User Management

If you click the Users link on the left menu of the control panel, there are now two users in the list of users. If you want to change something about a particular user, you can click the Actions button next to that user.

Edit User: takes you back to the Edit User page where you can modify anything about the user.

Permissions: allows you to define which roles have permissions to edit the user.

Manage Pages: allows you to edit the personal pages of a user.

Impersonate User: opens another browser window which allows you to browse the site as if you were the user.

Deactivate: deactivates the user’s account.

Note most users can’t perform most of the above actions. In fact, most users won’t even have access to this section of the control panel. You can perform all of the above functions because you have administrative access.

Let’s look next at how to manage organizations.


Organizations are used to represent hierarchical structures of users such as those of companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, churches, schools, and clubs. They are designed to allow distributed user administration. Organizations can be used, for example, to represent a sports league. The league itself could be modeled as a top-level organization and the various sports (soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.) could be modeled as suborganizations. The teams belonging to the various sports could be modeled as sub-organizations of the sports organizations. So, for example, you could have an organization hierarchy that looks like this:

  • Atlantic Sports League
    • Atlantic Soccer Association
      • Midway Soccer Club
      • Fairview Soccer Club
      • Oak Grove Soccer Club
    • Atlantic Baseball Association
      • Five Points Baseball Club
      • Riverside Baseball Club
      • Pleasant Hill Baseball Club
    • Atlantic Basketball Association
      • Bethel Basketball Club
      • Centerville Basketball Club
      • New Hope Basketball Club

Whenever you have a collection of users that fit into a hierarchical structure, you can use organizations to model those users. In Liferay, organization administrators can manage all the users in their organization and in any suborganization. Referring to the hierarchy above, for example, an organization administrator of the Atlantic Sports League could manage any users belonging to the league itself, to any of the associations, or to any of the associations’ clubs. An organization administrator of the Atlantic Soccer Association could manage any users belonging to the Atlantic Soccer Association itself, or to the Midway Soccer Club, Fairview Soccer Club, or Oak Grove Soccer Club. However, an administrator of the Atlantic Soccer Club would not be able to manage users belonging to the Atlantic Baseball Association or to the Bethel Basketball Club.

Organizations and suborganization hierarchies can be created to unlimited levels. Users can be members of one or many organizations. The rights of an organization administrator apply both to his/her organization and to any child organizations. By default, members of child organizations are implicit members of their parent organizations. This means, for example, that members of child organizations can access the private pages of their parent organizations. This behavior can be customized in your portal’s configuration file.

Since organizations are designed for distributed user administration, organization administrators have an entirely different set of privileges than site administrators. Site administrators are responsible for the pages, portlets, and content of their site. They are also responsible for managing the membership of their site. To this end, they can set the membership type to Open, Restricted, or Private. They can also add users to or remove users from their site but cannot manage the users themselves. Organization administrators, on the other hand, can edit users belonging to their organization or any suborganization. They cannot add existing users to their organization but they can create new users within their organization. Only portal administrators can add existing users to an organization.

Many simple portal designs don’t use organizations at all; they only use sites (see chapters 2 and 3 for more information on sites). Remember that the main purpose of organizations is to allow for distributed user management. They allow portal administrators to delegate some of their user management responsibilities to organization administrators. If you don’t anticipate needing to delegate user management responsibilities, your portal design need not include organizations. In order to decide whether or not your portal design should include organization, think about your portal’s function. A simple photo-sharing web site, for example, could be powered by sites only. On the other hand, organizations are useful for corporations or educational institutions since their users can easily be placed into a hierarchical structure. In fact, organizations in Liferay are designed to model any group hierarchy, from those of government agencies all the way down to those of small clubs. Of course, users can belong both to organizations and to independent sites. For example, a corporation or educational institution could create a social networking site open to all portal users, even ones from separate organizations.

Additionally, organization administrators can assign organization-scoped roles to members of their organization. For example, consider an IT Security group in a corporate setting. You could have a suborganizaton of your IT organization that handles security for all of the applications company-wide. If you grant the IT Security organization the portal administrator role, all the members of the organization would have administrative access to the entire portal. Suppose further that a user in this organization was later hired by the Human Resources department. The simple act of removing the user from the IT Security organization also removes the user’s administrative privileges, since the privilege came from the IT Security organization’s role. By adding the user to the HR organization, any roles the HR organization has (such as access to a benefits system in the portal) are transferred to the user. In this manner, you can design your portal to correspond with your existing organization chart and users’ permissions are granted according to their positions in the chart.

Of course, this is only one way to design it. If you have more complex requirements for permissions within an organization, you can create custom organization-scoped roles to assemble the permissions you wish to grant to particular users. Alternatively, you could consider attaching a site to your organization and using site teams to assemble the sets of permissions (see below). We’ll discuss roles and permissions in more detail later in this chapter.

Does your organization need to have its own site? Many organizations don’t, but since some do, Liferay allows sites to be attached to organizations. If an organization has an attached site, the organization’s administrators are treated as the site administrators of the attached site. This means that they can manage the pages, portlets, and content of the site as well as the users of the organization. Members of an organization with an attached site are treated as members of the organization’s site. This means that they can access the private pages of the organization’s site, along with any portlets or content there. The capability of attaching sites to organizations allows portal administrators to use organizations to facilitate distributed portal administration, not just distributed user administration. Next, let’s learn how to create and manage organizations.

To add an organization, click the Users and Organizations link on the left side of the control panel. Then click the Add button and choose Regular Organization. To attach a site when you create an organization, click the Organization Site tab at the right and check the Create Site box. If you don’t know right now if your organization needs a site, that’s fine. You can always add one later if the need arises.

Figure 15.4: Adding an organization

Figure 15.4: Adding an organization

Name: Enter a name for the organization.

Type: Choose whether this is a regular organization or a location. A location cannot have any suborganizations.

Parent Organization: Select an organization in the system to be the direct parent of the organization you are creating. Click the Remove button to remove the currently configured parent.

Fill out the information for your organization and click Save. As before with users, the form reappears and you can enter more information about the organization. Organizations can have multiple email addresses, postal addresses, web sites and phone numbers associated with them. The Services link can be used to indicate the operating hours of the organization, if any.

For now, click the Back button. This takes you back to the list of organizations.

Click the Actions button next to the new organization you created. This shows the actions you can take to manipulate this organization.

Edit: lets you specify details about the organization, including addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and websites.

Manage Site: lets you create and manage public and private pages for the organization’s site.

Assign Organization Roles: lets you assign organization-scoped roles to users. By default, Organizations are created with three roles: Organization Administrator, Organization User and Organization Owner. You can assign one or more of these roles to users in the organization. All members of the organization automatically get the Organization User role so this role is hidden when you click Assign Organization Roles.

Assign Users: lets you search and select users in the portal to be assigned to this organization as members.

Add User: adds a new user in the portal and assigns the user as a member of this organization.

Add Regular Organization: lets you add a child organization to this organization. This is how you create hierarchies of organizations with parent-child relationships.

Add Location: lets you add a child Location, which is a special type of organization that cannot have any children added to it.

Delete: removes this organization from the portal. Make sure the organization has no users in it first.

If you click the View button at the top of the Users and Organizations page and select View Hierarchy you can view both a list of users who are members of this organization and a list of all the suborganizations of this organization.

Users can join or be assigned to sites when they share a common interest. Users can be assigned to organizations when they fit into a hierarchical structure. Users groups provide a more ad hoc way to group users than sites and organizations. Let’s look at them next.

« Adding UsersUser Groups »