Managing Liferay Users With Organizations, User Groups & Permissions

Administering your audiences and various sites through Liferay can be a challenging task if not properly planned out at the beginning of a project. Known as Information Architecture, or IA, the practice of planning and organizing a sites, audiences, resources, content and flow is too often an overlooked step in website development. There are millions of articles about how to design graphics, interfaces and properly design a site.  However, IA is much less popular. I would pose that IA is just as important as these other concepts because it lends to usability for every person that touches a site. When discussing the architecture of a Liferay Portal, I am speaking about the hierarchy of its Sites, Organizations, Groups and Roles, as well as the navigation and structure of each individually. Please note I am not talking about text, graphics, or any other cosmetic assets. Of course the look and feel is still important, but the Information Architecture is the foundation for the user experience on the site. More often than not a proper IA strategy is left out of a site plan. When this occurs, pages fall where they land and a precedent is set for placing things in a willy-nilly fashion.Liferay Organization

Liferay’s IA Terminology

  • Portal: Corporate Site that allows User specific content

  • Portlet: Widgets and Modules on a Portlet Page

  • User: Anyone on the portal, logged in or not

    • Roles- determine permission level

  • Site: Web Site unit under a portal

    • User Group- Arbitrary group of users under a site

    • Public/Private- Permission based security for viewable pages

  • Organization: Org unit under a site

    • Team: Arbitrary group of users under an organization

  • Scope: All of the above are different scopes

The Permission Engine

Whether your various Audiences call for a public facing web site, an Intranet site or both, your users will consist of a number of different roles. Some may be clients, others employees and, regardless of the type of site you will have, at least one administrator. Because of this, architectural principles from the real-world apply to planning a web site. A logical sense of context and location enables your users to find what they’re looking for. Liferay manages these various roles by setting permissions. Instead of applying a permission set by a user, we set it by the user role so that the permission is more scaleable.

Liferay Permissions

Permissions on every level

  • Except Individual User Acts

  • Site, Org, Team & Group

  • Roles

  • Regular – Portal Admin

  • Site – Site Admin

  • Org- Org Owner

Custom – Message Board Admin

To put this into practice I will give you a scenario where the client needs someone interal to be a message board administrator. By creating this role and allowing them all the permissions that pertain to the message board portlet, I can now assign any number of users this new message board admin role.Liferay Message Board Admin Screen

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