There are several reasons why you might want to upload files to your site. You might want to share photos and video files or embed them in web content. Or you might simply want to back them up from your device to your site. You may have important documents that you want to share with other users. And you might want to collaborate on documents with other users. All of these examples include first uploading a files to your site.
To demonstrate adding files to a Document Library, we’ll implement a use case for the Lunar Resort. Resort photographers take lots of photos and video footage of resort guests having the time of their lives. As a courtesy to the guests the staff stores each party’s photos and videos on the resort site and shares them with the parties. At first, you might think “How does a resort’s sharing of pictures and videos relate to me and my site?” Well, even if your company isn’t in the tourism business, it probably has similar requirements for managing and publishing files. One common requirement is the ability to enable specific groups of users to store, organize, and share files. And no matter what kinds of files you work with, the fundamentals of granting file operation permissions is the same. Let’s explore how to do this for the Lunar Resort.
Granting File Permissions and Roles
The Lunar Resort needs to manage carefully who can add, view, and update groups of files. The resort stores in their Documents and Media libraries all kinds of files for various purposes. The libraries not only contain guest media but also departmental documents and media. Most of the documents are meant to be disseminated within the departments only. Using Liferay Portal, we can implement the resort’s use cases. You see, Liferay Portal’s Roles and Permissions let you precisely specify access to documents and media files. In addition, the Document Library’s folder permissions help you organize media. Let’s get started on the right foot with the Lunar Resorts guest media files by leveraging roles, permissions, and folders in Documents and Media.
Since the Lunar Resort’s Souvenir and Memorabilia staff members must be able to upload and organize guest media, let’s enable a role for these purposes. Sign in as the Liferay Portal admin and open the Menu (). Then navigate to Control Panel → Users → Roles. If the staff group is a part of an Organization, and that organization has a site, create an Organization Role. Otherwise, create it as a Site Role. Name the role Resort Guest Media Manager. Once you’ve created it, click the role’s Actions icon () and select Define Permissions. A screen appears for you to define the role’s permissions.
In the role’s permission definition screen, navigate to Site Administration → Content → Documents and Media. In the General Permissions section, select Access in Site Administration and click Save. This role will manage your special set of media files. Once you’ve created the role, assign it to the users who manage the media. Snappy Fingers (username: snappy) is the Lunar Resort’s trigger-happy photographer. We assigned her to the Resort Guest Media Manager role.
You’ve created your specialized role and assigned users to it. In the Documents and Media library, you need a place for that role to manage Lunar Resort guest media. A Documents and Media folder fits the bill. In the folder we’ll create, the role will add, organize, and share the guest media files.
Using the Add Menu
Open the Menu, click on your site’s name, and navigate to Content → Documents and Media for your site. The Documents and Media screen appears and displays the Documents and Media library’s Home (its root folder). As you add files and folders to the document library, they’re listed here.
Click the Add icon () to show what you can add to the Document Library. You can add documents, folders, and shortcuts the same as you do on your local file system. You can even configure access to an entirely different repository. Here are the Add menu’s options:
Folder: lets you create a new location in the app’s file system.
Shortcut: allows you to create a shortcut to any document that you can view. You can set permissions on the shortcut to specify who can access the original document through the shortcut.
Repository: allows you to add access to an external repository. Refer to Repostory Types to learn how to add access to them.
Multiple Documents: allows you to upload several documents at once.
Basic Document: allows you upload a single file that you would like the default document type, “Basic Document,” to apply to. By default, basic documents are not described by any metadata sets.
Google Docs: available through an additional Liferay Plugin for Google Drive™ from the Marketplace. This option lets you create a file entry that links to a Google document. The section Accessing Google Docs™ explains how to use this feature.
The remaining items in the Add menu are default document types that are each described by a unique metadata set. When you add a document belonging to a specific document type, a form appears for picking the file to upload and entering the data defined by the document type’s metadata set. The Contract type appears below as an example.
