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    Describes authentication and authorization in CAP Java



    With respect to web services, authentication is the act of proving the validity of user claims passed with the request. This typically comprises verifying the user’s identity, tenant, and additional claims like granted roles. Briefly, authentication controls who is using the service. In contrast, authorization makes sure that the user has the required privileges to access the requested resources. Hence, authorization is about controlling which resources the user is allowed to handle.

    Hence both, authentication and authorization, are essential for application security:

    ❗ Warning Without security configured, CDS services are exposed to public. Proper configuration of authentication and authorization is required to secure your CAP application.


    User requests with invalid authentication need to be rejected as soon as possible, to limit the resource impact to a minimum. Ideally, authentication is one of the first steps when processing a request. This is one reason why it’s not an integral part of the CAP runtime and needs to be configured on application framework level. In addition, CAP Java is based on a modular architecture and allows flexible configuration of the authentication method. For productive scenarios, XSUAA and IAS authentication is supported out of the box, but a custom authentication can be configured as well. For the local development and test scenario, there’s a built-in mock user support.

    Configure XSUAA Authentication

    Your application is secured by XSUAA-authentication automatically, if

    1. Following dependencies are set:
      • xsuaa-spring-boot-starter that brings Spring Security and xsuaa library
      • cds-feature-xsuaa
    2. The application is bound to an XSUAA service instance

    CAP Java picks only a single XSUAA binding. If you have multiple bindings, choose a specific binding with property Choose an appropriate XSUAA service plan to fit the requirements. For instance, if your service should be exposed as technical reuse service, make use of plan broker.

    The individual dependencies can be explicitly added in the pom.xml file of your service. On SAP BTP Cloud Foundry environment, recommended alternative is to use cds-starter-cloudfoundry bundle which covers all required dependencies for XSUAA-authentication:


    Configure IAS Authentication

    Your application is secured by IAS-authentication automatically, if

    1. Following dependencies are set:
    2. The application is bound to an IAS service instance

    To enforce IAS authentication, make sure no XSUAA instance is bound to the CAP service at the same time.

    To allow forwarding to remote services, JWT tokens issued by IAS service do not contain authorization information. In particular, no scopes are included. Closing this gap is up to you in your application.

    Automatic Spring Boot Security Configuration

    Only if both, the library dependencies and an XSUAA resp. IAS service binding are in place, the CAP Java SDK activates a Spring security configuration, which enforces authentication for all endpoints automatically:

    • Protocol adapter endpoints (managed by CAP such as OData V4/V2 or custom protocol adapters)
    • Remaining custom endpoints (not managed by CAP such as custom REST controllers or Spring Actuators)

    The security auto configuration authenticates all endpoints by default, unless corresponding CDS model is not explicitly opened to public with pseudo-role any (configurable behaviour). Here’s an example of a CDS model and the corresponding authentication configuration:

    service BooksService @(requires: 'any') {
      entity Books @(requires: 'any') {...}
      entity Reviews {...}
      entity Orders @(requires: 'Customer') {...}
    Path Authenticated ?
    /BooksService x
    /BooksService/$metadata x
    /BooksService/Books x
    /BooksService/Reviews 1

    1 Since version 1.25.0

    For multitenant applications, it’s required to authenticate all endpoints as the tenant information is essential for processing the request.

    There are several application parameters in section that influence the behaviour of the auto-configuration:

    Configuration Property Description Default
    mode Determines the authentication mode: never, model-relaxed, model-strict or always model-strict
    authenticateUnknownEndpoints Determines, if security configurations enforce authentication for endpoints not managed by protocol-adapters. true
    authenticateMetadataEndpoints Determines, if OData $metadata endpoints enforce authentication. true

    The following properties can be used to switch off automatic security configuration at all: Switches off automatic XSUAA security configuration. true Switches off automatic IAS security configuration. true

    Setting the Authentication Mode

    The property controls the strategy used for authentication of protocol-adapter endpoints. There are four possible values:

    • never: No endpoint requires authentication. All protocol-adapter endpoints are considered public.
    • model-relaxed: Authentication is derived from the authorization annotations @requires and @restrict. If no such annotation is available, the endpoint is considered public.
    • model-strict: Authentication is derived from the authorization annotations @requires and @restrict. If no such annotation is available, the endpoint is authenticated. An explicit @requires: 'any' makes the endpoint public.
    • always: All endpoints require authentication.

    By default the authentication mode is set to model-strict to comply with secure-by-default. In that case you can use the annotation @requires: 'any' on service-level to make the service and its entities public again. Please note that it’s only possible to make an endpoint public, if the full endpoint path is considered public as well. For example you can only make an entity public, if the service that contains it is also considered public.

    Please note that the authentication mode has no impact on the authorization behaviour.

