Skip to main content

Ruby: Using reset_session in Rails with Cucumber and Webrat

I filed the following bug:
All the Rails security guides say that you should call reset_session after the user logs in or logs out. This clears out the session and forces a new session ID to be created. It seems there have been a few Rails bugs related to reset_session over the years. However, I'm now worried that there's a conflict somewhere related to Rails' testing infrastructure and/or Webrat.

In my login action, I call reset_session and then put a nice message in flash. When I actually use the website, I can see (via Firefox) that I'm getting a new session ID, and I can see my flash message. However, when I write tests for those two things, the flash message gets lost, and I don't get a new session ID in my cookies. It's almost as if the new session is being ignored, and the old session is being used.

I'm sorry, but I can't tell exactly where the problem is. I know that there's special Rails code that handles session cookies when you're doing integration testing.

I'm using actionpack-2.3.8 and webrat-0.7.1.
Here's how I did my best to work around the problem.

First of all, I'm storing my sessions in the database. Hence, I created an ActiveRecord model to manually delete session records:
class Session < ActiveRecord::Base
# Rails' reset_session has been nothing but trouble for us. I'm taking
# matters into my own hands. This code will have to change if we stop
# putting our sessions in the database.
def self.nuke_session(session_id)
find_by_session_id!(session_id).destroy
end
end
Since I'm using authlogic, my logout action looks something like this:
def destroy
current_user_session.destroy

# Avoid session fixation attacks. This may seem redundant, but it was
# necessary to make the tests pass.
session[:test_that_this_disappears] = 'ok'
session_id = cookies[ActionController::Base.session_options[:key]]
Session.nuke_session(session_id)
reset_session

redirect_to :action => :logged_out
end
My login action is something like this:
def create
@user_session = UserSession.new(params[:user_session])
unless @user_session.valid?
return render :action => :new
end

# Avoid session fixation attacks by resetting the session.
reset_session
@user_session = UserSession.new(params[:user_session])
@user_session.save!

# For some reason, flash, reset_session, Cucumber, etc. don't get along,
# so I have to pass the flash message via a parameter.
redirect_to(root_url(:login => 1))
end
Instead of setting a message via flash, I pass a query parameter.

I check for this parameter in my ApplicationController:
before_filter :check_for_login_message
...
# For some reason, flash, reset_session, Cucumber, etc. don't get along.
# Hence, after login, we have to pass the flash message via a query parameter
# rather than via flash.
#
# If I have to do this kind of thing again, I'll create a lookup table full
# of messages.
def check_for_login_message
flash.now[:success_message] = "Login successful!" if params[:login]
end
Finally, I have this in a feature file:
# This test should work.  In fact, it does work when you use your browser.
# However, there's a bug somewhere between Rails and Webrat that prevents
# it from working when you use Cucumber. Somehow, reset_session is broken.
#
# Scenario: logging in should invalidate your session cookie
# Given I am on the homepage
# When I look at my session cookie
# And I am logged in
# Then I should have a different session cookie
That test relies on these steps:
# This test should work.  In fact, it does work when you use your browser.
# However, there's a bug somewhere between Rails and Webrat that prevents
# it from working when you use Cucumber. Somehow, reset_session is broken.
#
# Given /^I look at my session cookie$/ do
# @cookie = cookies[ActionController::Base.session_options[:key]]
# end
#
# Then /^I should have a different session cookie$/ do
# new_cookie = cookies[ActionController::Base.session_options[:key]]
# new_cookie.should_not == @cookie
# end

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ubuntu 20.04 on a 2015 15" MacBook Pro

I decided to give Ubuntu 20.04 a try on my 2015 15" MacBook Pro. I didn't actually install it; I just live booted from a USB thumb drive which was enough to try out everything I wanted. In summary, it's not perfect, and issues with my camera would prevent me from switching, but given the right hardware, I think it's a really viable option. The first thing I wanted to try was what would happen if I plugged in a non-HiDPI screen given that my laptop has a HiDPI screen. Without sub-pixel scaling, whatever scale rate I picked for one screen would apply to the other. However, once I turned on sub-pixel scaling, I was able to pick different scale rates for the internal and external displays. That looked ok. I tried plugging in and unplugging multiple times, and it didn't crash. I doubt it'd work with my Thunderbolt display at work, but it worked fine for my HDMI displays at home. I even plugged it into my TV, and it stuck to the 100% scaling I picked for the othe

ERNOS: Erlang Networked Operating System

I've been reading Dreaming in Code lately, and I really like it. If you're not a dreamer, you may safely skip the rest of this post ;) In Chapter 10, "Engineers and Artists", Alan Kay, John Backus, and Jaron Lanier really got me thinking. I've also been thinking a lot about Minix 3 , Erlang , and the original Lisp machine . The ideas are beginning to synthesize into something cohesive--more than just the sum of their parts. Now, I'm sure that many of these ideas have already been envisioned within Tunes.org , LLVM , Microsoft's Singularity project, or in some other place that I haven't managed to discover or fully read, but I'm going to blog them anyway. Rather than wax philosophical, let me just dump out some ideas: Start with Minix 3. It's a new microkernel, and it's meant for real use, unlike the original Minix. "This new OS is extremely small, with the part that runs in kernel mode under 4000 lines of executable code.&quo

Haskell or Erlang?

I've coded in both Erlang and Haskell. Erlang is practical, efficient, and useful. It's got a wonderful niche in the distributed world, and it has some real success stories such as CouchDB and jabber.org. Haskell is elegant and beautiful. It's been successful in various programming language competitions. I have some experience in both, but I'm thinking it's time to really commit to learning one of them on a professional level. They both have good books out now, and it's probably time I read one of those books cover to cover. My question is which? Back in 2000, Perl had established a real niche for systems administration, CGI, and text processing. The syntax wasn't exactly beautiful (unless you're into that sort of thing), but it was popular and mature. Python hadn't really become popular, nor did it really have a strong niche (at least as far as I could see). I went with Python because of its elegance, but since then, I've coded both p