Codebase 101

Jumping head first into any foreign codebase can cause a little headache. This section is there to help you find your way through the code of OWASP Juice Shop. On its top level the Juice Shop codebase is mainly separated into a client and a server tier, the latter with an underlying lightweight database and file system as storage.

Client Tier

OWASP Juice Shop uses the popular Angular framework as the core of its client-side. Thanks to Angular Material - an Angular-specific implementation of Google's Material Design - the UI looks nicely familiar and is easy to use. It is also built to be responsive with the help of Angular Flex-Layout, letting it adapt nicely to different screen sizes. The various icons used throughout the frontend are from the vast Font Awesome 5 collection.

:information_source: Please note that all client-side code is written in Typescript which is compiled into regular JavaScript during the build process.

Client tier focus


Service is a broad category encompassing any value, function, or feature that an app needs. A service is typically a class with a narrow, well-defined purpose. It should do something specific and do it well.

Angular distinguishes components from services to increase modularity and reusability. By separating a component's view-related functionality from other kinds of processing, you can make your component classes lean and efficient.1

The client-side Angular services reside in the frontend/src/app/Services folder. Each service file handles all RESTful HTTP calls to the Node.js backend for a specific domain entity or functional aspect of the application.

Angular Services folder

Service functions must always use Angular's own HttpClient to make any backend calls.

The following code snippet shows how all services in the OWASP Juice Shop client are structured using the example of FeedbackService. It wraps the /api/Feedback API which offers a GET, POST and DELETE endpoint to find, create and delete Feedback of users:

import { environment } from '../../environments/environment'
import { Injectable } from '@angular/core'
import { HttpClient } from '@angular/common/http'
import { catchError, map } from 'rxjs/operators'

  providedIn: 'root'
export class FeedbackService {

  private hostServer = environment.hostServer
  private host = this.hostServer + '/api/Feedbacks'

  constructor (private http: HttpClient) { }

  find (params?: any) {
    return this.http.get( + '/' , {
      params: params
    }).pipe(map((response: any) =>, catchError((err) => {
      throw err

  save (params) {
    return + '/', params).pipe(map((response: any) =>, catchError((err) => { throw err }))

  del (id) {
    return this.http.delete( + '/' + id).pipe(map((response: any) =>, catchError((err) => { throw err }))

:rotating_light: Unit tests for all services can be found next to their *.service.ts files in the frontend/src/app/Services folder as *.service.spec.ts files. They are Jasmine 2 specifications which are executed by the Karma test runner.


A component controls a patch of screen called a view.


You define a component's application logic—what it does to support the view—inside a class. The class interacts with the view through an API of properties and methods.2

The Angular components reside inside frontend/src/app as a subfolder for each individual component. Each component is responsible for one screen portion of the application. It consists of the component itself (*.component.ts) and the HTML Template (*.component.html) along with its styles (*.component.scss).

Angular Component folders

Components must always go through one or more Services when communicating with the application backend.

The code snippet below shows the ContactComponent which handles the Contact Us screen and uses three different services to fulfill its tasks:

  • UserService to retrieve data about the currently logged in user (if applicable) via the whoAmi() function
  • CaptchaService to retrieve a new CAPTCHA for the user to solve via the getCaptcha() function
  • FeedbackService to eventually save() the user feedback

:point_up: As a universal rule for the entire Juice Shop codebase, unnecessary code duplication as well as deeply nested :spaghetti:-code should be avoided by using well-named & small helper functions. This is demonstrated by the very simple getNewCaptcha() and resetForm() functions in the code snippet below. Helper functions should always be located as close to the calling code as possible.

import { FeedbackService } from '../Services/feedback.service'
import { CaptchaService } from '../Services/captcha.service'
import { UserService } from '../Services/user.service'
import { FormControl, Validators } from '@angular/forms'
import { Component, OnInit } from '@angular/core'
import { library, dom } from '@fortawesome/fontawesome-svg-core'
import { faPaperPlane, faStar } from '@fortawesome/free-solid-svg-icons'

library.add(faStar, faPaperPlane)

  selector: 'app-contact',
  templateUrl: './contact.component.html',
  styleUrls: ['./contact.component.scss']
export class ContactComponent implements OnInit {

