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Build Robust Security into a Rails-Based Wiki System

Learn how to add robust security features to a simple wiki system built on the Rails platform.

ne of the core advantages of wiki systems is the ability to edit web pages stored on a server through a web browser. However, this function also allows administrators to look at the contents of your wiki pages, particularly if your wiki uses a shared server. If you store confidential information on that server, this is an especially undesirable compromise. A simple solution to this dilemma is to store the web pages in an encrypted form and use authentication to access them in a readable form.

Building on the wiki file-management system created in a previous DevX article ("Build a Wiki System with Rails"), this article demonstrates how to add authentication and encryption security features to the system (see Sidebar 1 for an overview of these security concepts). This simple system, called RailsWiki, offers basic web page management features such as view, edit, print, and so on (Figure 1 presents its basic design).

Click to enlarge

Figure 1. RailsWiki Design

The company I founded recently has been using this very application for a couple of months now to manage a dozen or so encrypted wiki pages. So this system has practical, real world applications.

What You Need
Since this article is a direct continuation of the previous article, primarily pointing out changes to the RailsWiki code, I strongly recommend reading the previous article first.
  • Ruby interpreter
  • RubyGems packaging system
  • The RailsWiki with security features source code
  • Gems:

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