Contract: lets you upload a file that you would like the “Contract” document type to apply to. This document type is intended to be used to describe legal contracts. By default, contracts are described by effective date, expiration date, contract type, status, legal reviewer, signing authority and deal name fields.
Any custom documents types that have been defined also appear in the Add menu. If a document type has been created that matches the document you would like to upload, you can select that document type from the Add menu. The Document Library applies the metadata fields associated with the document type to your document. On selecting a document type, you’re prompted to fill in the fields associated with it.
Let’s continue with our example and create folders to organize the Lunar Resort guest photos and videos that we’ll upload. From the document library’s Add menu, select Folder. The new folder form appears. Since the folder is for storing Lunar Resort guest media, name the folder Resort Guest Media. You can optionally describe the folder. Initially, anyone can view the folder, but we’ll change that after we create it. Expand the Permissions section. By default, site members are able to add files, subfolders, and shortcuts and subscribe to changes to the folder’s files. Click the More Options link and deselect all of these checkboxes, as we only want resort media managers to modify the folder’s files. Click Save to finish creating the folder.
Note that, document type restrictions and workflow definitions can be associated with each folder. Child folders inherit their parent folder’s document type restrictions, by default. If workflow is enabled for the Document Library, you can specify workflow definitions per folder and document type. You can specify a folder’s document type restrictions and workflow definitions from the folder’s edit screen, after the folder’s been created.
Document types are a powerful way to enforce rules for documents. For our example’s folder, however, we’ll keep the default supported document types and workflow settings.
You’ve created a folder named Resort Guest Media. You can now specify its permissions.
Setting Folder Permissions
Since we only want the Resort Guest Media Manager role to manage files in it, we must fine tune the folder’s permissions. Click on the folder’s Actions icon () and select the Permissions action. The Permissions window appears.
The folder permissions enable a role to perform the following actions:
Access: Access the folder’s contents from a Windows desktop.
Update: Edit the folder’s attributes and move the folder under a new parent folder.
Add Subfolder: Create folders within the folder.
Add Shortcut: Create a shortcut (link) to any Documents and Media file the role is authorized to view.
Subscribe: Receive email notification when files are added to or modified in the folder.
Add Document: Add a new file to the folder.
Permissions: View and modify the folder’s permissions.
Delete: Move the folder to the Recycle Bin.
View: View the folder.
Grant all the permissions to the Resort Guest Media Manager role, revoke all permissions from all the other roles, and click Save. Users assigned to the Resort Guest Media Manager role are now the only non-admin users who can upload and manage media files in the Resort Guest Media folder.
You’ve created the Resort Guest Media folder and set appropriate permissions for it.
While you’re signed in as the admin user, click on Documents and Media’s Options icon () and select Configuration. From here you can specify the email sender and email templates for email sent to Document Library folder subscribers.
Now, sign in as a Resort Guest Media Manager role user. Since Snappy, the Lunar Resort’s photographer, belongs to this role, you can sign in as her. Then go to Documents and Media in Site Administration, navigate to the Resort Guest Media folder, and click the folder’s name. The folder provides a workspace for members of the Resort Guest Media Manager role to manage files and subfolders.
Snappy has plenty of pictures of guests Mr. and Mrs. Spacey on her local file system. To separate the Spacey’s files from those of other guests, we’ll create a subfolder named Spacey Party. To create it, click the Add icon, and select the Subfolder action. In the New Folder form that appears, name the folder Spacey Party and describe the folder’s purpose (e.g., “The Spacey’s photos from their visit to the Lunar Resort”). Click the More Options link and deselect all the permissions within it, as we only want media managers to be able to edit the folder. Save the new subfolder. You return to the folder Resort Guest Media, which now lists your new subfolder Spacey Party. Navigate into it. The Document and Media library’s navigation breadcrumbs show your folder’s path: Home → Resort Guest Media →Spacey Party.
In your Document Library’s Resort Guest Media folder, you’ve created a subfolder named Spacey Party. Next, let’s add the Spacey’s photos to the subfolder.
