Users and Permissions with CMS Made Simple 1.6: Part 2

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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

Read Part One of Users and Permissions with CMS Made Simple 1.6 here.

Designer permissions

If you have a user with strong HTML and CSS knowledge who is able to make reasonable changes to the entire layout of the website or just to the module templates, then you can assign that user to the group Designer.

A designer must have the following set of permissions:

  • Add Stylesheet Associations
  • Add Stylesheets
  • Add Templates
  • Manage Menu
  • Manage Themes
  • Modify Files
  • Modify Stylesheet Associations
  • Modify Stylesheets
  • Modify Templates
  • Remove Stylesheet Associations
  • Remove Stylesheets
  • Remove Templates
  • View Tag Help

This set of permissions allows the designer of the website to perform any task related to the design of the template. However, the designer will not be able to edit the content, submit news, or set any site preferences.

Time for action – creating a test area for the designer

  1. In the admin console, click on Content | Pages.
  2. Click on Add New Content and create an inactive Section Header named Design Test as shown:
  3. CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide

  4. Click on Submit.
  5. Click on Add New Content again, choose the section header Design Test (created in step 2) in the field Parent. Select the Options tab, scroll down, and select the user or the whole group Designer in the field Additional Editors.
  6. Click on Submit.
  7. Log out and log in again as Designer. Click on Content | Pages to see the test page.

What just happened?

You have created a new page and placed it below an inactive Section Header. The pages placed below inactive pages cannot be displayed in the website structure. Even if you use the parameter show_all with the Smarty plugin menu (for example, in the sitemap) the page will not be displayed. However, it is active, and it can be accessed directly through the magnifying glass icon, and can be used by the designer as a test area.

In the admin console (Site Admin | Global Settings), under the Advanced Setup tab, you can define Basic Properties for the additional editors such as Image. Here, the editor can choose an image from a drop-down list and thus assign an image to a certain location in the template defined by the designer.

There is a useful third-party module called Template Externalizer. It allows you to use any external editor to edit your templates and stylesheets. After installing and turning on Development Mode, the module automatically extracts all stylesheets and templates into the specified directory. If you modify templates in this external directory, changes are automatically detected, imported to the database, and take effect immediately. When the module is installed, there is the permission Template Externalizer that can be granted to the group Designer.

Viewing the admin log

The admin log records the details of the changes made to the site by all users. This log can be found in the admin console (Site Admin | Admin Log) and includes records about the creating, deleting, and changing of:

  • Pages and global content blocks
  • Templates and stylesheets
  • Users, groups, and permissions
  • Site preferences
  • Modules

At the top of the log, you will find a navigation section providing links to the first, next, previous, and last pages of the log. There is also a link to download the complete log as a tab separated text file. At the bottom is the Clear Admin Log link. This will clear the entire log.

Important! You won't be asked to confirm the Clear Admin Log, and this action cannot be undone once completed.

Once the admin log is cleared, there is no evidence of who has changed anything on the website and what the changes were. Therefore, there is even a separate permission called Clear Admin Log that is granted separately from the permission Modify Site Preferences.

There are five columns in each log entry, which are as follows:

  • User: This shows the username of the user who performed the action. Even if the user is deleted later, the username is still saved in the log.
  • Item ID: This shows the database ID of the affected item. Note that item IDs are only unique to the Item Name shown in the next column and not across the whole database, so the same item ID may appear repeatedly.
  • Item Name: This shows the name of the item affected.
  • Action: This describes the type of change made to the item.
  • Date: This saves the date and time the change was made.

If you have novice users with access to the admin console, then you probably would like to keep all versions of the content to be able to restore them if something goes wrong. There is no such feature in the standard installation of CMS Made Simple, but there is a nice third-party module that you can install additionally.

Archiving changes and restoring them

Once the Archiver module is installed, it keeps a copy of every content page, global content block, stylesheet, or template that is edited or deleted. It also provides the possibility to restore anything in the archive to the current state. This means that your users can edit various aspects of the site, and you can reverse their changes later.

To install the Archiver module, open the admin console, and click on Extensions | Module Manager. Click on the Available Modules tab, and then click the Download & Install link which can be found in the same line as the module name. The module is installed.

After installation, the module will automatically start saving changes into the archives. For example, if you would like to track the changes of the start page, open the page, and save it without any changes, so that the first version of the page is created. This version will be used as a base for future restorations.

Time for action – restoring changes made by an editor

Assuming that you have installed the Archiver module, as just described, you can restore the changes made by the editor as follows:

  1. Log in as the editor and edit any page that you are allowed to.
  2. Log out and then log in again with the administrator account.
  3. Click on Content | Archive Manager Module.
  4. Search for the name of the page that has been edited in step 1, and click on it.
  5. In the Expanded Archive View, find the second last version (revision) of the page and click on the last icon in the column Operation.
  6. View the page.

What just happened?

You have restored the older version of the content and made it to the current one. The editor's version is not deleted but just replaced, so that you can restore it any time.

You can automatically purge archives either by the number of stored versions for each item (that is, keep only the last five versions of each page, global content block, stylesheet, or template) or by date (that is, keep the versions of the last seven days only). For automatic purge setup, click the Archive Preferences link in the admin area of the module (Content | Archive Manager Module).

You do not have to purge archives, though you can keep accumulating all changes. However, if you have a lot of changes made daily, you must purge your archive to prevent an overflow of the database.

Overview of all default permissions

Permissions are always given to the group and are shared by all users assigned to this group. In the following table, the first column is the name of the permission, the second column is a suggestion as to what role the permission can be granted to, and the third column advises you if there are some preconditions for the permission to take effect.

