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Most global portal settings can be configured from the Portal Settings section of the Control Panel. The Configuration heading contains the following links:

General: lets you configure global settings, such as the company name, domain, the virtual host, a global portal logo, and more.

Authentication: allows you to configure user authentication methods and connections to LDAP and Single Sign-On servers.

Users: has three tabs labeled Fields, Reserved Credentials and Default User Associations. The Fields tab enables or disables some user fields, such as birthday or terms of use. The Reserved Credentials tab lets you reserve screen names and email addresses so users cannot register using them. You might use this to prevent users from registering on the portal with user names that contain profanity or that sound official, such as admin or president. The Default User Associations tab lets you configure default membership to roles, user groups, sites for new users and provides a check box which allows you to retroactively apply these to existing users.

Mail Host Names: lets you add a list of other mail host names to be associated with your organization. For example, your main domain might be mycompany.com but you might use mycompany-marketing.com for your email newsletters. Any domain names associated with your organization can go here.

Email Notifications: allows you to configure Liferay to send email notifications for certain events, such as user registrations, password changes, etc. You can customize those messages here.

Content Sharing: contains options for enabling site administrators to display content in one site from other sites they administer. You can also configure rules for whether subsites should be able to display content from their parent sites.

server-configuration-portal-settings-pages.png

Figure 17.1: After clicking on Portal Settings in Liferay’s Control Panel, you can configure any of the areas shown in this figure.

Let’s discuss these settings in more detail.

General

The General link takes you to a screen with three headings: Main Configuration, Navigation, and Additional Information. Under the Main Configuration heading, you can set the name of the company or organization that’s responsible for running the portal. This name also defines the name of your portal’s default site. Its default name is liferay.com so you will definitely want to change this to reflect the name of your company or organization. You can also set the mail domain, virtual host and content delivery network address here.

Under the Navigation heading, you can set a home page for your portal here as well as default landing and logout pages. For setting these pages, just use the part of the page’s address that follows your domain. For example, if you want the default landing page to be http://localhost:8080/web/guest/login, use /web/guest/login. You can also use the variables ${liferay:screenName} and ${liferay:userId} as part of the address. This comes in handy if you want to redirect users to their personal pages upon login. Alternatively, you can set the default login or logout page in a portal-ext.properties file with the properties default.landing.page.path and default.logout.page.path, respectively. For more information, see the portal.properties documentation entries for the Default Landing Page and Default Logout Page.

Under the Additional Information heading, you can specify a Legal name, ID, company type, SIC code, ticker symbol, industry and industry type.

Authentication

The Authentication page has several tabs: General, LDAP, CAS, Facebook, NTLM, OpenID, Open SSO and SiteMinder. You can use any of these authentication methods to configure how users will authenticate to Liferay. Since Liferay supports quite a few authentication methods, there are different settings for each.

The settings on the General tab of the Authentication page affect only Liferay functionality and don’t have anything to do with the integration options on the other tabs. The General tab allows you to customize Liferay’s standard authentication behavior. Specifically, the General tab allows you to select from several global authentication settings:

  • Authenticate via email address (default), screen name, or user ID (a numerical ID auto-generated in the database–not recommended).

  • Enable/Disable automatic log in. If enabled, Liferay allows a user to check a box which will cause the site to “remember” the user’s log in by placing a cookie on his or her browser. If disabled, users will always have to log in manually.

  • Enable/Disable forgotten password functionality.

  • Enable/Disable request password reset links.

  • Enable/Disable account creation by strangers. If you are running an Internet site, you will probably want to leave this on so visitors can create accounts on your site.

  • Enable/Disable account creation by those using an email address in the domain of the company running the site (which you just set on the General page of Portal Settings). This is handy if you are using Liferay to host both internal and external web sites. You can make sure all internal IDs have to be created by administrators but external users can register for IDs themselves.

  • Enable / Disable email address verification. If you enable this, Liferay will send users a verification email with a link back to the portal to verify the email address they entered is a valid one they can access.

By default, all settings except for the last are enabled. User authentication by email address is an important default for the following reasons:

  1. An email address is, by definition, unique to the user who owns it.

  2. People can generally remember their email addresses. If you have users who haven’t logged into the portal for a while, it is possible they will forget their screen names, especially if they weren’t allowed to use their screen names of choice (because they were already taken).

  3. If a user changes his or her email address, it is more likely the user will forget to update his or her email address in his or her profile, if the email address is not used to authenticate. If the user’s email address is not updated, all notifications sent by the portal will fail to reach the user. So it is important to keep the email address at the forefront of a user’s mind when he or she logs in to help the user keep it up to date.

Next, we’ll examine how to integrate existing users from other environments, such as LDAP servers, into Liferay.

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