-secondary' ].
  • views array See below. Default: [].
  • mailOptions array Options for the app mailer. Default: see source.
  • passwordFlags array Options for the password input. Keys: any of the action id's (like 'login' or 'forgot'), or 'all' (meaning, well, all of the actions). Values: string or array of the following flags. Default: [ 'all' => 'reveal' ].
    • 'reveal' Password input has a small 'reveal'-button.
    • 'double' User must fill in password twice (doesn't affect 'forgot', 'resend').
    • 'captcha' Dialog has captcha field.
  • passwordRegexp string Regular expression against which the password is matched. Complex example: '^\S*(?=\S{8,})(?=\S*[a-z])(?=\S*[A-Z])(?=\S*[\d])\S*$' (meaning: at least 8 characters, of which at least one lower case, one upper case, and one digit. To experiment with this, use a site like Live Regex. Default: '/^\S*(?=\S{6,})\S*$/'.
  • passwordHint string Textual representation of the above. Default: 'At least 6 characters'.
  • defaultRole null|string|array Role(s) assigned to new users. Default: null.
  • firstDefaultRole null|string|array Role(s) assigned to the first new user. Default: 'admin'.
  • ruleNamespace string Namespace for Rule-classes (Conditions). Default: 'app\rbac'
  • tokenStamina integer Duration of the valid state of a sent email-token. Default: 21600 (six hours).
  • loginStamina integer Duration of 'Remember me'. Default: 2592000 (thirty days).
  • formClass null|string Yii2 class used for forms. If null, this is set to ActiveForm in the 'bootstrap' namespace. Default: null
  • multipleRoles boolean Whether more than one role can be assigned to a user. In my opinion this is generally a very bad idea. Therefore, default: false.
  • fenceMode boolean Whether the site is 'behind a fence', i.e. completely unaccessible for guest users. Every page leads to the login screen. Great for development stages. Default: false.
  • profileClass null|string|array Name of the class used as profile. Can also be a configuration array. Default: null.
  • identityClass string Class name of the identity object associated with the current user. May be changed into a class extended from sjaakp\pluto\models\User. Default: 'sjaakp\pluto\models\User'.


Apart from the User model, users can also have a Profile model. This can hold extra information that's intended to be public: a short bio, profile photo, avatar, location and the like. Pluto doesn't implement a Profile model itself, but it does support it.

A Profile is a standard ActiveRecord with one, very important, peculiarity: it's id field is not auto-incrementing.

Instead, the id field in the Profile's database table should be declared UNIQUE. The Profile takes the same id as the User it is associated with.

The Profile model should be configured as profileClass in Pluto's configuration.

Instead of just the class name, the 'profile' component can also be initialized with a configuration array, with the class name as value of the 'class' element, like on many other places in the Yii2 kingdom.

With this setup, Pluto will automatically create a Profile for each registered user. If a User is deleted, her Profile will be deleted as well.

Roles, Permissions and all that

For the uninitiated, Roles and Permissions can be daunting. The Authorization chapter of the Yii-guide offers some help. Basically, Roles are assigned to Users, and Permissions are used to structure the site. One or more Permissions are assigned to each Role.

Both Roles and Permissions can be subject to Conditions (Yii2 calls these 'Rules'). They are implemented as PHP classes, extending from yii\rbac\Rule. Pluto looks under namespace 'app\rbac' (settable by option ruleNamespace) for unregistered Condition's and offers 'admin' an opportunity to register them.

Pluto avoids the somewhat misleading term 'children' with respect to Roles and Permissions. Instead it uses 'Included Roles' or 'Included Permissions'.

Sign up the first 'admin'

With the default set-up, Pluto automatically assigns the 'admin' Role to the first user who signs up. If afterwards you come into a situation without a registered 'admin', there is no possibility to manage Roles. There are several solutions to this puzzle. One is: temporarely set Pluto's defaultRole to 'admin'. The importance of temporarely can't be stretched enough. You'll never want this setting in a live site.


Pluto supports Yii2's standard Captcha, as well as Google's reCaptcha v2 ('I am not a robot'). A captcha-challenge will show up in the dialog when one of the passwordFlags is 'captcha'. If himiklab/yii2-recaptcha-widget is installed on the site, it will be Google's reCaptcha v2, otherwise Yii2's standard captcha.


All of Pluto's utterances are translatable. The translations are in the 'sjaakp\pluto\messages' directory.

You can override Pluto's translations by setting the application's message source in the main configuration, like so:

// ...
'components' => [
    // ... other components ...     
    'i18n' => [
         'translations' => [
              // ... other translations ...
             'pluto' => [    // override pluto's standard messages
                 'class' => 'yii\i18n\PhpMessageSource',
                 'basePath' => '@app/messages',  // this is a default
                 'sourceLanguage' => 'en-US',    // this as well
    // ... still more components ...

The translations should be in a file called 'pluto.php'.

If you want a single or only a few messages translated and use Pluto's translations for the main part, the trick is to set up 'i18n' like above and write your translation file something like:

 // app/messages/nl/pluto.php
 $plutoMessages = Yii::getAlias('@sjaakp/pluto/messages/nl/pluto.php');
 return array_merge (require($plutoMessages), [
    'Settings' => 'Instellingen',   // your preferred translation

At the moment, the only language implemented is Dutch. Agreed, it's only the world's 52th language, but it happens to be my native tongue. Please, feel invited to translate Pluto in other languages. I'll be more than glad to include them into Pluto's next release.

Override view-files

Any of the Pluto's view files can be overridden, perhaps to add a logo or change the structure. Just set the views setting of the module to something like:

 // ...
 'modules' => [
     'pluto' => [
         'class' => 'sjaakp\pluto\Module',
         'views' => [
              'default' => [    // Pluto controller id
                  'login' => <view file>    // action => view
         // ...
         // ... more options ...
 // ...

<view file> can be of any form yii\web\controller::render() accepts.

Override identity-class

Pluto sets sjaakp\pluto\models\User as identityClass of the application's yii\web\User component. If you're ambitious, you might develop your own identity-class. This should extend from sjaakp\pluto\models\User and be set as Pluto's identityClass option.


Pluto happens to be the name of a friendly guard dog I once knew. If you really hate that name, just set up the module like this:

// ...
'modules' => [
    'saturnus' => [
        'class' => 'sjaakp\pluto\Module',
        // several options
// ...
'bootstrap' => [
// ...

Your users will never be confronted with the name 'pluto'.