Guided Tour - Back-Office
In this page, we will walk you through the Back-Office a.k.a. the Admin Interface. This is the place where you do all the administrative tasks that the general public of your site doesn’t have access to. (Note that you can actually set very granular permissions to determine which features are available to whom but this is beyond the scope of this tour…)
This page currently shows b2evolution v 6.0-alpha.
- Version 5 is a little bit different (some missing features) but the concepts are the same.
- The latest 6.4 is a little bit different (Bootstrap backoffice especially) but the concepts are the same.
Accessing the Back-Office
In the Front Office Guided Tour, we showed you how to log in. Once logged in as an administrator you obtain this special toolbar (evobar) at the top of every screen:
Just click on "Dashboard" at any time and you’ll access the Dashboard, which is the main page of the Back-Office.
Note: you could also access the Back-Office through the address bar of your web browser, by entering your b2evolution’s Base URL followed by
admin.php. That is the address of the Back-Office a.k.a. Admin interface.
Navigating the Back-Office
In addition to the evoBar which is available everywhere, there are 4 important concepts to navigating the Back Office. You will find these on every page of the back-office:
- the Navigation Tabs : this is the Main level of navigation. Each tab leads you to a different area of the back office. The tab of the currently selected back-office area will be highlighted.
- the Collection Selector : this bar lets you select the collection you want to work on. It appears in different sections of the back-office but not all of them. For example, the user management is common to all collections, so there is no collection selection in this area.
- the Breadcrumb Path : this shows you exactly where you are in the back office, at any time. This is very useful to locate a feature when you see a screenshot or when you want to quote a specific back office page in the support forums for example.
- the Contextual Manual Link : every page has at least one such link in the top right corner. By clicking it, you will access the relevant page in the backoffice reference manual, giving you more information about the tasks at hand. In many cases, you will see additional manual links throughout the page. They lead to more specific instructions. Feel free to click these at any time. They will always open in a new window and you will never lose the current state of the back office page you are in.
A collection dashboard
When you first access the back-office, you will typically see the dashboard of the last collection you have been working on. So you may see a dashboard that looks like this:
This is actually the dashboard of a specific collection, in this case: Blog A.
This is a demo blog that has just been set up so the dashboard only shows recently edited posts and some administrative features at the bottom. If this was an active blog, the first thing it would show are the comments awaiting moderation. In a forum it would also show the new topics awaiting moderation.
The global dashboard
Now, if you click on "Global" in the Collection Selector?, you will access the Global dashboard which looks pretty different:
There are 3 importants sections on this screen:
- The list of all collections currently configured on your system. This matches the list of tabs you saw in the tour of the Front-Office. Notice the following:
- The "Home" collection is configured as "Never" listed in the "Listed" column. This is why it doesn’t appear as a tab of its own on the Front-Office site navigation bar.
- The "Order" column determines in which order the collections appear in the Front-Office Navigation Bar?, as well as in the Back-Office Collection Selector?.
- The system metrics* give you a quick overview of how much content there is in the database. In other words: how big this b2evolution is. Note there are no maximums for any of these metrics. However, when some counters get red, you’ll know it might be time to upgrade your web hosting for better performance.
- The updates from b2evolution.net are updated automatically through a web service provided by b2evolution.net. This section will inform you when a new version of b2evolution is available and give you the possibility to upgrade. This section will also alert you (in red color) if a security issue has been discovered on the version you are currently running. In this case it’s recommended to upgrade to the latest stable version as soon as possible.
Clicking on the "Structure" tab takes you to the section where you can configure the global layout and design of your website as well as each of its collections.
The first item in the Collection Selector? is named "Site". If you click on it, you access global settings for the complete b2evolution website (instead of settings that pertain only to a specific collection):
This is where you could change the short name of the site when you’re tired of seeing "This Site" in your Navigation Bar?.
This is also where you choose which collection should display by default when users access your site (or the Base URL of your b2evolution). By default, b2evolution configured to display the "Home" collection.
If you now use the Collection Selector? to select a specific collection, you will see settings that are specific to the requested collection:
Here you could edit the long title of a collection.
This is also where you would restrict the access of a collection to only logged in users. You could even further restrict access by requiring the users to be designated members of a collection before allowing access.
Collection Skin (or Theme)
By clicking on the "Skin" tab, you will access the settings specific to the skin currently used on this collection:
The skin (some systems call it a "theme") is what allows a specific style of presentation for your collection. By using a different skin, you can pretty radically change the style of a collection. You might actually want to click on "Use a different skin" in the top right in order to bring up the skin selector:
Here you see only the skins that are currently installed on your system. You could download and install additional skins from the Skins Repository or from third party sites.
