Upgrading from jDownloads 3.2 to 3.9

Introduction - Upgrading from 3.2 to 3.9

This article is an update of the initial upgrading article and applies for jDownloads 3.9 beta 6 and higher
The jDownloads 3.9 series has introduced several enhancements, some of which are noted below.
  • Revised Configuration, now uses the Joomla Options style
  • Support of Joomla Custom Fields
  • Improved User Groups Settings layout
  • More front end user group settings
  • Much enhanced Control Panel
  • Support multi language Associations
  • Enhanced Single User Access
  • Wide support for language placeholders such as {fr-FR} ... {/fr-FR}  in layouts
  • More features in 'Check Downloads' area
  • Better Limits setting page in User Groups Settings
  • Ability to add an Inquiry Form when user downloading
  • Additional Layouts for jDownloads 3.9
  • Planned support for 'modern' style links

General

Upgrading from jDownloads 3.2 series to the 3.9 series is quite similar to a normal update.  However in order to advise about various changes the installation needs to be carried out twice.  You do need to be at least at  jDownloads 3.2.67 or later and at Joomla 3.9.x.  There are of course many extra features in the the 3.9 series which are outlined in  [NEEDS REF].

One of the first things to note is that the Configuration section has been updated and is not in the left hand panel with Categories, Downloads, Layouts and so on.
It now uses the Joomla! Options button options01 which is situated at the top right of the Control Panel.  See the article Control Panel Overview for more details  (this and all other documentation or similar links in this article open in a new window/tab).

Database changes

For even better integration with Joomla! there have been some database item name changes, for example in the files data base table the name of the ID field has changed from file_id to just id, file_title has become title and so on.  Also some redundant entries have been removed.  For those wishing to upgrade an extension to be compatible with the 3.9 version please contact us through the jDownloads forum.

Third Party Extensions

Standard Supported Extensions

For more details of the supported third party extensions please, see the category Extending jDownloads with other Extensions in the Documentation.  The following standard extensions are supported in jDownloads 3.9 but also see the other known compatible extensions section below.
The Special Extensions for JComments, Komento and Community Builder may be found at jD3.9 extensions.  The plugin support for Alta User Points is effectively 'built in' to jDownloads but it does need installing as described in the Alta User Points article.

If your present site relies heavily on other extensions to jDownloads that have not been updated by their vendors we suggest staying for the time being with the jD 3.2 series.  The upgrading is necessary because of the changes in the database item renaming.

Other Compatible jDownloads 3.9 Extensions

Please let us know via the forum if you know of any others.)
The following extensions have been checked with jD3.9
  1. Acymailing version 6 is available at www.acyba.com/ 
    For the jDownloads compatible plugin go to www.acyba.com/acymailing/plugins and search for jDownloads (tag plugin) v4.5.0 or higher (the word 'tag' is not related to Joomla! tags!).  This plugin supports both the 3.9 and the 3.2 series.

Custom Fields

One of the newer features in Joomla! is Joomla Custom Fields, these have far more scope with more than a dozen diferent field types compared to the four types provided in the jDownloads Custom Fields.  See for example  the article Joomla Custom Fields which describes the 15 available types.  As well as Fields, Joomla! has Field Groups which aid multilingual sites.  There are Joomla! Custom Fields that match those that are available in the jDownloads 3.2 and earlier series.

As a result jDownloads 3.9 no longer supports the jDownloads custom fields, it does fully support the more extensive Joomla! Custom Fields.   jDownloads automatically transfers the old jDownloads Custom Fields into Jooma! Custom Fields during the upgrade process.

As shown later extra messages indicating that the jD custom fields have been successfuly converted to Joomla! fields are displayed.

Note This has only been tested with PHP7.3 and above so we advise that you ensure that you have an uptodate version of PHP.

Layouts

When upgrading all your existing layouts, with one exception as noted below, are copied over.  In addition a whole set of jDownloads 3.9 layouts are added.  These give an almost identical view as the existing default 3.2 layouts but there have been improvements in spacing and similar, particularly in the header, subheader and footer regions.  A new type of layout, Subcategories has been introduced to give a more logical arrangement. There are presently three default layouts in this section:
1. Standard Subcategories Layout  - this replaces the former 'Standard Categories Layout for paginated Subcategories 3.2' that used to be in the Categories section;
2. Standard Subcategories Layout 3.9 - this is the equivalent 3.9 version;
3. Multi-Column Subcategories Layout 3.9 - this shows subcategories in 4 column rows.

