"Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly." - Arnold Edinborough

I really enjoy how easy Laravel makes forms. Being able to pass in a model to Laravel and have it take care of everything is awesome. Sometimes I simply don’t want to make a whole model for my form data, though. If you are similarly lazy at times then there’s a simple way to still have your default form values based on previous input.

Simply create a StdClass object and store the input values in there.

$sorting = new StdClass;
$sorting->sort_by     = Input::get('sort_by', 'displayname');
$sorting->sort_order  = Input::get('sort_order', 'asc');
$sorting->sort_region = Input::get('sort_region', 'all');

Pass $sorting to your template and use it with Form::model() and you’re good to go.

For security reasons it’s fairly good practice to invalidate all log-in sessions when a users password is changed. This is especially useful when a users account has been compromised and they go to change or reset their password. Without log-in session invalidation the attacker will still be logged in and able to cause chaos.

Unfortunately Laravel does not provide this functionality out of the box. We actually have to go through quite a bit of trouble to make Laravel play ball here but it’s definitely worth it, so lets get to it!

Implementing this feature is a two step process.

  1. Track the session IDs of all logged in users.
  2. Invalidate the session data attached to those user sessions.

Part one is fairly simple and can be done in your own application code. The session ID is exposed through Session::getId() so simply add this to an array of session ids stored in a persistent cache. When When you want to invalidate the log-in sessions simply fetch this cached array. I will leave this part as an exercise to the reader.

Part two is where it gets tricky. The Laravel session providers themselves implement a very suitable destroy method that takes a session ID. However, unfortunately the Laravel session store does not expose this method but instead implements a migrate() method. This method does not take a session ID, but instead offers to destroy the current session. Invalidating the session of the user changing the password is all perfectly fine, but that still leaves our attacker logged in. In order to fix this we need to implement a custom session store that properly exposes the destroy() method of the individual session providers.

The following code is done in Laravel 4.2. Version 5 has quite a few changes so this might be significantly different. If anyone uses Laravel 5 please let me know if this applies there as well.

In order to implement this we need to backtrack to where Laravel actually loads session classes. This is defined in your app.php providers array as ‘Illuminate\Session\SessionServiceProvider’. The SessionServiceProvider registers a SessionManager which then creates the Store class we’re looking to extend. This means we need to provide our own version of these 3 classes and then modify app.php to load our own SessionServiceProvider class.

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As of Laravel 5.0 it’s still not possible to set the remember me cookie with a secure flag. This is slightly weird as there is a configuration option for secure session cookies. Fortunately modifying Laravel to set a secure log-in cookie is not too difficult – all we need to do is provide a custom Guard class for the Auth driver which overrides the setRecaller() method.

This code is done against Laravel 4.2, I’m not sure how simple it is to adapt to 5.0 as I have not had a chance to work with that yet. Feel free to let me know in a comment.

<?php 
/*  
 * Custom guard class that sets a secure log-in cookie.
 */ 
class SecureGuard extends \Illuminate\Auth\Guard
{
	/**
	 * Create a secure remember me cookie for a given ID.
	 *
	 * @param  string  $value
	 * @return \Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Cookie
	 */
	protected function createRecaller($value)
	{
		return $this->getCookieJar()->forever($this->getRecallerName(), $value, null, null, true);
	}
}

Now that we have our custom guard class we need to tell Laravel to use this new class. While not completely intuitive the best way to do that is to configure a custom auth driver where we wrap the default EloquentUserProvider class in our new SecureGuard class. Add the following to your global.php file.

<?php
/*
|--------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Auth Driver
|--------------------------------------------------------------------------
|
| Extend the auth driver to support secure cookies.
|
*/

Auth::extend('SecureAuth', function($app)
{
	$model    = $app['config']['auth.model'];
	$provider = new Illuminate\Auth\EloquentUserProvider($app['hash'], $model);

	return new SecureGuard($provider, $app['session.store']);
});

Finally update your auth.php config file to set the new auth driver.

'driver' => 'SecureAuth',