Users and Permissions with CMS Made Simple 1.6: Part 1

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CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide

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Create a fully functional and professional website using CMS Made Simple

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by Sofia Hauschildt | March 2010 | Beginner's Guides Content Management Open Source

In this two-part article by Sofia Hauschildt, author of CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide, we shall look into:

  • Roles, users, and groups
  • Permissions on content
  • Special designer permissions
  • Archiving and restoring different versions
  • Overview of all default permissions
  • User notifications

Understanding users and their roles

A role is a collection of permissions grouped by general tasks that the user has to be able to perform on the website. An editor may be responsible for creating, reorganizing, and editing pages. A designer does not need to have any permission for page operations, but for creating and editing templates (including module templates). An administrator is a person who has all permissions in the admin console and has unrestricted access to the entire admin console.

In CMS Made Simple, three roles are suggested by default—editor, designer, and administrator. The first user created during installation of CMS Made Simple gets the administrator role by default. This user cannot be deleted, deactivated, or removed from the administrator group, as it would mean that there is no administrator for the website at all. You should choose the name of this user and pay attention to the password strength. Members of the administrator group automatically get all the permissions.

Let's see how you can create a new user and learn about the minimum features that every user has, independent of his/her role.

Time for action – creating a new user

  1. In the admin console, click on Users & Groups | Users.
  2. Click on Add New User, and fill in the fields, as shown in the following screenshot:
  3. CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide

  4. Click on Submit.
  5. Log out (CMS | Logout) and log in as Peter. The admin console should now look as shown in the following screenshot:

CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide

What just happened?

You have created a new user without assigning him to any group. This user can log in to the admin console. There are only two main menu items that the user can access—CMS and My Preferences. The user can change his name, password, and e-mail address in the MyAccount section. He can define his personal preferences such as language, admin template, set default start page for the admin console, and more. He is also able to manage his personal shortcuts.

It is important to define an e-mail address for every user, as this e-mail is used to recover the password, in case the user forgets it. On the login screen of the admin console of CMS Made Simple (when you are not logged in), you will find the link Forgot your password. Click it, enter Peter in the Username field, and click on Submit. An e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address associated with this user. If no e-mail address has been set for this user, then automatic password recovery is not possible. In this case, only the administrator of the website can reset the user's password.

The administrator of the website can set any user as inactive by clicking the icon with a green tick in the column Active (Users & Groups | Users). The user account is not deleted, but the user is not able to log in to the admin console until his account has been activated again. If you delete the user, all permissions and personal user preferences will be irrevocably removed.

If the user is not assigned to any group, then he is not allowed to do anything other than changing his personal settings. Let's assign the user Peter to the editor group to see what tasks he will be allowed to perform as an editor.

Time for action – assigning a user to a group

  1. In the admin console, click on Users & Groups | Users.
  2. Select the user Peter for edit by clicking on his username.
  3. Select the Editor checkbox at the bottom of the screen, as shown in the following screenshot:
  4. CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide

  5. Click on Submit.
  6. Log out (CMS | Logout) and log in as Peter. The admin console should look as shown in the following screenshot:

CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide

What just happened?

You have given the user additional permissions. Now, he can access a new menu item called Content. There are no content pages, but only News that Peter can submit. Let's see what permissions Peter has now. In the admin console, click on Users & Groups | Group Permissions. In the first column, all available permissions are listed. To the right of the permission, there are three columns, one for each group—Admin, Editor, and Designer. You can limit the view to only one group by selecting the group at the top of the table from the drop-down list.

Find all selected checkboxes in the Editor column to see what permissions the user assigned to this group gets. You can see that only the Modify News permission is checked for the group. This means that the user can create news articles and edit existing news. When the user creates a new item, the news is automatically saved as a draft, so that only the administrator of the page or a user who has the Approve News For Frontend Display permission can publish the article on the website.

Peter is not allowed to delete news articles (permission Delete News Articles) and has no access to the content pages (permission Modify Any Page or Manage All Content).

Content permissions

As the target goal of CMS Made Simple is content management, the permissions on editing content are the most flexible. You can create and manage as many editors for the website as you like. Moreover, you can create editors with different access levels thus thoroughly separating who is allowed to do what on your website.

For example, the permission Manage All Content will give the group full access to all the features that are available with the administrator account in Content | Pages. A user assigned to this group can:

  • Create new pages
  • Reorder and move them through the hierarchy
  • Make pages inactive or prevent them from showing in the navigation
  • Change the default page of the website
  • Delete pages
  • Edit pages including all the information placed in the Options tab

To restrict the features mentioned above, you can grant the permission Modify Any Page. This permission allows us to edit the content only. The Options tab is not shown for the users with this permission, so that any information placed in the Options tab cannot be changed.

In addition to the last permission, you can allow some fields from the Options tab, so that the editor is able to change the template or mark the page as inactive.

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Time for action – creating an editor account

The company page will be edited by the office assistant Mary. The office assistant must be able to edit existing pages, edit meta tags, assign templates, and set the page as inactive.

