Using AltaUserPoints/AlphaUserPoints in jDownloads

NOTE
  1. In February 2016 a fork of AlphaUserPoints was created - the new name is AltaUserPoints. It is available at www.nordmograph.com/extensions/
  2. In May 2016  the original AlphaUserPoints and its web site was purchased by Pamper Me Network. See further notes below about locating the revised AlphaUserPoints
  3. jDownloads supports both components but only AltaUserPoints from Nordmograph has been tested with jDownloads 3.9.
  4. If you have AltaUserPoints installed then upgrading from jDownloads 3.2 Series to jDownloads 3.9 Series requires no changes.  See note below for more details.
  5. If you have AlphaUserPoints consider changing to AltaUserPoints - see changing over for how to switch.
AltaUserPoints is a fork of the AlphaUserPoints component originaly developed by Bernard Gilly.  It has been forked to save the project: continue distribution, support and software evolution when Bernard decided to retire.  Adrien Roussel, Nordmograph, has taken over the development.
After almost ten years of development by French software developer Bernard Gilly, AlphaUserPoints, Joomla’s most powerful loyalty management software platform is now in new hands, with a recent purchase by the Pamper Me Network.  We will continue the amazing work of Bernard Gilly.  However, there will be a fundamental shift in strategy. Going forward we will allocate significant resources to ensure that AlphaUserPoints supports mobile delivered apps, viral sharing of content, Word Press applications, Facebook applications and Twitter cards.
Both 'AltaUserPoints' and  'AlphaUserPoints Lite' components are supported though the use of five jD specific 'rules'.  In this  document we refer to AUP meaning either component. The AUP component must of course be installed.  The official AUP documentation often refers to these 'rules' as plugins which is very confusing as they are not plugins in the normal Joomla! sense.  However there is no cause for concern as the AUP has a function in its control panel to connect up these rules.

AltaUserPoints, which is free, is supported by Nordmograph who are specialist Joomla Extension Suppliers,  www.nordmograph.com/extensions/  There is a Tag Cloud on the page so click on either click on the FREE or the ALTAUSERPOINTS tag.  Nordmograph also have some free and paid extensions for extra AUP facilities if you should wish to use elsewhere.  Alternatively AltaUserPoints is available in the Joomla Extensions Directory (JED) at http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/extension/e-commerce/credits-a-point-systems/altauserpoints.

AlphaUserPoints Lite was free and used to be available from www.alphaplug.com but this link gave a strong security warning in my browser!!😟   Note As at September 2019 I had problems locating  the download for AlphaUserPoints Lite.    Pamper Me Network  specialise in Social Networking.  Perhaps they no longer support AlphaUserPoints!  Also AlphaUserPoints Lite no longer has a valid JED listing, see https://extensions.joomla.org/extension/e-commerce/credits-a-point-systems/alphauserpoints/ which indicates a PE1 exception. 

The objective here is to provide a guide on setting up AUP as far as interaction with jDownloads is concerned.  These notes are not a guide to using AUP in other situations.  However it is useful to briefly describe the use of AUP in a jDownloads context.  Basically each time a user downloads then their AUP 'account' is reduced by a certain number of points.  This may be a fixed number of points per download or it may be  the amount specified in the jD 'Price' field associated with that Download. Users may gain points by creating a new Download.  Also points may be given to the Download 'owner' each time a user downloads one of their Downloads.

If you are installing a User Points system for the first time then we suggest using the AltaUserPoints one from Nordmograph.  If you already have AlphaUserPoints installed then consider changing to AltaUserPoints, see Transferring to AltaUserPoints below.  Note that you will not loose any information, points or similar as AltaUserPoints uses the same database.  It is very simple to change over.

The first step is to install the AUP component.  In both cases you need to register.  Installation, and updating, is quite straight forward and is similar to installing  jDownloads.   For AltaUperPoints (Nordmograph) as noted eratlier scroll down the page to find the Tag Cloud and click on either the FREE or the ALTAUSERPOINTS tag.

The latest release of AltaUserPoints at the time of writing was version 1.1.12 .
After installing AUP and before using AUP there are a few things to set up in both jDownloads and in the AUP configurations.

jDownloads setup for AUP
In jD go to the Control Panel and select Options, which is top right, then go to the Specials tab.  This has a section "Settings for AltaUserPoints/Alphauserpoints Support" which needs completing.
  1. Use AUP rules?  Set to Yes if you want to use in conjunction with jD. When set to Yes it reveals the next two settings.
  2. Use files price field for points?  This is where we select using either a fixed number of points per download or a variable number of points per download as specified in the jD Price field associated individually with every Download. 
  3. The final item is setting the 'hint' if the user does not have enough points.  This supports multi language.
AUP 41
For initial testing it is simplest to use No for the Use Downloads Price Field for Points.  This means that every Download will be affected, which may be inconvenient.  For serious use of the system using Yes is probably better as you can then have a mixture of 'free' and different charge rates for downloads.

