Groups, Users, and Permissions

In LiveWhale, groups equivocate to sites, or separate “buckets” of content, pages and user access. Users may move amongst the groups, or just belong to one.

One of the most important aspects of LiveWhale is that all content is not owned by the user, but by the group. So delete users freely—you can always re-create them—but carefully consider any group deletions.

In LiveWhale CMS, you can manage groups from the Groups superpower
In LiveWhale Calendar, you can manage groups from Toolbox > Groups & users


Whenever you need some distinction between collections of events, or images, or anything else you might give users access to edit in LiveWhale, you typically create a separate group.

Some examples might include highly-curated landing pages, like the Home Page, or the Alumni Gateway, to academic department and divisions, like Physics, to administrative offices like the Bursar’s Office.

Finally, you can have groups just to maintain a type of content available to all, such as a vetted digital image library.

Getting a list of groups

If you’re an admin, you can view a list of all groups by visiting the Groups manager from the LiveWhale dashboard. You can also use the API (e.g., to request a machine-readable list of groups, or a Groups widget to display them in a styled format.

<widget type="groups">
<arg id="format"><div class="group_name">{fullname}</div></arg>

Setting top groups in the group switcher

Users with access to more than one group can click “Your Group: …” on the toolbar to switch groups. If there are certain groups your editors use frequently (for instance, the Homepage, Newsroom, or Marketing groups) you can configure those to appear at the top of the list in LiveWhale 2.0+. Simply add the following to your livewhale/client/global.config.php file:

$_LW->CONFIG['TOP_GROUPS']=[123, 456]; // array of group IDs

Not sure of your group ID? Hover over your current group’s name on the toolbar and the ID will appear as a title/tooltip.


All users must belong to a “home” group and any user can be a LiveWhale Admin regardless of what group they call home. (Nonetheless, we do tend to put the main LiveWhale Admins in the default LiveWhale Admin group.)

Users are able to edit the content of their home group plus any others for which they are allowed to “group-switch.” To allow a user to group-switch, edit their user and check off Manage content for other groups, and select the group(s) you want them to have access to.

User Activity

Administrators can view a full list of user activity in Toolbox > Activity log. Otherwise, the user list under Toolbox > Groups & users > Users gives a quick indication of who has been most active, including the below information and filtering options.

Text in users table Description
Green text “Logged in” Currently logged in
“Last logged in {date}” in black Logged in within the past 6 months
“Last logged in {date}” in red More than 6 months since last login
No date User has never logged into LiveWhale
Using the sidebar “Review” filter Description
“Active users” Shows users who have logged in within the past 30 days
“Inactive users” Shows users who have not logged in within the past 30 days


User permission options fall into several levels. For more granular options within LiveWhale CMS, you can check and uncheck individual options on a per-user basis.

LiveWhale CMS LiveWhale Calendar
• Make edits to public webpages
• Make changes to public webpages live
• Edit dynamic content (including files, images, and places)
• Allow/disable access on a per-module basis: Blogs, Blurbs, Events, Forms, Galleries, Stories, Profiles
• Edit dynamic content (including events, files, images, and places)
• Publish dynamic content (i.e., set to Live)
• Publish dynamic content (i.e., set to Live)
• View sitewide activity stream
• Manage globally shared content
• Manage content submitted by public users
• Add, edit, and delete navigations, create and delete pages
• Manage widgets
• Manage globally shared content
• Manage widgets
• System administrator (catch-all)
• Manage groups and users
• Show file browser
• Edit raw page source code
• System administrator (catch-all)
• Manage groups and users
• View sitewide activity stream

Administrator permissions

An administrator is a special type of user who possesses unrestricted access to all aspects of LiveWhale. These include:

  • Access to the activity stream.
  • Access to the backups module.
  • Access to send bulletins to your users.
  • Ability to export LiveWhale data.
  • Ability to manage users and groups.
  • Global page editing permissions.
  • Ability to switch to all groups.

Access of this type should be restricted to a small set of users requiring oversight of the entire CMS and the management of its users.