SimpleSAMLphp modules

This document describes how the module system in SimpleSAMLphp works. It descibes what types of modules there are, how they are configured, and how to write new modules.


There are currently three parts of SimpleSAMLphp which can be stored in modules - authentication sources, authentication processing filters and themes. There is also support for defining hooks - functions run at specific times. More than one thing can be stored in a single module. There is also support for storing supporting files, such as templates and dictionaries, in modules.

The different functionalities which can be created as modules will be described in more detail in the following sections; what follows is a short introduction to what you can do with them:

Module layout

Each SimpleSAMLphp module is stored in a directory under the modules -directory. The module directory contains the following directories and files:

The presence of this file indicates that the module is disabled by default. It can be enabled using the module.enable option in config.php .
The presence of this file indicates that the module is enabled by default. It can be disabled using the module.enable option in config.php .
This directory contains dictionaries which belong to this module. To use a dictionary stored in a module, the extended tag names can be used: {<module name>:<dictionary name>:<tag name>} For example, {example:login:hello} will look up hello in modules/example/dictionaries/login.php .
It is also possible to specify <module name>:<dictionary name> as the default dictionary when instantiating the \SimpleSAML\XHTML\Template class.
This directory contains hook functions for this module. Each file in this directory represents a single function. See the hook-section in the documentation for more information.
This directory contains classes which belong to this module. All classes must be named in the following pattern: \SimpleSAML\Module\<module name>\<class name> When looking up the filename of a class, SimpleSAMLphp will search for <class name> in the lib directory. Underscores in the class name will be translated into slashes.
Thus, if SimpleSAMLphp needs to load a class named \SimpleSAML\Module\example\Auth\Source\Example , it will load the file named modules/example/lib/Auth/Source/Example.php .
These are module-specific templates. To use one of these templates, specify <module name>:<template file>.php as the template file in the constructor of \SimpleSAML\XHTML\Template . For example, example:login-form.php is translated to the file modules/example/templates/default/login-form.php . Note that default in the previous example is defined by the theme.use configuration option.
This directory contains themes the module defines. A single module can define multiple themes, and these themes may override all templates in all modules. Each subdirectory of themes defines a theme. The theme directory contains a subdirectory for each module. The templates stored under simplesamlphp/templates can be overridden by a directory named default .
To use a theme provided by a module, the theme.use configuration option should be set to <module name>:<theme name> .
When using the theme example:blue , the template templates/default/login.php will be overridden by modules/example/themes/blue/default/login.php , while the template modules/core/templates/default/loginuserpass.php will be overridden by modules/example/themes/blue/core/loginuserpass.php .
All files stored in this directory will be available by accessing the URL https://.../simplesamlphp/module.php/<module name>/<file name> . For example, if a script named login.php is stored in modules/example/www/ , it can be accessed by the URL https://.../simplesamlphp/module.php/example/login.php .
To retrieve this URL, the SimpleSAML\Module::getModuleURL($resource) -function can be used. This function takes in a resource on the form <module>/<file> . This function will then return a URL to the given file in the www -directory of module .

Authentication sources

An authentication source is used to authenticate a user and receive a set of attributes belonging to this user. In a single-signon setup, the authentication source will only be called once, and the attributes belonging to the user will be cached until the user logs out.

Authentication sources are defined in config/authsources.php . This file contains an array of name => configuration pairs. The name is used to refer to the authentication source in metadata. When configuring an IdP to authenticate against an authentication source, \the auth option should be set to this name. The configuration for an authentication source is an array. The first element in the array identifies the class which implements the authentication source. The remaining elements in the array are configuration entries for the authentication source.

A typical configuration entry for an authentication source looks like this:

  'example-static' => [
    /* This maps to modules/exampleauth/lib/Auth/Source/Static.php */

    /* The following is configuration which is passed on to
     * the exampleauth:StaticSource authentication source. */
    'uid' => 'testuser',
    'eduPersonAffiliation' => ['member', 'employee'],
    'cn' => ['Test User'],

To use this authentication source in a SAML 2.0 IdP, set the auth -option of the IdP to 'example-static' :

  '__DYNAMIC:1__' => [
    'host' => '__DEFAULT__',
    'privatekey' => '',
    'certificate' => '',
    'auth' => 'example-static',

Creating authentication sources

This is described in a separate document:

* [Creating authentication sources](simplesamlphp-authsource)

Authentication processing filters

Authentication processing filters is explained in a separate document:

* [Authentication processing filters](simplesamlphp-authproc)


This feature allows you to collect all your custom templates in one place. The directory structure is like this: modules/<thememodule>/themes/<theme>/<module>/<template> thememodule is the module where you store your theme, while theme is the name of the theme. A theme is activated by setting the theme.use configuration option to <thememodule>:<theme> . module is the module the template belongs to, and template is the template in that module.

For example, modules/example/themes/test/core/loginuserpass.php replaces modules/core/templates/default/loginuserpass.php . modules/example/themes/test/default/frontpage.php replaces templates/default/frontpage.php . This theme can be activated by setting theme.use to example:test .

Hook interface

The hook interface allows you to call a hook function in all enabled modules which define that hook. Hook functions are stored in a directory called 'hooks' in each module directory. Each hook is stored in a file named hook_<hook name>.php , and each file defines a function named <module name>_hook_<hook name> .

Each hook function accepts a single argument. This argument will be passed by reference, which allows each hook to update that argument.

There is currently a single user of the hook interface - the front page. The front page defines a hook named frontpage , which allows modules to add things to the different sections on the front page. For an example of this, see the modules/modinfo/hooks/hook_frontpage.php file in the modinfo module .