Authorization Specification

Add authorization and authentication to Koop services. Dive into the docs below or check out a working example here.


Each authorization plugin must have a file called index.js. Its purpose is to return a registration object that defines the type of Koop module and provides a set of configured functions that Koop will attach to each provider’s Model prototype. For example, the koop-auth-file-direct plugin exports a function that configures and returns a registration object that includes three functions, getAuthenticateSpecification, authenticate, and authorize.

    type: 'auth',
    getAuthenticationSpecification: Function,
    authenticate: Function,
    authorize: Function

authenticationSpecification function

Authorization plugins are required to return a function called “authenticationSpecification”. Its purpose is delivery of an object for use in configuring authentication in output-services (e.g., koop-output-geoservices). It should have the following signature:

authenticationSpecification() ⇒ object

As noted, authenticationSpecification returns an object configured with a provider’s namespace. The configured function should return an object with the following specification, though it can be extended:

  useHttp: Boolean // boolean flag indicating if HTTP (rather than HTTPS) should be used for the authentication endpoint 

An example of authenticationSpecification is available here.

authenticate function

Authorization plugins are required to return a function called authenticate. Its purpose is to validate credentials and, if successful, issue a token for authorizing subsequent resource requests. The authenticate function should have the following signature:

authenticate(req) ⇒ Promise
Param Type Description
req object Express request object. Credentials for authentication should be found in the query object.

As noted above, the authenticate function should return a promise. If the authentication is unsuccessful the promise should reject with an error object. The error should have a code property with value 401. If the authentication is successful, the promise should resolve an object with the following properties:

  token: String, // token that can be added to resource requests, and decoded and verified by the "authorization" function
  expires: Number, // number seconds until token expires

Authorization plugins are free to validate credentials in any manner. For example, you might check a database for a match of the submitted username and password, or forward the credentials on to a third-party identity-store. koop-auth-direct-file provides an example of a very basic credential validation using a simple JSON file-store.

authorize function

Authorization plugins are required to implement a function called authorize. It should accept an argument that can be used to verify the request is being made by an authenticated user (e.g., a token granted after successful authentication). It should have the following function signature:

authorize(input) ⇒ Promise
Param Type Description
input object Express request object. Query parameter or header should include input (e.g., token) that can be used to prove previously successful authentication

As noted above, the authorize function should return a promise. If the authorization is unsuccessful, the promise should reject with an error object. Successful authorization should allow the promise to resolve. An example of an authorize function can be viewed here.


Usage of an authorization-plugin can be conceptually divided into three parts: (1) configuration, (2) registration with Koop, and (3) use in output-services. Configuration will be dependent on how the plugin is authored. For example, with koop-auth-direct-file, configuration includes supplying required and or optional arguments and getting a configured response back:

let auth = require('@koopjs/auth-direct-file')('pass-in-your-secret', `${__dirname}/user-store.json`)

Registration is simply the code that registers the auth-plugin with Koop.


During registration, Koop stores a reference to the authorization plugin’s functions, and then later adds them to Model prototypes during provider registration. It is therefore essential that authorization plugins get configured and registered prior to all providers.

Successfully securing your services depends on support from any output-services you may be using. Koop ships with koop-output-geoservices, and as of version 1.5.1, it supports securing services with authorization plugins that implement the API documented here. For example, the following snippet demostrates how koop-output-geoservices uses the authorize function:

 * Handler for service, layer, and query routes
 * @param {object} req request object
 * @param {object} res response object
Geoservices.prototype.featureServer = function (req, res) {
  // Is model configured for token-authorization?
  if (typeof this.model.authorize === 'function') {
      .then(valid => {
        // model will be available when this is instantiated with the Koop controller
        pullDataAndRoute(this.model, req, res)
      .catch(err => {
        if (err.code === 401) FeatureServer.error.authorization(req, res)
        else res.status(err.code || 500).json({error: err.message})
  } else {
    pullDataAndRoute(this.model, req, res)

In the above example, the model is inspected for an authorize function and if found, executed. Successful authorization allows the fetching of data to proceed. Failure leads to a rejection of the request.

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