DOCman Secrets: Email notifications

Whether you are running an intranet or a public website, as an administrator, you often need to keep a close eye on what your users are doing. Especially when they are allowed to edit documents or upload new files. With DOCman Notify, it’s easy to set up email notifications. Notify is part of the DOCman Productivity Pack. Tom made another great video tutorial, showing how it’s done.

Watch the DOCman Notify 1.5 Video.

  1. Install the plugin iusing Joomla’s extension installer
  2. Go to the Plugin Manager and edit the plugin’s settings
  3. Don’t forget to enable the plugin. If you want turn of notifications later, just disable it again
  4. In the “Send to” field, enter your email address
  5. If you want to send to multiple recipients, separate the email addresses with the pipe symbol “
  6. Turn on the notifications you wish to receive. The first three options will send an email whenever a user uploads, edits or downloads a document in the front-end of your site. The last option notifies you when a manager or (super) administrator edits a document through the backend interface.
  7. Save the plugin settings
  8. Try one of the upload, edit or download actions that you enabled
  9. Check your inbox. The email contains all kinds of useful info about the user, the document and the file.

Get the DOCman Productivity today in the Joomlatools Store, for only €15

Advanced customization

If you don’t like the look of the email, or you want it to have a different set of information, you can easily do so by modifying the email template. The /plugins/docman/notify/templates folder contains two php files, one for the email body and one for the footer. They contain standard html and css, plus a couple of php variables. If you have some html experience, you should have no problem editing these to your liking.

It’s your workflow

Every organization has their own workflow needs. DOCman’s flexible plugin system allows developers to add workflow rules and behavior to DOCman, and in fact, DOCman Notify is great example to start from. We’d love to hear how you use DOCman, and how you would like to see it improved.

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DOCman Secrets: Generating thumbnails

Did you know that you don’t need to worry about creating thumbnails for your images or other documents yourself? All you need is the DOCman Thumbs plugin, which does all the work for you. It’s part of the DOCman Productivity Pack. This video shows how easy it is:

Watch the DOCman Thumbs 1.5 video.

  1. After installing, remember to enable DOCman Thumbs in the Plugin Manager
  2. You can adjust some settings, for example the thumbnail dimensions
  3. Now when you browse the frontend, the thumbnails are generated on the fly for all supported file types (depending on your server setup)
  4. If a document already has a thumbnail (for example because you set it manually), it will not be overwritten

Clearing thumbnails

If you want to start over (for example after changing the thumbnail size), you’ll need to clear out the thumbnails.

  1. Go to the DOCman Home screen
  2. Click ‘Clear Data’
  3. Select ‘Thumbnails’ and click the ‘Clear’ button
  4. Note that this will clear the thumbnails for **all **your documents

Advanced use

By default, most server setups have the GD library installed. This will work fine for standard images such as png and jpg. But if you want thumbnails for larger files, pdf’s, movies, and range of other documents{#rj:d}, you’ll need to install some libraries, such imagick{#aevm} and ghostscript. If you are not familiar with installing libraries on your server, please ask your system administrator for help. To find out what is already available on your server, go to Help -> System Info -> PHP Information.

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DOCman Secrets: Batch imports

Did you know it’s easy to batch import thousands of files into DOCman, all with just a few clicks? All you need is the DOCman Populate add-on. It’s part of the DOCman Productivity Pack.

This video will show you how it’s done:

Watch the DOCman Populate 1.5 video.

After you’ve installed DOCman Populate, follow these simple steps:

  1. Upload your files using FTP, into the /dmdocuments folder. (It might have a different name — check your DOCman configuration)
  2. In the backend, go to Components -> DOCman Populate -> Configuration
  3. Choose the default settings. These will be used for all documents that you generate.
  4. Go to Components -> DOCman Populate -> Import Files
  5. Select the files you want (you can use Ctrl-click / Cmd-click for multiple files)
  6. Pick a category and click the import button
  7. The documents are now available in DOCman.

Get the DOCman Productivity Pack here to boost your workflow.

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Why DOCman?

Occasionally we receive questions from people asking why they should use DOCman instead of another document management or download extension for Joomla. We haven’t done any feature-by-feature comparisons — we’ll leave that to other bloggers — but below is a re-post of what I answered to a customers question.

Picking extensions

On the Joomla Extensions Directory, every category has 5 or 10 alternatives you can choose from. That’s a benefit, but it can also make things more difficult. How to pick the right one? For me, it’s always about flexibility, security, and support.


Long before I started Joomlatools with Johan, I was building websites for customers. Remository and DOCman were the only choices back then. My customers asked for features that neither provided. But I looked at the code, and even though I was a pretty inexperienced developer back then, DOCman’s code made sense. It wasn’t long before I started making addons for DOCman to satisfy my customer’s requirements. Some of those addons are still around: Autopopulate, AutoThumb… When I later became lead developer, adding even more ways to extend DOCman has always been my priority over adding features. Adding a feature is like giving someone a fish, adding flexibility is giving them a fishing pole.


When open source software is used by many people, bugs and vulnerabilities get discovered more rapidly (Linus’ Law). Despite the fact that DOCman is one of the most popular extensions for Joomla (and has been for years), it’s been a very long time since any noteworthy vulnerability was discovered. Building a Joomla extension is easy. Building one that can resist hacking attempts is something that requires your full attention.

Lunch and Coffee

Finally, yes we started charging for DOCman recently. We realize that even though the price is only that of a lunch and a coffee, it might cause many people to switch to other solutions. But you get a lot for this money: We can now focus on DOCman, instead of always pushing it to the bottom of the todo list. You can see it in the speed and quality of replies to support questions in the forum: in fact we hired Krisstoffer, who used to be a voluntarily moderator on our forum, so we are now paying him to help people. You can also see it in the development: we released the 1.5.1 update only a week after releasing 1.5.0, whereas before, releases took us 6 months or more.

(Update: We just added a brand new support portal to serve DOCman users even better!)

In the end you have to decide for yourself what suits you. With it’s ACL’s, nested categories, theming etc, DOCman is very feature-rich choice, for a very competitive price. But be aware that features and price are not the only things that can make software great.

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