Tags support in jDownloads

The Joomla! Content Tags are integrated in jDownloads.

As shown in the picture opposite jDownloads supports the Joomla! Content Tags system

This article will show the ways in which Joomla! Content Tags may be added to, or removed from, or created and added to jD Categories and  Downloads.  It is important to note that jD Categories and Downloads are just as much Content as regular Joomla! categories and articles.

The words 'tag' and 'Tag' are much used to describe a whole host of different items.  For example the html character sequence such as  <b> denotes the start of emboldening a portion of text, and is often referred to as a tag.  It should be  referred to  as an HTML tag.  In these notes the Joomla! Content Tags, such as the blue boxes opposite, are written here as a Tag or Tags to avoid having to write Joomla! Content Tags.  That is Tag  with a capital T denotes a Joomla! Content Tag.

The article does not consider the best ways of using Tags as there are numerous articles on the web that explain the usage of tags.  However an appendix shows some examples. All we need note at this juncture is that Tags allow a much greater freedom in the way downloads may be collected and shown.  If you are not familiar with Tags then a good place to start is the short note How To Use Content Tags in Joomla!

The notes below are organised into the following aspects.

  1. applying Tags from the Back End;
  2. applying Tags from the Front End, including the relevant User Groups Settings;
  3. View Access and Permissions
  4. Setting the jDownloads Menu items to permit Tags;
  5. Using the {tags} placeholder in Layouts to show Tags.
  6. Configuring in Tags Component
  7. Limitation when unpublishing a Category
  8. Updating Existing Downloads created prior to jDownloads 3.2.61
  9. Examples

Tags may be created either directly in Joomla! using the Tags component or directly in jDownloads from the Back End or from the Front End. Tags may be added to a Download from either the Front End or the Back End but they can only be added to a Category from the Back End.  To show Tags they need to be enabled in the jDownloads menu and the {tags} placeholder needs to be in the relevant layout. In the picture opposite the {tags} placeholder is in the current Files layout as described in the Layouts section at the end of this article.

article tags01
 1. Adding Tags from Backend to jDownloads Categories and Downloads
 Much of what follows here also applies to adding Tags to the Frontend when creating Downloads.
 article tags01A article tags01B
To add a Tag either just start typing into the field or click on the field to show a selection list of existing Tags. article tags01D
To create a new Tag type the name of the Tag then just press the Enter (or Return) key.  Note the name of the new Tag must be unique. article tags01EE  
  article tags01FF  

2. Adding Tags to Downloads from Frontend

Adding Tags in the Frontend is basically the same as adding them in the Backend.  The Tags field in the upload form looks much the same as as the one in the Backend.

But we need to make the Tags field appears in the form and also to decide whether the user will or will not be able to create new Tags.

Both the ability to add Tags and create Tags are controlled from the User Groups Settings.  This allows different abilities for different User Groups.

article tags02

The first thing to ensure is in the User Groups Settings - Group Creation/Editing Settings section that the Tags 'tick' box is 'ticked' for all those User Groups who will be allowed to add Tags. 

This selection box is located near the Meta Descriptions and Meta Keyword boxes towards the end of list of selections..  The default setting is 'unticked', that is by default User Groups are not allowed to add Tags to Downloads. 

The Tag field appears in the Publishing section of the upload form.

 article tags02D

Only 'tick' the 'Allow custom tags' field if the User Group is to be allowed to create new Tags directly in jDownloads. The Tags created are normal Tags and may be used in articles and other content just as if they had been created in the Joomla! Tags Component.

Obviously the Tags tick box, as noted above, also has to be ticked. 

The default setting is 'ticked', that is if adding Tags is allowed so that members of the User Group will also be able to create new Tags.

Note It is also essential to set the relevant Permissions in the Tag Component for the User Group. Please see Setting Permissions in the  in Tags Component setup.

 article tags02E

3. View Access and Permissions

If you have set some permissions that say restrict downloading to Registered or to other specific user groups then also remember to set the view Access on the Category or Download appropriately.

If for example you have set a Download to only say Registered then also set View Access to Registered.  If it is left at Public then the Download, or Category, will be included in the relevant Tag listing but if a user clicks on it they will get the message 'You do not have Permission' or similar.

4. Menu Settings to Allow Tags to be shown

Each jDownloads menu type that shows Categories or Downloads has a field, Show Tags, that allows Tags to be shown or hidden when that menu item is used. 

The default setting is Global.   That is it will use the same setting as specified for Tags in the Joomla! global setup. This ensures that existing menus will not need modification, but at the same time gives another degree of flexibility.

Specifically the relevant menu types are listed below.  In most menu types the "Show Tags" field is in the List Layouts tab, but in the Single Download type it is in the Options tab.

  • List All Categories (Default);
  • List All Downloads;
  • List my Downloads;
  • Single Category;
  • Single Download.
article tags03A

5. The {tag} placeholder in Layouts

To show Tags associated with a Category or a Download then the {tags} placeholder needs to appear in the active layout. The position of the placeholder in the layout controls where the Tags will appear. 

