Tiddle is my gem which provides Devise strategy for token authentication in API-only Ruby on Rails applications. Its selling point is that it supports multiple tokens per user.

Ember Simple Auth provides a nice abstraction over implementing authentication in Ember.js apps. In this blog post I will show you how to implement a custom Ember Simple Auth strategy for Tiddle.

If you have never heard of Tiddle you should check out my previous blog post about it - Token authentication with Tiddle. It describes how to set up Tiddle in Ruby on Rails application.

For the purpose of this example I’m going to assume that Rails application is running on localhost:3000.

Firstly you have to follow the steps described in Ember Simple Auth - Basic Usage, namely:

  • login / logout link in application template
  • invalidateSession action in application controller
  • login route, template and controller
  • ApplicationRouteMixin in the application route

Our protected route is posts route:

import Ember from 'ember';
import AuthenticatedRouteMixin from 'ember-simple-auth/mixins/authenticated-route-mixin';

export default Ember.Route.extend(AuthenticatedRouteMixin, {
  ajax: Ember.inject.service(),

  model: function() {
    return this.get('ajax').request('/posts.json');

As you can see I’m extending AuthenticatedRouteMixin to prevent access for unauthenticated users. This will transition the user to the login route when she’s not authenticated.

Secondly, I’m using a custom service for communicating with the API. Let’s take a look at it:

import Ember from 'ember';
import AjaxService from 'ember-ajax/services/ajax';
import { UnauthorizedError } from 'ember-ajax/errors';

export default AjaxService.extend({
  session: Ember.inject.service(),
  host: 'http://localhost:3000',

  request(url, options) {
    this.get('session').authorize('authorizer:tiddle', (headers) => {
      this.set('headers', headers);

    return this._super(url, options).
      catch((error) => {
        if (error instanceof UnauthorizedError) {
          if (this.get('session.isAuthenticated')) {
        else {
          throw error;

I’m extending the service provided by ember-ajax - a nice wrapper over jQuery.ajax. It’s calling the authorizer to get the correct authentication headers (X-USER-EMAIL and X-USER-TOKEN). We are also catching all 401 Unauthorized responses to invalidate the session. This accounts for the situation when a session expired on the backend, but our frontend still thinks it’s authenticated.

Now we have to implement our custom authenticator in app/authenticators/tiddle.js:

import Ember from 'ember';
import Base from 'ember-simple-auth/authenticators/base';

export default Base.extend({
  ajax: Ember.inject.service(),

  restore(data) {
    return new Ember.RSVP.Promise((resolve, reject) => {
      if (!Ember.isEmpty(Ember.get(data, 'email')) && !Ember.isEmpty(Ember.get(data, 'token'))) {
      } else {
  authenticate(email, password) {
    return this.get('ajax').post('/users/sign_in.json', { data: { user: { email, password }}}).
      then(response => {
        return { email, token: response.authentication_token };

  invalidate(data) {
    return this.get('ajax').del('/users/sign_out.json');

The interface consists of three methods:

  1. restore - This is used to restore the session based on what is saved in the session store (Local Storage with fallback to cookies). We just have to check that email and token are present.

  2. authenticate - Here we are using our ajax service to make a request to the API, passing an email and a password. Then we return the object which contains the email and the authentication token. Ember Simple Auth persists it in the session storage.

  3. invalidate - We are making the request to the API to remove the current token from the database. Ember Simple Auth takes care about clearing the session storage.

The last missing part is our custom authorizer. It should return the correct HTTP headers. In app/authorizers/tiddle.js:

import Ember from 'ember';
import Base from 'ember-simple-auth/authorizers/base';

export default Base.extend({
  authorize(sessionData, block) {
    const headers = {
      "X-USER-EMAIL": Ember.get(sessionData, 'email'),
      "X-USER-TOKEN": Ember.get(sessionData, 'token')


authorize method receives the data from the session store so it’s really easy to build X-USER-EMAIL and X-USER-TOKEN headers required by Tiddle on the server side.


Thanks to Ember Simple Auth we have a clean implementation of authentication logic and many features working out of the box. You can check out the complete example here.