  public authorControl: FormControl =
    new FormControl({ value: '', disabled: true }, [])
  public feedbackControl: FormControl =
    new FormControl('', [Validators.required, Validators.maxLength(160)])
  public captchaControl: FormControl =
    new FormControl('', [Validators.required])
  public userIdControl: FormControl = new FormControl('', [])
  public rating: number = 0
  public feedback: any = undefined
  public captcha: any
  public captchaId: any
  public confirmation: any
  public error: any

  constructor (
    private userService: UserService,
    private captchaService: CaptchaService,
    private feedbackService: FeedbackService) { }

  ngOnInit () {
    this.userService.whoAmI().subscribe((data: any) => { = {}
      this.userIdControl.setValue( =
      this.authorControl.setValue( || 'anonymous')
    }, (err) => { = undefined

  getNewCaptcha () {
    this.captchaService.getCaptcha().subscribe((data: any) => {
      this.captcha = data.captcha
      this.captchaId = data.captchaId
    }, (err) => err)

  save () { = this.captchaId = this.captchaControl.value = this.feedbackControl.value = this.rating = this.userIdControl.value => {
      this.error = null
      this.confirmation = 'Thank you for your feedback' +
        (savedFeedback.rating === 5 ? ' and your 5-star rating!' : '.') = {}
    }, (error) => {
      this.error = error.error
      this.confirmation = null = {}

  resetForm () {


:rotating_light: Unit tests for all components can be found in their subfolders within frontend/src/app/ as *.component.spec.ts files. They are Jasmine 2 specifications which are executed by the Karma test runner.


The Angular application manages what the user sees and can do, achieving this through the interaction of a component class instance (the component) and its user-facing template.

You may be familiar with the component/template duality from your experience with model-view-controller (MVC) or model-view-viewmodel (MVVM). In Angular, the component plays the part of the controller/viewmodel, and the template represents the view.3

Each screen within the application is defined in a HTML view template along with its Component in the subfolders beneath frontend/src/app/. The views are written as HTML using Angular Material for styling and Angular Flex-Layout for responsiveness. Furthermore most views incorporate icons from the Font Awesome 5 collection.

:information_source: Understanding the Declarative HTML APIs of the Angular Layout is crucial to be able to write UI elements or entire screens without breaking responsiveness!

The following code snippet shows the contact.component.html view which - together with the previously shown ContractComponent class and its associated styles in contact.component.scss - represents the entire Contact Us screen.

<div fxLayoutAlign="center">
    <h3 translate>TITLE_CONTACT</h3>

    <div *ngIf="confirmation">
      <p class="confirmation">{{confirmation}}</p>
    <div *ngIf="error">
      <p class="error">{{error}}</p>

    <div class="form-container">

      <input hidden type="text" id="userId" [formControl]="userIdControl"/>

      <mat-form-field appearance="outline">
        <mat-label translate>LABEL_AUTHOR</mat-label>
        <input [formControl]="authorControl" matInput type="text">

      <mat-form-field appearance="outline">
        <mat-label translate>LABEL_COMMENT</mat-label>
        <textarea id="comment" [formControl]="feedbackControl" matInput></textarea>
        <mat-error *ngIf="feedbackControl.invalid && feedbackControl.errors.required" translate>

      <div style="margin-top:5px;" class="rating-container">
        <label style="font-weight:bold; margin-right: 8px;" translate>
        <bar-rating [(rate)]="rating" [max]="5"></bar-rating>

        <label style="font-weight:bold;" translate>LABEL_CAPTCHA</label>&nbsp;
        <code id="captcha">{{captcha}}</code>&nbsp;<label>?</label>
        <input id="captchaControl" [formControl]="captchaControl" matInput type="text">
        <mat-error *ngIf="captchaControl.invalid && captchaControl.errors.required" translate>


    <button type="submit" id="submitButton" style="margin-top:5px;"
            mat-raised-button color="primary"
            [disabled]="authorControl.invalid || feedbackControl.invalid || captchaControl.invalid || !rating"
      <i class="fas fa-paper-plane fa-lg"></i> {{'BTN_SUBMIT' | translate}}


:information_source: In the entire Juice Shop code base, inline templates are never used. Templates must always be described in separate .html files.


All static texts in the user interface are fully internationalized using the ngx-translate module. Texts coming from the server (e.g. product descriptions or server error messages) are always in English.

No hard-coded texts are allowed in any of the Templates or Components. Instead, property keys have to be defined and are usually applied with a translate attribute that can be placed in most HTML tags. You might have noticed several of these translate attributes in the contact.component.html code snippet from the Templates section.