    Customizing Spring Boot Security Configuration

    If you want to explicitly change the automatic security configuration, you can add an additional Spring security configuration on top that overrides the default configuration by CAP. This can be useful, for instance, if an alternative authentication method is required for specific endpoints of your application.

    @Order(1) // needs to have higher priority than CAP security config
    public class AppSecurityConfig {
      public SecurityFilterChain appFilterChain(HttpSecurity http) throws Exception {
        return http
          .csrf().disable() // don't insist on csrf tokens in put, post etc.

    Due to the custom configuration, all URLs matching /public/** are opened for public access.

    The Spring SecurityFilterChain requires CAP Java SDK 1.27.x or later. Older versions need to use the deprecated WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter.

    ❗ Warning Be cautious with the configuration of the HttpSecurity instance in your custom configuration. Make sure that only the intended endpoints are affected.



    Opens all endpoints of the application, which is hardly intended.

    Another typical example is the configuration of Spring Actuators. For example a custom configuration can apply basic authentication to actuator endpoints /actuator/**:

    public class ActuatorSecurityConfig {
      public SecurityFilterChain actuatorFilterChain(HttpSecurity http) throws Exception {
        return http
          .authenticationProvider(/* configure basic authentication users here with PasswordEncoder etc. */)

    Custom Authentication

    You’re free to configure any authentication method according to your needs. CAP isn’t bound to any specific authentication method or user representation such as introduced with XSUAA, it rather runs the requests based on a user abstraction. The CAP user of a request is represented by a UserInfo object that can be retrieved from the RequestContext as explained in Enforcement API & Custom Handlers.

    Hence, if you bring your own authentication, you’ve to transform the authenticated user and inject as UserInfo to the current request. This is done by means of UserInfoProvider interface that can be implemented as Spring bean as demonstrated in Registering Global Parameter Providers. More frequently you might have the requirement to just adapt the request’s UserInfo which is possible with the same interface:

    public class CustomUserInfoProvider implements UserInfoProvider {
        private UserInfoProvider defaultProvider;
        public UserInfo get() {
            ModifiableUserInfo userInfo = UserInfo.create();
            if (defaultProvider != null) {
                UserInfo prevUserInfo = defaultProvider.get();
                if (prevUserInfo != null) {
                    userInfo = prevUserInfo.copy();
            if (userInfo != null) {
               XsuaaUserInfo xsuaaUserInfo =;
               userInfo.setName(xsuaaUserInfo.getEmail() + "/" +
                                xsuaaUserInfo.getOrigin()); // adapt name
            return userInfo;
        public void setPrevious(UserInfoProvider prev) {
            this.defaultProvider = prev;

    In the example, the CustomUserInfoProvider defines an overlay on the default XSUAA-based provider (defaultProvider). The overlay redefines the user’s name by a combination of email and origin.

    Mock User Authentication with Spring Boot

    By default, CAP Java creates a security configuration, which accepts mock users for test purposes.

    Preconfigured Mock Users

    For convenience, the runtime creates default mock users reflecting the pseudo roles. They are named authenticated, system and privileged and can be used with an empty password. For instance, requests sent during a Spring MVC unit test with annotation @WithMockUser("authenticated") will pass authorization checks that require authenticated-user. The privileged user will pass any authorization checks. = false prevents the creation of default mock users at startup.

    Explicitly Defined Mock Users

    You can also define mock users explicitly. This mock user configuration only applies if:

    • The service runs without an XSUAA service binding (non-productive mode)
    • Mock users are defined in the active application configuration

    Define the mock users in a Spring profile, which may be only active during testing, as in the following example:

      profiles: test
            - name: Viewer-User
              password: viewer-pass
              tenant: CrazyCars
                - Viewer
                Country: [GER, FR]
    	    - cruise
                - park
            - name: Privileged-User
              password: privileged-pass
              privileged: true
                - "*"
            - name: System
              password: system-pass
              system-user: true
                - mtcallback
    • Mock user with name Viewer-User is a typical business user with SaaS-tenant CrazyCars who has assigned role Viewer and user attribute Country ($user.Country evaluates to value list [GER, FR]). This user also has the additional attribute email, which can be retrieved with UserInfo.getAdditionalAttribute("email"). The features cruise and park are enabled for this mock user.
    • Privileged-User is a user running in privileged mode. Such a user is helpful in tests that bypasses all authorization handlers.
    • Technical user System can be used, for example, to simulate SaaS registry calls for tenant provisioning in a multitenancy scenario.

    Property = false disables any mock user configuration.

