Import and Export of Layouts and CSS files



The appearance of the Categories and Downloads in the front end is controlled by a combination of the jDownloads Layouts and the CSS.  The Layouts maybe edited online within jDownloads as described in the Layouts Section (opens in a new window/tab) of the documentation.  Editing the CSS files requires a good understanding of Cascading Style Sheets.

Presently the Layouts used in jDownloads 4 are the same as those used in the jD3.9 series, all the layout names end in ' _v3.9'.

jDownloads provides facilities to export and import Layouts and CSS files.
  • Import and Export of Layouts enable sharing of layouts between users.  The exported files are an xml file, for example exported_layout_jd_3.9.8_Compact_Files_Layout_v3.9.xml.
  • Import and Export of CSS files is to facilitate making changes to the appearance of the items in the layout.  The exported files are a css file, for example jdownloads_custom.css.
Editing an exported layout file is not recommended as it is a complex structure and requires a strict form.

The simplest way of editing a CSS file is with a text editor such as Notepad++ on your local PC or similar.  To download Notepad++ see (opens in a new window).  The edited CSS file may then be imported.

There are five CSS Files as listed below.
  1. jdownloads_fe. css which is the main styling of the front end; - this file is liable to be reset on every jDownloads update
  2. jdownloads_fe_rtl.css which is used when a RTL language is in use;
  3. jdownloads_buttons.css which styles the buttons;
  4. jdownloads_custom.css which is specific to your site and is not changed by jDownloads;
  5. jdownloads_modules.css which is used with most jDownloads modules.

    NOTE: All of the CSS files, except jdownloads_custom.css, are liable to be reset on every jDownloads update.
Just  for clarity:
  • Import is uploading to your site,
  • Export is transferring from your site to your local device, that is downloading.

Accessing Import and Export facilities

To access the import and export facilities go to the jDownloads section of the main Joomla admin menu and click on the button layouts button. 
This takes you to the Main Layouts Header Bar, as shown below, which has Import and Export CSS buttons and an Import Layout button.  Note that at this stage there is no Layout Export button!

layouts control barMain Layouts Header Bar

Below this is the 'Individual Layout type' bar as shown below.  It also gives access to the CSS files.
Layout type barIf you click on say the Downloads section it will show the list of the Download layouts, a small section of these is shown below. 
Also the Download high lighted button in the  'Individual Layout type' bar becomes highligted.

Layouts Download sectionInitially the main control bar at the top shows as below. Note that Actions and Export Layout buttons are disabled.
layout control bar02

To activate these click on one of the 'boxes' at the left of the layout name select layout02
The Actions and Export buttons are then enabled as shown below.
Layout type bar02
(i)The layout files are exported and imported as '.xml' files because they have multiple sections. 
(ii)The css files are exported and imported as type '.css' files.

Export a Layout

In this example we will export the Downloads layout 'Compact Files Layout v3.9'.  So follow the details as described above to select the relevant layout, which in this example is select layout02 , then click on the button export button from the Main Layouts Header Bar. 

This will bring up a standard 'Download and Save' sequence in your browser. So follow the instruction from your browser to save the file in an appropriately named folder.
The file will have a name such as 'exported_layout_jd_4.0.22 Stable_Compact_Files_Layout_v3.9.xml'. This has the name of the layout and the version of jDownloads from which it was exported.

Import a Layout

Click on the header bar button on the Main Layouts Header Bar.
This then shows the Import Layout Panel as illustrated opposite.  Use the Browse button to locate the relevant xml file. 

Click on the Browse button to find the xml file, and then click on the Import Layout button.

After clicking on the Browse button and locating the relevant xml file the screen would look something like that opposite. So click on the Import Layout button.

 css imp exp 35Layimport layout02
Because the xml file contains the type of layout, jDownloads knows into which Layout section the uploaded layout file is to be placed.

NOTE:  If you based the imported layout on a existing layout you had previously exported make sure you change the name as otherwise you will have two layouts with the same name.

Checks are made upon the structure and contents of the uploaded xml file to ensure it is a valid layout file.

If all is OK the layout will appear in the relavant Layout section.

Export a CSS file

Clicking on the button export css button on the header bar Layout Control panel, the Layout Export page will be shown.

After some explanation about the five CSS files there will be a Select pulldown, as shown opposite' and an button export css03 button.  In this example it is the jdownloads_custom.css file that is selected as illustrated.

Next click on the button next to the button export css03 button. This will open up a standard download sequence in your browser so that you can save the exported css file to a location of your choice. 

In this example the name of the exported file is jdownloads_custom.css
css imp exp 36css selected

Import a CSS file

Clicking on the V4 button import css button, which is only available in the Layout Selection Panel, will take you to the import css page.

After some explanation about the five CSS files there will be the import as illustrated opposite.  Use the Browse button to select the particular file to upload from your device to your site, then click the  css imp exp 12 button. Here jdownloads_custom.css has been selected

Note that jDownloads makes several checks on the validity of the selected file.
css imp exp 38
The picture opposite shows a view of the web site files before the import occured.

Note that jDownloads also supports the  w3schools (opens in a new tab/window) w3.css file.  This is a modern CSS framework with built-in responsiveness. It supports responsive mobile first design by default, and it is smaller and faster than similar CSS frameworks.
css imp exp 39
If the upload is successful then the new file will be in the directory and the previous file will have been renamed.

In this example the renamed file is "jdownloads_custom.css.backup.1"
If another upload of a "jdownloads_custom.css" file occurs then there will another backup file, this time called "jdownloads_custom.css.backup.2".
css imp exp 06
This succesive naming continues. To delete a backup file or rename back to  "jdownloads.fe.css" it is necessary to use either a Joomla! file manager, an FTP programme or the website control panel file manager.
If the upload is not successful then an error message is returned and the directory remains unchanged css imp exp 08A

ColinM March 2023, June 2023

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