This article provides a documentation and answers of frequently asked questions about Crowdfunding Platform. You will find information about the process of installation and configuration.

Additional Information

You can find additional information on the following pages:

Download and install

I guess, you have already installed Joomla! and now you should download Crowdfunding Platform package.

Go to "Extension Manager" and install the package.

Joomla! extension manager

If you are installing the extension for the first time, you will see a list of installed libraries, plugins and modules. You will also see a list of minimum requirements. If the system shows red indicators for unfulfilled requirements, it will be better to find a way to fix them.

Requirements

You must install Prism Library because the extension needs it to work properly.

Technical Requirements

The minimum requirements to run the extension properly are:

Resources

You can download locations and regions (admin1CodesASCII.txt) from GeoNames. My suggestion is to download all cities with a population greater than 15000.

Here you are some other resources:

The resources are published on GitHub and you can help with updating their data.

NOTE: You have to import the currencies via "Currency Manger", the countries via "Country Manager" and the locations via "Location Manager".

NOTE: You have to import the placeholders and mail templates in the extension Email Templates.

Import locations, countries, regions and currencies

The first thing that you should do after successful installation is to download database with currencies and collection of locations. You will find a huge suit of GEO locations and regions (admin1CodesASCII.txt) on GeoNames. My suggestions is to use the file that contains all cities with population greater than 15000.

You will have to go to the administration and import the resources.

Options

It is a time to configure the crowdfunding platofrm. Go to "Dashboard" and click on the button "Options". Review the settings and save them.

Projects

Those settings apply for project list layouts - "Discover", "Category" and "Featured".

Grid Layout - You can select from several layouts that will be used for visualizing projects on the list views.

Show Author - If select Yes, the system will show the name of the author of the campaign.

Show Description - If select Yes, the system will show the description of the campaign.

Title Length - You can set the length of the title by this option.

Description Length - Specify the length of the project description by this option.

Style Classes

Several fields, where you will be able to set CSS classes, giving styles to specific campaigns. You can enter style classes for:

  • Completed Successfully campaign
  • Completed Unsuccessfully campaign
  • Featured campaign
  • New campaign
  • Ending Soon campaign

Category

Those settings apply for project categories layout unless they are changed by individual category or menu item settings.

Category Description - Show or hide the category description on the view.

Show Subcategories - If Show, the system will display a list of subcategories on the view of the category.

Subcategory Title - Show or hide the title of the subcategory.

Subcategory Description - Show or hide the description of the subcategory.

Subcategory Image - Show or hide the image of the subcategory.

Subcategory Title Length - Use this option to specify the length of subcategory title.

Subcategory Description Length - Use this option to specify the length of subcategory description.

Categories

Those settings apply for categories layout unless they are changed by menu item settings.

Layout - Use this options to select the way in which the categories will be displayed.

Show Projects Number - If you enable this option, the system will display the number of project in a category, next to its name.

Show Description - If Show, the system will display the description of the categories.

Description Length - The length of category description.

Categories In Row - The number of categories per line.

Categories Limit - Number of categories that will be displayed on the view.

Order - Use this options to select the way in which the categories will be ordered.

Order Direction - Use this options to select the direction of the ordering.

The menu item provides settings that you can use to override the global ones.

Project Wizard

Those settings apply for project wizard used in the process of creating campaign.

Minimum and Maximum amount - those options define limits of amount that will be able to be raised.

Minimum and Maximum days - that option represents a limit in days which projects will be able to be published.

Intro Article - that is an article that will be displayed instead the form, which is used for creating a project. The intro article will be displayed only if the user is not signed into the site.

Project Wizard Type - there are two wizard types - in five steps and in six steps. When you select "Six steps", the system will add extra step and you will have to implement additional functionality by a third-party extension.

For example, you can use some of the following extensions:

  • Crowdfunding Files - this extension provides functionality for uploading and assigning files ( business plans, schemes, ....) to a project.
  • Crowdfunding Partners - this extension provides functionality for assigning other users as a team members to a project.

Payment Wizard

Display terms - Enabling this option the system will display a checkbox and a link to your "terms of use" to the form, which users will use for backing. They will have to read your terms and will have to check the box before continue.

Terms page URL - In that field you should enter a link to your conditions, which users have to read before they continue to the payment.

Here it is an example of the result.

Wizard Type - There are two types of the payment wizard - in three steps and in four steps. When you select "Four Steps" wizard type, the system will add additional functionality as a "Step 2". You will have to install third-party extension, which will add that functionality on the second step.

