Rails and PHP scripts

Hi,

I’m quite new with Ruby On Rails. I have working Rails 3 environment
with
Apache / Passenger and Devise authentication.
Everything is working fine but I have one question. I have some GIS
(maps)
webservices and those services are implemented with PHP -mapscript. I
have
to use PHP in those GIS services because there isn’t such GIS features
in
Ruby.

Is it possible to control access to those PHP services with Rails and
Devise. The question is how can I route requests to PHP scripts via
Rails,
control access to PHP scripts with Devise and prevent direct access to
those
PHP scripts.

Thanks in advance

AL

On Wednesday, April 27, 2011 10:18:03 AM UTC-6, AL wrote:

Hi,

I’m quite new with Ruby On Rails. I have working Rails 3 environment with
Apache / Passenger and Devise authentication.
Everything is working fine but I have one question. I have some GIS (maps)
webservices and those services are implemented with PHP -mapscript. I have
to use PHP in those GIS services because there isn’t such GIS features in
Ruby.

I don’t know a ton about MapServer but it claims to have ruby support:
http://www.mapserver.org/introduction.html?highlight=ruby

I did notice, however, that their MapScript documentation only has
language-specific sections for PHP and Python. That said, it looks like
some
people have used the ruby bindings for mapscript (at least on Mac):
http://osgeo-org.1803224.n2.nabble.com/Ruby-Mapscript-on-Windows-td2243552.html

Also, it would appear development on the mapscript ruby bindings is at
least
being maintained: http://trac.osgeo.org/mapserver/ticket/3749 (bug
closed 6
weeks ago).

Anyhow, that said, the lack of documentation (other than this
language-neutral mapscript reference:
http://www.mapserver.org/mapscript/mapscript.html) does make it look
like it
might be dicey/glitchy to figure it out, but it might be worth
experimenting
with if it means you can have a more homogeneous environment.

Is it possible to control access to those PHP services with Rails and
Devise. The question is how can I route requests to PHP scripts via Rails,
control access to PHP scripts with Devise and prevent direct access to those
PHP scripts.

Now, is your PHP MapScript code a web application designed to be used
directly by end-users? Or does it implement an actual “web service”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_service designed to provide an API for
other software to use?

If it is the former and you want to integrate your rails/devise-based
authentication/authorization, then this is messy as you’d have to
either:

  1. Proxy all “php requests” through a rails or (preferably) a rack app
    (devise uses the rack-based warden gem for authentication; you could
    work on
    top of that). This is a bad idea IMO
  2. Implement your warden/devise-compatible auth layer in PHP (this is
    more
    doable; I’ve had to integrate the sessions/auth layers of PHP apps with
    rails apps before).

If, however, it is the latter case (PHP implements a web service) then:

  1. If you keep access to the web service locked down (private access
    only)
    you can implement a web service client in ruby and use this in your
    front-end rails application (that already uses devise for auth).
  2. Or, if the PHP web service is publicly available and you need it
    locked
    down (in a manner compatible w/your existing rails auth system) then
    you’re
    back to the first two options already mentioned above.

Well, I don’t know if any of this was helpful or not or what your exact
situation is. Others might care to contribute more/better ideas?

Either way, hope you find a solution.

Hi,

and thanks for the information.

I have searched information about Ruby mapscript but I found only few
articles so I’m not sure about maintenance and support of Ruby
mapscript. PHP mapscripts are widely used and there is lot of
documentation available, I’d prefer Ruby but I have to stay in PHP for
now because of those reasons ;(

My PHP scripts implements WMS GetMap api (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Web_Map_Service), so it is a Web Service. GetMap request (http GET)
includes some location, size and format parameters and returns map
image. Map image is used by OpenLayers library in browser (http://
openlayers.org/).

I think alternative 3. sounds suitable for my case. I have to
implement GetMap api to Rails application, after authentication Ruby
script sends request to PHP service. PHP service returns map image to
Ruby script and Ruby / Rails returns it to browser, did I understand
the point correctly?

BR,

AL

On Thursday, April 28, 2011 12:00:37 AM UTC-6, AL wrote:

Totally understandable.

Ruby script and Ruby / Rails returns it to browser, did I understand
the point correctly?

Yeah, this is a pretty normal setup. For instance, I have a rails app.
that
allows our employees to “ship” packages via Fedex. Fedex provides a web
service that clients can use to get rates and create/schedule shipments
(including allocating tracking numbers, generating labels, etc.). So, my
rails app simply includes client code (a folder w/several code/class
files
in my rails’ “lib” directory and some models in “app/models”) for
talking to
and saving fedex shipment web service “objects”.

Then my controller has simple code in various actions to create or
otherwise
modify or operate on my “fedex shipments” (FedexShipment model class for
example) which, in some instances just works against my local database
and
in others calls library code to make actual web service calls.

I used the savon gem to help implement my SOAP client but there are
other
gems that may work better for all I know.

Anyhow, this setup make it so all auth(entication/orization) is done
normally in the rails app. which app. also happens to be a
SOAP/web-services
client.

Have fun!

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