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This article is part of a series:
Spring Security Registration TutorialThe Registration Process With Spring SecurityRegistration – Activate a New Account by EmailSpring Security Registration – Resend Verification EmailRegistration with Spring Security – Password EncodingThe Registration API becomes RESTfulSpring Security – Reset Your Password
Registration – Password Strength and Rules
Updating your Password

1. Overview

In this quick tutorial, we’ll look at how to implement and show proper password constraints during registration. Things like – the password should contain a special character, or it should be at least 8 characters long.

We want to be able to use powerful password rules – but we don’t want to actually implement these rules manually. So, we’re going to make good use of the mature Passay library.

2. Custom Password Constraint

First – let’s create a custom constraint ValidPassword:

@Documented
@Constraint(validatedBy = PasswordConstraintValidator.class)
@Target({ TYPE, FIELD, ANNOTATION_TYPE })
@Retention(RUNTIME)
public @interface ValidPassword {

    String message() default "Invalid Password";

    Class<?>[] groups() default {};

    Class<? extends Payload>[] payload() default {};

}

And use it in the UserDto:

@ValidPassword
private String password;

3. Custom Password Validator

Now – let’s use the library to create some powerful password rules without having to actually manually implement any of them.

We’ll create the password validator PasswordConstraintValidator – and we’ll define the rules for the password:

public class PasswordConstraintValidator implements ConstraintValidator<ValidPassword, String> {

    @Override
    public void initialize(ValidPassword arg0) {
    }

    @Override
    public boolean isValid(String password, ConstraintValidatorContext context) {
        PasswordValidator validator = new PasswordValidator(Arrays.asList(
           new LengthRule(8, 30), 
           new UppercaseCharacterRule(1), 
           new DigitCharacterRule(1), 
           new SpecialCharacterRule(1), 
           new NumericalSequenceRule(3,false), 
           new AlphabeticalSequenceRule(3,false), 
           new QwertySequenceRule(3,false),
           new WhitespaceRule()));

        RuleResult result = validator.validate(new PasswordData(password));
        if (result.isValid()) {
            return true;
        }
        context.disableDefaultConstraintViolation();
        context.buildConstraintViolationWithTemplate(
          Joiner.on(",").join(validator.getMessages(result)))
          .addConstraintViolation();
        return false;
    }
}

Notice how we’re creating the new constraint violation here and disabling the default one as well – in case the password is not valid.

Finally, let’s also add the Passay library into our pom:

<dependency>
	<groupId>org.passay</groupId>
	<artifactId>passay</artifactId>
	<version>1.0</version>
</dependency>

For a bit of historical info, Passay is the descendant of the venerable vt-password Java library.

4. JS Password Meter

Now that the server side is done, let’s take a look at the client side and implement a simple Password Strength” functionality with JavaScript.

We’ll use a simple jQuery plugin – jQuery Password Strength Meter for Twitter Bootstrap – to show the password strength in registration.html:

<input id="password" name="password" type="password"/>

<script src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.11.2/jquery.min.js"></script>
<script src="pwstrength.js"></script>                  
<script type="text/javascript">
$(document).ready(function () {
    options = {
        common: {minChar:8},
        ui: {
            showVerdictsInsideProgressBar:true,
            showErrors:true,
            errorMessages:{
                wordLength: '<spring:message code="error.wordLength"/>',
                wordNotEmail: '<spring:message code="error.wordNotEmail"/>',
                wordSequences: '<spring:message code="error.wordSequences"/>',
                wordLowercase: '<spring:message code="error.wordLowercase"/>',
                wordUppercase: '<spring:message code="error.wordUppercase"/>',
                wordOneNumber: '<spring:message code="error.wordOneNumber"/>',
                wordOneSpecialChar: '<spring:message code="error.wordOneSpecialChar"/>'
            }
        }
    };
    $('#password').pwstrength(options);
});
</script>

5. Conclusion

And that’s it – a simple but very useful way to show the strength of the password on the client side and enforce certain password rules on the server side.

The full implementation of this tutorial can be found in the github project – this is an Eclipse based project, so it should be easy to import and run as it is.

I just announced the new Spring 5 modules in REST With Spring:

>> CHECK OUT THE LESSONS