  1. In the admin console, create a new user (Users & Groups | Users), and assign the user to the group Editor, as shown in the following screenshot:
  2. CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide

  3. Click on Submit.
  4. Modify the permissions of the group Editor (Users & Groups | Group Permissions), and check the box for Modify Any Page.
  5. Click on Submit.
  6. In the admin console, click on Site Admin | Global Settings, and choose the Advanced Setup tab.
  7. In the Basic Properties field, choose options Template, Active, and Page Specific Metadata , as shown in the following screenshot (hold the Ctrl key to mark three options at the same time):
  8. CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide

  9. Click on Submit.
  10. Log out (CMS | Logout) and log in as Mary. Check that all of the required features are available when the page is opened for editing.

What just happened?

You have created a new user and assigned the user to the group Editor. The group is allowed to edit any page of the website. Additionally, the fields Template, Active, and Page Specific Metadata are available to Mary when she edits the content.

Your template should have a Smarty plugin {metadata} in the head section, so that Page Specific Metadata can be placed in the source code of the page.

Note that the permission Modify Any Page does not give you the possibility to restrict access to certain pages. If Mary is not allowed to edit every page on the website, but only some of them, then you should switch to the concept of additional editors, which will be described in the next section.

Additional editors

For every content page, additional editors can be defined. You can add additional editors to a certain page in the Options tab in the field Additional Editors (you must be logged in as the administrator to do it). The additional editor of the page will be able to see and edit only the pages that he is assigned.

To explain it in our example and make it more practical, assume that Mary is not allowed to edit all the pages but only pages History, Team, and Contact Us. Remove Mary from the group Editor (Users & Groups | Group Assignments) by deselecting the group in line with Mary's account. Then open the three pages listed earlier, and assign Mary in the field Additional Editors, in the Options tab for every page. Now, log in as Mary, and open the list of content pages (Content | Pages).

Additional editors automatically get the permission Modify Any Page, but are restricted to the pages where they have been set as additional editors. You do not need any special group or permissions for such users. Mary, as with every additional editor, is not allowed to create new pages.

Creating new pages

The Add Pages permission depends upon other permissions that the user has. It is not enough to add the permission Add Pages for the editor. This is because creating new pages will automatically impact the whole website structure. Remember that the navigation is built entirely of the existing pages.

Only those groups having the Manage All Content permission are allowed to create pages at every level of the website structure. Beware that these users will not only be able to create new pages, but also modify the whole website structure by reordering or even deleting pages.

Time for action – adding page permissions

Assume that Mary was not only allowed to edit some pages, but also to create pages at certain places in the hierarchy. However, Mary is still not allowed to create pages at the top level of the website. In the last example, we added Mary as an additional editor to some pages. Let's give her the right to create new pages.

  1. In the admin console, click on Users & Groups | Groups, and create a new group named Additional Editors.
  2. Click on Users & Groups | Group Permissions, and assign the permission Add Pages to the group Additional Editors, as shown in the following screenshot:
  3. CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide

  4. Click on  Submit.
  5. Assign Mary to the group Additional Editors (Users & Groups | Group Assignments)
  6. Log out (CMS | Logout) and log in as Mary.
  7. Click on the link Add New Content (Content | Pages), and see the options in the Parent field, as shown in the following screenshot:

CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide

What just happened?

Mary is  an additional editor of the pages History, Team, and Contact Us. Assigned to the group with the permission Add Pages, Mary can now create new pages under the pages in which she has permission to. However, she is not able to create pages in other sections of the website. For all pages that she creates, Mary will be set as the owner of the page.

If you would like to approve pages created by editors before showing them in the menu of the website, click on Site Admin | Page Defaults and deselect the field Show in Menu. This way, all newly created pages are not shown in the navigation. By default, the editor cannot change these settings. He/she has to wait for the administrator of the website or for the user with the permission Manage All Content for the page to be shown in menu.

In the same manner, you can grant the permission Remove Pages. Assign the permission to the group Additional Editors, so that they can delete only those pages where they have been assigned as editors.

>> Continue Reading Users and Permissions with CMS Made Simple 1.6: Part 2

 

CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide Create a fully functional and professional website using CMS Made Simple
Published: March 2010
eBook Price: $26.99
Book Price: $44.99
See more
Select your format and quantity:

About the Author :


Sofia Hauschildt

Sofia Hauschildt is a tutor for web mastering and web development, who started designing and developing professional websites in 1995, just before her graduation in computer science. With experience as a Data Warehouse developer and ERP consultant she became a self-employed tutor. During her career she has been contracted by IT and management academies, the German army, several city administrations, and international companies like Siemens. Her work as a tutor is always focused on practical training combined with a theoretical background in order to get fast and handy results.  In her publications she shares not only solid knowledge but her personal experience and shows a simple and powerful way of creating websites for ambitious beginners. Building websites is an amazing chance to communicate with the whole world and to discover it as well.

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