Ember Observer Travis CI Status

Simple authorisation addon for Ember.


Install this addon via ember-cli:

ember install ember-can


Quick Example

You want to conditionally allow creating a new blog post:

  Type post content here...

  You can't write a new post!

We define an ability for the Post model in /app/abilities/post.js:

// app/abilities/post.js

import { readOnly } from '@ember/object/computed';
import { Ability } from 'ember-can';

export default Ability.extend({
  session: service(),

  user: readOnly('session.currentUser'),

  canCreate: readOnly('user.isAdmin')

We can also re-use the same ability to check if a user has access to a route:

// app/routes/posts/new.js

import Route from '@ember/routing/route';
import { inject as service } from '@ember/service';

export default Route.extend({
  can: service(),

  beforeModel(transition) {
    let result = this._super(...arguments);

    if (this.can.cannot('create post')) {
      return this.transitionTo('index');

    return result;

And we can also check the permission before firing action:

import Component from '@ember/component';

export default Component.extend({
  can: service(),

  actions: {
    createPost() {
      if (this.can.can('create post', this.post)) {
        // create post!



The can helper is meant to be used with and to protect a block (but can be used anywhere in the template).

As activities are standard Ember objects and computed properties if anything changes then the view will automatically update accordingly.




As it’s a sub-expression, you can use it anywhere a helper can be used. For example to give a div a class based on an ability you can use an inline if:

<div class=>



Cannot helper is a negation of can helper with the same API.


An ability class protects an individual model which is available in the ability as model.

Please note that all abilites names have to be in singular form

// app/abilities/post.js

import { computed } from '@ember/object';
import { Ability } from 'ember-can';

export default Ability.extend({
  // only admins can write a post
  canWrite: computed('user.isAdmin', function() {
    return this.get('user.isAdmin');

  // only the person who wrote a post can edit it
  canEdit: computed('user.id', 'model.author', function() {
    return this.get('user.id') === this.get('model.author');

// Usage:

Additional attributes

If you need more than a single resource in an ability, you can pass them additional attributes.

You can do this in the helpers, for example this will set the model to project as usual, but also member as a bound property.


Similarly using can service you can pass additional attributes after or instead of the resource:

this.get('can').can('edit post', post, { author: bob });
this.get('can').cannot('write post', null, { project: project });

These will set author and project on the ability respectively so you can use them in the checks.

Looking up abilities

In the example above we said ``, how do we find the ability class & know which property to use for that?

First we chop off the last word as the resource type which is looked up via the container.

The ability file can either be looked up in the top level /app/abilities directory, or via pod structure.

Then for the ability name we remove some basic stopwords (of, for in) at the end, prepend with “can” and camelCase it all.

For example:

String property resource pod
write post canWrite /abilities/post.js app/pods/post/ability.js
manage members in project canManageMembers /abilities/project.js app/pods/project/ability.js
view profile for user canViewProfile /abilities/user.js app/pods/user/ability.js

Current stopwords which are ignored are:

Custom Ability Lookup

The default lookup is a bit “clever”/”cute” for some people’s tastes, so you can override this if you choose.

Simply extend the default CanService in app/services/can.js and override parse.

parse takes the ability string eg “manage members in projects” and should return an object with propertyName and abilityName.

For example, to use the format “person.canEdit” instead of the default “edit person” you could do the following:

// app/services/can.js
import Service from 'ember-can/services/can';

export default CanService.extend({
  parse(str) {
    let [abilityName, propertyName] = str.split('.');
    return { propertyName, abilityName };

You can also modify the property prefix by overriding parseProperty in our ability file:

// app/abilities/feature.js
import { Ability } from 'ember-can';
import { camelize } from '@ember/string';

export default Ability.extend({
  parseProperty(propertyName) {
    return camelize(`is-${propertyName}`);

Injecting the user

How does the ability know who’s logged in? This depends on how you implement it in your app!

If you’re using an Ember.Service as your session, you can just inject it into the ability:

// app/abilities/foo.js
import { Ability } from 'ember-can';
import { inject as service } from '@ember/service';

export default Ability.extend({
  session: service()

The ability classes will now have access to session which can then be used to check if the user is logged in etc…

Components & computed properties

In a component, you may want to expose abilities as computed properties so that you can bind to them in your templates.

import Component from '@ember/component';
import { computed } from '@ember/object';

export default Component.extend({
  can: service(), // inject can service

  post: null, // received from higher template

  ability: computed('post', function() {
    return this.get('can').abilityFor('post', this.get('post') /*, customProperties */);

// Template:

Optional way

Optionally you can use ability computed to simplify the syntax:

import Component from '@ember/component';
import { ability } from 'ember-can/computed';

export default Component.extend({
  can: service(), // inject can service

  post: null, // received from higher template

  ability: ability('post')

If the model property is not the same as ability name you can pass a second argument:

ability: ability('post', 'myModelProperty')

Accessing abilities within an Ember engine

If you’re using engines and you want to access an ability within it, you will need it to be present in your Engine’s namespace. This is accomplished by doing what is called a “re-export”:

export { default } from 'my-app/abilities/foo-bar';

Upgrade guide

See UPGRADING.md for more details.


Make sure that you’ve either ember install-ed this addon, or run the addon blueprint via ember g ember-can. This is an important step that teaches the test resolver how to resolve abilities from the file structure.

Unit testing abilities

An ability unit test will be created each time you generate a new ability via ember g ability <name>. The package currently supports generating QUnit and Mocha style tests.

Unit testing in your app

To unit test modules that use the can helper, you’ll need to explicitly add needs for the ability and helper file like this: needs: ['helper:can', 'ability:foo']

Integration testing in your app

For integration testing components, you should not need to specify anything explicitly. The helper and your abilities should be available to your components automatically.




Running tests

Running the dummy application

For more information on using ember-cli, visit https://ember-cli.com/.


See the Contributing guide for details.


This version of the package is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.