For example, you can install one of the following third-party extensions:

  • CrowdfundingPayment Login - this extension displays a login form on step 2, which the person has to use to sign in to the site before continue with a payment.
  • Crowdfunding Data - this extension provides functionality to collect data from users during the process of payment.

 

Media

Those options are used from the system for managing some media files like image and video.

Folder - that option points to the folder where pictures will be stored.

Extra Images - This option enables the functionality that allows users to upload additional pictures to a project. It gives an options the user to create a photo gallery.

Rewards Images - This option enables the functionality that allows users to upload pictures for rewards.

The other options are used for defining image size. There are several sizes because the system will generate thumbnails when users upload a project picture.

Integration

You can use those options if you would like to to integrate Crowdfunding with community extensions like JomSocial, EasySocial, Social Community, Kunena, Easy Profile,...

For example:

  • you can install Social Community and connect user profiles with Crowdfunding.
  • you can enable Gravatar and the system will display avatar of the people which have Gravatar profiles.

Funders

Those options are used to be managed the list with backers.

Display Anonymous - hide or not the anonymous donations in the list with funders.

Display Amounts - hide or not the amounts donated by the backers.

Security

Display friend form - that option enables a form that can be used from users to send information about projects to their friends.

Captcha - that option enables a functionality that displays code on forms. The code should be entered by the user to prove his identity.

Debug

You can use those options if you want to disable some functionalities of the platform, during a process of maintenance.

Disable adding projects - that option disables the process of project creating.

Disable payments - that option disables the payment process.

Advanced

The system uses those options for some specific functionalities.

Use PHP Intl - that option tells the system to use PHP Intl when displays amounts in a local format. For more information look the method NumberFormatter::formatCurrency. To use this feature, it must be loaded the PHP Intl library on your server.

Intl Fraction Digits - this option sets the number of fraction digits if you have enabled and you use PHP Intl.

Amount Format - that option provides you ability to format amount as you would like. For more information look the function number_format.

Enable Chosen - that option enables the using of jQuery Chosen for some drop-down form elements on the project wizard.

Administrator - that option provides a user, which will receive messages that are intended for the administrator. The messages could be notifications when someone creates or launches a project, etc.

Include Badge Element - that option includes elements in the code of views Discover and Featured. That elements contains a CSS class "cf-badge" and you can style them to display a badge for some kind of campaigns. For more information "How to display a campaign badge?"

Permissions

The permissions are used for controlling what things on the site users can view and do. You have to select groups that will be allowed to donate.

For example: If you want anonymous users to be able to make donations, select group "Guest". If you want registered users to be able to make donations, select group "Registered". You can select multiple groups.

Categories

You should create categories that users will use to group and identify campaigns easily. You have to do it via Category Manager.

There are two menu items for the categories:

  • "Categories" - That displays a list with categories in grid or list form.
  • "Category" - That displays projects that are in a category. It also displays a list with subcategories.

There are three kinds of options that you can use to manage the way on which categories will be displayed on the views.

  • Categories Options - you will find them in the options of the crowdfunding platform. You should use those options to set up the list with categories ( menu item "Categories" )
  • Menu Item "Category" Options - you will find them as a tab, when you create a menu item associated with a category view. You should use those options to manage the campaigns in the category.

 

It is best practice to create menu items "Category" as submenu item of "Discover" or "Categories".

Email Templates

There are cases when the system has to send confirmation mails or notifications to your customers. To do that, you should create predefined e-mails templates and select them in some plug-ins. You should use some placeholders in the templates that will be replaced with dynamically generated data.

You have to use the extension Email Templates to do that.

When you are done with the e-mails, you have to select one of them in some extensions.

You should select email in following extensions and all payment plug-ins.

NOTE: You can download the placeholders and email templates from the list with the resources. You can import them in the extension. You should use the templates for example and you should edit them for your needs.

Email templates placeholders

This is a list with placeholders that you can use in your email templates.

{AMOUNT} - Amount that has been donated to a campaign.

{CONTENT} - Description of an item or content of an article.

{ITEM_DESCRIPTION} - Description of the project.

{ITEM_IMAGE} - Image of the project.

{ITEM_TITLE} - Name of an item (article, campaign, product, project, etc.)

{ITEM_URL} - URL to an item.

{PAYER_EMAIL} - E-mail of a person who has made a payment.

{PAYER_NAME} - Name of a person who has made a payment.

{RECIPIENT_EMAIL} - E-mail address of a person to whom the email will be sent.

{RECIPIENT_NAME} - Name of a person who will receive an email.

{REPORT_DESCRIPTION} - Description from report message.

{REPORT_SUBJECT} - Subject of the report message.

{REWARD_DESCRIPTION} - Reward description.