The {tags} place holder is already included in the following Standard Layout Types:

  • Categories
  • Category
  • Files
  • Details

In these standard layouts it is located in the main "Edit Layout" part typically on a line by itself as  <div class="jd_clear">{tags}</div> .  The jd_cear class is effectively a new line so that the Tags appear on a line by themselves.

It is desirable to put the Tags on their own line as they standout better that way and also because the number of Tags associated with a Category or a Download is not known.

In the Details Layout it is typically just the placeholder itself at the very end of the layout.  Support for the {tags} placeholder is not available for Summary layouts.

6. Configuring Tags Component

Setting Permission to allow Tag creation from Front End


In order to allow allow Tags to be set from the jDownload Front End it is neccessary to set the relevant User Group permissions in the Tag Component.

So click on the Options Button in the Tags Component and then select the Permissions Tab.

This will bring up the permissions settings screen for the User Groups. So select the relevant User Group that is allowed to create Downloads. And obviously repeat for all those User Groups allowed to upload.

Then use the puldowns for Create and choose Allowed.  A 'tick' mark will appear alongside. Also for do the same for the Edit and Delete permissions as the example opposite shows if you want to give that ability.

article tags15

The view opposite shows the Result of the Save.

What is happening is that the permissions are being propagated as required.

Doing a Save & Close also propagates, but I always like to see the confirmation!

article tags15A

Setting Display

If the Tags component is left as installed then if you click on a Tag it will just show a simple linked list of all the Downloads with that Tag. 


The Tags component provides many options for showing how the list is displayed. 

To access these click on the Options Button in the Tags Component.

This shows a whole set of tabs to allow customising as illustrated opposite.

It is not the intention here to discuss all of this as there are several web articles on the topic of configuring the Tags list.  However it is useful to note one specific item which if enabled will show the Short Description associated with the Tags List.

Also see below about setting the 'Entry Mode' to Ajax.


After setting  the field Item Description in the Tagged Items Options tab to Show then the Short Description from the Download will be shown in the Tag list.

Note: As at jD3.2 V34  the images associated with a Download are not shown.

The result is then as shown opposite.  Of course one may add appropriate styling and organise the layout in different ways. tags08

Set Entry Mode to AJAX

One thing that needs to be checked is that in Tag Component, Options - Data Entry tab the 'Tag Entry Mode' field must be set to Ajax mode for tags to work in jDownloads.  That is the 'Nested' Mode is not supported.

 article tags05


jDownloads has a directory based structure with Categories and Downloads just like Joomla! with Categories and Articles.  An added feature in the Tags in Joomla!  Articles is that the Tags system checks if the Category containing the Article is Published.  If the Category is Unpublished then the Article is not listed in a Tags list view.  This feature is not available in jDownloads.  The reason for this is that the reference to the Categories table in the Joomla! core code is hard coded to the Joomla! categories database!  The Joomla! people are 'unwilling' to change that aspect. 

So if you want to prevent Tags associated with an unpublished  Category listing the Downloads in that Category, then it is necessary to unpublish both the Category itself and the Downloads in that Category.  It is of course very simple in the jD backend to unpublish all the Downloads. Go to the Downloads section, use the Select Category box to select the category.  This will list all the Downloads in that Category together with those in subcategories of the selected category.  Next click on the tick box beside the Title column.  This selects all the items listed so then click on Unpublish button.

We must make it clear that Tags are supported in both jD Categories and Downloads.

Updating jDownloads

As from jDownloads 3.2.61 there is a new plugin, Content - jDownloads Tags Fix, which solves the Joomla! related Tags 'challenge' for new Downloads.  The plugin applies the correction when a Download is Saved. 

So if you have updated jDownloads  which had Downloads created before jD 3.2.61 then you must Save a Download so that the correction is applied to those existing Downloads.  It is sufficient to re save any existing Download by just opening it for edit and Saving. This is only required once as it will update all existing Downloads.

Appendix - Some Examples

The following gives examples of the use of two Tag related menu items

One useful menu item is the "Compact list of tagged items" type where one specifies the specific tag  whose items are to be listed.

As shown opposite this may optional have a description about the tag type, and various images.

The main purpose of the menu item is to list all the related articles and Downloads that have been 'tagged' with that Tag, which in this example is 'pdf download'.

The listing has an option to select which date is shown.

Probably the most useful is the 'Modified Date' as illustrated.

Note that with jDownloads in order for the associated date to be changed then field "Mark Download as
Updated" has to be set to Yes.  This is deliberate so that the person carrying out the edit of a Download can select whether the change is actually an update.  For example correcting or extending the description part of an update may or may not be considered as an update. jDownloads cannot make such decisions itself to satisfy all situations.

One can leave the field set to Yes of course so that any change will rate as an Update and always change the modification date.

article tags11

Another useful menu item is the 'List of all tags' item.

This gives a view such as opposite, which can be a little disjointed in view.

Clicking on one of the tag names will then list all the items with that tag

article tags12

One can of course change the view by adding CSS such as illustrated opposite.

Here the CSS for a border and some separating padding has been added.

The menu supports selection of number of columns.

article tags13

ColinM, May 2015, modified August 2016, October 2017 & May 2018

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