Contao user management tutorial

Contao user management tutorial: Describing the Contao Backend for Managing Users

When you first arrive in the Contao Back end, it can be a little confusing because the documentation is sparse and you are not given directions on how each section works or what each icon represents. We will first familiarize you with the interface and describe each section so that you have a working knowledge of each icon and each section of the user management interface.

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When you click on USERS under the Account Manager menu (in the left hand column) you will see a screen similar to the following:

Here's a quick break down of each section of the USERS with screen shots highlighting the relevant sections:

FILTER - allows you to filter your user list using six different filter criteria including:  back end language, password change required,  make the user an administrator, user groups, back end modules, and deactivate fields.

SORT - allows you to sort your list based on the drop-down menu

SEARCH - Search for specific email addresses, names or user names within the user list.

SHOW - lets you narrow down the users on display based on a number range.

REFRESH - Use this button when you need to refresh the list of users so that a filter, sort, or search will take effect.

Immediately below the menu bar for the FILTER, SORT, SEARCH and SHOW options will be the  options to add new users or edit multiple users. 

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Understanding the User Icons


Many of the options that you have within the User Management interface are represented by icons.  The following table describes each icon as you see them for managing Users in the Contao back end:

user-icon-blue     Icon represents a user within the user list
user-icon-red     Icon represents an Admin user
pencil-icon     Edit the selected user - form that appears is the same as with a new user, but with the information of the user that you have selected available for editing.
duplicate-icon     Duplicate the selected user - creates a duplicate of the user you have chosen, but the user name and password have to be added
delete-icon     Delete the selected user - a confirmation window will appear before you can delete the user
deactivate-icon-change     Activate or Deactivate the selected user - will deactivate or activate the user if selected.  If the user is deactivated you will see the icon shown at the bottom of the illustration at left.  Note that making this change will immediately deactivate a user when made in the USERS table view.  There is no confirmation or save required for this change to take effect.
show-details-icon     Show the details of the selected user.  Depicts the information in a list instead of the forms shown during the new user and edit pages
 user-icon-green-arrow     The icon allows you to switch to the user that you have selected so that you see the back end in that user's viewpoint.  To verify that you have switched, other than the menu changes, you will see the user id displayed at the top of the screen.

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Administering Users in the Contao Back end

Managing the users in a typical application involves adding, editing, and deleting users as part of the administrative duties.  The Contao back end also includes the option to duplicate and deactivate a user. Now that you have had the user interface described to you, we will first review the process of adding a user.

Adding a User

The process for adding a user involves filling the new user form.  We will break down each section of the form in the steps below:

    Login to the Contao Back end

    In the left hand column menus, scroll down until you see the section labeled ACCOUNT MANAGER. If the tree menu is collapsed and you see a '+' sign to the left of the Account Manager label, click on the plus sign in order to expand the menu.   Click on USERS to see the USERS window appear to the right.

    Look for the NEW USER icon (as described above).  You should see it in the right hand side of the USERS window. Click on it to open the new user form. The first section you will see is the Name and Email section:

    Required items (to save the user) are depicted with a red asterisk.  Note that each field also includes a description in small gray text.  You can also user you mouse pointer to get a pop-up description by hovering over the gray text for each field (note that this option is valid for all the gray description text in this form). Fill in each field to begin the process of adding your new user.

    The next section is labeled as Back End Settings. Each of these options can be modified by using a drop-down menu or clicking on a check box to enable or disable the option.  Here's what you will see:

    For clarity, each option above is described in the table below:

    Back end language     This option lets you determine the language being used in the back end interface
    Show explanation     Let's you enable or disable the description text below each input field
    Enable the rich text editor     Allows you to enable a text editor with formatting options for text elements that the user can edit
    File uploader     Allows you to determine a specific file uploader (by default only the default uploader is available)
    Show thumbnail images     Enables the display of the thumbnail images in the file manager
    Enable the code editor     Enables a code editor when editing programming code related elements

    Select the options you want enabled for the back end settings, then scroll down to the next section labeled Back End Theme.

    By default, there is only a single default theme loaded for the back end.  You will need download others if you wish to change this option.  When themes are loaded, then the theme option would be available in the drop-down menu:

    If you have themes loaded and want to select a different one from the default, click on the drop-down menu for the selection. Otherwise, scroll down to the next section labeled Password Settings.

    The Password Settings settings section can force the user to change the password upon next login and also provides a blank field for a password and its confirmation. Note that this is a required field for the user to be saved.

    Select the option for the password change requirement and enter a password and its confirmation in the fields provided.

    The section following the Password Settings is simply labeled as Administrator. This allows you to designate the user as an Administrator of the Contao CMS.  Granting this access will give access to all portions of the website and the CMS back end.

    Check the box to make the user an administrator, or scroll down to the next section labeled User Groups.

