Now that we have set up our Member Forms and Menu structure, we are now ready to test our new Network. To test the front end member access system, we need to add our remaining Demo Members using our Member Registration form on the front end of our website. But first we need to set up a Member Coordinator system.
Front End versus Back End Access
Determining which members get access to which part of your website is crucial to managing our community network. The network website is divided into two ends – a front end and a back end. Here is what Our Community Network looks like on the Front End:
Here is what our Community Network looks like on the backend (which is also called the Joomla Control Panel):
Protecting our Network from Hackers
We have spent a huge amount of time to set up a secure website on a secure server. But all this time will have been wasted if hackers can gain access to the back end of our website.
The easiest way for hackers to gain access to the back end is if a member of our Network logs into the back end on a hacked Windows computer. Because Windows computers can be easily hacked, it is essential to limit access to the backend of the website to only those who have a Linux computer. How we limit access to the backend of the website (also called the Joomla Control Panel) is by carefully defining our Joomla User groups. This means only allowing our Members, Service Providers, Job Providers and Member Coordinators – folks who may not have a Linux computer – to only access forms on the front end of our website.
Joomla Front End versus Back End Groups
Joomla has 4 groups that can access only the front end of the website – and 3 groups that can access both the front and back end of the website. Here are the 4 front end only groups:
In addition to the 4 Front End Only groups, Joomla has three groups that can access either the front or back end. These are called Managers, Administrators and Super Users.
Registered Members can login to the site front end Registerd Content area. But they are not allowed to edit any content.
Authors can create articles but these articles are not published automatically. Authors are able to edit their own work – but not the work of other authors.
Editors can create articles and can edit articles created by them or created by authors. But editors are not allowed to publish articles.
Publishers can create, edit and publish articles.
Key Role of the Front End Member Coordinator Group
We have previously created custom front end only groups called Service Providers and Job Providers. They both have the same permissions as the Authors group. We also created a Member Coordinator group that has the same permissions as the Joomla Editor group. Our Member Coordinator can access to our Fabrik Member List and edit the groups of new and existing members.
Joomla Front End Access Levels
In addition to the four Front End only groups, Joomla comes with 5 basic Front End Access Levels
Public Access means content that can be viewed by any visitor, regardless of whether or not they are logged into your site.
Guest Access means content that will be hidden from site visitors if they are logged into the site. For example, you can use this to hide the Member Sign Up and Member Log In Menu Items which are not needed by those who are already logged in.
Registered Access means content that can be viewed by Registered Members after they login to the Frontend.
Special Access content can only be viewed by Authors, Editors, Publishers (3 front end groups) and Managers, Administrators and Super Users (3 front and backend groups). Sadly, the Special Access Level lumps together too many groups. For example, if we assign the Special Access Level to a Menu or Menu item, it can be viewed by both Authors and Publishers. This means that Service Providers, Job Providers and Member Coordinators will all see the same Menus. What we want is for each group to see a different menu. The solution to this problem is to create different Access Levels for Service Providers, Job Providers and Member Coordinators. Then assign the menus to those custom access levels.
We also created an Special Admin access level which can only be seen by the three back end groups. The Administrator menu is set for Special Admin Access which means that it can not be viewed by Service Providers, Job Providers or Member Coordinators.
Add Demo Users to Test our Registration System
We have previously created a Table of 24 Demo members, User Names, email addresses and passwords.
Use Front End Registration Form to Sign Up 6 Demo Members and 6 Demo Providers
We will begin by testing the Member Registration form process. In the Main Menu, click Member Sign Up to open our Registration form. Then use the above table to register our 6 Demo Members. For First Name, use Demo and for last name use MemberXX. Have one join each team. Each new Member will automatically receive an Account Details email letting them know that they can now log into our website with their username and password:
The primary Member Coordinator will get 6 Email Notices from the Fabrik Email Form plugin that new members have registered.
