Managing downloads with ARS

joomlaExtensionsIf you'd like to offer downloads to your visitors, Akeeba Release System (ARS) could be what you're looking for.  This article shows how to install and get started with ARS.

Learn how to install Joomla extensions to get yourself started.

Visit the Joomla extensions site to review Akeeba Release System and to get the latest version.

I recommend you read the pdfars-users-guide.pdf


Installation

Install the following:

  1. joomla15zipcom_ars-1.1.1.zip
  2. joomla25joomla30zip com_ars-2.0.6.zip

 

Enable plugins

Start by enabling the newly installed plugins.

  1. Go to Extensions > Plugin Manager.
  2. Enable the following plugins...
    1. Akeeba Release System - Bleeding Edge release maturity
    2. Akeeba Release System - Bleeding Edge automatic file diff
    3. Content - Download ID
    4. Button - ARS Item
  3. Read the summary descriptions for each plugin, for more information.

 

Configuration

Now you can start configuring the component itself.

  1. Create a new folder in the root directory of your website (eg. /downloads).
  2. Go to Components > Akeeba Release System.
  3. From the default Dashboard view, select the Visual Groups button.
  4. Create a new Visual Group called Downloads, and enable publishing for it.
  5. Select the Categories tab, and click New.
    1. Enter Downloads for the Title.
    2. Select the Visual Group that you just created.
    3. Select BleedingEdge for the Directory Type.
    4. Enter /downloads for the Files Directory.
    5. Select Published to be Yes, and choose your Access level.
    6. Enter a meaningful Description and Save your category.

 

Now you can start automatically creating Releases by simply adding a new directory inside the /downloads folder.  You can also automatically create Items by adding files inside the newly created directory.  Note that when you delete files or directories, the related items merely become unpublished.  Similarly if you rename a file or directory the item or release will become unpublished.

If you include _ALPHA, _BETA, _RC or _STABLE as a suffix when you create your new directories, ARS will know to initialise the directory's maturity status accordingly.  Otherwise your Release will default to ALPHA, and you will have to manually change it as required.

 

Menu Presentation

Finally you'll need to present your Items, Releases and even your entire Repository for download.

  1. Go to Menus > Menu Manager and choose the menu where you want to present your downloads.
  2. Create a New menu item.
  3. Select the Menu Item Type to be one of the Akeeba Release System options (eg. BleedingEdge releases).

 

Note that Items and Releases get auto-created as visitors click on your front-end menu.

 

Security

Note that in a default installation, the original location of your Items is hidden from front-end visitors.  However If you wish to explicitly prevent users from access your files directories, you can create a .htaccess file in the directory with the following contents...

order deny, allow
deny from all

 

Example Usage

Here are some example Visual Group > Categories > Releases > Items designs...

Open Source Software

  • Visual Group - Downloads
  • Categories - Software, Documents
  • Releases - Joomla, WordPress, HowTo Documents
  • Items - JoomlaInstall.zip, WordPressInstall.zip, HowToJoomla.pdf

 

School Documents

  • Visual Group - Documents
  • Categories - Newsletters, Policy Documents, Job Applications
  • Releases - Whole School Newsletter, Sports Newsletter, Maths Newsletter
  • Items - January.pdf, Spring.pdf, SportsDay2012.pdf

 

Learning Resources

  • Visual Group - Learning Resources
  • Categories - Software, Documents
  • Releases - Gimp, Flash, Word
  • Items - GimpInstall.zip, FlashInstall.zip, MathsResource.doc

 

Thanks for visiting.