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Support Tutorial

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Support Tutorial
First Steps
Tickets
Custom Development
Shared Development
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Note: You can also PDF file download Support Tutorial as PDF.

1. Introduction to ARTIO Support

This document contains introduction to an innovative way of providing support for open-source projects by ARTIO. We have decided for this step, as our personal capacity did not allow us to answer all questions in timely matter as we wanted, when we provided support through Support Forums and e-mail communication.

The support system is based on the ticketing system. Please, see the support workflow below:

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Please note that the old ways of providing support will not be maintained anymore.

We will keep our Support Forums public, but from now on, it will only be suited for a community support, not activelly followed by ARTIO.

All official customer support request must be entered through our ticketing system at http://www.artio.net/asupport/dashboard.

1.1.Support Types

There are three main types of support we provide:

  • Ticket – is intended for all customers that use our components or other open-source system supported by us and have a question or problem related to installation, configuration, settings etc. This limiting condition for a case to fall within this category is, that no source code investigation or changes are needed to reply the question. Also, in this case, we do not normally perform any changes at customer site directly, we only give customers hints to do so on his own.

  • Custom development – is intended for customers who need to add new feature, extend the product functionality or have a specific technical question, that goes over the scope of a Ticket – that is, which would require a source-code investigation.

  • Shared development– is in principle same as custom development but an issue (such as new feature request) may be suggested and shared with other users, who can “join” by helping to co-finance the development together. The costs of the development per a sharing user can be so quite minor.


2. I Need Help! First Steps to Apply for Support

2.1.Log-In or Create a New Account

To be able to enter a new support ticket or development request, first you need to be logged at http://www.artio.net site.

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You can login through the box highlighted at the following image.
If you do not have account created yet, you can to register at our site for free. This you can do easily by clicking on the Create an account link.

If you have already purchased some product form us, your account might have been created automatically during the checkout process. In case you have purchased our product as an unregistered user and want to have your previous orders paired with the new account, please contact our support team by email. In such case, please, send us your order number and account login name and we will pair them together.

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After you log-in, click the Support Available link at the User Dashboard, Support item in the left menu or Support icon.

2.2.Support Dashboard

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User's Support Dashboard provides overview of ticket statistics, how many tickets/support hours are available, list of previously created tickets and list of shared issues and their statuses.

  • Tickets/Support hours available – how many tickets/hours you have available for use. If you do not have enough tickets/hours you need to purchase more through our e-shop.

  • My Tickets – view all your created tickets and their status

  • New Tickets – by clicking this link you can create a new issue and send it to us

  • New Development – by clicking this link you can start/suggest new private or shared development task that you need

  • Shared Issues – view all shared issues suggested by you or other users

  • Buy Support Tickets – by clicking this link you will be re-directed to our e-shop where you can purchase more support tickets

  • Buy Support Hours – by clicking this link you will be re-directed to our e-shop where you can purchase more support/development hours

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3. Tickets

3.1.What a Support Ticket Is

Support Tickets are intended for users that have purchased one of our components or need a general help with the supported open-source system (such as Joomla, Magento, …). The ticket scope is limited to a question related to installation and configuration, settings etc.

Please note that in case a source-code investigation is necessary for the issue resolution, such case does not fall within a Support Ticket category anymore, but falls within development services.

In you issue falls withing a Ticket Support, you can start a new issue by clicking the New Ticket link.

3.2.Starting New Support Issue

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To create a new support issue, start by clicking the New Ticket link at the Support Dashboard or in the left menu.

At the next screen, first you need to select a product and platform that the issue is related to. Choosing the combination of product and platform may reveal more form fields with additional questions that need to be specified (such as product version, web-server information, etc.) so we can solve the issue effectively.

In the next section, please describe your problem in detail. Try to provide maximum information describing the problem, such as full error outputs, behavior, steps to replicate a problem, etc. The more information you provide the faster the issue resolution may be.