Permission

Suggestion for the role

Description

Add Global Content Blocks

Editor

The group is allowed to create new global content blocks (Content | Global Content Blocks). Depends upon the permission Modify Global Content Blocks.

Add Groups

Admin

The group is allowed to create user groups (Users & Groups | Groups). Depends upon the permission Modify Groups.

Add Pages

Editor

The group allows the creation of children content pages below the pages where the user is an owner or an additional editor. The user must be set as Owner of the page or an Additional Editor.

Add Stylesheet Associations

Designer

The group is allowed to associate stylesheets with templates.

Add Stylesheets

Designer

The group is allowed to create new stylesheets.

Add Templates

Designer

The group is allowed to create new templates.

Add Users

Admin

The group is allowed to create new users with access to the admin console.

Allow usage of advanced profile in TinyMCE

Editor

Users in this group will automatically get advanced profile settings made for the TinyMCE module. However, they are not able to change the profile itself.

Approve News For Frontend Display

Editor

Allows changing the Status field of the news item from Draft to Published. The user in this group is also able to edit news articles.

Clear Admin Log

Admin

Clear the history in Site Admin | Admin Log. Depends upon the permission Modify Site Preferences.

Delete News Articles

Editor

The group is allowed to delete news articles. Depends upon the permission Modify News.

Manage All Content

Editor

The group is allowed to create, move, and delete pages. The group is allowed to access the Options tab while editing the pages and change anything that can be found on the tab in contrast to the permission Modify Any Page.

Manage Menu

Designer

The group can modify menu templates and create new menu templates.

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Permission

Suggestion for the role

Description

Manage Themes

Designer

The group is allowed to export themes. If dependant permissions are available, the user is also able to import themes.Depends upon the permissions Add Stylesheet Associations, Add Stylesheets, and Add Templates.

Modify Any Page

Editor

The group is allowed to edit content pages. There is no Options tab while editing the content for this group. However, some fields from the Options tab can be added from Site Admin | Global Settings (tab Advanced Setup, field Basic Properties).

Modify Events

Admin

The group is allowed to add and reorder event.

Modify Files

Editor

Allows using File and Image Manager, thus giving full access to the /uploads folder of your installation.

Modify Global Content Blocks

Editor

Allows editing and deleting of global content blocks.

Modify Group Assignments

Admin

Allows assigning users to different groups.

Modify Groups

Admin

Allows changing group names.

Modify Modules

Admin

Allows managing of Extensions | Modules and Extensions | Module Manager, thus installing, upgrading, uninstalling, and removing modules.

Modify News

Editor

Allows editing news and creating new articles with status Draft.

Modify Permissions for Groups

Admin

Allows modifying permissions for the group.

Modify Site Preferences

Admin

This is a set of multiple permissions including the tabs Preferences, Settings, or Options in different modules. For example, the user is able to access the Options tab on the News module, the Settings tab in File Manager, CMSMailer, the Options tab in the Search module, and so on.

Modify Stylesheet Associations

Designer

Allows attaching stylesheets to the templates and resolving the attachment as well.

Modify Stylesheets

Designer

Allows editing existing stylesheets.

Modify Templates

Designer

Allows editing existing templates including templates in modules News, Search, and Printing.

Modify User-defined Tags

Admin

Allows adding user defined tags to the website

Permission

Suggestion for the role

Description

Modify Users

Admin

Allows editing the user with the exception of the administrator user account.

Remove Global Content Blocks

Admin

Allows editing the global content blocks. Depends upon the permission Modify Global Content Blocks.

Remove Groups

Admin

Allows deleting user groups.

Remove Pages

Editor

Allows deleting content pages where the user is an Owner or Additional editor.

Remove Stylesheet Associations

Designer

Allows removing stylesheet associations.

Remove Stylesheets

Designer

Allows removing stylesheets.

Remove Templates

Designer

Allows removing layout templates, but not the module templates.

Remove Users

Admin

Allows removing users with exception of the own account and the administrator account.

Advanced usage of the File Manager module

Admin

Allows viewing the complete structure of the website and not only the /uploads directory. For this permission to work, the advanced mode setting should be enabled in File.

View Tag Help

Editor

Allows reading help for the custom smarty plugins.

Module permissions

Not only can the core functions and core modules of CMS Made Simple have permissions, but every third-party module you have installed on your page can add the module's specific permissions to the list.

The Archiver module has the permission Manage Archives that can be granted to advanced users with access to the admin console or to the main editor with the permission Manage All Content.

User notifications

There is a notification area in the admin console of CMS Made Simple located below the main menu.

CMS Made Simple 1.6: Beginner's Guide

You saw the message just after the installation of CMS Made Simple advising you about the next steps to secure and configure the system. Later on, this area is used to notify us when a new version of CMS Made Simple is released. The News module uses the area to notify when there are some unpublished news articles that must be approved and published.

Normally, each user logged into the admin console is able to read these notifications even if it is something that is not devoted to him.

You can disable notifications in the admin console. Click on Site Admin | Global Settings, and select the tab Advanced Setup. Deselect the field Allow users to view notifications and the messages will disappear.

Summary

In this article, we learned how teamwork can be effectively managed with access to the admin console.

Specifically, we covered:

  • Standard user roles in CMS Made Simple
  • Permissions for the editors
  • Permissions for the designers
  • Viewing the admin log and working with the Archiver module to be able to restore older versions of the content

Now that we've learned about permissions, we're ready to enrich the website with additional features typically found on business websites

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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