{REWARD_TITLE} - Reward title

{SENDER_EMAIL} - E-mail address of a person from whom will be sent the email.

{SENDER_NAME} - Name of a person that sends the email.

{SITE_NAME} - The name of your website.

{SITE_URL} - The URL of your website. Example: http://itprism.com/

{TRANSACTION_ID} - Transaction ID that is associated with a payment.

NOTE: You will find information about placeholders that you can use in the documentation of every extension that needs email templates.

The next step is to create menu items.

1 .Select a menu and click on the button "New"

2. Select a "Menu Item Type"

3. Enter "Menu Title", alias and some of the advanced options if you want.

4. Click on the button "Save"

Components

The components are the main functional units of the CMS. They can be seen as mini-applications. Most components have two main parts - back-end ( administration ) and front-end.

Modules

The modules are Joomla! extensions which display blocks with content. They can be placed on predefined position included in the template. They are assigned per menu items.

You are able to manage them via the Module Manager.

Specific Modules

The platform provides several modules that have to be used in a special way.

  • Crowdfunding Info - That module must be displayed only on project details page.
  • Crowdfunding Rewards - That module must be displayed only on project details page too.
  • Crowdfunding Details - That module must be displayed only on "backing page" and "embed page".

To do that you should manage them using the plugin "System - Crowdfunding Modules". This plugin makes it so that the modules can only be shown on those pages (details, embed, backing).

Follow next steps to configure these specific modules.

  1. Go to "Module Manager".
    Joomla! Module Manager
  2. Select one of the three modules.
  3. On "Details" tab select a position and publish the module.
    Publish module
  4. Now, go to the tab "Menu Assignment".
  5. Select "Only on the pages selected" for option "Module Assignment".
  6. For option "Menu Selection" you should select all items where you use the view "Discover Projects" as a menu item.
    Menu assignment module option
  7. Go to the Plugin Manager and enable the plugin "System - Crowdfunding Modules".

Repeat these steps for the other two modules and they will be displayed only on the pages down for them.

NOTE: Those modules can only be assigned to menu items "Discover". They must be created ones. The system cannot contain many copies of those modules, which are managed by the plugin "System - Crowdfunding Modules". The modules are:

* Crowdfunding Info
* Crowdfunding Rewards
* Crowdfunding Details
* Crowdfunding Filters
* Crowdfunding Profile
* Crowdfunding User Pledges
* Crowdfunding User Projects

Best practices
If there are menu items "Discover", "Categories" or "Category", you should assign the specific modules to those menu items.

Plug-ins

The plug-ins provide functions which are associated with trigger events. When a particular event occurs, all plugin functions of the type associated with the event are executed in sequence.

CrowdFunding comes with several plugins and you can find them on the "Plug-in Manager". Enable those that you would like to use.

Following

Version 2 of the platform comes with a new feature "Following". To enable this feature, you have to display a button that the users should use to subscribe for a project. When a user clicks on the button, the system will create a record in "#__crowdf_followers".

So, there will be extensions that will use this feature to send notifications about followed campaigns to their fans.

That is a good way to engage people because they will monitor their favorite campaigns and will receive information about them regularly.

For example:

When a project owner writes something about his project ( an update ), the system will send this information to the followers. The system can do it via CRON plug-ins.

You can display a button on the following extensions:

  • Content - Crowdfunding Social Share

Follow campaign

How to create a project?

It is important to know; you have to be logged in to the website. If you are not, you will NOT be able to see the form for creating a project.

If you are NOT signed, you will see intro article. It could be something like that Crowdfunding Intro Article . You can select an intro article on the component options ( tab "Projects" ).

You have to approve the projects from administration, and they will be shown on frontent.

How to give access users to make donations ( anonymous/guests and registered )?

To make donations, users should be in user groups. When someone is registered and logged to the website, the system add him in the group "Registered". If users are not logged in to the website, they are in the default group "Guest".

You have to give access to that functionality, users to make donations. What you have to do?

  1. Go to Crowdfunding Options.
  2. Select the tab "Permissions".
  3. Select the user groups that you would like to be able to make donations.
  4. Find the control "Donate" and select "Allowed".
  5. Save

There is a message "You have not permissions to continue" when I try to make a payment. What I have to do?

There are two reasons to see that message:

  • The user group in which you are does not have permissions to make donations.

Solution: You have to allow donations for user groups.

  • You have selected a payment wizard type in four steps but you have not installed or enabled a third-party extension, that implement additional functionality on the second step. That extension will allow you to continue to make donation, it must be present.