At the Priority field please choose the importance of the problem to you – whether it is a minor issue or a major blocker. Please choose this responsibly. Note that this field is just informative for us.

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In some cases, we may need to gain access to your site in order to see or replicate the problem. In such case, please provide us with the credentials that we can use to access your site. Your credentials are safe with us and will only be used to assist you with the issue. After the issue is closed, they are deleted and not archived in any way. Still it is reasonable to create a temporary credentials for such purpose that will be deleted later.

You can also add screen-shots showing the problem or error message reports. Any information can help us to solve your problem more quickly and effectively.

Finalize your issue submission by clicking the Create button.

3.3.Obtaining Support Tickets

To be able to start a new support issue, you need to have a positive ticket balance at your account. The balance is shown at the Support Dashboard – see the values bellow the Tickets available.

When you purchase some of our components, together with the component, you will be usually provided also a specific number of the support tickets. Different editions of components (Paid/VIP) can contain different amount of the support tickets included. The number of tickets under you account will be increased automatically when your order turns into the Confirmed status.

If you need more support tickets in addition those that were provided with the purchase of a component, you can purchase them in our e-store at http://www.artio.net/e-shop/support-services/support-ticket.

3.4.Buying Additional Support Tickets

At the Support Dashboard or in the left menu, click the Buy Tickets link or visit the URL http://www.artio.net/e-shop/support-services/support-ticket.

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At the product page in the e-shop, choose the desired amount of tickets you want to purchase by clicking on +/- button. We do provide volume discounts, so purchasing multiple tickets at once will be rewarded with a better per-ticket price.

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If you already have a user account with us, make sure you are logged-in when purchasing or log-in to you existing account during the checkout. This is important so that the tickets purchased are credited to the correct account. After your order is confirmed the tickets purchased will be credited to your account.

3.5.Ticket Support Workflow

Communication about the issues goes completely through our support ticket system. You can view our replies and comments, as well as yours at the issue detail page.

  1. Once we receive your issue submission, it will be assigned a unique Issue number and our support team starts to solve your ticket. In case your problem/question is out of support ticket scope - related to functionality or features that are not supported at the moment, we may suggest you custom/shared development.

  2. When we send you feedback, the issue status will change from new to re-opened. By clicking the issue number in the opened issues list, you can open the Issue Detail page, where you can see our recent feedback as well as the full issue communication history. Any reply from us will also be sent to you by e-mail.

  3. To reply us back, you can choose if you wish to answer it by simply replying the e-mail or through our website. When replying the e-mail, make sure not to modify the e-mail subject and to reply above the indicated line. Otherwise, the auto-processing of your reply may fail and your email may get discarded. When answering though our site, at the Issue Detail page, you can click the Add Message link, write your comment and submit using the Send Message button.

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3.6.General Recommendations

There is a few general recommendations you follow when you apply for a support:

  1. Backup – always perform a backup of your site before opening an issue; during doing changes when resolving the issue, something may go wrong so it is always better to be sure, you can revert back to previous state; Please note that we are not responsible for backing up your site even if you provide us with credentials, so always do this.

  2. Create temporary credentials – when providing credentials, even if we guarantee we will not archive them and delete them after the issue is resolved, it is advisable not to send your own or permanent credentials, but to create a temporary ones, that you remove afterwards; you are doing this for your site security.


4. Custom Development

4.1.Introduction

If you need to add a new feature, extend or customize existing functionality, or have a developer-level question related to some of our products or supported open-source platforms, you can request this as a New Development issue.

Compared to Support Ticket, this type of support expects source code changes or writing a new code. Therefore it is not charged per-case basis but per-hour, based on expected time demanded.

A new development issue can be either private or shared. Private issues are only visible for you, while shared issues are visible also to other users. Public (shared) issues can thus be joined and co-financed by others.

A private issue cannot be joined by other users. This means that the development cost needs be covered by the customer in full. It is suitable for custom development requests that are:

  • specific to your project and not likely to be reusable elsewhere

  • if you want the customization exactly according to your own specifications with no discussion with others about it

  • you need a fast delivery (shared issues take much longer time in general)

This chapter further only describes the private issue details. To learn more about the shared issues, check the Shared Issues chapter.

