Gem Version Build Status Code Climate

A rails engine for interfacing with OpenStax's accounts server.


Make sure to install the engine's migrations:

$ rake openstax_accounts:install:migrations


Add the engine to your Gemfile and then run bundle install.

Mount the engine your application's routes.rb file:

  MyApplication::Application.routes.draw do
    # ...
    mount OpenStax::Accounts::Engine, at: "/accounts"
    # ...

You can use whatever path you want instead of /accounts, just make sure to make the appropriate changes below.

Create an openstax_accounts.rb initializer in config/initializers, with at least the following contents:

OpenStax::Accounts.configure do |config|
  config.openstax_application_id = 'value_from_openstax_accounts_here'
  config.openstax_application_secret = 'value_from_openstax_accounts_here'

If you're running the OpenStax Accounts server in a dev instance on your machine, you can specify that instance's local URL with:

config.openstax_accounts_url = 'http://localhost:2999/'

To have users login, direct them to the login path using the openstax_accounts.login_path route helper with Action Interceptor, e.g:

<%= link_to 'Sign in!', with_interceptor { openstax_accounts.login_path } %>

The with_interceptor block is necessary if you don't want to depend on the user's browser setting referers properly.

You can also add the authenticate_user! interceptor to your controllers:

interceptor :authenticate_user!

There is also a logout path helper, given by logout_path. By default this expects a GET request. If you'd prefer a DELETE request, add this configuration:

config.logout_via = :delete

OpenStax Accounts provides you with an OpenStax::Accounts::Account object. You can modify it and use this as your app's User object (not recommended), or you can provide your own custom user object that references one account.

OpenStax Accounts also provides you methods for getting and setting the current signed in user (current_user and current_user= methods). If you choose to create your own custom user object, you can teach this gem how to translate between a user object and an account object.

To do this, you need to set a account_user_mapper in this configuration.

config. = MyAccountUserMapper

The account_user_mapper is a class that provides two class methods:

def self.()
  # Converts the given account to a user.
  # If you want to cache the account in the user,
  # this is the place to do it.
  # If no user exists for this account, one should
  # be created.

def self.(user)
  # Converts the given user to an account.

Accounts are never nil. When a user is signed out, the current account is the AnonymousAccount (responding true to is_anonymous?). You can follow the same pattern in your app or you can use nil for the current user. Just remember to check the anonymous status of accounts when doing your account <-> user translations.

The default account_user_mapper assumes the account object and the user object are the same in your application.

Syncing with Accounts

OpenStax Accounts requires your app to periodically sync user information with the Accounts server. The easiest way to do this is to use the "whenever" gem.

To create or append to the schedule.rb file, run the following command:

rails g openstax:accounts:schedule

Then, after installing the "whenever" gem, run the whenever command for instructions to set up your crontab:


Accounts API

OpenStax Accounts provides convenience methods for accessing the Accounts server API.

OpenStax::Accounts::Api.request(http_method, url, options = {}) provides a convenience method capable of making API calls to Accounts. http_method can be any valid HTTP method, and url is the desired API URL, without the 'api/' prefix. Options is a hash that can contain any option that OAuth2 requests accept, such as :headers, :params, :body, etc, plus the optional values :api_version (to specify an API version) and :access_token (to specify an OAuth access token).

Individual methods to access each Accounts API, such as search_accounts, are also available. See lib/openstax/accounts/api.rb for more details.

Example Application

There is an example application included in the gem in the example folder. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Download (clone) the OpenStax Accounts site from
  2. In the site's config folder put a secret_settings.yml file that has values for the following keys: facebook_app_id, facebook_app_secret, twitter_consumer_key, twitter_consumer_secret. If you don't have access to these values, you can always make dummy apps on facebook and twitter.
  3. Do the normal steps to get this site online:
    1. Run bundle install --without production
    2. Run bundle exec rake db:migrate
    3. Run bundle exec rails server
  4. Open this accounts site in a web browser (defaults to http://localhost:2999)
  5. Navigate to http://localhost:2999/oauth/applications
  6. Click New application
    1. Set the callback URL to http://localhost:4000/accounts/auth/openstax/callback.
      Port 4000 is where you'll be running the example application.
    2. The name can be whatever.
    3. Click the Trusted? checkbox.
    4. Click Submit.
    5. Keep this window open so you can copy the application ID and secret into the example app
  7. Leave the accounts app running
  8. Download (clone) the OpenStax Accounts gem from The example application is in the example folder. In that folder's config folder, create a secret_settings.yml file according to the instructions in secret_settings.yml.example. Run the example server in the normal way (bundle install..., migrate db, rails server).
  9. Navigate to the home page, http://localhost:4000. Click log in and play around. You can also refresh the accounts site and see yourself logged in, log out, etc.
  10. For fun, change example/config/openstax_accounts.rb to set enable_stubbing to true. Now when you click login you'll be taken to a developer-only page where you can login as other users, generate new users, create new users, etc.