Then go to the Front End of the website and log in as the first Member01. Here is the Members Page and Menu this new member should see after they are logged in:
Note that on the Main Menu, the Member Sign Up and Member Log In menu items are now hidden. This is because they were both assigned to the Guest access level. Also a new Members Menu has appeared above the Main Menu. It includes menu items to view the Service Provider List and the Job Provider List. Click on the Service Provider List to see it is empty:
In the Members Menu, Click on Edit your Member Info. It should be prefilled with the information for Member 01.
How to Become a Member Coordinator
Becoming a Member Coordinator will give you access to the Member Coordinator Menu at the top of the front end of our website. To become a Member Coordinator, get a secure ProtonMail account. Use your Protonmail email address to sign up for a Personal Member account – entering your username and password.
Then send an email from your Proton Mail account with your First Name and Last Name to a member of our Tech Team or to an existing Member Coordinator.
The Tech Team Member will use a Linux computer to log into the back end of the website and go to Fabrik Forms, View Data and edit your Membership form to add you to the Member Coordinator group, the Job Provider Group and the Service Provider group. Alternately, a Member Coordinator can log into the front end of our website with any computer and add you to the same three groups.
They will then send you a confirmation email. Log into the Member area of your website front end and you should now see the Member Coordinator Menu. Now that we have at least one and hopefully several Member Coordinators, we are ready to test our Member Registration System.
Create our Demo Member Coordinator
The next step is to create the first Member Coordinator. Their first name is Demo. Their last name is Supporter1. Their email address is
Demo Supporter1 first gets a ProtonMail Account. They then go to our network home page and click Member Signup and complete the form with the username supporter1 and a password they will remember. For groups they would like to join, they click on the Membership Team. For Added Information, they type: I want to be a Member Coordinator. They click Accept Rules and check the Captcha.
After clicking SAVE, the Sign Up Success page appears. They then log into their ProtonMail account where they will see an Account Details email. They can then email an administrator letting them know they want to be a Member Coordinator.
An administrator then recieves their email. This administrator with a Linux computer and access to the backend Joomla User Menu then logs in to the back end, selects their name and click on the Member name to edit it. Click on the Assigned User Groups tab. Then check the Member Coordinator box, the Job Provider Box and the Service Provider box.
Then click Save and Close. The Admin then goes back to their protonmail account and sends an email to the member email address. For Subject, type Confirmation. For content, type Congratulations! You are now a Member Coordinator!
Here is what the confirmation email looks like:
Click Send. The Member then recieves the confirmation email. They then log into their Member account with their username and password and will now see the Member Coordinator Menu in addition to the Members Menu:
Click on the Member List. Then scroll down to Member 01:
The Member Coordinator can edit the groups that any member belongs to. Click Edit. Click on the Job Provider and or Service Provider boxes. Then scroll to the bottom of the form and click Save. You can now email Member01 and let them know that they can log into their personal member account.
Log in as Member01 who can now see the Job Provider and or Service Provider Menus:
They can then click on Job Provider Info or Service Provider Info to add their information to our Job Provider or Service Provider lists. Click on the Service Provider List and the Job Provider List to see that there are no entries. Then log out as Member01.
How a Personal Member can become a Job Provider
Let’s assume that Member01 also wants to be a Job Provider. They will also need to go online and sign up for a Personal Membership. In Member Options, click on Personal Member and Job Provider.The Member Coordinator will then assign the member to as both Registered and a member of the Job Provider group. The Member Coordinator will then email the member letting them know that their Job Provider Membership has been approved. Here are the 7 steps to becoming a Job Provider:
For now, we will assume that each member has completed the Personal Member form at one of our meetings and been approved as a Personal Member and a Job Provider.
Test the Job Provider Menu
To test this, in the back end, add the Job Provider group to Member01. Then have them log in and see the Job Provider Menu.
Because Member 01 is now a member of two groups, they see the Member Menu and the Job Provider Menu. Make Member 01 a member of the Service Provider group instead of the Job Providr group and refresh the page, You will see the Service Provider menu.
How a Personal Member can become a Service Provider
Assign 6 Demo Members to the Job Provider Group
Log in as the Member Coordinator and click on the Member list. Then edit 6 Demo Members to assign each to the Job Provider category. Then log out as the Member Coordinator and log in as Member01.