The AUP points dialogue is shown by the Summary Layout through the place holder {aup_points_info}. This is already present in the Standard Summary layout.
The next jD item to set is to ensure that the Summary page will be shown so that the user knows the "price" they are paying.
That is set Options - Front End tab setting 'Activate Direct Downloading' to No as shown opposite.  The other two fields may be set as required.  For more information please see the article Download actions: Direct, via Summary Page or via Download Details [NEEDS REF]
AUP 43
As noted above, the Summary page will inform the user of the cost of the Download in points.  In this example, as shown opposite, the cost is 1.75 points and the user's 'credit' is 5.00 points.  The Download button is shown.

Note: jDownloads shows a maximum of 2 decimal places.
AUP 65
However If the user does not have sufficient points then an advisory 'error' message shows the  shortfall.  Also, of course, no Download button is  present. AUP 67B
Another situation is where users are not logged in but the Download is appears downloadable as a Download button is being shown.  In this case because AUP is active and set up so that only logged on users may download then jD detects this and generates a message such as the one opposite in the current view. AUP 77
There is one more aspect of jDownloads that may need to be considered. This is the 'Download Duration Restriction' in the Limits tab of  User Groups Settings.  This setting allows a grace perod in which a user may make multiple downloads of the same item without incurring additional 'charges'.  The objective of this parameter is to cover situations where a download may fail.  See the note below about Download Managers.  In practice it means that if you are testing do not download the same Download each time as it will seem that the system is faulty!  Also do not confuse with the 'Activate Waiting Time' value in the 'Group Settings' tab of User Groups Settings.  The 'Activate Waiting Time' merely introduces a count down time before downloading starts.

Setting Up AUP

After installing AUP go to the AUP Control Panel.  This has a large number of icons as illustrated opposite.

Only part of the AUP Control Panel is shown opposite.

It may also have a message about Synchronising Users with AUP. But do not do this now.  Please first read the notes below.

The first thing to do with AUP is to use the Options Button which, in common with other Components, is located at the top  righthand side of the AUP Control Panel. (Not shown in image opposite.)
AUP00F


The first tab, General, is of particular interest as it allows setting the format of the points, and whether accounts are allowed to go negative.

Allowing negative accounts is generally a poor idea as it can lead to users being able to download multiple items at no cost.

Setting the default format is sensible if you are equating points to a financial charge.  Recall also that jDownloads only shows 2 decimal places with AUP items.
AUP00D
AUP actions are controlled by a set of Rules which give it a very wide variety of uses.

One such AUP rule is the ability to give new users some 'points' initially.  If you are going to give new users, that is your existing users when first installing AUP, some 'starter' points then that needs to be done before Synchronising Users.  Basically Synchronising users means adding in all existing users before AUP was installed.  After installation any new user will be added automatically.  In order to give new users an initial grant of starter points then it is necessary to edit the appropriate rule.

To do this click on the Rules Icon which will give a display such as the one below (only some of the rules are shown).  There are approximately 20 rules.   Note that most of the rules are initially unpublished.

Later in this process five more jDownloads specific rules will be added.
AUP00A
Scroll down the list of rules, and possibly change to the next set, until you find the 'New User' Rule as illustrated below.  Make sure it is Published, that is it shows the AUP published icon. AUP 69  If it shows the regular unpublished icon then as usual just click on it to change status to published.
AUP00B

Next click on the New User link which brings up the the details section of the New User rule such as shown opposite.

So if you are going to give all new users a starter number of points then edit the Points field as appropriate, say set to 5.00 as a 'welcome'.

Note this field has two decimal places like most "currencies".

After Saving & Closing ensure that the Rule is published
AUP00C
If you have not previously used the AUP then it will not know about the regular Joomla! users you may already have 'registered' on your site.  Clicking on the AUP Users Icon AUP 72 at this stage shows that AUP does not know about existing users as illustrated below.
AUP 32B
The next step is to Synchronise the Users, that is adding all existing users into the AUP scheme.
To do this return to the AUP Control panel and click on the 'User Sync' icon.  AUP 71 A message saying 'Do not interrupt' may be displayed depending on how many users are already 'registered' on your site.  In due course it should give a successful completion statement. 
Clicking on the Users icon  AUP 72 again will now show something like the view opposite.  Note in this case the 'New User' rule had been set to 5.00 points before synhronising new users.

