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I know there are many security frameworks and "building" a security framework is a bad idea.

In the recent project I have worked on, I used spring security to secure the web application. In the process, I over rided/tweaked some spring security classes to fit my requirement.

My management now wants me to "takeout" the things I did and distribute it as a re usable code in an internal portal.

Now, Is this is a fair thing to ask? I tried to explain them it's just some classes build on spring security and nothing special. But they are insisting on "creating" this framework.

Is this a fair requirement ? Any ideas on how to start ? I understand that getting started with spring security is not very easy.

If I am building this, what are the functions I need to provide?

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Think about this complete sentence: "who, when, where, and how can do the action". –  Saeed Neamati Jul 28 '11 at 7:01
    
What I don't understand thus far is the > distribute it as a re usable code in an internal portal Is this code for internal usage? I don't know what methods and standards you are going by here as far as application development. But I can say that cobbling something together without a proper plan almost never works. When you got done with your code did you test it against a vulnerability scanner or at least get a peer review? –  M15K Jul 29 '11 at 14:19
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What do you mean "takeout"? Are they just asking you to refactor the code for reuse, so support and security fixes become easier? Are the changes you made tied to the specific web application, or potentially general purpose? Some more notion of the sorts of things you've changed would be very helpful. –  nealmcb Jul 29 '11 at 20:10

2 Answers 2

I know there are many security frameworks and "building" a security framework is a bad idea.

In the recent project I have worked on, I used spring security to secure the web application. In the process, I over rided/tweaked some spring security classes to fit my requirement.

My management now wants me to "takeout" the things I did and distribute it as a re usable code in an internal portal. Now, Is this is a fair thing to ask?

It's not smart. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about what you tweaked or the depth or your management's experience and understanding. My guess is that your management is thinking:

'Wow our engineer made a major security improvement in an established framework, that has got to be worth a lot.'

and 'It's already written, just a little repackaging and sales will be rolling in.'

I tried to explain them it's just some classes build on spring security and nothing special. But they are insisting on "creating" this framework. Is this a fair requirement?

It doesn't seem sound. There seems to be a distinct discrepancy between your view of what you have done and your management's view of it. Your management likely have a better understand of business and product creation, and you likely have a better understanding of technical matters. It may be that your work has incredible product value that your management sees and you don't. However I am more inclined to believe that your work is good but not significantly valuable as a product and your management are mistaken in their enthusiasm.

Let me put it this way. How difficult would it be for a competitor to have a developer of your skill, and for that developer to do work equivalent to what you have done. If the answer is very difficult then as long as there are companies who what what you did you have a product. If the answer is not difficult, then turning your work into a product is more about volume of sales and operational overhead than about technical merit.

Any ideas on how to start?

If you do go forward then spend a sufficient amount of time on requirements and design. Understand what management expects this product to be, and derive design goals from those expectations. Plan for test, release, maintenance, updates, and end of life. Communicate continuously with your management. If you have issues then let management know, sometimes they can help or redirect your efforts.

If I am building this, what are the functions I need to provide?

That will depend on your design goals, which should in turn depend on managements requirements or concept for the product.

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Thanks for the edits @the-evil-phoenix –  this.josh Jul 29 '11 at 17:41
    
yep. no need to thank me, just doing my job :P –  Thomas W. Jul 29 '11 at 17:43

If all you're doing is wrapping existing behaviour with a convenient API, then you should be alright. But I've seen examples where even that introduces problems: typically where the functions wrapped are cryptographic functions and so the wrapper actually represents an encryption protocol. I'm not sure you could so that with Spring Security, unless you invented a new hashing plug-in or something.

If you added new functionality, or short-cut some of the things that the Spring Security framework is doing, then you need to be more careful. You should get an independent test of the modifications by a security tester before opening it up to the outside world: indeed before you use it in anger yourself would be a good thing :).

Finally, if what you provided is already possible in another, well-tested framework, you should push back and suggest that the management recommend use of that framework. You could consider migrating to the better-tested implementation in your own code.

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