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GiBi Sprint quick start guide

GiBi Sprint is a Joomla component that you can use to quickly create an HTML or PDF catalog with your VirtueMart products

This quick start guide will help you get familiar with basic concepts and procedures.

For additional support, you can refer to our ticket system.

This guide is related to GiBi Sprint 2.x

Requisites

GiBi Sprint 2 is compatible with both Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 2.5 and can be installed like any other Joomla extension.

It needs VirtueMart, of course; otherwise you won't have any product to create a catalog with.

GiBi Sprint 2 is compatible with both VirtueMart 1 and VirtueMart 2.

You don't need a different package: the same component runs on all mentioned versions.

Basic configuration

After installation, you should start by taking a look at configuration options: go into the backend of your site, click on Component -> GiBi Sprint, and then on the Options button.

Here is the explanation of the few options you need to set.

  • VirtueMart language: VirtueMart 2 adds a language suffix to some of its tables. If for some reason this language is not the same as your site default language, here you can insert the correct suffix.
  • Include unpublished categories: quite obvious, should Sprint include also unpublished VirtueMart categories? 
  • VirtueMart categories sort criteria: both in configuration form and in the catalog, you can choose to sort categories alphabetically or according to the list order set in VirtueMart.
  • Show prices: if enabled, product base prices will be shown into the catalog
  • Default color: this color will be used for all categories which have no specific color set
  • Initial pagebreak: if enabled, a page break will be inserted after the header image, so that it may be used as a cover page
  • Add language icon: if enabled, there will be a little language icon before name and descriptions. Useful for multilanguage catalogs.
  • PDF creation mode: this is an important option that we will talk about later. By default it is set to "Convert from HTML with WriteHTML" and you should not change it unless you have learned what it does really mean.

Ok: we're done with basic configuration.

Category layouts

It's not mandatory to create category layouts: if there are no layouts, your categories will use the default one. 

So for a quick start you can skip this section.

But in case you will need them later, let's see what they are for: go to Manage category layouts and add a new one.

In GiBi Sprint 2, a category layout defines only how many products per page should be displayed in the catalog; after the specified amount of products, GiBi Sprint will insert a pagebreak.

If you set pagebreak to "auto", pagebreak will automatically happen when there is not enough space.

Note: in HTML version, a pagebreak is inserted as a CSS rule "page-break-before: always" which only applies when you print the page. You won't see any difference on the screen.

In future GiBi Sprint releases, a layout will also include the choice between different "page layouts", e.g. number of rows and columns.

If you use the advanced PDF creation mode (see below) you may also choose a layout file to each category layout.

Catalog creation

Here is the main page of the whole component: the form to create catalogs.

You can create as many catalogs as you want, with different categories and different options.

Let's see how each catalog is defined.

  • Start with giving the catalog a name which will be shown in the list.
  • Set if the catalog is published or not.
  • Select an optional header and footer color.
  • Set an optional catalog header image which will be shown at the beginning of the catalog, just after the title.
  • You can then optionally choose an intro article: a Joomla article that will also be displayed at the beginning of the catalog.
  • Set an optionl back cover image.
  • If there are different available languages, choose which one to include. Note: there are some differences between language management from VirtueMart 1 and VirtueMart 2, we will talk about that later.

Now proceed to the categories selection.

Categories selection

The categories list includes VirtueMart categories according to your configuration (see "Basic Configuration" section above).

For each category you will be able to select:

  • enable: if the category should be included in the catalog
  • use header image: if the category should have an image at the beginning, before the products list
  • header image path: the path to the header image (only relevant if use header image is enabled), with a link to browse / upload images
  • use background image: if the category should have a background image
  • background image path: the path to the background image (only relevant if use background image is enabled), with a link to browse / upload images
  • layout: an optional alternative layout (see "Category layouts" section above)  
  • color: a color in hexadecimal format (e.g. #ff6600) that will be used as background for the category title

As you can see, you already have many options to customize appearance for each category; and more parameters will be added in future GiBi Sprint releases.

Would you like to save the catalog?

This is important: at this point you can proceed to create an HTML / PDF catalog, but it will not be saved! 

If you would like to keep it and use it again, you will have to save it before proceeding to creation.

After that, you may click on Create HTML Catalog or Create PDF Catalog to see the result.

If something is not right. you may have to check again your component configuration (see "Basic Configuration" section above) or your catalog configuration.

If you need any help, there is a ticket system available on GiBiLogic Extensions site. 

And much more...

Basically, this all you need to know to start using GiBi Sprint.

But there are some advanced features which could be useful, so if you have still a little time left, go on reading the guide and we will introduce you to them.

Advanced feature: PDF creation mode

GiBi Sprint uses the excellent TCPDF library to create PDF documents.  

The default PDF creation mode is to load the HTML template and just convert it with writeHTML method, which automatically converts HTML tags and CSS styles into PDF elements.

This means that you will have a PDF catalog which is very similar to your HTML one, but also that you cannot do anything about the final PDF appearance: you will have to accept what you get (of course, it is still possible to override the default HTML layout with Joomla template override).

For those who would like to craft a very accurate PDF catalog, there is an additional option to use TCPDF instructions instead.

This means you can just ignore the default HTML layout and create a specific one for PDF creation.

You will need to set the configuration option "PDF creation mode" to "Create custom PDF". This will use a different file:

  • /administrator/components/com_sprint/views/catalog/tmpl/default_pdf.php

and will also allow you to use category layouts files.

Warning: creating or editing a PDF layout that uses TCPDF instructions is a job for developers who know something about TCPDF. You are free to do all the modifications you would like to, but we cannot guarantee that the result will be the desired one and we won't give support about TCPDF. If you need, you can ask us a quote for the creation of a custom layout by our contact page or via the forum.

Advanced feature: create catalogs from frontend

You can create menu items that let your user display a catalog from frontend. 

There are four menu item types in GiBi Sprint: all of them need as a parameter the id of the relevant catalog (you can get the catalog id from the catalog list).

That means you must have created at least one catalog in backend before you can use frontend menu items. 

Here are the available menu item types:

  • HTML Catalog: display an HTML catalog 
  • HTML2PDF Catalog: display a PDF catalog created with writeHTML (see "Advanced feature: PDF creation mode" section above)
  • PDF Catalog: display a PDF catalog created with TCPDF instructions (see "Advanced feature: PDF creation mode" section above)
  • Catalog form: display a simplified catalog form that only let you choose which categories to include, with no other configurations.

Catalog creation from frontend is normally available to all users, but you can set a different Access Level in the menu item configuration to let only some user groups (e.g. Registered) access this menu item.

Support

Apart from this guide, users with an active subscription will get support on our ticket system.

Please be sure you check the faqs first.

You can buy a subscription anytime you want from the GiBi Sprint product page.