Adding Multiple Documents
There are a few different ways you can add image files, or any file for that matter. You can add them one at a time or add multiple files simultaneously. Let’s add all the images at once. Click the Add icon and select Multiple Documents. The Add Multiple Documents screen appears and displays an area for dropping files in. You can drag and drop files into the area, or you can browse for and select multiple files by clicking the Select Files button. Use the method that’s easiest for you. As you drop in files or select files, the Add Multiple Documents screen lists them. On the side of the screen, the All Selected Files section lists several options for the files. You can fill in a common Description for the files. You can also specify a Document Type to apply. Since we’re uploading image files, we’ll use the Basic Document type, which is the default type. There are also options for categorizing and tagging the selected files, and assigning them default permissions. We’ll tighten up permissions by clicking the More Options link and deselecting all the permissions. When you’re ready to upload the files, click Publish. The Add Multiple Documents screen stays active, ready for you to add more files. When you’re done adding files, click the Back icon () at the top of the screen. You’re taken back to the folder you’re adding files to.
Using the Documents and Media Management Bar
Documents and Media lists your current folder’s subfolders and file entries. A file entry is the Document Library’s representation of a file. It wraps the file to better leverage it within Liferay Portal and to associate additional information and metadata with the file. File entries are displayed using icons, by default. You can select either icon (), descriptive (), or list () display style. The icon display style shows a file as a cover image. If the file is an image type file, the image is used as the file entry’s cover image. If the file isn’t an image, Documents and Media displays a generic image for that file type. Also displayed with each file icon is the file’s suffix (e.g., JPG for a file ending in
.jpg), last modification timestamp, name, and status (e.g., Approved, Draft, etc.). And each file has an Actions menu. The actions are also available from within the file entry’s view, which we’ll explore soon. The descriptive and list display styles provide the same functionality, but display the file entries in rows.
To see the current folder’s details click the Information icon (). An area with the folder’s name appears. It shows the number of items in the folder. It also shows a Subscribe icon () you can select to get notifications about files added to or modified in the folder. Lastly, the Actions icon lists actions you can perform on the current folder. Above the Information icon and Display Styles is a Search that enables you to find files by keywords.
On the other side of the screen also in the top area is a filtering selector. It’s default option is All. Click it to see the other filter options. The All option (default) shows all of the current folder’s immediate subfolders and files. The Recent filter shows the most recently modified files, Mine lists all the current user’s files (no matter their folder), and Document Types filters on files of the selected document type. If a Document Library contains more documents than it can display at once, you can use the navigation tool at the bottom of the app’s window to either switch your view to another page or configure the page to display more documents per page.
Next to the filtering selector, the Order by selector lets you select criteria for ordering the files and folders. You can order them by creation date, title, number of downloads, modification date (default), or size. The up and down arrows next to the Order by selector, let you arrange them in ascending or descending order.
From the list view, Documents and Media lets you act on one or more files at once. When you select a checkbox for one or more files, the following action icons appear: . Describing them from left to right, the X is for canceling file checkout, the secured lock is for file check-out, the unsecured lock is for file check-in, the arrows are for moving the files, and the trash can is for moving files to the Recycle Bin. You can also move selected files to a subfolder via drag and drop. File check-out and check-in is explained in Collaborating on Files.
Viewing File Previews
You’ve added several files to the Spacey Party folder. In the Document Library, each file has a file entry view. To open its file entry view, click the file’s name. The screen’s central viewing area displays a preview image of the file. If the file is an image file, its image is displayed. If a preview plugin for the file type is installed, the plugin displays an image (e.g., the opening scene of a video file or a presentation’s first slide) for the file. If there are no preview plugins for the file, Liferay Portal displays a generic image based on the file’s type. Let’s take a moment and consider file preview plugins and some of the powerful features they offer.
Whenever possible, Liferay Portal generates previews of documents added to the Document Library. Out of the box, Liferay Portal only ships with Java-based APIs to generate previews for documents. The only tool available that is 100% Java and has a compatible license to be distributed with Liferay Portal is PDFBox. If you upload a PDF file to Documents and Media, Liferay Portal generates a preview for the PDF in a separate thread. This process may last only a few seconds for a small file. The larger the file, the longer it takes.