    The User Groups section allows you to assign the user to a pre-defined user group.  User Groups allow you define roles that are bascially a set of permissions for a specific group of users.  See Managing User Groups for further information. There are basically two main sections in the interface for the user groups:  User Groups and Permission Inheritance. The User Groups section allows you to select all or a select number of groups to which the user can belong.  The green up and down arrows next to the checkboxes for each group allow you to move the groups up or down so that you can more easily organize the groups if there are many defined.  The Permission Inheritance section allows the administrator to determine how the group permissions will be inherited.  They can be set to allow only the group settings, allow both group and individual settings, or allow only the individual rights to be inherited.  Here's a screenshot of this section:

    Select a user group(s) for the user and determine how permissions will be inherited by clicking on the radial button.

    The last part of the new user form is called the Account Settings section.  You will see the following:

    You can use this section to deactivate a user (without deleting them).  You can also set the date and time that the account will be activated and/or deactivated.  Select the DEACTIVATE check box to deactivate the user, or set a Activate on or Deactivate date and time.  You can easily select the date and time by clicking on the green icons next to each blank input field.

    At the bottom of the form are several SAVE options.  Click on either SAVE (to save the form but stay on the same page), SAVE AND CLOSE (to save and then close the form), or SAVE AND NEW (to save and then open a new blank new user form).

The Contao CMS requires the administrator of the software to login to the back end interface using  a login username and password. The following article guides you in logging into the Back End of Contao.

 Creating User Groups in Contao

    Login to the Contao Back End interface
    In the left hand part of the screen, in the section labeled Back end modules, click on USER GROUPS.
    When you load the USER GROUPS module, you will see the existing user groups which may look like this screenshot:

    Note that managing the USERS GROUP is not the same as the MEMBER GROUPS.  User groups have access to the back end interface to help you administer the site.  Members in the Member groups do not have this access.  This distinction can be seen by the detail of control with which you can assign permissions to your user groups.  Before we move on to the new user group settings,  The folliwng table details functions of part of the USER GROUP interface in the screenshot above:
    member-groups-filter-option     The filter option allows you to filter by the option  labeled "Deactivate".  Click on the  drop-down menu to select YES or NO for groups that are enabled or not.

    membergroups-search-option     The search option lets you search specifically by the title of the user group.  Click on the the blank field in order to specify the group
    membergroups-show-option     The show option allows you to select groups based on the numbers of groups.  You can select a range to show.
    refresh-icon     Refresh icon - click on this icon in order to refresh the results after you changed your search, filter, or show criteria
     newgroup-icon     Add New Group option - select this option create a new user group
     edit-multiple-icon     Edit Multiple - lets you modify multiple groups fields in one interface
     edit-icon-highlighted     Edit icon - allows you to edit a specific user group
     duplicate-icon     Duplicate icon - click on this icon to duplicate the record of the user group that you have selected; will require a unique name
     delete-icon     Delete icon - delete the user group; will ask to confirm deletion
     activate-deactivate-icon     Activate/Deactivate - enables or disables the user group
     show-detail-icon     Show Details - shows all of the details of user group in a list format

    Click on NEW USER GROUP in order to continue.
    When creating a new user group, you will see a long form appear. The TITLE field is marked with a red asterisk indicating that it is required in order to be saved.  Due to the length of this form, we will break down each section of the form.  Each major section of the form has a brief descriptive summary.

    Title - This is the name of the User Group that you are creating.


    Allowed Modules - This section allows you limit a user group's access to the modules.  These modules are listed on the menu to the left of the screen when you first login to the Contao back end.

    Pagemounts - Pagemounts are basically defined within the Contao CMS.  You can assign access to the pages using the CHANGE SELECTION button or by simply clicking on the page types option as per the screenshot below.

    Filemounts - Filemounts are files and organizations of files (e.g. folders) that have been defined within Contao.  You can select specific file permissions for each group as per the options in this section.

    News Permissions - Set permissions on archives, news, specific RSS feeds, and RSS feed permissions.

    Calendar Permissions - Allows you to set permissions for specific calendars, calendar permissions (create or delete), Allowed RSS feeds, RSS feed permissions.

    Form Permissions - allows you to access for specific forms that have been created as well as the create or delete permissions for the forms.


    Newsletter Permissions - allows you set channel permissions for newsletters that have been created.


    FAQ Permissions - If you have created any FAQ categories, you can set user access as well create or define permissions.


    Allowed Fields - The allowed fields section is EVERY other field in the template being used with the Contao Back end.  In the default Contao installation theme used for this documentation there are 25 sections.  Instead of listing ALL of the fields that you can select, you will see the 25 major sections for these fields:

    Account settings - you can deactivate the group or set a time and date range to activate and/or deactivate the group in this section.
 