Solution: You have to install an extension that will implement the additional functionality on the second step of the payment wizard. You should install extensions like CrowdfundingPayment Login, Crowdfunding Data,...

Why the menu items "Discover" and "Category" are important?

There are several views from which you have to create menu items, because you should assign the specific modules to them. It is necessary to create a menu item for one of the following views - "Discover", "Categories", "Category" or "Details".

IMPORTANT! You should create only one "Discover" page because the system will not work properly.

For example:

If you have menus "Top" and "Main", you can create an item "Discover" only for one of those menus. After that, you should display those menus by a module "Menu".

How to send mails to a user and the administrator?

There are two plugins that send confirmation mails to users and notification to the administrator.

  • Content - Crowdfunding - User Mail - That plugin sends a mail to a user when the administrator approves his project.
  • Content - Crowdfunding - Admin Mail - That plugin sends a mail to the administrator when someone creates or publishes a project.

The features that sends confirmation mails after payment are part of the payment plugins. You have to enable this functionality by their options.

How to translate Crowdfunding?

You can translate this extension in your language using Transifex. Go to the system and sign in. Find Crowdfunding translation project and start translating. If you need more information, read the article "How to translate ITPrism extensions in your language?"

You can also use ITP Transifex to create language packages. There are projects metadata that you can import to ITP Transifex.

You are able to download Crowdfunding language packages from the platform that generates them.

You have to install the packages via Joomla! Extension Manager.

How to edit translated text or element labels?

All translations are located in a folder "language" in every extension.

For example, you will find the language files of Crowdfunding Platform in the following folders:

administrator/components/com_crowdfunding/language

components/com_crowdfunding/language

To change the text, you will have to use Joomla! Language Manager to override the constants that contain the text as a value.

Here you are more information about how to override translations.

What to do if I see blank page in my browser?

If there is a system error, the server will not send a response to your browser. If you would like to see a message and more information about the error, you will have to debug your system.

How to debug the system and see the error message?

If there is a problem with the extension and the system does not display error messages, you should debug it. That will give you more information about the problem.

  1. Go to "System" -> "Global Configuration" -> "System" -> "Debug Settings".
  2. Set to "Yes" the option "Debug System".
  3. Now go to tab "Server" and set option "Error Reporting" to maximum.

Now, the system should display information about the error.

You can also check log files in folder "/logs" or the log file "error_log" in your main folder.

You can read logged data in section "Logs" on Crowdfunding platform.

It is strong recommended to select a user group allowed to see debugged data.

  1. Go to Plugins Manager.
  2. Open plug-in "System - Debug".
  3. Select a user group and save.

User Group System Plugin Debug

How to change amount format?

There are two ways for formatting amounts on your website - using PHP Intl or custom amount format.

PHP Intl has to be installed on your server if you would like to use it. Otherwise, you have to use custom amount format.

 

What template should I use?

You should use a template based on Twitter Bootstrap 3.x. You can try templates of JoomlArt or YouJoomla. You can download some of their free templates and test them with Crowdfunding.

Here you are a list companies that provide Bootstrap 3 templates for Joomla.

When users create a project, do the pledges for their projects also go into my payment account?

There are several options to receive amounts. It depends from the payment plugin that you would like use.

Collect all money in administrator account immediately

All money goes to your payment account immediately. When campaigns complete, you should collect the amount, calculate fees and send the other amount to project owner.

The plaug-ins that works in that way are:

  • CrowdfundingPayment - PayPal ( Simple Payment )
  • CrowdfundingPayment - PayPal Adaptive ( there is an option to use simple payment via PayPal Adaptive )
  • CrowdfundingPayment - WePay
  • CrowdfundingPayment - PesaPal
  • CrowdfundingPayment - Mollie iDEAL
  • CrowdfundingPayment - AuthorizeNet
  • CrowdfundingPayment - Coinbase
  • CrowdfundingPayment - Blockchain

Collect all money in administrator account NOT immediately ( Pre Approval )

All money goes to your payment account but NOT immediately.

The transaction will be registered as preapproved and you have to capture amounts if campaigns complete successfully. You can also cancel preapproved transactions if campaigns failed.

When you capture amounts, you should calculate fees and send the other amount to project owner.

The plaug-ins that works in that way are:

  • CrowdfundingPayment - PayPal Express ( registers the transaction as order )
  • CrowdfundingPayment - PayPal Adaptive ( registers the transaction as preapproved )
  • CrowdfundingPayment - Stripe Connect ( registers user card on Stripe )

Collect all money in project owner account immediately

All money goes to the payment account of the project owner immediately.

The project owner should provide information about his account and the system will send the money there.

