affCAFF Manual - Installation

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Installing affCAFF (Full Version)
Note: affACFF uses PHP. If you run an HTML site, you can probably still use affCAFF with one minor modification. See here for details. If you don't know whether your server supports PHP (99% of servers do), read here.
Windows Servers: The full version of affCAFF is currently being tested for websites being run on Windows Servers. While it will still likely function, we strongly advise users whose sites are hosted on Windows Servers to use affCAFF Snippets.
affCAFF Lite ("Snippets") is also now available.

affCAFF offers two installation options. You should always go for the "automated install" option, which will test your website's server for compatibility and calculate the best method for retrieving the live data. If the automated install is unable to create the installation on your server, try the "semi-automated install" option.

If you want to run affCAFF on sub-domains, you need to set up a new installation of affCAFF on each subdomain. By default, the initial installation will work on both "www" and "non-www" versions of the domain (ie: "http://www.yoursite.com" and "http://yoursite.com" will both work off the one initial installation, but adding it to "http://french.yourdomain.com" would require a second installation on that subdomain).

Automated Install Instructions
  1. Download acInstall_v1.0.zip (Beta) to your computer & unzip it.
  2. Upload the "acInstall.php" script inside the zipfile to the same directory as your website's homepage (index page) resides.
  3. Open the "acInstall.php" script from your website in your browser (ie: http://www.yourwebsite.com/acInstall.php) and follow the prompts.
Average Installation Time: approx 90 seconds.

Semi-Automatic Installation (If The Above Fails)
If the automated install procedure fails, assuming it said that your server is compatible with affCAFF first, it means that your server permissions will not allow programs to set up directories and files. You should therefore follow the procedure below:
  1. Create the following directory and ensure it's permissions are set to "Read" + "Write" + "Execute" for all users* (or "CHMOD 777" in Unix speak!):

        "/affCAFF"

  2. Rerun the Install script (as above).

* NB: WS_FTP users will find instructions on changing permissions here. SmartFTP users will find them here.

Privacy & Security Information
The affCAFF system does not change any settings on your server, nor does it access any code outside of your installation directory. No personal information is stored on your server aside from your affCAFF Manager email address and password, both of which are encrypted first. You may, if you wish, also rename the affCAFF installation directory immediately following the install, although this must be done before you add data streams to pages on your website.

If you feel the need, more information on adding an extra layer of protection is provided here.

Uninstalling affCAFF
Before you physically remove the code from your server, you should "de-activate" your installation to avoid receiving email updates. This is provided (and explained) in your affCAFF Manager. Once you have done that, simply delete the affCAFF installation directory and it's sub-directories and files from your server.

Further Technical Information
If you are of a technical or inquisitive nature, the procedure below explains what the install routine does and how it works. You don't have to know this, but some may be interested.

The "acInstall.php" script firstly tests out various methods of retrieving data to your website's server from the remote affCAFF server. There are four possible methods, and it cycles through each in order of efficiency. Assuming it finds one that works, which it will on 99% of servers, it logs the method to the "acConfig.inc" file and the system will always use that method as the default in future (although if it fails at a later date it will cycle through the options again).

Once a method has been established, it lets you know that your server is compatible with affCAFF and prompts you to install the affCAFF code. It then retrieves a text file which lists the remote location on the affCAFF server of the necessary files to install. It grabs each of these files and attempts to set them up in a directory called "/affCAFF" on your server. Because some servers don't allow permissions to create directories, the "semi-automated" install procedure above has been provided.

During the process of retrieving the files required to run affCAFF, it also retrieves some data settings from affCAFF. This consists of an "Installation ID" and a list of properties that Content Providers represent, each allocated a unique code. The "Installation ID" is specific to the domain you are running affCAFF on - so it stores the domain and the ID at affCAFF as a permanent security lookup. The installation script then edits the Installation ID for your domain into the file "acConfig.inc" on your server. As a result, you need to do a seperate installation of affCAFF on each website that you intend using the affCAFF service on, as an ID is specific to a domain and will perform a data security check every time content is retrieved.

If you are moving servers, but keeping the same domain name, it is recommended you back up the affCAFF files and rerun the install script so that the most efficient data retrieval method can be logged and set as the default. See the re-installation page.

The property codes and names are input into a file called "acLinks.php" which is created dynamically and managed through the affCAFF Manager which is also installed. This is where you can add your own links for each property so that future items you display on your site can link out with your links. This manual explains how to set up your own item links in more detail.

The installation process will never overwrite files with a ".inc" extension. If it is ever rerun for any reason, it will check for their existance and perform an automated edit on the file (in the case of "acConfig.inc"), or append new information to the end of the file as with "acLinks.inc". Obviously as more Content Providers use affCAFF, the list of properties they represent will grow, but your system should update automatically (see below).

That said, if you are re-running the installation, you should back up configuration and template files to be sure: See what you should back up...

Once installed, the affCAFF Manager is available to manage everything through a browser interface. Logging into affCAFF Manager also ensures updates and new data is added to your installation on a regular basis.


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