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Configure table write access

Everything you need to know to control access for programmable tables.

By default, the owner of a table is the only one that can modify data. However, Tableland gives you a suite of options for programming ownership in useful ways. The most feature rich way to use a controller; a smart contract that implements the ITablelandTables interface, enabling onchain rules that govern offchain table mutations.

Access control with controllers

First, it’s important to understand a controller vs. owner. The controller of a table is the address who controls the table’s access control list ("ACL"). The owner of the table is the address who originally minted the table and has the ownership. Both of these values can be a user’s account or a smart contract, but the owner is ultimately the one who can change who the controller is and transfer table ownership altogether.

There are default options that allow for the owner to have full control of the table. But, for custom access controls, you must create a contract that implements ITablelandController. Within the TablelandTables registry contract, the mutate method is the only function that leverages the controller. The controller is used to define what an address can do to a table, including the ability to INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE rows, plus some additional GRANT / REVOKE provisioning.

Creating a TablelandController

A TablelandController compliant contract is one that implements ITablelandController, meaning, it supports a getPolicy read method that returns the TablelandPolicy struct. This method can include onchain rules as logical checks prior to the TablelandPolicy being returned (e.g., conditional logic to check ownership of a token or certain balance).

How it works

The default controller is the 0x0 address.

Optionally, a table owner can register the TablelandController's address via the registry contract’s setController method. Once registered, Tableland will check any INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE statement against the getPolicy response to ensure it is a valid modification. Additionally, the getController method makes it easy to check who is a table's controller, and lockController permanently sets the controller for a table.

Default options

The default ownership of a table is granted to the address that creates it. Some examples include:

  • Externally Owned Account ("EOA")
    • A developer creates a table with their Ethereum wallet => The developer’s wallet address retains default ownership of the table.
    • A user of an app built on Tableland creates a table with their Ethereum wallet => The user’s wallet address retains default ownership of the table.
  • Smart contract
    • A smart contract creates a table => The smart contract retains default ownership of the table.

Here are some callouts to consider:

  • If the controller is never explicitly set (default setting), the controller is automatically defined as the 0x0 address. This means that a table owner has the default "allow all" permissions.
    • In other words, the owner is the only one who can call a mutate function by default; it’s the only address that can perform any SQL write queries.
  • If the owner sets the controller to an EOA, the caller of a mutate function must be the controller of the table. This controller EOA address will now have the default "allow all" permissions, removing all query permissions from the table owner.
    • For example, user address_1 mints a table and sets the controller to user address_2.
    • Before setting the controller, address_1 had full "allow all" permissions and ownership of the table; address_1 could perform any SQL write operations and was the owner of the ERC721 token (e.g., can still set the controller, transfer ownership, etc.).
    • After address_1 set the controller to address_2, address_1 no longer has the "allow all" permissions. The controller address_2 has the "allow all" permission, but the owner still owns the table (e.g., can set/change the controller, transfer ownership, etc.).
  • If the controller is set to a contract address, it must implement ITablelandController.
    • It **is *technically possible* to set a controller to a contract address that doesn’t implement the controller interface. However, this would lead to issues.
    • There is logic that checks if the mutate caller is a contract. If so, the registry contract makes a getPolicy call on this calling controller contract — which, if ITablelandController isn’t implemented, will cause the call to revert.

Dynamic ACL

The power of the TablelandController and pure smart contract approach is that they allow you to create ACLs that evolve with your project. Perhaps you have an NFT where users have a window of time where they can update metadata, and then your project will lock it down. To do this, you can simply update the TablelandController or change the logic in your smart contract to enforce the new rules. It's that easy.