If you have a Joomla based web site, most likely you are using a WYSIWYG editor to compose and edit your articles.  My editor of choice for my own sites as well as Joomla web sites developed for clients is JCE (Joomla Content Editor.)

The two main features that I really like about it, particularly for clients editing their own sites, is the ability to upload images to the media gallery, as well as edit and rename them, right from the article screen, as well as that it allows an easy way to select articles within your site.  It really does make it that much easier for clients to manage their own sites.

One source of frustration for web masters creating pages on a content management system is that many types of code are stripped out of the article when saved to keep malicious scripts from corrupting the database. This is a necessity when multiple users are submitting content.

However, if you are the only one maintaining your site, that same protection can get really annoying depending on how stringent the editor is in restricting code.  There are workarounds with plugins, but again . . . it’s a pain.

Selective Permissions with JCE

JCE is not just a way to make your articles look pretty, it has the functionality to take your Joomla user levels to a whole different level.

A stock Joomla installation has the following users levels:

  • Front End Access
    • Registered User: The first level of Joomla access.  Certain areas of the site can be restricted to registered users.
    • Author: Can submit and edit their own content.  Their submissions must be approved by a higher level user.
    • Editor: Can submit and edit their own content as well as content by other authors that has not yet been published.
    • Publisher: Can submit, edit and publish their own content as well as edit and publish any other user’s articles
  • Back End Access
    • Manager: The basic level of back end administration access.  They can access the content menu of the Joomla back end and can edit, publish, and update sections and categories.
    • Administrator: In addition to the permission level that a manager has, an administrator has the ability to use most components; however, they cannot chang the site templates or the configuration of the site.
    • Super Administrator:  A Super Administrator can manage all aspects of a Joomla site

JCE ties in with the Joomla user groups by allowing you to specify which use groups can use the editor, which editor features are available to them, and what type of code can be included in the content.

Configuring JCE

There are two main locations where JCE can be configured.  The first is the configuration panel for the component.  It mainly controls how the editor is displayed and whether or not it will attempt to clean up sloppily formatted code.

In most editors, allowed tags are usually specified in the main configuration screen; however, this is not true of JCE and this is where most questions arise on how to get the editor to work the way you want it to.

The second step to configuring JCE is under the “Groups” menu option for the component.  This is where the real meat of the functionality comes into play.  Separate permission sets can be applied to different Joomla user groups.   For each user group, you can specify:

  • Which components the editor is available on.
  • The appearance of the editor to the user.
  • Whether relative or absolute urls are used for images.
  • Prohibited and allowed elements.
  • Whether css, javascript, or php can be used.
  • Allowed formatting elements.
  • Where images are uploaded to (each group could upload to a different directory) and the file size limits.
  • The composition of the editor toolbar and allowed plugins.
  • What types of files can be uploaded.
  • Whether they can upload files and/or create, rename and or delete files and directories.
  • What type of media is supported.
  • How paragraphs and line breaks are included.
  • What is stripped in the “Paste from Word” option.
  • The default alignment and margins for image insertion.
  • Which content link types are allowed.
  • Which spell check service is used.

By using group permissions for the editor, you can scale the functionality of the editor for different levels of users, as well as making life easier for your administrators and main publishers.


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