Understanding Site Management

Whether you’re building a large corporate web Site or a small Site for facilitating collaboration among team members, supporting different kinds of collaboration and social scenarios is a must. Liferay’s Sites provide three membership types:

Open: Users can become members of the Site at any time.

Restricted: Users can request Site membership but Site administrators must approve requests for users to become members.

Private: Users cannot join the Site or request Site membership. Site administrators must manually select users and assign them as Site members.

In addition to these memberships, when a Site is associated with an organization, all the users of that organization are automatically considered members of the Site.

You can view all the available open and restricted Sites by adding the My Sites application to a page and accessing the Available Sites tab. You can request access to any of the Sites you’re not already a member of by selecting the Site’s Options button

(Options) and clicking Join.

Site Scope

Members of a Site can be given additional privileges in the Site by using permissions. It is also possible to assign different roles within the Site to different members. This can be done through Site Roles, which are defined equally for all Sites or Teams which are unique for each Site. These concepts are discussed later.

Liferay DXP separates Site-scoped information from the Control Panel by placing it in the Site menu. From this menu, you can select the specific Site to work on. The Site Administration panel is available for your Site, which includes Build, Content, Categorization, Recycle Bin, Members, Configuration, and Publishing.

Figure 1: Your Sites content resides in the Site Administration menu.

Figure 1: Your Site's content resides in the Site Administration menu.

Site Hierarchies

Sites can also be organized hierarchically, just like Organizations. The difference between Sites and Organizations, of course, is that Sites organize pages, content, application data, and users (via Site memberships) whereas organizations only group users. Content sharing is available for Sites within the same hierarchy. For instance, if a parent Site has a document type called Lunar Presentation and all its child Sites should have a copy, the parent Site’s administrator can enable content sharing to share the document type automatically with its child Sites. Also, content sharing privileges can be set to let every Site administrator share content across Sites they manage. You can share the following content across Sites:

  • Web Content Structures
  • Web Content Templates
  • Document Types
  • Vocabularies and Categories
  • Widget Templates
  • Data Definitions (Dynamic Data Lists)

Please refer to the Sites Admin Portlet section of Liferay’s portal.properties file for a list of relevant configurable properties. For example, the Sites.content.sharing.with.children.enabled property can disable content sharing between Sites and child Sites, disable it by default while allowing Site administrators to enable it per Site, or to enable it by default while allowing administrators to disable it per Site.

The Sites Directory application is a configurable app that shows a hierarchy of Sites and child Sites. It enables users to navigate to any of the displayed Sites. To use this app to display Site hierarchies, add it to a page, open its Configuration window, and under Display Style, select List Hierarchy. The My Sites Directory application is similar to the Sites Directory application, except that it lists only the Sites a user belongs to.

Each child Site in the hierarchy has its own administrator, and the Site Administrator role permissions do not flow down to child Sites in the hierarchy. If a Site Administrator creates a child Site, he or she has the same permissions in that child Site. This is not, however, because of inheritance. It is only because creating a Site makes you the Owner of that Site. A Site Administrator or a parent Site has no default role in any child Sites created by other Site Administrators.

If you wanted a user to have administrative access to all Sites in a Site/child Site hierarchy, you must create a role based on the Site Administrator role that has the permission Manage SubSites.

The Site Map application helps users navigate a Site. A Site administrator can configure a root page and a display depth. Just as Sites can have hierarchies, so can the pages within a Site. The display depth of the Site Map application determines how many levels of nested pages to display.

Figure 2: The Site Map application lets users navigate among pages of a Site organized hierarchically.

Figure 2: The Site Map application lets users navigate among pages of a Site organized hierarchically.

Site Members

Another useful administrative application is the Site Members application. This enables administrators to survey all the users, organizations, and user groups that reside in the Site. Similarly, Liferay provides the Portal Directory application, which functions the same as the Site Members app, but globally scoped for all Sites in the instance.

Page Sets

Sites have two categories of pages called page sets. There are two kinds of page sets: public pages and private pages. A Site can have only public pages, only private pages, or both. Private pages can only be accessed by Site members. Public pages can be accessed by anyone, including users who haven’t logged in. It’s possible to restrict access to pages at the page set level or at the level of individual pages through the permissions system. Public pages and private pages have different URLs and can have different content, applications, themes, and layouts.

Building a corporate intranet is a typical use case for Sites. A corporate intranet could have Sites for all the organizations in the company: Sales, Marketing, Information Technology, Human Resources and so on. But what about the corporate health and fitness center? That’s something everybody in the company, regardless of organization, may want to join. This makes it a good candidate for an open and independent Site. Similarly, the home page for a corporate intranet should probably be placed in an open independent Site so any member of the instance can access it.

For other kinds of websites, you may want to use independent Sites to bring users together who share a common interest. If you were building a photo sharing website, you might have independent Sites based on the types of photos people want to share. For example, those who enjoy taking pictures of landscapes could join a Landscapes Site and those who enjoy taking pictures of sunsets could join a Sunsets Site.

There is always one default Site, which is also known as the main Site of the instance. This Site does not have its own name but rather takes the name of the instance. By default the instance name is Liferay but this value can be changed through the configuration of the setup wizard. The instance name can also be changed at any time through the Control Panel within *Configuration → Instance Settings.

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