It is suggested that you switch over to the 3.9 layouts as these are the layouts that will continue to be supported.

Multilingual Sites

If you have a multilingual site do not forget to install the language files for jDownloads 3.9.  See article Install jD language (opens in a new tab/window) on how to do this.  Note jDownloads comes with the jDownloads v3.9 languages for English and German already installed.

Upgrading

First Step

The first step is to check you have the latest jDownloads 3.2.67 or higher series release and if necessary update to the latest version.  If you have an earlier series (1.9 or 2.5) then first see the jD 3.2 Migration documentation
The Compatibility Appendix below shows the versions of jDownloads compatible with different Joomla! versions.

Upgrading from jD 3.2.67 to jD 3.9 is, in general, similar to a regular update.  That is upgrading from the jDownloads 3.2 series to the 3.9 series is straightforward, but note because there are changes to the database and also because of the automatic conversion of any old style jDownloads custom fields then the update needs to be done twice as noted below.

It is not a 'migration' requiring special treatment.  The system requirements, which are listed below, are the same as those required for Joomla!
REMINDER: you must be at jDownloads v3.2.67 or higher in order to upgrade to the 3.9 series.

Miniumum System Requirements

  • PHP 5.7+ (7.3+ strongly recommended, especially if the old style jDownloads Custom Fields were used.)
  • MySQL 5.7+
  • Joomla 3.9+ or newer
  • jDownloads 3.2.67

Upgrade PHP?

This is not a requirement unles you PHP level is below the minimum level.
 However it would be a good time to upgrade your server to at least PHP 7.3+ if you have not already done so.  Also bear in mind that Joomla! 4 is expected in late 2020 and that will require PHP 7.3+ as a minimum, that is it will not support the PHP 5 series.  As a final note the PHP 7 series is faster and lighter weight than the PHP 5 series.

Check for latest jDownloads 3.2

So assuming you have a jDownloads v3.2 series installed please check if it is  version 3.2.67 or higher.  If it is not at least at  version 3.2.67 then the first step is to upgrade to jDownloads version 3.2.67 or higher, which is available at jDownloads 3.2 series.

Next Step

This process follows the normal upgrade process using the Install method. 

So go to Extensions - Manage- Install
upgrade01
This brings up the regular installation screen which allows a variety of uploading methods.  In this example 'Upload Package File' has been choosen.

This assumes you have previously downloaded the current jDownloads 3.9 version from www.jdownloads.com to a suitable location on your device.  So drag the file to the upload panel. Installation will begin automatically.

upgrade02

First Install

When doing the upgrade for the first time then the upgrade will intentionally stop to show the message opposite.

1. A Full Backup is advised.

2. Note that some third party extensions may not work because of some database naming changes and that they need an update. See the documentation.

3. Notifies that the jDownloads Custom Fields will be converted to standard Joomla! Fields.

4.  At this stage no changes have been made to your site.  This gives you the opportunity remain for the time being with the jD 3.2 series.
Install-beta6-01

Second Install

To continue the update you need to start it again just as before.

That is go to Extensions - Manage - Install and proceed just the same as the first time. In the second install the above message will not appear.

Installation of the Upgrade Completes


The final stage shows a successful upgrade.

If your site used jDownloads custom fields you will see a message indicating how many were converted and how many Downloads are involved

Note the need to click on Start jDownloads.

After clicking on Start jDownloads there might be a short delay whilst the upgrade completes.  When complete the jDownloads Control Pannel will be shown.

Install-beta6-02

The first time you go to the jDownloads Control Panel after upgrading to the 3.9 series you will see a message such as shown opposite.

Install beta6 03 cr
The revised Control Panel is quite different from the jD 3.2 series control panel. The left hand side has links to items like Categories, Layouts and so on.  Files has been changed to Downloads but most significantly there is no link to Configuration!
Similar to Joomla! the 'configuration' setup is now accessed through the Options button  upgrade12 at the top right of the jDownloads Control Panel.  This is consistent with the standard Joomla! style for Components. Please see the article on the Control Panel for more details.

Appendix: jDownloads and Joomla! Compatibility

These are summarised in the table below where the 'green' background indicates the supported versions.  If you are in the 'red' zone then you will need to upgrade your Joomla! to Joomla! 3.2 and then to Joomla! 3.9.  Note there is only a direct migration of jDownloads versions in the 'red' zone to the jDownloads 3.2 series.  That is you cannot go from the 'red' zone directly to the jDownloads 3.9 series.  Please see the jDownloads 3.2 documention - migration for more details.
Instal00A

Colin M  April 2020

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