4.2.Starting a New Development Request

To start a new development request, click New Development link at the User Dashboard or in the left menu.

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At the New Development form, first choose if you wish the issue to be private or shared.

Next, select the product and platform the development should be related to. Based on the combination selected, you may also be asked to fill in some additional information, such as the platform version, other software used, environment version or similar.

In the following section, please enter the description (specification) of the requested customization. Note that the more detailed and precise specification you provide, the more exact our time estimation can be.

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Please note:To be able to start a New Development issue, you need to have positive support tickets! balance in your account! This limitation is in place in order to limit misuse of the development request form for standard support issues or sending us requests that are not meant seriously. If the custom development is completed successfully, the support ticket used will be restored upon request.

4.3.Custom Development Workflow

Communication about the issues goes through our support ticket system. At the Issue Detail page, you can view the full communication history with both replies and comments sent by you or us. Any reply we write you will receive also by e-mail. You can choose to answer by replying the email, or at the Issue Detail page.

  1. Once we receive the Custom Development issue specification from you, our support team will study it and come with a time estimate needed its completion. If we are unable to make the estimation from the initial specification, we may contact you back with additional questions to clarify the specification more. Clarifying the issue can even require multiple rounds of questions and answers. The communication procedure at this point is similar as with Support Tickets, so for additional details, please check the Support Tickets Workflow chapter.

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  2. At the moment we are able to make the time estimation for completing the request, we will inform you about it. The estimated time will appear at the Issue Detail page.

  3. After the time estimation is provided, you can decide whether you accept it or not. In case you accept, the estimated hours will be deducted from your account balance. If you do not have enough Support Hours available in your account, you will be requested to purchase them in our e-shop. If you find the development too costly to carry it on your own and decide not to accept the estimation, you can still consider suggesting the issue to be shared with others (for details, see chapter Shared Development).

4.4.Purchasing Hours for Development

You can buy additional hours needed for custom development easily by clicking the Buy Development link at the Support Dashboard or in the left menu.

You will be re-directed to a corresponding service in our e-shop. Choose the amount of hours you need to purchase. If you desire, you can also select faster than a standard response time. In such case, select the request value from the select box. The response time defines a time when we start working on the issue.

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After the order is confirmed purchased hours will be credited to your account.

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5. Shared Development

5.1.Introduction

Public (Shared) Issues are custom development issues that are displayed publicly also to other users. If any user would also like the issue to be completed, he/she can join it and co-finance the development. The more users will participate on a shared development issue, the cheaper (smaller charge) it may get for each of them.

If you have a suggestion or idea about a possible new feature or functionality improvement, you can suggest a new shared development issue. You can also view the list of the existing ones and if you find some of them useful for yourself as well, you may consider joining it (co-financing).

5.2.Shared Development Advantages

The main advantages of the shared development include:

  • saving the costs to develop a requested feature (the more users participate, the cheaper the development gets for each of the participants)

  • possibility to suggest new features or functionality that may also be useful for others in the community

  • ability to develop and finance more complex features, that would be too costly for an individual

  • faster introduction of new features

  • ability to influence what new features will get more attention; you can help prioritize the features that are beneficial for your own project

  • in result, the cost of the development may be even less that you decided to invest in the start (see Shared Issue Cost Reduction)

5.3.Shared Development Details

With a shared development, it is only up to you, how much you decide to invest (your participation share). You can participate starting from 1 hour of development time.

Of course the more you invest, the sooner the issue you joined may get into realization phase.

Before a shared issue gets into a locked phase you can even freely change your participation share or resign from the issue completely. This means that the hours will be credited back to your account.

We aim to motivate users to join the shared issues as the more users join an issue, the less they will pay. So anytime you see a suggested issue you consider useful, please do not hesitate to join it, even with just 1 hour. You may help others as well as yourself to get it done and in the end, everyone will benefit from it.

