givesocialmovement / backdoor   0.2.2


Database modification tool for team

Scala versions: 2.12
sbt plugins: 1.0


CircleCI codecov

Backdoor is a database modification tool for team. Here are its highlights:

  • History of modification: we track the data before modification and the modification itself.
  • Access control on columns: we can allow certain persons to edit (or only-read) certain columns.
  • Computed column: we can show an extra column which is computed on the existing columns. An example use case is showing a secret url computed from the id column and the key column.
  • Webhook: we can send webhook when certain data is edited. An example use case is updating the search index when a row is updated.

Backdoor is currently used at and only supports Postgresql for now.

If you are using Backdoor, please star our repo to let newcomers know that they can trust our application. Backdoor is a database tool; trust and security are the most important aspects. Thank you!

Demo: (Username: [email protected], Password: Test#123)


As have a small engineering team, one of the challenges that we have faced is that an admin dashboard, which is some form of CRUD, is needed in order to enable our team to modify data.

We've quickly realised that building multiple admin dashboards for multiple data models doesn't scale well. While other database tools (as listed here) are okay, they estange non-technical users and lack of important collaboration-esque features (e.g. history and column-level access control help prevent mistakes).

Thus, Backdoor was created to address this need.



The usage requires a certain degree of involvement. Please use IntelliJ, so it's easy to modify Scala code.

A full working example is in the folder example-project. The example also includes how to deploy to Heroku.

1. project/plugins.sbt and build.sbt

Add Backdoor as an SBT plugin in project/plugins.sbt:

resolvers += Resolver.bintrayRepo("givers", "maven")
addSbtPlugin("givers.backdoor" % "sbt-backdoor" % "0.2.1")

And enable Backdoor in build.sbt:

lazy val root =".")).enablePlugins(Backdoor)

2. Define permissions, computed columns, and webhooks

Computed columns, webhooks, and fine-tuned permissions are the main strength of Backdoor. They allow Backdoor to replace custom-built administration dashboards.

You can see the full example at test-project/src/scala/givers/backdoor/example-project.

Minimally, it should include:

package exampleproject

import play.api.{Configuration, Environment}

class OurWebhooks extends givers.backdoor.Webhooks {
  def get(table: String) = Seq.empty

class OurComputedColumns extends givers.backdoor.ComputedColumns {
  def get(table: String) = Seq.empty

class OurPermissions extends givers.backdoor.Permissions {
  val PERMISSIONS = Map(
    "[email protected]" -> Permission(
      create = Set("*"),
      delete = Set("*"),
      perColumn = Map("*" -> Map("*" -> Scope.Write))

  def get(email: String): Option[Permission] = PERMISSIONS.get(email)

class Module extends play.api.inject.Module {
  def bindings(environment: Environment, configuration: Configuration) = Seq(
    bind[givers.backdoor.Webhooks].toInstance(new OurWebhooks(configuration)),
    bind[givers.backdoor.ComputedColumns].toInstance(new OurComputedColumns(configuration)),
    bind[givers.backdoor.Permissions].toInstance(new OurPermissions)

3. Get Auth0 application

Backdoor depends on Auth0 because we don't want to build our own authentication mechanism. Plus, Auth0 offers a generous free plan, which is up to a thousand users.

4. Specify configuration

Create the configuration file at conf/application.conf.

Minimally, the content should include:

include "backdoor.conf"  // include Backdoor's base configuration

// The module classpath that defines permissions, computed columns, and webhooks; it's the one we specified earlier.
play.modules.enabled += "exampleproject.Module"  

// The database that Backdoor uses for managing its internal states."postgres://backdoor_example_project_dev_user:dev@localhost:5432/backdoor_example_project_dev"  

play.filters.cors.allowedOrigins = ["http://localhost:8000"]  # Forbid all cross-origin requests
play.filters.hosts.allowed = ["localhost:8000"]

// The database that Backdoor manages.
target.databaseUrl = "postgres://backdoor_example_project_target_user:dev@localhost:5432/backdoor_example_project_target"  


5. Run

After setting up all this, you can run Backdoor locally with sbt run.

For deploying to Heroku, please take a look at example-project. You would need to:

  • Add sbt-native-packager and set it up with the app using .enablePlugins(JavaAppPackaging)
  • Specify the values of environment variables in example-project/src/main/resources/heroku.conf

Then, you can deploy to Heroku with git push.

Please open a Github issue if you have any question.


Publish a new version

  1. Ensure the version in framework-backdoor/build.sbt and sbt-backdoor/build.sbt are identical and correct.
  2. Ensure the version in sbt-backdoor/src/main/givers/backdoor/sbtplugin/Backdoor.scala is correct.
  3. Run tests with sbt test
  4. Publish with sbt publish
  5. Verify that the artifact is published correctly at and

To publish locally, please use sbt publishM2 (instead of sbt publishLocal).