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Securely Controlling Access through Plone’s Users and Groups

Securely Controlling Access through Plone’s Users and Groups

Plone’s Users and Groups admin panel gives you an easy interface to manage your site users, control access to content across the entire site or down to a single page, and customize the user experience.

Here are some of the coolest features:

A Bird’s Eye View

The Users and Groups control panel is the hub of User and Group management in Plone. Using this panel, you can add new users and groups, assign global access permissions, customize member profiles, and optimize the display of the users and groups. It’s also a handy place to search for specific users or groups to get a quick idea of who has what roles overall.

Roles & Permissions

Permissions and site access are key when it comes to User and Group management. The Plone Users & Groups panel has several standard roles out-of-the-box:

  • Member, the standard Plone User
  • Contributors, can add content
  • Editor, can modify content
  • Reader, can View content
  • Reviewer, can review content
  • Site Administrator, can manage nearly all of the Plone site
  • Manager - Super-users that can fully manage the Plone site

Each user becomes a “member” of the site. Members can log in, but don’t necessarily have other privileges. You can further assign roles directly to a user or to a group. Keep in mind, when you assign a role here, that user or group will have that roles across the entire Plone site.

Customizing User Profiles

Do you want to add social media handles or an office address? Since the member object is a Dexterity Item, you can customize user profiles right through the web. You can easily add new fields or reorder existing ones. You also get to choose if the fields are available on the Registration page or the User Profile.

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Edit Member Form

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Add new field pop-up

Using Groups to Save Time

If you remember only one thing from this post, it should be this one: do keep things organized, and take advantage of groups. Group members will inherit all the permission set to that group. If you have a team of Site Admins, add them to the Site Administrators group. In the future, when you need to figure out just who has Site Admin privileges, it’ll be much easier to click on the group and view its members, than having to scroll through a list of your users and pick them out one by one. Conveniently, Plone has 4 useful groups already built-in: Administrators, Authenticated Users, Reviewers, and Site Administrators. You can also build your own groups and assign them roles, right in the Users & Groups Control Panel.

Groups especially come in handy when assessing access to specific folders of pages within an intranet. You’ll start off with a single Internal folder, and allow all the managers and staff to access its contents. Later on, you’ll add a staff folder, then decide only the managers should be able to view the Internal folder. Reassigning roles to each member one by one, page by page, would be tedious, especially when you can group together members with similar roles. Instead, you can organize the members into Organization Managers and Staff groups. Now giving the staff access to a new folder is as easy as assigning that one group.

Customizing a Group Dashboard

Once logged in, each user has their own dashboard. Group Dashboard allows you to assign portlets specific to members of that group. You can assemble a set of useful information into portlets that will appears at the top of their personal dashboard.

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Optimizing User and Group Displays

If you have thousands of users or hundreds of groups, you might not want a list of them upfront when you load the panel. The Settings tab has option to optimize your site for each situation. In the Settings Tab, Select “Many Groups” or “Many Users?” to search for Groups or Users, respectively, instead of listing them all.

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In Short:

Plone's User and Group Management features, combined with its sharing and collaboration capabilities, make it a powerful and secure content-management system. You can customize Plone to build a discussion board, an intranet, host password-protected content, and more using just out-of-the box functions.


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