The more the suggested issue is interesting and beneficial for you, the more you may invest, as it will speed up the issue development.

5.4.Shared Development Phases

Open phase – a shared issue is published and can be joined by other users; at this phase, users can also freely adjust their participation share (number of hours invested) or resign form it completely. During this phase, users can also see what % of the estimated time has already been invested in by all the participants. This shows how close the issue is to get realized.

Locked phase – when an issue get close to a situation, when the estimate time is covered by the investments of the individual participants it becomes locked. Locking an issue means that those, who already joined cannot lower their participation share anymore or resign from it. However, new participants can still join and the existing ones can increase their existing share. The % of how close the issue is to reach the estimation time is not shown anymore (see Shared Issue Cost Reduction chapter to learn why).

The locked phase ends after a certain period when the sum of all investments has reached the estimated time.

Realization phase – if a sufficient number of participants who joined the shared issue was gathered – that means their investment hours will cover or even exceed the issue estimation time – the issue will automatically fall into a realization phase, which means it will be assigned to the development team and started to be worked on.

5.5.Shared Issue Cost Reduction Principle

This is one of the most interesting parts of our shared development concept. The principle is, that the users who decided to “invest” (participate on a shared issue development) may in result be charged less then expected.

The principle is, that after the shared issue enter the locked phase, other users are still welcome to join the issue or increase their share in other to make the issue switch to realization phase soon. At this phase, we do not show anymore, what % of the total estimation time has been already reached.

This can result to a situation when the users participating on the issue are together willing to invest more than is the total issue estimated time. Lets say that the issue estimation was 100 hours, but the participants all together invested 120 hours.

In such case, the extra hours will be recharged back to all the participants, equally to their original share. So if we assume John has invested 20 hours of the 100 hours estimated (20%) he will be credited 20% of the extra hours. (20% of the 20 hours extra = 4 hours).

This means, John will in result be charged only 16 hours, instead of the 20 hrs we originally was willing to invest.

We hope that this principle will make the shared development popular and stimulate users to invest into issues they consider interesting as in result in can result in very cheap development many users can benefit from.

5.6.Shared Development Workflow

  1. A suggestion (specification) for a new Shared Development issue is received.

  2. Our support team will cooperate with the user suggesting the issue on exact specification and on the time estimation. We reserve a right to adjust the original specification according to what we think may suit the best for the majority of users. If the suggesting user would disagree with the adjustments, we may still be able to do the final customization as a private customer support. The communication about the specification is very similar to Custom Development communication (check the Custom Development Workflow chapter for details). The output of this phase is a final specification and time-estimate for completing the issue.

  3. After the time-estimate is set, in contrast to a private issue which needs to be accepted or rejected by the suggesting user, the public (shared) issue will be listed at the Shared Issues List page so it can be viewed by other users.

  4. At the time of publication of a new shared issue, an issue Due Date is set. This date sets a deadline until when a sufficient number of participants need to gather. In case when not enough participants to cover the issue development is gathered, the issue will be unpublished and not realized at the moment. The deadline is proposed by the user suggesting the issue, however can be adjusted by us.

  5. The shared issue will be published in the Shared Issues List as long as either enough users (participants) joins it or the due date is reached.

  6. During the period the shared issue is published any other user who considers it useful and beneficial for himself or simply wishes to support the development can join it. Joining means that the user will participate with a specific number of development hours. It is solely a users will, how much he wishes to invest (a minimum amount is 1 hour). See Joining an Existing Shared Issue for details.

  7. An user who has joined an issue can also adjust his participation share or resign from the shared issue completely. This can be done before an issue locking rate is reached. See Adjusting Your Participation Share or Resigning for details.

  8. When the investments exceed the locking rate, the issue will switch from open to locked phase. (see Shared Development Phases) This means that the issue is getting close to its realization, although the estimated time was not reached in full yet.