Now you should only see the Job Provider Menu. Click on Job Provider Signup or Edit and fill out the form with the information in the table below:
Then log out as Member01 and log in as Member 02 and repeat filling out Job Provider forms until we have 6 job providers (3 in Bellingham and 3 in Ferndale) in our Job Provider list.
Assign 6 Demo Service Providers to our Service Provider Group
Log in as the Member Coordinator and assign 6 Demo Service Provider Members to the Service Provider category. Then log out as the Member Coordinator and log in as Service Provider01. Now you should only see the Service Provider Menu. Click on the Service Provider Signup & or Edit form to fill it out. Here is our table of 6 Demo Service Providers and the values to use when filling in each of their Service Provider Info forms:
Note that we have written a separate article on how to create a Provider image. In this article, we created the 9 service provider images we need for our 9 Demo Service providers to complete their Provider Info forms. Each image should be 300px wide by 185px high and the file size should be under 100KB.
Note: If members have more than one category of service, they can hold down the Control Key and select up to three categories – all of which will be searchable.
Edit your Service Provider Sign Up and or Edit Form
To edit your Service Provider form, click on Signup and or Edit your Service Provider Info. This opens up your filled in Provider Info form where you can change whatever you want. Then click Save.
Click on Service Provider List to see all of the Service Providers:
To log out, click Member Log Out. Then click Log Out. Then log in as Member01 and visit the Job Provider List.
There is a problem that currently any Job Provider or Service Provider can add new providers, edit existing providers and even delete existing providers. We will also fix this problem in our next article. Before we do that, here are some other tips for creating your own community network.
How to Delete a Fabrik Element
There are many reasons you may want to delete an element. You may decide your form is too long and you want to shorten it. Or you may want to replace a field element with a checkbox element. It is wise to delete an element carefully as doing it wrong may create problems for your database that require completely rebuilding your form from scratch. Here are some steps for deleting an element:
First, go to Components, Fabrik, Elements. Then find the element you want to delete and check the boxes so that the element is not shown in the list and is not published. Then select the element and click on Trash in the Top Menu. Then in the side menu, change Status to Trashed. Then select the element and click Empty Trash. This will bring up the Delete Associated Database Column screen:
Here is the explanation of what this screen will do:
All these elements (checked or unchecked) will be deleted on SAVE. Additionally you can select elements where you want to drop (delete) the associated database column. Attention! The columns may be used by others (elements, custom code, plugins, Joomla, 3rd party). Check only if you want to delete the DB column.
In plain English, the above is warning that this column may be used by other applications. But in our case, the column personal-interests is not being used by any other forms or applications.
Check the box. Then click Save. It will reply that the element was successfully deleted. Then change Status from Trashed back to Select Status to return to the list of elements. Hopefully, the element called interests no longer appears.
How to Delete and Rebuild your Fabrik Component
When you are first learning Fabrik, it is possible to mess up your Fabrik Custom Registration form so badly that no matter what you do, it becomes no longer possible to register Demo Members.
When the form is submitted, it might display an error page or refuse to load. Or it might say that it has a validation error. These problems may continue even after you have deleted nearly all of the elements and nearly all of the groups.
If this happens, the best option might be to simply start over. But you need to be careful when uninstalling Fabrik. First, go to Components, Fabrik, Groups and copy all of your custom groups with their Intros and Outros. Then go to Fabrik, Elements and copy all of the Elements and their settings.
Then go to Extensions, Manage, Manage and enter the term Fabrik in the Search Box. You will see a list of almost 40 components, modules and plugins:
Before uninstalling, select and disable the Fabrik System Plugin. It is at the very bottom of the list. Then go back to the top of the list and click the Select All button. Then click Uninstall. Then go to Extensions, Manage, Install to re-install Fabrik and any needed plugins. Then go to Components, Fabrik where you should see a clean blank Fabrik installation.
Now that we have tested our custom Registration form, in the next article, we will learn how to create Service Provider List Groups and how to use our Searchable Lists.