EEA & Eionet documentation hub

Browse documentation for IT-systems used by the European Environment Agency and the Eionet network.



This is a module that implements an Access Control Mechanism based on Distributed Computing Environment.

Version 2.0 has the same public interface as version 1.x except the package name space is changed from to eionet.acl.

Another change, but one that has requires no change in code is that the eionet acl-impl library has been included. This contains the SUN Microsystems implementation of groups, users etc. The only effect is that you might have to remove the following in your pom.xml.


Since version 3.0 there is a change in the way the library is configured. It uses instead of All properties starting with acl. or application. have lost that prefix, as all properties in the file are relevant to ACL only. Additionally, there are a few other changes.

Here are the changes:

Version 1.0 and 2.0 Version 3.0
acl.owner.permission owner.permission
acl.anonymous.access anonymous.access
acl.authenticated.access authenticated.access
acl.defaultdoc.permissions defaultdoc.permissions
acl.persistence.provider persistence.provider
acl.localusers.xml file.localusers
application.permissions.file file.permissions
application.localgroups.file file.localgroups
application.acl.folder file.aclfolder
db.url db.url
db.driver db.driver
db.user db.user
db.pwd db.pwd

To upgrade to version 3.0, copy the file to Delete all properties in with a name from the above table. Delete all properties in that are not in the table.

New in version 3.1

Dependency changed to version 3.0-SNAPSHOT of Eionet directory module.


This package is built with Maven, and is deployed to the agency repository.

$ mvn deploy

Add this to your pom.xml:

        <name>EEA Release Repository</name>


  • Create the ACL database tables - edit your project’s Liquibase change log file and add the change sets from the dbChangeLog.xml.

  • Copy *.acl,, acl.prms and users.xml from src/test/resources to external folder and make the necessary editing.

The package can be configured via JNDI or a properties file. If a environment entry in JNDI is found then all required entries must be configured via JNDI. You configure the application through JNDI with the META-INF/context.xml of the web application using this package. In Tomcat all JNDI names will automatically be prefixed with java:/comp/env. Since it is a shared directory, ACL configurations are in the acl/ sub-context. Example:

    <Environment name="acl/owner.permission" value="c" type="java.lang.String" override="false"/>

Instead of using acl/db.driver, acl/db.url to set up the connection to the database it is also possible to use a acl/db.datasource. When you set up the data source directly in JNDI, it should be possible to use a <ResourceLink> element to the webapp’s data source, but this has not been tested yet.

    <Resource name="acl/db.datasource"

Alternatively copy from src/test/resources to your project’s classpath and change the property values accordingly. Note that the file and folder paths in the are relative because of unit tests. For other usage, absolute paths should be used.

If you want to continue with property files, but specify with JNDI, what file to load the properties from, then you can add a context environment variable called acl/propertiesfile

    <Environment name="acl/propertiesfile"
                 type="java.lang.String" override="false"/>

Unit tests

All the sources for unit tests are in src/test/java and src/test/resources.

As configured in and, the database tests are run on H2 in-memory database. The database structure is located in dbChangeLog.xml which is the change log file for Liquibase. Because MySql and H2 databases differ a little, there are modifications to SQL so it would work on both of the databases.

How to use it

The main interface to the ACL library is to check whether a user has a type of access to an object. These objects are arranged in a tree-like structure like the local part of a URL.

boolean access = AccessController.hasPermission("kaido", "/contracts/sa55727" , "r");


The concept of ownership is broken. The file-based ACLs don’t support it at all, and the database ACLs don’t support change of ownership. Additionally, the ownership is for the protected object and the ACL. In some cases, the ownership is stored in the protected object, and there should be an API the application can use to declare that the user checking permission ‘x’ is also the owner of the object.

Releasing new versions

While developing a new version, add -SNAPSHOT to the upcoming version id in pom.xml. When you are satisfied with the result, remove the the -SNAPSHOT part, and commit. Then you tag the release, deploy it, increase the minor number and append -SNAPSHOT again.

git tag -a v3.1 -m "Version 3.1"
git push origin v3.1
mvn deploy
# Increase to 3.2-SNAPSHOT in pom.xml
git commit pom.xml

Edit this page