The different translations are maintained in JSON files in the /frontend/src/assets/i18n folder. The only file that is allowed to be touched by developers is the en.json file for the original English texts. New properties are exclusively added here. When pushing the develop branch to GitHub, the online translation provider will pick up changes in en.json and adapt all other language files accordingly. All this happens behind the scenes in a distinct branch l10n_develop which will be manually merged back into develop on a regular basis.

To learn about the actual translation process please refer to the chapter Helping with translations.

Client-side code compilation

All client side Angular code is compiled into JavaScript and afterwards uglified (for security by obscurity) and minified (for initial load time reduction) during the build process (launched with npm install) of the application. This creates an frontend/dist/frontend folder, which is the one actually delivered to the Browser to load all application-specific client-side code.

:information_source: If you want to quickly test client-side code changes, it can be cumbersome and slow to launch npm install over and over again. Instead you can use npm run serve to keep let Angular watch for client-code changes and recompile the affected parts on the fly. You usually not even have to manually refresh your browser with F5 to see your changes.

Server Tier

The backend of OWASP Juice Shop is a Node.js application based on the Express web framework.

Server tier focus

:information_source: On the server side all JavaScript code must be compliant to javascript (ES6) syntax.


Routing refers to determining how an application responds to a client request to a particular endpoint, which is a URI (or path) and a specific HTTP request method (GET, POST, and so on).

Each route can have one or more handler functions, which are executed when the route is matched.4

Routes are defined via the the Express framework and can be handled by any of the following middlewares:

  • An automatically generated API endpoint for one of the exposed tables from the application's Data model
  • A hand-written middleware which encapsulates some business or technical responsibility
  • Some third-party middleware that fulfills a non-functional requirement such as
    • file serving (via serve-index and serve-favicon)
    • adding HTTP security headers (via helmet and cors)
    • extracting cookies from HTTP requests (via cookie-parser)
    • writing access logs (via morgan)
    • catching unhandled exceptions and presenting a default error screen (via errorhandler)

:rotating_light: Integration tests for all routes can be found in the test/api folder alongside all other API endpoint tests, from where Frisby.js/Jest assert the functionality of the entire backend on HTTP-request/response level.

Generated API endpoints

Juice Shop uses the Epilogue middleware to automatically create REST endpoints for most of its Sequelize models. For e.g. the User model the generated endpoints are:

  • /api/Users accepting
    • GET requests to retrieve all (or a filtered list of) user records
    • and POST requests to create a new user record
  • /api/Users/{id} accepting
    • GET requests to retrieve a single user record by its database ID
    • PATCH requests to update a user record
    • DELETE requests to delete a user record

Apart from the User model also the Product, Feedback, BasketItem, Challenge, Complaint, Recycle, SecurityQuestion and SecurityAnswer models are exposed in this fashion.

Not all HTTP verbs are accepted by every endpoint. Furthermore, some endpoints are protected against anonymous access and can only be used by an authenticated user. This is described later in section Access control on routes.

  sequelize: models.sequelize

const autoModels = ['User', 'Product', 'Feedback',
'BasketItem', 'Challenge', 'Complaint', 'Recycle',
'SecurityQuestion', 'SecurityAnswer']

for (const modelName of autoModels) {
  const resource = epilogue.resource({
    model: models[modelName],
    endpoints: [`/api/${modelName}s`, `/api/${modelName}s/:id`]

  // fix the api difference between epilogue and previously
  // used sequlize-restful
  resource.all.send.before((req, res, context) => {
    context.instance = {
      status: 'success',
      data: context.instance
    return context.continue

Hand-written middleware

The business functionality in the application backend is separated into tightly scoped middleware components which are placed in the routes folder.

Express routes folder

These middleware components are directly mapped to Express routes.

Each middleware exposes a single function which encapsulates their responsibility. For example, the angular.js middleware delivers the index.html page to the client:

const path = require('path')
const utils = require('../lib/utils')

module.exports = function serveAngularClient () {
  return ({url}, res, next) => {
    if (!utils.startsWith(url, '/api') && !utils.startsWith(url, '/rest')) {
      res.sendFile(path.resolve(__dirname, '../app/index.html'))
    } else {
      next(new Error('Unexpected path: ' + url))

