Custom Authentication Success Handler with Grails and Spring Security

It’s Sunday and instead of devoting this day to our Lord I will dedicate it to the great Machine and its coding brethren. The jokes aside, this is a quick show up of how to establish custom Authentication Success Handler if you are working with Grails Framework + Spring Security Core Plugin.

Well first, why would you need to alter the ‘normal’ behaviour  of the handler?

The answer: let’s say, you want to change the targetUrl for the specific authenticated user. Is that not enough? 🙂


With Spring and Java what you need to do is to implement the AuthenticationSuccessHandler interface. It has only one method to be implemented:

void onAuthenticationSuccess(HttpServletRequest var1, HttpServletResponse var2, Authentication var3);

With Grails and Spring Security Core plugin we follow the same path, just the ritual is a little bit different.

Spring Security Plugin use the AjaxAwareAuthenticationSuccessHandler  bean that extends SavedRequestAwareAuthenticationSuccessHandler and if you follow the hierarchy tree you will notice that at some point the needed interface is implemented at the upper classes. So what we need to do is just extend AjaxAwareAuthenticationSuccessHandler and define the bean in resources.groovy (оr .xml).

package com.wordpress.groggystuff.grails

import grails.plugin.springsecurity.web.authentication.AjaxAwareAuthenticationSuccessHandler

import javax.servlet.ServletException
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse
import javax.servlet.http.HttpSession

class GroggySuccessHandler extends AjaxAwareAuthenticationSuccessHandler {

    boolean userIsBadPerson = false

    protected String determineTargetUrl(HttpServletRequest request,HttpServletResponse response) {

  "This user is very nasty. Send him to /dev/null to rot.")
            return "/dev/null"
        else {
            return super.determineTargetUrl(request, response)

    public void onAuthenticationSuccess(final HttpServletRequest request, final HttpServletResponse response,
                                        final Authentication authentication) throws ServletException, IOException {
        try {
        finally {
            // always remove the saved request
            requestCache.removeRequest(request, response)

    protected void handle(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response, Authentication authentication)
            throws IOException, ServletException {
        String targetUrl = determineTargetUrl(request, response)

        if (response.isCommitted()) {
            logger.debug("Response has already been committed. Unable to redirect to " + targetUrl)

        redirectStrategy.sendRedirect(request, response, targetUrl)

    private void checkIfTheUserIsBadPerson(HttpSession session, Authentication authentication){

        // do the groggy check to find if the user is a bad person
        // presume that the user is always a bad person
        userIsBadPerson = true

When the user authenticates successfully onAuthenticationSuccess method is called. With this code the method determineTargetUrl will be always referenced when the user logins and from there we can easily change the targetUrl that the handle method redirects to. I wrote a logical check with which I check when to redirect and how to build my targetUrl in determineTargetUrl. Don’t forget to define the bean in resources.groovy .  The bean id must be the same as in the plugin, otherwise this class will be just ignored.

beans = {
    // other beans
    authenticationSuccessHandler(GroggySuccessHandler) {
        /* Reusing the security configuration */
        def conf = SpringSecurityUtils.securityConfig
        /* Configuring the bean */
        requestCache = ref('requestCache')
        redirectStrategy = ref('redirectStrategy')
        defaultTargetUrl = conf.successHandler.defaultTargetUrl
        alwaysUseDefaultTargetUrl = conf.successHandler.alwaysUseDefault
        targetUrlParameter = conf.successHandler.targetUrlParameter
        ajaxSuccessUrl = conf.successHandler.ajaxSuccessUrl
        useReferer = conf.successHandler.useReferer

And that’s it my lads and gals. (tested with Grails 2.5.0 and spring-security-core:2.0-RC4)

And a song as always.

1 thought on “Custom Authentication Success Handler with Grails and Spring Security”

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