Using Devise as an authentication solution for end users with Radiant


I’ve spent some time getting Devise working as an authentication system
for my end users, and thought I would share how I got it to work.

  1. Because Radiant already has a User model, you have to set up Devise
    to use a different model for authentication. So, you should choose a
    model name, and use that when you install Devise per the directions.
    For the purposes of the rest of this explanation, let’s assume that the
    model name is CustomUser.

  2. Do all of your setup for Devise for CustomUser, including setting up
    the “devise_for” route (devise_for :custom_user, etc.). I set up my
    Devise route in my custom extension’s routes.rb file.

  3. To protect all of the end-user content, you need to call the Devise
    authenticate method somewhere as a before_filter on the SiteController
    (I’m executing the line below in my custom application extension):

    #Use Devise to protect all Radiant-generated end-user content
    SiteController.class_eval do
    #Don't authenticate CSS or JS requests, as these will do 

def devise_authentication
authenticate_custom_user! unless params[:url] &&
params[:url].is_a?(Array) && (params[:url].include?(‘css’) ||

   prepend_before_filter :devise_authentication
  1. Once you do this, Devise will be set up to be used to authenticate
    against your end-user content. But it won’t work, because both Devise
    and Radiant inject a method named “authenticate” directly into the
    ApplicationController via module inclusion (luckily, they have different
    method signatures, or I would have had a tough time figuring that out).

I attempted to force the segregation of these two authenticate methods
using nothing but fancy metaprogramming to try and change inheritance
hierarchies and what-have-you. Ultimately, I decided that the solution
with the least customization (and thus, easiest to manage over time),
would be to statically bypass the ApplicationController provided by
Radiant in Devise. So…

  1. Create a new controller named DeviseController that looks like:

class DeviseController < ActionController::Base
layout ‘devise’

I put mine in my custom extension’s app/controllers directory, but you
can put it anywhere as long as it is loaded before any of the Devise

Also, notice that I built a custom layout for Devise (devise.html.haml)
that looks like my Radiant-managed layout for end-user content.

Yes, that means that changes to the layout within Radiant must be
repeated in this layout file. However, I couldn’t figure out a good way
to share the layouts (even using file_based_layout, I would have had
significant duplication to deal with - I decided to go the simplest

  1. Put a copy of the Devise gem into RAILS_ROOT (or

  2. In vendor/gems/devise/app/controllers, change each of the five 5
    Devise controller’s class definitions so that they descend from
    DeviseController, instead of ApplicationController, like so:

class ConfirmationsController < DeviseController

Note that each of the 5 controllers does:

include Devise::Controllers::InternalHelpers

and this is where the conflicting “authenticate” method comes from. But
now, because there’s no more ApplicationController in the hierarchy,
there is no conflict.

  1. Unfortunately, the redirect on a sign_out does not redirect back to
    the log in page by default (I need to resolve this), so I had to do the
    following in my DeviseController:

def after_sign_out_path_for(resource_or_scope)


It is very important that the route file that pulls in the Devise route
executes before you attempt to use any of the Devise custom user
specific helpers. The route configuration is what creates all of the
Devise helpers that are then included in various places. If you cause
any helper files to be included before the Devise route is processed,
none of the custom helper methods will be available.


P. S. It would be interesting to see if it made sense to use Devise for
all Radiant authentication (e.g. both end users and Radiant users), as
Devise has authentication for different scopes baked in from the start.

Hey Wes,

Glad you got it working.
I shall be attempting to re-integrate devise into an ongoing project
as I’ve attempted earlier.

Just a few comments:
Step4: It now makes sense. I was not careful at looking at what gets
called and from where. This is where I gave up on my early attempt.
Thank you!

Step5: You can use radiant_layout to use one of the layouts defined in
radiant cms for your extension. For that you need shared_layouts
extension. This cuts down on the having duplicated code for layout,
which, in my case, remains the same as the main site.

Thx for the radiant_layout tip!

Sent from my iPhone