phpLinkBid Manual v1.2

This document contains instructions and information on phpLinkBid Admin, and is the official manual for phpLinkBid v1.2.

  1. Installing phpLinkBid
  2. Updating phpLinkBid
  3. Configuring Your Site
    1. Site configuration
    2. Auction configuration
  4. Managing Your Site
    1. Managing site content
    2. Editing system messages
    3. Managing user accounts
  5. Managing Your Auction
    1. Managing links
    2. Managing bids
    3. Managing categories
  6. Customizing Your Site
    1. Customizing styles
    2. Installing templates
    3. Customizing templates
    4. Template variables list
  7. Troubleshooting

Installing phpLinkBid

Installing phpLinkBid requires a PHP 4.x enabled server and MySQL. Basic knowledge of FTP and an FTP client will be needed to upload the software to your server.

If you are upgrading to a new version of phpLinkBid, you should follow the steps in Updating phpLinkBid.

Once you have successfully purchased phpLinkBid, you will receive an email containing download instructions. Follow those instructions to download the latest version of phpLinkBid to your computer in .ZIP format. Unzip the file on your desktop or somewhere easy to remember. You should now have a folder named phpLinkBid-x.x.zip (where `x.x` is the version number).

Using your favorite FTP client, upload the contents of the new folder to your Web server. Make sure you upload all files to the folder you want the site to run on. Usually this will be `public_html` or `htdocs`, but you can also upload the files to a subfolder or subdomain on your site.

Once all of your files have been uploaded, you must run the install script to complete installation. Load up your favorite browser and head to:

http://www.yourdomain.com/install/

Make sure you replace `www.yourdomain.com` with the URL where you have uploaded phpLinkBid.

The installer will guide you through the rest of the process. Make sure you delete the `install` folder when complete.

Updating phpLinkBid

IMPORTANT: You should always backup your files and databases before updating!

Updating phpLinkBid is easy and similar to the installation process. Use your unique download URL to download the update version of phpLinkBid to your computer in .ZIP format. This will always be a file ending in _update, for example phplinkbid-1.2_update.zip. Unzip the file on your desktop or somewhere easy to remember. You should now have a folder named phpLinkBid-x.x_update (where `x.x` is the version number).

Using your favorite FTP client, upload the contents of the folder to your Web server where you have installed phpLinkBid. Make sure you upload all files, and make sure that you overwrite any existing files.

Once all of your files have been uploaded, you must run the install script to complete the update. Any existing database records, such as configuration options, links and site bids, will not be removed or modified, but the install script will modify your database, so make sure you backup. Load up your favorite browser and head to:

http://www.yourdomain.com/install/

Make sure you replace `www.yourdomain.com` with the URL where you have uploaded phpLinkBid.

The installer will guide you through the rest of the process. Make sure you delete the `install` folder when complete.

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Configuring Your Site

The installer will get all of the basic information needed to get your site running, so you can test it out immediately. To configure the details of your site, log in to phpLinkBid Admin with the username and password you created during installation by visiting:

http://www.yourdomain.com/admin/

phpLinkBid Admin is divided into two main categories: Site Admin and Auction Admin. You can configure site settings in Site Configuration, and manage auction settings in Auction Configuration. You can configure several important settings from each section.

Site Configuration

All of the required settings for Site Configuration are obtained during installation, but you can also add META description and keywords and change other details. If you have installed a custom template, you can switch your active template from Site Configuration as well.

The URL should always contain a trailing slash (eg. http://www.example.com/)

The Site Page URL Format option lets you define your own format for site page URLs. For advanced users only. Available custom variable for this field includes %pg_safename%.

Auction Configuration

Auction Configuration allows you to change several details of your auction.

