Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 8.2 Developer's Guide

Container Security

The component containers are responsible for providing J2EE application security. There are two security forms provided by the container:

Programmatic Security

Programmatic security is when an EJB component or servlet uses method calls to the security API, as specified by the J2EE security model, to make business logic decisions based on the caller or remote user’s security role. Programmatic security should only be used when declarative security alone is insufficient to meet the application’s security model.

The J2EE specification, v1.4 defines programmatic security as consisting of two methods of the EJB EJBContext interface and two methods of the servlet HttpServletRequest interface. The Application Server supports these interfaces as specified in the specification.

For more information on programmatic security, see the following:

Declarative Security

Declarative security means that the security mechanism for an application is declared and handled externally to the application. Deployment descriptors describe the J2EE application’s security structure, including security roles, access control, and authentication requirements.

The Application Server supports the deployment descriptors specified by J2EE v1.4 and has additional security elements included in its own deployment descriptors. Declarative security is the application deployer’s responsibility.

There are two levels of declarative security, as follows:

Application Level Security

The application XML deployment descriptor (application.xml) contains descriptors for all user roles for accessing the application’s servlets and EJB components. On the application level, all roles used by any application container must be listed in a role-name element in this file. The role names are scoped to the EJB XML deployment descriptors (ejb-jar.xml and sun-ejb-jar.xml files) and to the servlet XML deployment descriptors (web.xml and sun-web.xml files). The sun-application.xml file must also contain matching security-role-mapping elements for each role-name used by the application.

Component Level Security

Component level security encompasses web components and EJB components.

A secure web container authenticates users and authorizes access to a servlet or JSP by using the security policy laid out in the servlet XML deployment descriptors (web.xml and sun-web.xml files).

The EJB container is responsible for authorizing access to a bean method by using the security policy laid out in the EJB XML deployment descriptors (ejb-jar.xml and sun-ejb-jar.xml files).