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Dustin J. Mitchell

Revising the allowForce option

13 Feb 2010

Buildbot’s WebStatus display has, for a long time, had an allowForce option which controls what kind of mayhem can be wrought via the web interface. Historically, this has been a boolean option: either web users can do everything (force builds and shut down slaves) or nothing. Bug 701 asks that we change that to give more granular access control.

Buildbot has an interesting way of separating the status display from the control functionality. It has two parallel interface hierarchies, IStatus and IControl, implementing the necessary methods. The IStatus hierarchy is illustrated with the orange bubbles here:

The IControl hierarchy is similar, although it only goes down to the Build level right now.

When allowForce is true, the WebStatus object adapts the buildmaster to the IControl interface and adds a link to the result in its control attribute. Forcing a build or shutting down a slave then uses this object to navigate to the appropriate control object and calls a method from the corresponding interface. If the control attribute is None, no access is allowed.

This scheme has the advantage that it is difficult to accidentally expose functionality, since when allowForce is false, the control methods are inaccessible. However, it has the disadvantage of not allowing any more granular level of access control.

I just reworked the web status to have a more flexible authorization mechanism, and while I wasn’t able to remove the IControl hierarchy entirely, I was able to marginalize it to only those code blocks that need to perform controlled actions, instead of passing control objects all over the place.