Secured Pages Under Public Menus Workaround in WhippleHill Podium

We had a need where we wanted some pages for the Parents’ Association to have public pages in our public navigation but also wanted to limit access to a few of the sibling pages. This is not the default functionality of the current WhippleHill Podium Page Manager system. Due to the way the pages get their security settings via the menu/page hierarchy makes it so that public or non-secured menus cannot have secured pages underneath it. All makes sense and totally acceptable. But, I still wanted to do it. Making sense and having things be acceptable has never stopped me before and didn’t this time either. I figured out a simple way to do that. It involves standard functionality of Podium, but a little use of redirect pages, vanity URLS. The initial effort is not minor, but the lasting value for your community might be worth it if you want to have a smooth transition from sibling pages that the world can view to those that you only want certain roles in your community to view. Here goes what I did with my example, your need will probably differ but hopefully this helps seeing the options you have.

Working within the functionality of the software

We have a top-level, or “Level 1” menu that is part of our over navigation to every visitor of the website. Under that we have a menu that we wanted to have pages that are navigationally visible publicly, but require the visitor to have a level of security with a login to be able to view the content of the page. We did not want to do anything custom on the recently updated site, but still provide a non-disruptive flow for our parents. Again, your level of need may be different than ours. You might be able to just get by with a vanity URL for your community but we wanted something that would be more fluid for the parents, reward being logged-in to the site and blur the line between what was public and private content without constructing what felt like two separate sites under a single one.

Our Situation and Process

Here is what our sibling pages under the PA area of the website look like. We have the first two tabs (Mission & Welcome, Board & Committees) on the horizontal menu on the site are public and have page content. The other three tabs were actually pages (with channel content) nested under the PA public section originally but we wanted to secure them.

Sibling Pages with Horizontal Menu channel under a "Level 2" menu structure in WhippleHill Podium

Step 1: Get vanity URLs Going ASAP

If you aren’t using the SEO tab on your Podium pages, you are crazy. Do it immediately. If for no other reason, it is something that can really help you when you need to link to other pages and manage the site. As we also found out in the recent transition to a redesigned site, making effective use of the vanity URL functionality in WhippleHill Podium helps search engine referrals stay consistent between sites since Google and others reference those if you have them setup.

Adding a custom or vanity URL under the SEO tab in Page Manger

Step 2: Creating organization and redirects in the secured part of Page Manager

In Podium Page Manager, I took these three pages we wanted to only allow a certain group (role) in our community to have access to and created a new “open child” page with the desired security-level. Creating the “open child” page and securing it really is just to make a folder and something you can tack the pages you are moving into the secure world of Page Manager in an orderly way. Here is what the structure in Page Manager looks like after we are done.

In the above screenshot from Page Manager, the bottom three pages have actual content along with vanity URLs and were moved under this non-public “child only” page title “Parents’ Association (Secured)” which is kind of used too because of the page title channel to show users when they are in or out of a secured area. “Mission & Welcome” and “Board & Committess” are the same titles as the public pages under the website nagivation, but the are not really pages. They are just placeholders that redirect to the public page that has it’s same name. You can see in this detail of the page from Page Manager.

Page created in the secured area to redirect to the public page

I set up these two pages so when we have the horizontal nav on the secured pages linked to the siblings, it would look identical to the public pages. When clicked from one of the secured pages, it will use the vanity URL to go over to the public page cleanly. The user doesn’t know or care what is happening behind the scenes.

Step 3: Creating Redirects in the Public Part of Page Manager and Navigation

This is basically the same as step 2 but creating the redirect pages to go over to the secured pages vanity URLs. Here is a screenshot of the Page Manager structure in this area of our site.

In this public area (the 100. Parent’s Association page/menu is under a Level 1 menu that is public) all the pages inherit the public permissions. The first two pages have vanity URLs and have content channels and content for public viewing. But, the last three pages in the sort are just identically titled redirect pages to the secured pages from step 2. The redirect page to it’s vanity URL page equivalent is set to public.

But, when it redirects on these pages, it will prompt for a login and password because the target page has a security layer on it in Podium and I am not logged in.

In our case, we restrict these other pages to require “All School” role access level. This is the security setup on those pages.

Wrap-up

Anyway, I know this is a long blog post on this and it might be seem more confusing than it should. The overall concept of this workaround is to create two locations in Podium Page Manager where you will have secured and public pages. Then, get the pages you want it each area and hard-address them easily with vanity URLs and create whatever pages are necessary to make the areas identical through the use of complimentary URL redirect pages on both locations.

Here is what the two sides of the section look like. I used the Page Title channel options to reference the “Secured” title to subtly show parents they were in different areas when they click between if they were already logged-in. We do lose the nested menu orientation in the side nav because the pages are not really under the navigation if you are on a secured page, but that is a minor issue in our opinion so long as we can make the flow from public to private pages seem non-disruptive for community members.

Public Page
Secured Page

Hope this was helpful in some way if you are looking to get around the security limitation on public and secured pages that you might run into using the WhippleHill Podium CMS.

If there are any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Jonathan Mergy
mergy@mergy.org

 

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