5er 5er - 21 days ago 6x
Java Question

ACL security in Spring Boot

I am having issues setting up ACL through Java config in a Spring Boot application. I have created one small project to reproduce the issues.

I have tried a few different approaches. First issue I had was with EhCache, and after I fixed that (I assume I did) I couldn't login any more, and it looks like all the data is gone.

There are 4 classes with different configurations:


annotations are working as expected, except

Controller holds 4 endpoints: one for User, one for Admin, one Public and the last one which gives me headache

I am pretty sure that inserts in DB are correct. This class is one of four, the last one that I have tried:

@EnableGlobalMethodSecurity(prePostEnabled = true, securedEnabled = true)
public class ACLConfig4 {

DataSource dataSource;

public EhCacheBasedAclCache aclCache() {
return new EhCacheBasedAclCache(aclEhCacheFactoryBean().getObject(), permissionGrantingStrategy(), aclAuthorizationStrategy());

public EhCacheFactoryBean aclEhCacheFactoryBean() {
EhCacheFactoryBean ehCacheFactoryBean = new EhCacheFactoryBean();
return ehCacheFactoryBean;

public EhCacheManagerFactoryBean aclCacheManager() {
return new EhCacheManagerFactoryBean();

public DefaultPermissionGrantingStrategy permissionGrantingStrategy() {
ConsoleAuditLogger consoleAuditLogger = new ConsoleAuditLogger();
return new DefaultPermissionGrantingStrategy(consoleAuditLogger);

public AclAuthorizationStrategy aclAuthorizationStrategy() {
return new AclAuthorizationStrategyImpl(new SimpleGrantedAuthority("ROLE_ADMINISTRATOR"));

public LookupStrategy lookupStrategy() {
return new BasicLookupStrategy(dataSource, aclCache(), aclAuthorizationStrategy(), new ConsoleAuditLogger());

public JdbcMutableAclService aclService() {
JdbcMutableAclService service = new JdbcMutableAclService(dataSource, lookupStrategy(), aclCache());
return service;

public DefaultMethodSecurityExpressionHandler defaultMethodSecurityExpressionHandler() {
return new DefaultMethodSecurityExpressionHandler();

public MethodSecurityExpressionHandler createExpressionHandler() {
DefaultMethodSecurityExpressionHandler expressionHandler = defaultMethodSecurityExpressionHandler();
expressionHandler.setPermissionEvaluator(new AclPermissionEvaluator(aclService()));
expressionHandler.setPermissionCacheOptimizer(new AclPermissionCacheOptimizer(aclService()));
return expressionHandler;


What am I missing here? Why I have no data if I use ACLConfig3.class or
ACLConfig4.class. Is there any example on how this should be configured programmatically in Spring Boot?

Again, the whole project (which is really small and simple) is available on GitHub: https://github.com/PeterGostincar/acl-java


The reason why you have no data was a bit tricky to find out. As soon as you define a MethodSecurityExpressionHandler bean in your config, there is no data in the database tables. This is because your data.sql file isn't executed.

Before explaining why data.sql isn't executed I'd first like to point out that you're not using the file as intended.

data.sql is executed by spring-boot after hibernate has been initialized and normally only contains DML statements. Your data.sql contains both DDL (schema) statements and DML (data) statements. This isn't ideal as some of your DDL statements clash with hibernate's hibernate.hbm2ddl.auto behaviour (note that spring-boot uses 'create-drop' when an embedded DataSource is being used). You should put your DDL statements in schema.sql and your DML statements in data.sql. As you're manually defining all tables you should disable hibernate.hbm2ddl.auto (by adding spring.jpa.hibernate.ddl-auto=none to applciation.properties).

That being said, let's take a look at why data.sql isn't executed.

The execution of data.sql is triggered via an ApplicationEvent that's fired via a BeanPostProcessor. This BeanPostProcessor (DataSourceInitializedPublisher) is created as a part of spring-boot's Hibernate/JPA auto configuration (see org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.orm.jpa.HibernateJpaAutoConfiguration, org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.orm.jpa.DataSourceInitializedPublisher and org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.jdbc.DataSourceInitializer).

Normally the DataSourceInitializedPublisher is created before the (embedded) DataSource is created and everything works as expected but by defining a custom MethodSecurityExpressionHandler the normal bean creation order alters. As you've configured @EnableGlobalMethodSecurity, your're automatically importing GlobalMethodSecurityConfiguration.

spring-security related beans are created early on. As your MethodSecurityExpressionHandler requires a DataSource for the ACL stuff and the spring-security related beans require your custom MethodSecurityExpressionHandler, the DataSource is created earlier than usual; in fact it's created so early on that spring-boot's DataSourceInitializedPublisher isn't created yet. The DataSourceInitializedPublisher is created later on but as it didn't notice the creation of a DataSource bean, it also doesn't trigger the execution of data.sql.

So long story short: the security configuration alters the normal bean creation order which results in data.sql not being loaded.

I guess that fixing the bean creation order would do the trick, but as I don't now how (without further experimentation) I propose the following solution: manually define your DataSource and take care of data initialization.

public class DataSourceConfig {
    public EmbeddedDatabase dataSource() {
        return new EmbeddedDatabaseBuilder().setType(EmbeddedDatabaseType.H2)
                 //as your data.sql file contains both DDL & DML you might want to rename it (e.g. init.sql)

As your data.sql file contains all DDL required by your application you can disable hibernate.hbm2ddl.auto. Add spring.jpa.hibernate.ddl-auto=none to applciation.properties.

When defining your own DataSource spring-boot's DataSourceAutoConfiguration normally back's out but if you want to be sure you can also exclude it (optional).

@EnableAutoConfiguration(exclude = DataSourceAutoConfiguration.class)
public class Application {

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        SpringApplication.run(Application.class, args);


This should fix your 'no data' problem. But in order to get everything working as expected you need to make 2 more modifications.

First of all, you should only define one MethodSecurityExpressionHandler bean. Currently you're defining 2 MethodSecurityExpressionHandler beans. Spring-security won't know which one to use and will (silently) use it's own internal MethodSecurityExpressionHandler instead. See org.springframework.security.config.annotation.method.configuration.GlobalMethodSecurityConfiguration#setMethodSecurityExpressionHandler.

@EnableGlobalMethodSecurity(prePostEnabled = true, securedEnabled = true)
public class MyACLConfig {

    public MethodSecurityExpressionHandler createExpressionHandler() {
        DefaultMethodSecurityExpressionHandler securityExpressionHandler = new DefaultMethodSecurityExpressionHandler();
        securityExpressionHandler.setPermissionEvaluator(new AclPermissionEvaluator(aclService()));
        securityExpressionHandler.setPermissionCacheOptimizer(new AclPermissionCacheOptimizer(aclService()));
        return securityExpressionHandler;


The last thing you need to do is make the getId() method in Car public.

public class Car {
    public long getId() {
        return id;

The standard ObjectIdentityRetrievalStrategy will look for a public method 'getId()' when trying to determine an object's identity during ACL permission evaluation.

(Note that I've based my answer upon ACLConfig4.)