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Liferay 6.1 introduced the concept of page customizations. Administrators can designate pages or sections of pages to be customizable. When a user visits such a page, a notification appears stating that the user can customize the page. Users can make customizations only in the sections of pages designated by administrators. Customizations are based on the rows and columns of a page layout. Page customizations are only visible to the user who made the customizations. By default, site members can make page customizations but non-site members and guests can’t.

To enable page customizations as an administrator, first navigate to the page you’d like to let site members modify. Then click on the Edit button at the left side of the page, expand the Customization Settings area, and click on the Show Customizable Sections button.

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Figure 8.1: To enable page customizations, click on the Edit button at the left side of the page, expand the Customization Settings area, and click on the Show Customizable Sections button.

Once you’ve clicked the Show Customizable Sections button, you’ll see one or more red regions, depending on the layout template of your page. Check one or more of the Customizable boxes to allow site members to customize certain sections of the page. Regions that you’ve designated as customizable are colored green.

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Figure 8.2: Check one or more of the Customizable boxes to allow site members to customize certain sections of the page.

When site members visit your customizable page, they’ll see a notification saying, “You can customize this page.” Site members can toggle between viewing their customized page and viewing the default page by clicking the View Default Page or View My Customized Page links just below the Dockbar. There’s also a Reset My Customizations link that restores a user’s customized page to the match the default page. This allows users to discard one set of customizations and start a new set without having to manually undo each customization that they’d previously made.

Note that non-administrator site members can access the Add menu from the left side of the screen when viewing their customizable page even if they don’t ordinarily have permission to view this menu. This allows them to add portlets to the sections of the page that they’re allowed to customize. If they click View Default Page, the Add menu will disappear from the Dockbar since they’re not allowed to modify the default page.

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Figure 8.3: Non-administrator site members can customize their own versions of customizable pages but can’t modify the default page.

Administrators of customizable pages have the same two views as site members: the default page view and the customized page view. Changes made to the default page affect all users, whereas changes made to the customized page affect only the administrator who made the changes. Changes made by administrators to non-customizable sections in the default view are immediately applied for all users. However, changes made by administrators to customizable sections do not overwrite users’ customizations.

Users can make two kinds of customizations to customizable regions. First, they can configure portlet applications within the customizable regions. Second, they can add portlets to or remove portlets from the customizable regions.

The portal doesn’t allow users to change a non-instanceable portlet’s configuration inside a customizable region since those kinds of portlets are tied to the site to which they’ve been added. If this were allowed, the customization would affect all users, not just the one who customized the region. Therefore, changes to the portlet configuration in a customizable region are only possible for instanceable portlets, whose portlet configuration only affects that one user.

For example, suppose that you, as an administrator, selected the right column of the Welcome page of the Lunar Resort site to be customizable. A member of the Lunar Resort site could take the following steps to make a personal customization of the Welcome page:

  1. Navigate to the Welcome homepage by clicking Go ToLunar Resort from the Dockbar.
  2. Remove the Hello World portlet from the right column of the page.
  3. Add the Language portlet to the right column of the page by clicking Add, clicking on Applications, searching for Language, and clicking Add next to its name.
  4. Configure the Language portlet by clicking on the gear icon and selecting Configuration and then opening the Display Style dropdown menu and choosing Select Box.

The Language portlet is useful to have on your portal’s homepage if you expect users who speak different languages to access your portal. Users can select their language in the Language portlet to view a translation of the portal into their native language. After closing the Configuration dialog box of the Language portlet, the customized Welcome page looks like this:

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Figure 8.4: In this example, the user removed the Hello World portlet, added the Language portlet, and changed the display style from icons to a select box.

To allow users to customize a page, administrators must grant users permission to Customize pages under the Site section. This can be achieved by assigning permission to a role, then assigning this role to the appropriate users. For example, if we want any logged user to be able to customize our customizable pages, we could assign the Customize permission to the role User. If we want site members to be able to customize the customizable pages of their sites, we would accept the default setting. By default, the Customize permission is assigned to the role Site Member.

In addition to granting the ability to customize portlet configurations, the Customize permission allows users to customize the look and feel of portlets and to import or export portlet settings. Next, let’s look at how to use application display templates.

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