It is possible, the project owner to provide information of his account only if you use CrowdFunding Finance. It is a premium extension and you can download it from the ITPrism members site.

The plaug-ins that works in that way are:

  • CrowdfundingPayment - PayPal ( Simple Payment )
  • CrowdfundingPayment - PayPal Adaptive ( there is an option to use simple payment via PayPal Adaptive )

Collect all money in project owner account and send fees to administrator account ( Pre Approval )

All money goes to the project owner account but NOT immediately.

The transaction will be registered as preapproved and you have to capture amounts when campaigns complete successfully. You can also cancel preapproved transactions if campaigns  failed.

When you capture amounts, PayPal will send the money to the project owner account. After that, PayPal will send fees to the account of the administrator.

The project owner have to provide information about his account. It is possible if you have installed and use Crowdfunding Finance. You will be able to set up the fees that you would like to receive via the options of Crowdfunding Finance. It is a premium extension and you can download it from the ITPrism members site.

The plaug-ins that works in that way are:

  • CrowdfundingPayment - PayPal Adaptive ( registers the transaction as preapproved )

Which funding types the system provides?

You can enable two funding types - fixed and flexible.

Fixed - project owner gets all or nothing.

Flexible - project owner getс all money, regardless of he failed to collect the full amount.

Why Facebook does not show project picture when someone shares a campaign?

That depends from Facebook robots which index your website pages. It also depends from the picture size.

You should provide meta data about your pages using Open Graph Protocol. These meta tags describe main objects of your pages - title, description, image,...

You can provide an appropriate picture to the robots by Open Graph tags. You should use "og:image" tag.

Here you are more information about why Facebook does not show an image.

How to remove "index.php" from URLs?

Joomla provides one really useful feature. It can rewrite the URLs which will make your website SEO friendly and more secure.

To get advantage of that functionality, you should enable the option "Use URL rewriting" in Global Configuration options and rename htaccess.txt or web.config.txt. You will find these files in the main folder of your website.

For example...http://mydomain.com/index.php/descover will become http://mydomain.com/descover.

What you should do?

  1. If your website is running on Apache web server, rename htaccess.txt to .htaccess. If your website is running on Windows Server ( IIS ), rename web.config.txt to web.config.
  2. Go to Joomla! Configuration options.
  3. Set to "Yes" the option "Use URL rewriting".
  4. Save.

NOTE: Be sure, your server provides URL rewriting functionality.

How to fix "Parse error: syntax error, unexpected '$line' (T_VARIABLE) in libraries/Prism/Utilities/FileHelper.php"?

If you see this error in your browser, that means your PHP version is lower than 5.5 and it does not provide features needed in the crowdfunding platform.

You will have to change the PHP version on your server. You should use a tool in your hosting control panel to change the PHP version to higher one.

How to upgrade the extension?

The better way to upgrade the extensions is:

  1. Make a backup of your site ( database and files ) ( optional but highly recommended ).
  2. Disable all modules and plugins that work with crowdfunding platform and you will have to upgrade ( optional but highly recommended ).
  3. Install the new version over the old one ( all previous data will be saved ).
  4. Check for a new version of Prism Library. If there is a new version, install it.
  5. You should also upgrade all other modules and plug-ins that work with Crowdfunding.
  6. Check the extension settings and menu items for changes;
  7. Check the options of your plug-ins and modules. Save them to be sure all settings are stored properly.

It is a good practice to have a copy of your website on a subdomain. It can be something like test.mywebsite.com. You should upgrade Crowdfunding on this test site first. That will be useful for you because you will be able to explore the newest features and configuration options. When all is OK, you will know how to upgrade the extension on your production website fast.

How to upgrade from version 2.4 to version 2.5?

Before you upgrade to v2.5, you will have to be sure of that the library PHP Intl has been loaded on your web server.

You will have to upgrade all modules and plugins because they are not backward compatible.

You should follow the above instructions for upgrading and all will be OK.

Review the global options of the platform, especial date formats on tab Advanced, and save them.

How to upgrade from version 1 to version 2?

You should do some specific things to upgrade crowdfunding platform to version 2.

How to get support?

You can post issues on Crowdfunding Git repository.  If you have any questions, you can send me a mail from the contact form. If you need premium support you are able to subscribe for my premium services on ITPrism members site.

It would be great if you send me information about your problem. You can send me information about your Joomla! version, extension version, screenshots or links to your pages.

How to get FREE support?

You can report issues on Crowdfunding GitHub repository.

If you have any questions, you can send them to me, using the contact form. Please, send me a message with only one question. When I answer you, you will be able to send me your next one.


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