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Wikipedia: Authorization is the function of specifying access rights/privileges to resources

LoopBack’s highly extensible authorization package @loopback/authorization provides various features and provisions to check access rights of a client on a API endpoint.

API clients login to get a credential (can be a token, api-key, claim or cert). When the client calls an API endpoint, they pass the credential in the request to identify themselves (Authentication) as well as claim their access rights (Authorization).

LoopBack’s authorization component checks if the permissions associated with the credential provided by the client satisfies the accessibility criteria defined by the users.


A Principal could be a User, Application or Device. The Principal is identified from the credential provided by a client, by the configured Authentication strategy of the endpoint (see, LoopBack Authentication). Access rights of the client is either associated with or included in the credential.

The Principal is then used by LoopBack’s authorization mechanism to enforce necessary privileges/access rights by using the permissions annotated by the @authorize decorator on the controller methods.


The expectations from various stake holders (LoopBack, Architects, Developers) for implementation of the authorization features are given below in the Chain of Responsibility section.

Chain of Responsibility

LoopBack as a framework provides certain provisions and expects the developers to extend with their specific implementations. Architects or Security analysts generally provide security policies to clarify how the developers should approach authorization.

The framework provides,

  • the @authorize decorator to provide authorization metadata and voters
  • various types and interfaces to declare user provided artifacts
  • a mechanism to enforce authorization policies
    • abstractions of authorizers as user provided functions and voters
    • create a decision matrix to combine results of all user provided authorizers
    • an interceptor which enforces policies by creating the decision matrix
  • a LoopBack authorization component which packs all the above

Architects should,

  • separate global authorization concerns as authorizers
  • identify specific responsibilities of an endpoint as voters
  • provide security policies for conflicting decisions from authorizers and voters
  • provide authentication policies with necessary scopes and roles for every endpoint

Developers need to,