Any new user added  to Joomla! after AUP has been activated will be automatically added and granted an initial stock of points as set up in the New User rule. 
AUP 32C

There are a variety of ways  to give  users points.  One simple method is to add 'Bonus' points after setting some value in the Bonus rule.  You can also edit users accounts individually to add points.

The next step is to add the jD specific Rules.  This is also very straight forward.  Basically one just clicks on the 'Auto-detect new rules'  button AUP 73 on the AUP Control Panel.  This should give you a message acknowledging that five more rules have been added.  There is no external plugin to be enabled as the relevant code is in the jD Component, but you will need to have enabled  use of AUP as noted earlier in  jDownloads setup for AUP.
AUP 61
The five jD specific Rules need to be setup.  So click on the Rules icon button  AUP 74 then select the 'Other' type in the pulldown near top right of the Rules page as illustrated opposite.  This then just lists the Rules in the 'Other' section, which is where the five jD rules are located.  So scroll down to find the jD specific rules.

Click on the name part of the rule to access the details.

The jD specific rules are noted below
AUP 75A
  • User Upload published Assign points to a user when one of their uploads is published in jDownloads (may also be negative to reduce points).  Access Rule and set points value.
  • User downloads a file  Assign points when a registered user downloads a file from jDownloads (may also be negative to reduce points). Access Rule and set how many points the Download will cost, typically a negative value.
  • User downloads a file (uses price) Uses the value in the 'price' field in the Download. Reduces the points when a registered user downloads a file from jDownloads. Also see note below about Download Managers.
  • Uploader get points for downloaded files Assign points to the file uploader when a user downloads this file from jDownloads. Uses a fixed number of points as defined in this rule.  Access the rule to set the value.
  • Uploader get points for downloaded files (use price) Assign points to the file uploader when a user downloads the file from jDownloads. Uses the 'price' field from the Download.
There are numerous parameters that may be set up in each rule.  For a full understanding consult the AUP documentation.

However in most cases the only part that needs to be adjusted is the Price field. 

As an exampe the image opposite shows part of the User downloads a file rule.  The important part to note is that the price should be negative in order to reduce the users points account.
AUP 76
One other parameter which may be useful is the 'Method' parameter.  Here you can set up a time period such as 'once per year'.  This would mean the user would only be charge initially on first download but could then download multiple times throughout the year.  Basically a warranty period with access to updates.

Using a Download Manager

If you are using a download manager on your local machine then you might find that multiple 'charges' are being made against the user points.  This is because many 'download managers' open multiple 'streams'.   Unless you set thing up in an appropriate manner then each 'stream' appears as if it were a fresh downloading of the original file.  Hence there is a danger of multiple download charges! 

The solution is to change the Method field of the User downloads a file (uses price) rule so that the user is only charged once/day for downloading that file, or another appropriate selection, such as illustrated below. Note the 'charge once/day' attribute is applicable to each download individually. 

If a user makes multiple downloads of the same Download they will only be charged once that day for that Download. 

If that user downloads another Download then they will be charged for the second Download.  If the user downloads multiple times in the selected period then these do not create an AUP event.

Other options include 'once per user' meaning that file is free for that user forever after.  Further choices include once/week, once/month and once/year.  This period could be the duration of free updates after the initial purchase.
AltaPoints14A

Changing to AltaUserPoints
You can get the free AltaUserPoints component from the Joomla Extensions Directory (JED) http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/extension/e-commerce/credits-a-point-systems/altauserpoints.  There is a Download button on the Nordmograph site or you can use the shopping cart with a zero cost purchasing sequence.  Installation is as usual.
The actual change is really simple because:
  1. AltaUserPoints uses the same database tables as AlphaUserPoints;
  2. AlphaUserPoints does not  remove the database tables when it is  uninstalled.
The procedure is:
  1. Go to Joomla! Extensions - Manage, and then select Manage on the pulldown.
  2. Search for Alpha, which will list the AlphaUserPoints Component and several plugins and modules.
  3. Select All and then Uninstall.  You should get messages for the component uninstall and for multiple plugin and module uninstalls.
  4. Go to Joomla! Extensions - Manage, and the select Install.
  5. use normal sequence to install AltaUserPoints.
Note On Upgrading to jDownloads 3.9 Series
As noted earlier, upgrading from jDownloads 3.2 Series to jDownloads 3.9 Series requires no changes.  This is because the jDownloads specific 'rules' are located within jDownloads so AltaUserPoint automatically uses them from the jDownloads 'space'.  AltaUserPoints is version 1.1.12 at time of writing.

ColinM Rewritten September 2019

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