If a hand-written middleware is involved in a hacking challenge, it must assess on its own if the challenge has been solved. For example, in the basket.js middleware where successfully accessing another user's shopping basket is verified:

const utils = require('../lib/utils')
const insecurity = require('../lib/insecurity')
const models = require('../models/index')
const challenges = require('../data/datacache').challenges

module.exports = function retrieveBasket () {
  return (req, res, next) => {
    const id =
    models.Basket.find({ where: { id }, include: [ { model: models.Product, paranoid: false } ] })
      .then(basket => {
        if (utils.notSolved(challenges.basketChallenge)) {
          const user = insecurity.authenticatedUsers.from(req)
          if (user && id && id !== 'undefined' && != id) {
      }).catch(error => {

The only middleware deviating from above specification is verify.js. It contains no business functionality. Instead of one function it exposes several named functions on challenge verification for Generated API endpoints, for example:'/api/Feedbacks', verify.forgedFeedbackChallenge())'/api/Feedbacks', verify.captchaBypassChallenge())

The same applied for any challenges on top of third-party middleware, for example:


Similar to the Generated API endpoints, not all hand-written endpoints can be used anonymously. The upcoming section Access control on routes explains the available authorization checks.

:rotating_light: Unit tests for hand-written routes can be found in the test/server folder. These tests are written using the Chai assertion library in conjunction with the Mocha test framework.

Access control on routes

For both the generated and hand-written middleware access can be retricted on the corresponding routes by adding insecurity.denyAll() or insecurity.isAuthorized() as an extra middleware. Examples for denying all access to certain HTTP verbs for the SecurityQuestion and SecurityAnswer models:

/* SecurityQuestions: Only GET list of questions allowed. */'/api/SecurityQuestions', insecurity.denyAll())
app.use('/api/SecurityQuestions/:id', insecurity.denyAll())

/* SecurityAnswers: Only POST of answer allowed. */
app.get('/api/SecurityAnswers', insecurity.denyAll())
app.use('/api/SecurityAnswers/:id', insecurity.denyAll())

The following snippet show the authorization settings for the User model which allows only POST to anonymous users (for registration) and requires to be logged-in for retrieving the list of users or individual user records. Deleting users is completely forbidden:

app.get('/api/Users', insecurity.isAuthorized())
  .put(insecurity.denyAll()) // Updating users is forbidden to make the password change challenge harder
  .delete(insecurity.denyAll()) // Deleting users is forbidden entirely to keep login challenges solvable

Custom libraries

Two important and widely used custom libraries reside in the lib folder, one containing useful utilities (lib/utils.js) and the other encapsulating many of the broken security features (lib/insecurity.js) of the application.

Useful utilities

The main responsibility of the utils.js module is setting challenges as solved and sending associated notifications, optionally including a CTF flag code. It can also retrieve any challenge by its name and check if a passed challenge is not yet solved, to avoid unnecessary (and sometimes expensive) repetitive solving of the same challenge.

exports.solve = function (challenge, isRestore) {
  const self = this
  challenge.solved = true => {
    solvedChallenge.description = entities.decode(sanitizeHtml(solvedChallenge.description, {
      allowedTags: [],
      allowedAttributes: []
    console.log('Solved') + ' challenge ' + colors.cyan( + ' (' + solvedChallenge.description + ')')
    self.sendNotification(solvedChallenge, isRestore)

exports.sendNotification = function (challenge, isRestore) {
  if (!this.notSolved(challenge)) {
    const flag = this.ctfFlag(
    const notification = {
      challenge: + ' (' + challenge.description + ')',
      flag: flag,
      hidden: !config.get('application.showChallengeSolvedNotifications'),
      isRestore: isRestore
    if ( {'challenge solved', notification)

It also offers some basic String and Date utilities along with data (un-)wrapper functions and a method for the synchronous file download used during Customization.

Insecurity features

The insecurity.js module offers all security-relevant utilities of the application, but of course mostly in some broken or flawed way:

  • Hashing functions borh weak (hash()) and relatively strong (hmac())
  • Route authorization via JWT with denyAll() and isAuthorized() (see Access control on routes) and corresponding grant of permission for a users with authorize()
  • HTML sanitization by exposing a (vulnerable) external library as function sanitizeHtml()
  • Keeping a bi-directional map of users with their current authentication token (JWT) in authenticatedUsers
  • Coupon code creation and verification functions generateCoupon() and discountFromCoupon()
  • A whitelist of allowed redirect URLs and a corresponding check function isRedirectAllowed()
  • CAPTCHA verification via verifyCaptcha() which compares the user's answer against the requested CAPTCHA from the database

Storage Tier

SQLite and MarsDB form the backbone of the Juice Shop, as an e-commerce application without storage for its product, customer and associated data would not be very realistic. The Juice Shop uses light-weight implementations on the database layer to keep it runnable as a single "all-inclusive" server which can be deployed in various ways with ease.