PayPal Email Address This should be set to the PayPal account that bids will be placed to. Make sure this is set to your valid PayPal email account and can accept payments.
PayPal Instant Payment Notification PayPal Instant Payment Notification (IPN) support automatically notifies phpLinkBid when a bid has been paid for via PayPal. This allows automatic activation and notification of bids. This should be enabled unless you really need to turn it off, in which case you must add the bids manually in phpLinkBid Admin after payment is received.
# of Links in Top List This setting lets you specify how many links you want displayed on the homepage. Set to any number higher than zero (no decimals here, folks).
# of Links Per Page Select how many links you want displayed per page in the directory. Set to any number higher than zero.
Link Title Max Length Sets the maximum allowed length for link titles.
Link Description Max Length Sets the maximum allowed length for each line of link descriptions.
Link Leader Link leader is the highest bidding link in the directory. Change to display or hide the link leader's sitewide link.
Minimum Bid This is the minimum initial bid that a buyer can place to active their link.
Minimum Bid-Up This is the minimum bid a buyer can place on a link that is already active.
Extended Link Info Shows/hides the extended link traffic and promotional info in link details.
Use `nofollow` for links Lets you choose to add rel="nofollow attribute to links on the listing and link details pages.
Category Mode This option enables or disables Category Mode. Default is Letters Mode, which lists all links alphabetically. Category Mode must be enabled to use categories on your site and allow new links buyers to select a category. All existing links can be categorized via Manage Links in Auction Admin.
Columns in Category List Specifies how many columns to use for each row of the category list on your site.
Show Link Count in Category Lists Show/hide the number of links in each category in the category list on your site.
Category URL Format Lets you define your own format for category URLs. For advanced users only. Available custom variable for this field includes %cat_tag%.
Link URL Format Lets you define your own format for link URLs. For advanced users only. Available custom variable for this field includes %link_id%.
Page # URL Format Lets you define your own format for page numbers in URLs. For advanced users only. Available custom variable for this field includes %page_num%.

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Managing Your Site

Managing site content

phpLinkBid has a built-in Content Management System for editing existing pages and creating new content. You can access the CMS under Site Pages in the Site Admin menu. From Site Pages you can edit existing pages or create a new page by clicking Create Page.

The following fields are available for site pages:

Page Name The name used in the main menu, usually a nice short nice such as "About".
Page Title The full name of the page used for the title, for example "About Our Website".
Safe Name The URL-safe name for a page, containing no special characters or spaces. For example, "about".
Page Contents The contents of the page. Can contain HTML, CSS or JavaScript code.
Sort Order Sort Order is the position of the page in the main menu, for example 1 for first position.
Display page in menu? Lets you display or hide the page in the main menu. Page can still be viewed when hidden by entering the URL.

Editing system messages

System messages contains automatic email templates that are used for bid and link notifications. You can edit these messages to customize them to your auction.

Message Title The title of the message, used for the email subject or notification title.
Message Text The contents of the message. Do not use HTML. Message text should be plaintext and email-safe.

Dynamic fields are available by surrounding the field name with `[[` and `]]`. For example, typing [[site_name]] in the message title or content field will display the site name in the final message output.

All of the fields in the template variables list are available. Bid messages also have access to bid_amount, bid_url and link_url.

Managing user accounts

You can access User Accounts from the Site Admin menu. You can create additional user accounts, and they will have full administration priveleges. Additional accounts should not be created unless required, such as needing several site editors to review and handle bids.

You can change your administrator account information here, including email address, password and name.

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Managing Your Auction

Managing links

Administrators can access link management via Manage Links on the Auction Admin menu. New links can be created by clicking Create Link, and details of existing links can be changed with the Edit button for the corresponding link. Links can be deleted with the corresponding Delete button. Once deleted, a link is permanently removed from the system!

Links are not activated in the directory until a bid has been placed.

Managing bids

Administrators can access bid management via Manage Bids on the Auction Admin menu. New bids can be created by clicking Create Bid, and details of existing bids can be changed with the Edit button for the corresponding bid. Bids can be deleted with the corresponding Delete button. Once deleted, a bid is permanently removed from the system!