    Create a title for the user group that you are creating, then select the permissions for each section that you wish to assign to the group.

    Click on a SAVE option in order to save your entries.

Creating Member Groups in Contao

    Login to the Contao Back End interface
    In the left hand part of the screen, in the section labeled Back end modules, click on MEMBER GROUPS.
    This will immediately show a list of any existing groups.  The screenshot below displays the sample group data that is part of the Contao default installation:

    The interface will list the first letter of each created group and then actual group in alphabetical order by default.  You can see this in the screenshot above.  There are also several options within the interface that will be detailed in the table below:

   The filter option allows you to filter by the option  labeled "Deactivate".  Click on the  drop-down menu to select YES or NO for groups that are enabled or not.

    membergroups-search-option     The search option lets you search specifically by the title of the group.  Type in the blank field to specify the group
    membergroups-show-option     The show option allows you to select groups based on the numbers of groups.  You can select a range to show.
    refresh-icon     Refresh icon - click on this icon in order to refresh the results after you changed your search, filter, or show criteria
     newgroup-icon     Add New Group option - select this option create a new group
     edit-multiple-icon     Edit Multiple - lets you modify multiple groups fields in one interface
     edit-icon-highlighted     Edit icon - allows you to edit a specific group
     duplicate-icon     Duplicate icon - click on this icon to duplicate the record of the group that you have selected; will require a unique name
     delete-icon     Delete icon - delete the group; will ask to confirm deletion
     activate-deactivate-icon     Activate/Deactivate - enables or disables the group
     show-detail-icon     Show Details - shows all of the details of group in a list format

    Click on NEW GROUP in order to proceed.

    When creating a new group, you will see a form appear that requires a TITLE in order to be saved.  Each section of the form is detailed below the screenshot:

    Title     Required to create new group - this is the name of the group
    Redirect on login     Allows you to set a specific page that a member would be directed to upon login
    Deactivate     Disables the group if selected
    Activate/Deactivate time and date     Date and time that you can enable and disable the group

    Fill in each field in order for the new group that you are creating. Do not select or do not fill in the option if you do not wish to redirect, deactivate or set a time range where the member group can be used.

    Click on a SAVE option in order to save your entries.

Managing Members in Contao

Adding Members to Contao: Contao designates "members" as users of the front-end website that is displayed by the Contao CMS.  The following steps show you how to add members using the Contao backend interface.

    Login to the Contao Backend
    When you first login to the Backend you will see something similar to the following:

    Click on MEMBERS in order to continue.

    The Members section will start with a screen that will typically look like the following screenshot:

    Each section is described in the table below:
    Filter       Allows you to filter the results by city, coutnry, language, member groups, allow login fields and deactivate field
    Sort        Allows you to order the data by city, company, country, date added, first name, last login, last name, state, username
    Search    Allows you to search by specific cell phone number, city, company, email, fax number, first name, last name, phone number, postal code, street, user name and website
    Show      Show records based on number
    Refresh icon     Two yellow arrows configured into a circle (next to the SHOW section); clicking on this icon refreshes the list of members being shown.  Click on this icon only after
    Click on NEW MEMBER in order to create a new user.  The following illustration breaks down each section:

    As you go through the form for new member you will see that each field is described by Contao.  The red asterisks indicate a mandatory field in order to save the Member.  Fill in each field for your new user.  Click on the icon beside the Date of Birth field to see a calendar to select a specific date and click on the the drop-down arrow to select a gender for the gender field. Scroll down to the next section.

    The Address Details section include the Company, Street, postal code, city, state,  and country.  Fill in each field and then proceed to the next section - Contact Details.

    Contact Details include your phone number, cell phone number, fax number, email address (required), website, and language.  Note tha the email address is required in order for the user entry to be saved. Fill in each field and then scroll down to the next section of the form - User Groups.


    The User Groups section will include an option to select all of the groups (Select All) at the beginning of the list.  Then after that you will see a list of the Member groups that have been collected.  Beside each name you will also see an up and down arrow that will move the group in either direction.  This is useful for organizing multiple groups so that you can easily see if you have selected all of the groups that you needed.  Select a group to assign or move on to the Login Details section.

    The Login Details is a simple section containing a checkbox to permit a user to login to the front end or not.  It also includes the Username, Password, and password confirmation fields. This section appears like this:

    Click on Allow Login, fill in the Username, Password and the Confirmation, or move to the next section called Set Home Directory.

    The Set Home Directory section will appear as follows when the check box is NOT selected:

    Click on the check box in order to select the home directory and you will see the following appear:

    You can then click on the CHANGE SELECTION button in order to move select the directory that you need.  Once you have set the home directory for the member, move on to the Subscriptions section.

