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Defining roles, permissions, and profiles

From: Drupal 7 New Features

Video: Defining roles, permissions, and profiles

Not much has changed in Drupal 7 as far as users go. We looked at one thing that changed in the video "Letting users delete their accounts." But now I'd like to talk about two more changes. The first one has to do with roles. You can make everyone with a specific role into an administrator of the site with rights to do nearly everything, and of course you can take those rights away later if you want. The second change is related to how you customize user profiles. I will show you each of these features in this video. We get there first by going to the User Management screen, which in Drupal 7 you will remember is called People.

Defining roles, permissions, and profiles

Not much has changed in Drupal 7 as far as users go. We looked at one thing that changed in the video "Letting users delete their accounts." But now I'd like to talk about two more changes. The first one has to do with roles. You can make everyone with a specific role into an administrator of the site with rights to do nearly everything, and of course you can take those rights away later if you want. The second change is related to how you customize user profiles. I will show you each of these features in this video. We get there first by going to the User Management screen, which in Drupal 7 you will remember is called People.

Click on People and then Permissions, and the first thing you notice is there is an additional column here. We have the Anonymous User and Authenticated User here, which is the same as it was in Drupal 6. It's a person who is not signed into the site, Anonymous, and who is signed into the site, Authenticated. The Administrator starts out with all of the rights that core Drupal gives you as the site owner as well. You could administer blocks, you could create content, and so forth. But it can be a little tricky under certain situations. As we scroll down we will see one example of that.

You see that it has all the rights that you would expect, but then there's this new content type that I created, Vacation package, and it didn't automatically get those rights. Of course, you could add them the same way you would add permissions in Drupal 6. You just check the boxes, scroll to the bottom, and say Save permissions. But that's not all. The Administrator role doesn't have to be called Administrator. You could in fact create a new role and then assign that person to get all new rights and I will do that right now.

You do that by clicking on Roles. Create the role that you want or you could just use one that already exists. But I will call this one sitemaster and Add role. Then to change who actually gets that Administrator role, you go up to Configuration and Account settings and then down here you see Administrator Role. Now I am going to change that to sitemaster and Save configuration. Now when I go back to People and Permissions I see I have this sitemaster role.

But as I said, that's kind of tricky because users with that role don't automatically get all those permissions. You have to add them in again as you see here. But what happens if you enable a new module? Well, I will show you. We will go up to Modules and add Aggregator, go down to the bottom and save it, and then go back and take another look at our Permissions. You see up here at the top the rights for Aggregator went to Sitemaster, who is the new administrator while Administrator didn't get that.

Another nice thing in Drupal 7 is if you click Authenticated User, all of the roles above it also get checkmarks. It's a nice little JavaScript thing. So you see Authenticated User, Administrator and Sitemaster since they have to be authenticated would automatically get those rights and when we remove it, Drupal remembers what it was before. So Sitemaster keeps it while Administrator doesn't. Because the behavior of this Administrator role is a little peculiar, remember the rule of thumb. check your permissions from time to time when you are making any kind of structural changes to your site and you do that again by clicking People and then Permissions.

The other big change to User Management is in how you customize User Profiles. You might remember in Drupal 6 that there is a Profile module and it's disabled by default. Here I will go to Drupal 6 and show you under Administer > Site Building > Modules, scroll down a bit and there it is. I am going to enable that module, Save configuration, and then go to User management and Profiles, which is a new item that just appeared.

Now we could get start adding fields to profiles. So all well and good in Drupal 6. Well, what's changed in Drupal 7? We click on Modules we will see the Profile module is actually still there. However, there is now another method to add fields to profiles and it's actually the preferred one. It uses the same fields in the core system, you might remember from the video "Adding fields to content types." I mentioned in that video that profiles are now something called entities, which is the same as a node is an entity and comments are entities in taxonomy terms.

As entities, profiles take advantage of the same field API that lets you add fields to nodes. So why would you ever use the Profile module in Drupal 7? Well, it does have one advantage. It let's you place profile fields on separate pages in the user profile. So for example, when someone is editing their profile there will be a little tab at the top that says this is my home information and another tab that says this is my work information. The other reason that you would want to have the Profile module is if you are migrating a site from Drupal 6 and you have done a lot of work in the Profile module, that won't unfortunately translate into the field API system.

So how do you use fields and profiles in Drupal 7? Well, I will show you. You go up to Configuration and Account settings and here you see Managed Fields. I will click that and you will recognize this. It looks exactly the same as when you created a content type and added fields to it. By the same token, you can change the display of those fields here. Of course, you only have that once you have fields added to your profile. So in Drupal 7 we now have two somewhat contradictory methods of adding profile fields, the Profile module and Drupal 7's native use of fields and profiles.

There are big hopes that these two methods will be merged in Drupal 8 or perhaps through a contributed module. If you want to read the details about that herculean task see drupal.org/node/394720.

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Drupal 7 New Features

29 video lessons · 7956 viewers

Tom Geller
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