    A setup for Spring MVC-based tests based on the given mock users and the CDS model from above could look like this:

    public class BookServiceOrdersTest {
    	String ORDERS_URL = "/odata/v4/BooksService/Orders";
    	private MockMvc mockMvc;
    	@WithMockUser(username = "Viewer-User")
    	public void testViewer() throws Exception {
    	public void testUnauthorized() throws Exception {

    Mock Tenants

    A tenants section allows to specify additional configuration for the mock tenants. In particular it is possible to assign features to tenants:

      profiles: test
            - name: Alice
              tenant: CrazyCars
            - name: CrazyCars
                - cruise
                - park

    The mock user Alice is assigned to the mock tenant CrazyCars for which the features cruise and park are enabled.


    CAP Java SDK provides a comprehensive authorization service. By defining authorization rules declaratively via annotations in your CDS model, the runtime enforces authorization of the requests in a generic manner. Two different levels of authorization can be distinguished:

    • Role-based authorization allows to restrict resource access depending on user roles.
    • Instance-based authorization allows to define user privileges even on entity instance level, that is, a user can be restricted to instances that fulfill a certain condition.

    It’s recommended to configure authorization declaratively in the CDS model. If necessary, custom implementations can be built on the Authorization API.

    A precise description of the general authorization capabilities in CAP can be found in the Authorization guide.

    Role-Based Authorization

    Use CDS annotation @requires to specify in the CDS model which role a user requires to access the annotated CDS resources such as services, entities, actions, and functions (see Restricting Roles with @requires). The generic authorization handler of the runtime rejects all requests with response code 403 that don’t match the accepted roles. More specific access control is provided by the @restrict annotation, which allows to combine roles with the allowed set of events. For instance, this helps to distinguish between users that may only read an entity from those who are allowed to edit. See section Control Access with @restrict to find details about the possibilities.

    Instance-Based Authorization

    Whereas role-based authorization applies to whole entities only, Instance-Based Authorization allows to add more specific conditions that apply on entity instance level and depend on the attributes that are assigned to the request user. A typical use case is to narrow down the set of visible entity instances depending on user properties (for example, CountryCode or Department). Instance-based authorization is also basis for domain-driven authorizations built on more complex model constraints.

    Current Limitations

    The CAP Java SDK translates the where-condition in the @restrict annotation to a predicate, which is appended to the CQN statement of the request. This applies only to READ,UPDATE, and DELETE events. In the current version, the following limitations apply:

    • For UPDATE and DELETE events no paths in the where-condition are supported.
    • Paths in where-conditions with to-many associations or compositions can only be used with an exists predicate.
    • UPDATE and DELETE requests that address instances that aren’t covered by the condition (for example, which aren’t visible) aren’t rejected, but work on the limited set of instances as expected. As a workaround for the limitations with paths in where-conditions, you may consider using the exists predicate instead.

    CAP Java SDK supports User Attribute Values that can be referred by $user.<attribute-name> in the where-clause of the @restrict-annotation. Currently, only comparison predicates with user attribute values are supported (<,<=,=,=>,>). Note, that generally a user attribute represents an array of strings and not a single value. A given value list [code1, code2] for $user.code in predicate $user.code = Code evaluates to (code1 = Code) or (code2 = Code) in the resulting statement.

    An empty or non-existent attribute list is interpreted as unrestricted access, because XSUAA sends an empty attribute list for attributes that are marked as unrestricted by default. There are plans to align this behaviour with the CAP Node.js runtime in future and also treat this as fully restricted with regards to the missing/empty attribute list.

    Enforcement API & Custom Handlers

    The generic authorization handler performs authorization checks driven by the annotations in an early Before handler registered to all application services by default. You may override or add to the generic authorization logic by providing custom handlers. The most important piece of information is the UserInfo that reflects the authenticated user of the current request. You can retrieve it:

    a) from the EventContext:

      EventContext context;
      UserInfo user = context.getUserInfo();

    b) through dependency injection within a handler bean:

      UserInfo user;

    The most helpful getters in UserInfo are listed in the following table:

    UserInfo method Description
    getName() Returns the unique (logon) name of the user as configured in the IdP. Referred by $user and $
    getTenant() Returns the tenant of the user.
    isSystemUser() Indicates whether the request has been initiated by a technical service. Refers to pseudo-role system-user.
    isAuthenticated() True if the current user has been authenticated. Refers to pseudo-role authenticated-user.
    isPrivileged() Returns true if the current user runs in privileged (that is, unrestricted) mode
    hasRole(String role) Checks if the current user has the given role.
    getRoles() Returns the roles of the current user
    getAttributeValues(String attribute) Returns the value list of the given user attribute. Referred by $user.<attribute>.

    It’s also possible to modify the UserInfo object for internal calls. See section Request Contexts for more details. For instance, you might want to run internal service calls in privileged mode that bypasses authorization checks:

    cdsRuntime.requestContext().privilegedUser().run(privilegedContext -> {
    	assert privilegedContext.getUserInfo().isPrivileged();
    	// [...] Service calls in this scope pass generic authorization handler