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The aim of this document is to explain the Access Control List for Joomla! 1.5 as background for many references to 'permsissions' and 'access' mentioned in the Getting Started documents.
There are four aspects to designing a new Joomla! web site. These also apply to planning to make alterations(including upgrading versions J1.5 to J2.5+) to an existing site or planning for transferring a site that already exists in another form into the Joomla! CMS.
You will have seen references to permissions in the documents about Articles because they can be restricted to one of the three groups (Public, Registered and Special). In creating Section, Categories and Menus, the same Access levels are available.
There are different levels of permissions for doing things in a Joomla! Web site. In particular there is a distinction between:-
Users are grouped together in groups. In Joomla! 1.5 these groups give a robust but fairly simple distinction between groups. It has a coarse granularity in that you cannot set permissions to small groups or individuals, as you can using some software.
Front-end is the web site you can see. If you are an 'Author' - you can only edit pages that you have created. So if you look at the pages done by other people - you will be able to read them but there will not be an edit icon associated with the Article. However, the list below shows that Publishers and Editors can edit any article - which sounds easy but needs some care where there are a lot of people submitting content.
Back-end is the Administrators section of the Web site.
The permissions are allocated to usernames by the Administrator and managed through User Management interface in the Back-end of Joomla.
You may not yet know enough about your new site to know how best to plan the management of users. The important idea to carry forward into the next few documents on design of the content and menus is that:-
It is good to have some idea of whether some menus or Articles will need to be available to a restricted number of users.
--Lorna Scammell January 2011 (UTC)