    The Subscriptions section allows you to manage member subscriptions to Newsletters that you may have created within Contao.  If you have no newsletters you will see the following:

    Otherwise, you will see checkboxes that allow you to select the newsletter that you wish to send to the member.  Scroll down to the next section and you will see Account Settings.

    The Account Settings section includes a checkbox to temporarily disable an account, and also two fields that allow you to limit a user's access based on a date and time.  To easily enter a date and time, simply click on the icon to the right of the ACTIVATE ON or DEACTIVATE ON fields.  When you click on the icon, you will see the following:

    Clicking on the calendar icon allows you to designate the date simply by clicking on a date displayed in the calendar.  You can cycle through the months by clicking on the left and right arrows beside the month label.

    Clock to select time     After clicking on the date in the calendar, you will next see a digital display of the time displayed in 24-hour format.  Use your mouse in order to scroll through the times and select the one that meets your needs for your user or users.


    Select the date and time for both the Activate On and Deactivate On fields in order complete entries for this section.

    Click on SAVE, SAVE AND CLOSE, or SAVE AND NEW to save your new member.


Duplicating a User

Duplicating a user is a form creating a user based on an existing user.  Basically, you are taking an existing user and duplicating all of the settings for that user except for the user name and password.  The DUPLICATION icon is the green plus sign.  Here's a quick summary of the steps to duplicate a user:

    In the Users window, click on the green plus sign for user you want to duplicate.  Here's a an screenshot of where you would click:

    After you click on this icon, you will see the same form as was described in the ADD user section except most of it will already be filled.  You will need to fill in a unique user name and password in order to save the user.  Fill in the User Name, Password and Password confirmation fields.

    Click on a SAVE option at the bottom of the screen to save the new user.

Editing a User

Editing a user means that you will be making a change to an information field or option for an existing user.  When you are making a change to the user you will be viewing the same form used when you added the user.

    Click on the icon that resembles a pencil to edit the user as per the screenshot below:

    Apply the changes to the user form.

    Click on one of the SAVE options at the bottom of the screen to save your changes.

Editing Multiple Users

One of the editing functions includes the option to delete, override, and edit users in its interface.  If you need to delete multiple users, simply click on Edit Multiple [users] and then select the users you wish to delete and click OK in the confirmation window that appears.  Override, is an option that will replace existing values for multiple users using a single entry point.  Editing multiple users will provide an entry window for each user that you select to edit.  The following steps show how to use the EDIT MULTIPLE users option:

    Go to the USERS window and then click on EDIT MULTIPLE

    At this point you will need to select the users that you wish to edit.
    After you have selected the users you wish to edit, select the option you wish to use:  DELETE, OVERRIDE, EDIT.  As described earlier in this section, DELETE will simply request a confirmation of the deletion.  OVERRIDE and DELETE will show a screen called EDIT SELECTED RECORDS OF TABLE TL_USER as per the following screenshot:

    uses-edit-multiple-select-records

    Select the records you wish to edit for the users, then click on CONTINUE to proceed to the next step.

    The next step will differ depending on whether you have selected OVERRIDE or EDIT.  Note that editing certain fields that MUST be unique cannot be filled with the same entry when using OVERRIDE.  For example, if you select USERNAME, you will still see multiple entry points per the number of users because the username is required to be unique.  In the following screen, the two users in the demo Contao website have been selected using the EDIT MULTIPLE -EDIT option.  Note that there are entry fields for each user that was selected:


    The number of entry points will be the same as the number of users that you are editing. Caution should be taken if you're going to be editing a large group of users because you can easily lose track of the users for which you are making changes.  Also, note that if you select an ADMINISTRATOR user to make changes, you will not see an edit section for that user because they have total access to the CMS.
    In contrast the EDIT option for multiple users, when selecting the EDIT MULTIPLE- OVERRIDE option you will see a single entry point for the options to be changed:


    Click on SAVE or SAVEAND CLOSE to save the changes using OVERRIDE or EDIT.

 

Deactivating (or Activating) a User

One of the of user options allows you to deactivate (or activate) a user.  This allows you disable access for a user or users without having to delete them.

    Go to the main users list and click on the green eyeball icon in line with user you wish to activate/deactivate.  If the eyeball is green, the user is activated, if it's got an 'x' in the middle of the eyeball icon, then it's deactivated.  The graphic below shows how the icon looks for either state:
    users-active-deactive-final

    Note that you do not have to save the change because it is automatically changed when changing the user active state in the table view.  However, if you are making the change in the form view (using the EDIT option), then you will need to click on a SAVE option at the bottom of the screen to save that change.

 

Deleting a User

As an administrator,you may often need to remove users from your list.  The Contao interface allows you to do this quickly through the Users interface.

    Go to the Users window and then find the user or users you need to delete.
    Click on the red 'X' in order to delete a specific user.
    Confirm the deletion by selecting OK.
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