When creating or editing a bid, the link the bid applies to is defined with the selection box labelled Link. Make sure the correct link has been selected here for the bid.

Links require at least one bid to be displayed in the auction directory, so if you are creating a new link as an administrator remember to add a bid here. If you have disabled IPN you must create all paid bids here manually.

Managing categories

Administrators can access category management via Manage Categories on the Auction Admin menu. New categories can be created by clicking Create Category, and existing categories can be edited or deleted with the Edit and Delete buttons.

Category Title is the title of the category displayed on the page when viewing a category from your site. Category Name is the name used in menus for the category, and Category Tag is the ID used in the URL for the category. The Category Tag should usually consist of numbers, letters, underscores and dashes only. Category Status can be set to Active (show the category) and Inactive (hide the category).

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Customizing Your Site

phpLinkBid uses a custom template system that separates the HTML and CSS of your site from the PHP code. Templates are basically collections of HTML files with the .tpl extension, stylesheet files and image files.

Templates reside in the tpl/ folder in your script installation directory. Files for each template are stored in their own folder, and the folder name is used as the template name and identifier in phpLinkBid. The active template can be set in Site Configuration, and the default template is phpl.

Customizing styles

The easiest way to start customizing phpLinkBid is to edit the style.css file residing in your template folder. The default location of this file is SCRIPT_PATH/tpl/phplb/style.css, where SCRIPT_PATH is the path to your installation of phpLinkBid.

style.css is divided into several main sections for layout styles, menu styles, link styles and form styles.

Installing templates

If you have downloaded a new template and unzipped it on your computer, you should have a folder containing all of the template files with the name templatename (replace with whatever the template happens to be named).

To install the template, upload the folder and it's contents to SCRIPT_PATH/tpl/, where SCRIPT_PATH is the path to your installation of phpLinkBid. Now go to Site Configuration and you can select the new template from the selection box here and click Save to use it immediately.

Customizing templates

You may wish to customize some things that cannot be controlled with the CSS file, which means editing the template files. You can edit individual template files and save to see changes immediately.

It is recommended to make a copy of the default template folder phplb and work on the new template, so you can always revert back to the old template or refer to the old template files. Make a copy of the phplb folder and name it something short and easy to read - no spaces or special characters. For example, starburst or redwine2. You can then go to Site Configuration and select the new template name from the selection box to use it immediately.

You can now edit any template file, image or stylesheet you choose. Do not change the names of any template files or you risk breaking your site. The file structure of a template must remain intact, and is as follows.

/images/ Folder containing images for the template.
bid.tpl Bid confirmation screen - the final confirmation before payment.
error404.tpl The default error message displayed when a visitor requests a page that doesn't exist.
footer.tpl The overall site footer template.
functions.js JavaScript file containing a few JS functions.
header.tpl The overall site header template.
link.tpl This is the link details template used for individual links in the auction.
link_preview.tpl Link preview template - currently unused
style.css The main stylesheet for the template.

Templates use template variables to access common settings and variables from phpLinkBid. Template variables are identified in a template file with surrounding curly brackets. For example, adding { site_title } to a template will display the title of your site as set in Site Configuration. See the template variables list below for all available global template variables.

Template variables list

The following table lists some of the variables available in every template.

Site variables
dir_base Relative path of your site, usually `/`
dir_tpl Relative path to the current template folder
dir_tpl_images Relative path to the current template images folder
Configuration variables
site_title Full title of your site
site_name Name of your site
meta_keywords Site keywords
meta_description Site description
meta_keywords Site keywords
site_url Site URL
site_email Site administrator email address
Auction variables
paypal_email PayPal email address
top_count The number of sites set for Top Sites
link_desc_max Maximum link description length
link_title_max Maximum link title length

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Troubleshooting

For additional help please contact us or visit our online forums.

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