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QuestionThoughts on Authorization in a Hierarchical User Structure. Pin
Brady Kelly1-Dec-12 1:56
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I am busy developing a timesheet capture service which has a hierarchical user structure[1], where e.g. the top user in a hierarchy represents a distinct organization or related group of users. This user can then create more users under their self. This design has been laid down by my client. For authorization, I have interpreted this so that a user higher up in the user tree has access to all users below them in the tree, as well as entities owned by those lower users. This seems logical to me, as a user higher in the tree 'owns' users lower down. The client is not clear on whether this is the way to go, as in some situations it is ideal that users lower down have access to entities created by users above them in the tree. My client is unclear on what he wants here and expects some assistance in deriving a practical authorization scheme for this hierarchical user scheme.

Let me introduce the entity Customer to this scenario. Originally, a User owned Customers, so in my interpretation, a user higher up in the tree (more senior) had access to all customers owned by users lower down in the tree. This preserves the higher privilege of higher users, but prevents a more senior user creating customers for more junior users to work on. Now I have to change this one user to many customers relationship to many users to many customers, complicating things somewhat.

I'm not asking for a solution here, but some input and maybe suggestions or warnings for proceeding to try and devise a working authorization scheme for this complex matrix of user trees crossed with customer trees.


[1] Many other entities are also hierarchical, but not yet relevant here.
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