Smart Countdown 3.0 is based on the idea of version 2.x but it was significantly refactored. Version 3.0 implements a number of new or improved features:
- Client script part was totally rewritten and now it doesn't depend on Mootools library, only jQuery is required.
- Completely new implementation of responsive behavior, now adapting to the template position the module is published to.
- Counter intervals can be now expressed in years, months and weeks - along with traditional days, hours, minutes and seconds.
- Simplified event import plugins interface (now designing this kind of plugins is much easier).
- Module live preview in Joomla administration interface.
- AJAX queries for counter events, now the module should work correctly on all sites that actively use page caching, no more need to exclude module position from caching.
- Smart Countdown 3.0 is compatible with Joomla 3.x only! For Joomla 2.5.x use version 2.5
- Animation profiles for Smart Countdown 2.5 are basically compatible with 3.0. If you have purchased additional animations earlier you can install them on Smart Countdown 3.0 after applying simple modifications (easy-to follow instructions are available)
Personalize your countdown: additional animation profiles
Automate events: event import plugins
Smart Countdown version 3.0 is distributed as a component/module package and it is not an update for Smart Countdown 2.5. Both versions can be installed on the same Joomla site. If you are currently using Smart Countdown 2.5 on your site you can start testing version 3.0 without losing old version modules and configurations. When and if you are happy with the new module version you can unpublish and uninstall version 2.5 modules from your site.
The reason why there is no upgrade from Smart Countdown 2.5 to 3.0 is that version 3.0 uses quite different (and reduced) set of options which cannot be automatically imported from version 2.5 on upgrade, thus making such an upgrade look mostly like a fresh install but with a significant flaw - the original version would be overwritten and custom configuration lost. You can read more about configuration here.
You can add as many Smart Countdown 3 module instances as you like to your Joomla site. As with any other Joomla module just click "New" in Joomla Module manager and start with a new Smart Countdown module configuration. Configuration screen is organized in tabbed panes, some of them are common for all Joomla modules and are not described here. Refer to Joomla docs for details. The screenshots and instructions below are related to specific Smart Countdown options.
I have installed Smart Countdown 3 package and "Smart Countdown 3" appears in component menu in Joomla administration, why?
Smart Countdown 3 implements a new architecture and requires a component to process AJAX requests. Smart Countdown 3 component acts behind the scenes in Joomla front-end but provides its own view in administration interface - all Smart Countdown 3 modules are listed there with some basic information and quick access to module configuration and live preview.
I have published Smart Countdown 3 module but when I open my site only a "loading" spinner momentary appears but the module is not displayed.
Check module settings. If you are using Smart Countdown 3 as a stand-alone application make sure that "Module Display" option selected is compatible with event date and time (e.g. if "Show countdown only" is selected but event date is in past, the module will be automatically hidden). If the module is connected to an external calendar via event import plugins check that there are current or future events in this calendar.
I have purchased and installed an animation profile for Smart Countdown 3. When I try to create Smart Countdown 3 module its options page is empty. What is wrong?
Animation profiles are add-ons for Smart Countdown. Please, dowload and install the main module. It is available for free.
I have Smart Countdown 2.5 running on my site. When I installed Smart Countdown 3 it didn't update existing module but appeared as a new application. Is this OK?
Yes, this is absolutely correct. Smart Countdown 3 uses a different set of options and existing 2.5 settings cannot be automatically imported. Just start playing with the new version and once you are ready you can unpublish old Smart Countdown 2.5 modules or uninstall the old version.
I have Smart Countdown 2.5 with JEvents (Google Calendar, Ohanah) Bridge plugin running on my site. Are similar plugins available for Smart Countdown 3?
Currently available plugins are listed here. More plugins will be available soon.
Default "Auto" layout preset. This is a responsive layout optimized for all screens and template positions. (Using an animation profile available for purchase)
Layout presets are XML documents containing module layout configuration settings. A bunch of layout presets are already included into the package and are available right after installation. New layouts can be easily created using existing ones as a guidline.
The following layouts are available right after installation, descriptions provided are valid only if there is enough horizontal space available to the module:
- Auto - digits displayed from left to right with labels to the right of the digits, event descriptions above and below the counter block.
- Horizontal compact - digits displayed from left to right with labels below the digits, event descriptions above and below the counter block.
- Horizontal compact titles inline - digits displayed from left to right with labels below the digits, event descriptions inline - before and after the counter block.
- Horizontal compact wrapping - same as Horizontal compact but non-responsive. Counter units will wrap to the next line if there is not enough horizontal space.
- Horizontal lables left - same as Auto but with labels to the left of the digits.
- Vertical - digits displayed in column with labels to the right of the digits.
- Vertical compact - digits displayed in column with labels below the digits. Non-responsive.
- Vertical labels left - same as Vertical but with labels to the left of the digits.
Smart Countdown 3 module displays counter time units labels - "years", "months", "weeks", "days", etc. - along with counter values. These labels should appear in your site default language or in a current active language for multi-lingual sites. This is mostly the module translation is about. You can also translate module administration interface if you wish but it it not required for correct module display on you site front-end.
Smart Countdown module already includes a number of front-end translations: English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. If your site language is not in this list or if you are using a different country standard for one of the languages listed, you will have to add translation files to the module "language" folder. Copy one of the language sub-folders folders already existing in /modules/mod_smartcountdown3/language/ and past it back to "language" folder giving it the name according to your site Joomla language code. Delete "<some-language-code>.mod_smartcountdown3.sys.ini" file from the recently created folder copy and rename the other file so that its name starts with your language code, e.g. rename "en-GB.mod_smartcountdown3.ini" to "nl-NL.mod_smartcountdown3.ini" for Dutch.
Smart Countdown 3 shows counter digit transitions as jQuery animations. You can choose one of the built-in animation profiles or download / purchase more animations. Animation profiles are add-ons for Smart Countdown 3 and require the main module (download here).
Automatic event date and time import is one of the key features of Smart Countdown 3 module. It makes the life of site administrators much easier when there is a lot of scheduled events and countdown timer events have to be frequently updated. Of course, if your countdown shows time left to a single event you are just fine with a plain countdown – you decide what to do when the event time arrives (switch to count up or hide the counter), save the configuration and forget about it. Later when you do not need the counter any more or after it is already hidden from your page you can remove the module and you are done.
However there is a bunch of scenarios when you need a countdown to the next scheduled event, could be a concert of your band, online seminar or a special time-limited offer on your site, etc. Manually updating module settings each time your current event is over is a time-consuming and error-prone task: you have to keep track of your events, update event titles and dates and do all this in real time. Nowadays people tend to organize their schedule using event management applications and services, so why not to make a countdown timer work together with an existing events calendar?
Each installed event import plugin adds an extra pane to Smart Countdown 3 configuration screen, where you can enable, disable or configure import settings. If at least one event import plugin is enabled in a module instance, its "Event date and time" setting will be disabled and will have no effect - from now on event dates are controlled by import plugin(s). It is possible to enable more than one event import plugin for the same module instance, events from all enabled import plugins will be merged into the single timeline.
The previous version of Smart Countdown (2.5) also supports event import plugins and there are a few plugins already available for that module version, but they are not compatible with Smart Countdown 3. Unlike animation prfiles for Smart Countdown 2.5 which can be installed on Smart Countdown 3.0 after a minimal but required modification, event import plugins need a more significant refactoring (due to the change of events query strategy - events queue in 2.5 vs AJAX event queries in 3.0). However it doesn't mean that thay have to be rewritten from scratch (in fact Smart Countdown 3 design model makes writing event import plugins easier).
All currently supported event import plugins are already available for Smart Countdown 3.