While a default implementation of image generation for document previews and thumbnails is provided via PDFBox, you must install and configure some additional tools to harness the full power of Liferay Portal’s Documents and Media library. These tools include OpenOffice or LibreOffice, ImageMagick, which requires Ghostscript, and Xuggler. With these tools installed and configured, Documents and Media content is displayed using a customized viewer depending on the type of content. Configuring Liferay Portal to use OpenOffice or LibreOffice in server mode allows you to generate thumbnails and previews for supported file types (.pdf, .docx, .odt, .ppt, .odp, etc.), lets you view documents in your browser, and lets you convert documents. ImageMagick allows for faster and higher-quality previews and conversions. Xuggler allows for audio and video previews, lets you play audio and video files in your browser, and extracts thumbnails from video files. You can configure the tools via portal properties you can set in the Control Panel’s Server Administration screen or in a
portal-ext.properties file. To learn how to use these tools, refer to Configuring Liferay Portal.
You can view a document with a customized viewer that allows you to navigate through the different pages of the document and read its content. In addition, you can view a multimedia document (audio or video) and play it online. If the browser supports HTML5, it uses the browser’s native player. Otherwise it falls back to a Flash player.
Document previews are powerful and help users browse media more successfully to find what they’re looking for.
Above the file viewing area are the file’s icon and the file entry’s name, author, upload timestamp, and rating. You can rate the file too. The comments area below the file viewing area lets you comment on the file, subscribe to comments, and reply to comments.
A file’s options are accessible from the Options icon () at the top of the screen. Here are the file options:
Download: Downloads the file to your device.
Edit: Lets you modify the file’s name, description, document type, categorization, and related assets. You can even upload a new file to replace it. Note, modifying the file increments its version.
Edit With Image Editor: Opens the Image Editor to modify the image. The Image Editor is explained in Editing Images.
Move: Relocate the file to a different parent folder.
Checkout/Checkin: Checkout prevents others from modifying the document while you are working. Other users can still view the current version of the document if they have permission. You can check in the document when you’re done working.
Permissions: Lets you specify which actions each role can perform on the file. You can granted a role permission to perform the following actions.
Update: Edit, checkout, and checkin the file.
Override Checkout: Checkout the file, revoking the file’s current checkout if it is checked out.
Permissions: View and configure this file’s permissions.
Delete: Move the file to the Recycle Bin.
View: View the file.
Update Discussion: Edit another user’s comment on the file.
Delete Discussion: Delete any comments on the file.
Add Discussion: Comment on the file.
Move to the Recycle Bin: Remove the file from the Documents and Media library to the Recycle Bin.
Click the Information icon () to view the file entry details. The top portion of this area lists the file’s version number, status, modification timestamp, and name of the user who last modified it. Next are links to download the file and links to show its URL and WebDAV URL. You can specify the WebDAV URL as the file name when opening the document from a desktop environment.
The section Automatically Extracted Metadata lists any and all metadata that’s been extracted automatically from the file. When adding new documents or viewing existing documents, a process is triggered automatically that extracts the file’s metadata. The library used by this process is TIKA and it’s already included in Liferay Portal out of the box. Depending on your file’s type and the metadata written with the file, you can find out all kinds of details. In the case of audio or video files, their duration is displayed.
To view the Version History click the drown-down arrow next to Details and select Versions. This section lists the different versions of the file and lets you view, download, remove, and revert to specific file versions. File version history actions are explained in the Collaborating on Files guide.
Let’s review what you’ve done so far. First, you created a role to manage a specific set of files for your site. You assigned users to the role and created a Documents and Media folder named Resort Guest Media for them to add and organize files. Then as a member of the role, you added a subfolder named Spacey Party and added files to it. And just now, you viewed individual file entry information and actions.
Next, you’ll learn how to edit images in Liferay Portal.