DB tier focus


For the main database of the Juice Shop the file-based SQLite engine is used. It does not require a separate server but is accessed directly from data/juiceshop.sqlite on the file system of the Node.js server. For ease of use and more flexibility the relational mapping framework Sequelize is used to actually access the data through a querying API. Sometime plain SQL is used as well, and of course in an unsafe way that allows Injection.

Data model

The relational data model of the Juice Shop is very straightforward. It features the following tables:

  • Users which contains all registered users (i.e. potential customers) of the web shop.
  • The table SecurityQuestions contains a fixed number of security questions a user has to choose from during registration. The provided answer is stored in the table SecurityAnswers.
  • The Products table contains the products available in the shop including price data.
  • When logging in every user receives a shopping basket represented by a row in the Baskets table. When putting products into the basket this is reflected by entries in BasketItems linking a product to a basket together with a quantity.
  • Users can interact further with the shop by
    • giving feedback which is stored in the Feedbacks table
    • complaining about recent orders which creates entries in the Complaints table
    • asking for fruit-pressing leftovers to be collected for recycled via the Recycles table.
  • The table Captchas stores all generated CAPTCHA questions and answers for comparison with the users response.
  • The Challenges table would not be part of the data model of a normal e-commerce application, but for simplicities sake it is kept in the same schema. This table stores all hacking challenges that the OWASP Juice Shop offers and persists if the user already solved them or not.

ERM Diagram

Non-relational database

Not all data of the Juice Shop resides in a relational schema. The product reviews are stored in a non-relational in-memory MarsDB instance. An example user reviews entry might look like the following inside MarsDB:

{"message":"One of my favorites!","author":"admin@juice-sh.op","product":1,"_id":"PaZjAKKMaxWieSF65"}

All interaction with MarsDB happens via the MongoDB query syntax.

Populating the databases

The OWASP Juice Shop comes with a data/datacreator.js module that is automatically executed on every server start after the SQLite file and in-memory MarsDB have been cleared. It populates all tables with some initial data which makes the application usable out-of-the-box:

module.exports = async () => {
  const creators = [

  for (const creator of creators) {
    await creator()

For the Users and Challenges tables the rows to be inserted are defined via YAML files in the data/static folder. As the contents of the Products table and the non-relational reviews collection can be customized, it is populated based on the active configuration file. By default this is config/default.yml).

The data in the Feedbacks, SecurityQuestions, SecurityAnswers, Basket, BasketItem, Complaints and Recycles tables is statically defined within the datacreator.js script. They are so simple that a YAML declaration file seemed like overkill.

The Captchas table remains empty on startup, as it will dynamically generate a new CAPTCHA every time the Contact us page is visited.

File system

The folder ftp contains some files which are directly accessible. When a user completes a purchase, an order confirmation PDF is generated and placed into this folder. Other than that the ftp folder is also used to deliver the shop's terms of use to interested customers.

Uploaded complaint files

The File complaint page contains a file upload field to attach one of the previously mentioned order confirmation PDFs. While these are really uploaded to the server, they are not written to the file system but discarded for security reasons: Publicly hosted Juice Shop instances are not supposed to be abused as malware distribution sites or file shares.

End-to-end tests

As applications grow in size and complexity, it becomes unrealistic to rely on manual testing to verify the correctness of new features, catch bugs and notice regressions. Unit tests are the first line of defense for catching bugs, but sometimes issues come up with integration between components which can't be captured in a unit test. End-to-end tests are made to find these problems.5

The folder test/e2e contains an extensive suite of end-to-end tests which automatically solves every challenge in the Juice Shop application. Whenever a new challenge is added, a corresponding end-to-end test needs to be included, to prove that it can be exploited.

It is quite an impressive sight to see how 75 hacking challenges are solved without any human interaction in a few minutes. The e2e tests constantly jump back and forth between attacked pages and the Score Board letting you watch as the difficulty stars and progress bar slowly fill and ever more green "solved"-badges appear. There is a video recording of this on YouTube for the 7.0.0 release of the Juice Shop.

OWASP Juice Shop 7.0.0 - Protractor test suite

These tests are written and executed with Protractor which uses Selenium WebDriver under the hood.


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