By clicking on the "Widgets" tab you access the widgets manager for the current collection:
Widgets are grouped into Widget Containers?. Each skin has a place for these containers. (Though, some skins may not use exactly the same containers as others). It’s then up to you to decide which widgets you want to appear in each container and in which order…
For example, you can see that the "Header" container contains 2 widgets by default:
- The Collection Title
- The Collection Tagline
For example, you might remove the tagline if you have no use for it.
If you scroll down, you will find the "Sidebar" container which is the source for the right column on "Blog A" for example. You might remove the profile picture. You might also move up the Categories list to the top of the sidebar (You can do this with drag and drop).
The next main navigation tab gets you to the Contents section where you can manage the contents of each collection. This is also where you can add and delete content, as well as organize it into categories or chapters.
Viewing all posts of a collection
Contrary to the public side, the Front-Office of your blog, this screen will really show all posts of your collection, including drafts, posts in review, deprecated contents as well as redirected contents.
Notice the large collection of available filters on the right which you can use to locate the contents you need once you have several hundreds or thousands of posts. Also notice the tabs which let you quickly filter by post types:
- Regular posts
- Standalone pages
- Introduction posts (which typically appear on the front page or as category headers)
- Podcasts (containing an audio or video attachment)
- Sidebar links (used for blogrolls)
- Ads (which you might want to rotate somewhere on your pages)
Viewing all comments of a collection
The following tab is no longer for posts but for comments instead:
Here again, notice the array of available filters.
The next tab takes you into the content settings, more specifically the category manager:
Notice that you can create sub-categories, and sub-sub-categories, etc.
Some collection types – such as the Online Manual collection type – offer additional browsing screens. Here is the example of the "Manual view":
The distinctive feature of this screen is that it allows to browse posts/pages within the category/chapter tree, with pages and sub-chapters being ordered against each other if desired. [Needs screenshot update!]
b2evolution includes its own File Manager, allowing you to manage all the media files (images, videos, sounds, documents, etc.) that you might want to attach to your posts:
Of course there is an advanced permissions system controlling who can uploads and/or edit what kind of files.
Note that if you upload 15 megapixel images from your digital camera, you can configure b2evolution to automatically scale them down to a more web-friendly size for you.
The Analytics tabs gives you access to many screens of traffic analytics that b2evolution collects as visitors and users request pages of your site. After a few days being online, your Hit Summary might look something like this:
Of course, until you open your site to the public, there won’t be much to see here, except your own activity.
So we’ll leave it for later to explore all the features of this section. Be sure to come back to it though, as server side analytics can show you many things that remote analytics packages like Google Analytics can’t show you.
The Users tab is where you can create new users and assign permissions to the ones that should be given special privileges. By default, b2evolution will have created several demo user accounts:
Notice there are several level-2 tabs here…
User registration settings
One important tab is Users > Settings > Registration:
This is where you can enable users to register themselves if they wish to and define the settings and permissions of new user accounts.
The next main navigation tab takes you the the Messaging section. Similarly to the front office, this shows you the private conversations you may be having with other users:
The reason we have this both in the front and the back-office is that sometimes you want to use private messaging only between administrators and moderators of a website but not make it a public feature.
The Emails tab is where you’ll find everything about b2evolution’s send and receive email management.
The default screen shows the newsletters you have prepared or sent to your users:
The other tabs allow you to manage the transitional emails (e-g "Activate you account") and notifications (e-g "You have a new private message") sent by b2evolution to the users. It also deals with delivery problems and returned emails. This could be a whole book in itself, so we won’t get into details for now…
The System tab is here to make it easy for you to deal with the various administrative tasks required when operating a potentially high-volume website.
One powerful sub tab is the Scheduler:
This is where you can see all the scheduled jobs that b2evolution will perform silently, sometimes several times a day, other times once per week or per month in order to keep your system and database clean and spiffy!
Another tab you might come to appreciate is the Antispam tab:
This is where you can block undesirable activity on your website through a variety of vectors: bad keywords, IPs, Domains, Countries and more… but you probably don’t need to worry much about this for now. Just know it’s there if you get annoyed by some spammers on your site in the future.
This concludes this first tour of the back-office.
By now you might have started clicking here and there to make some edits. We absolutely recommend you do this and play around with your web site for a few hours in order to know your way around.
There are many more pages in this manual to give you details about some of the more advanced features.
Also feel free to register to our community forums and use them to ask any questions you might have. Talk soon! ;-)
Created by • Last edit by on October 6th, 2016
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