  9. During the locked phase, new participants can still keep joining and the existing ones can increase their investments. However, the existing participants cannot anymore lower their shares or resign completely. If during this phase, the estimated time is reached or exceeded, the issue will be realized.

  10. In case the estimated time is not reached, the issue will be canceled and removed from the Shared Issue List and all the hours invested are re-charged back to the participants.

  11. After the realization, the new code or product version will be made available to all the participants.

Support shared

 

5.7.Suggesting a New Shared Issue

The process of suggesting a new shared issue is very similar to a Custom Development, there is just a few differences.

To open a new Shared Issue, at the Support Dashboard or in the left menu, click the New Development link.

In the form that will be displayed, select the „shared“ value as the Type. In that case, the issue (if approved by us) will be shared with other users who can join-in and co-finance the development.

Also select a suggested Due Date for the issue. The value entered denotes a date until when enough participants must join the issues, otherwise it will be unpublished and not realized. You should suggest a date that suits you (e.g. your project deadline) but it should be also far enough so others have time to see it and consider joining it. Note that the date you suggest may be adjusted by us.

The rest of the fields are similar as with the customer development (check Starting a New Custom Development for details on those).

Same as with the custom development, the more precise your initial specification will be, the better time-estimation we can do and the better the result will match your needs.

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You need to expect, that with a public shared issue (compared to a private custom one) we will put more focus on that the issue specification has to fit the needs of majority of users. That means, we may adjust your original specification before publishing it.

In case the adjusted specification does not meet your needs 100% you can still participate and after the public part is completed, request a final customization tailored fully to your needs. Such finalization would fall then within a Custom Development, meaning that the final customization would have to be financed by you in full. Still the overall cost of such development should be considerably lower, then financing the whole development on your own.

5.8.Shared Issues List

The Shared Issue List is accessible by clicking the Shared Issues link in the left menu or from the Support Dashboard.

The list shows the approved shared issues suggested by other users assigned to individual project. By clicking on the certain issue, you can open its detail to find the specification and more details about the issue.

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You will also find here the Due Dates of the individual issues, the total Estimated Hours, current Issue Phase and what % of the estimated time is already funded (% Funded).

For detailed explanation of the terms above see Shared Issues Vocabulary.

You can use filtering (by project) and searching the issue subjects in the list to find the issues that may be beneficial for you easily.

In case you are already participating on some of the issues, you will also see you share here. You can join the issue or change your participation share by clicking the icon in the list easily.

5.9.Joining an Existing Shared Issue

Besides suggest a new one, you also have an option to join in to existing shared issue. The existing Shared IssuesList is available under the Shared Issues link in the left menu or though the list at the Support Dashboard.

By clicking the Issue # or name of specific issue, you can enter Issue Details page, where you find exact issue specification as well as all details about the issue, including the Estimated Hours and Due Date.

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To join the issue, just click the Join button and fill-in how many hours you are willing to invest to the issue development.

If you do not have enough hours available under your account, you can buy additional ones through our e-shop. Procedure of purchasing the development hours is described in chapter Purchasing Hours for Development. The hours purchased can be used either for private or shared issues.

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It is only up to you how much hours you want to invest. The more you do, the bigger is the probability the issue will be accepted and realized, so you might invest even to multiple issue, based on their importance to you.

You do not have to worry, as until the issue is locked, you can change your participation share or resign from the issue completely. Also, in case the issue does not collect enough participants and is canceled, you will be refunded all the invested hours back to your account.

Hours that you are investing into an issue that is not yet being realized are showing as blocked hours in your account.

5.10.Adjusting Your Participation Share or Resigning

As long as an issue is in open phase you can freely change the amount of hours you have invested in or resign from it completely (set your investment to 0).

You can do do by visiting either the Shared Issues List or locating the issue at your Support Dashboard. By clicking the Issue # or Subject you can enter the Issue Details page.

At the Issue Details page you can also see information about your current investment into the issue. You can adjust the number of hours you are willing to invest here or you can set it to zero and thus resign from the issue completely.

If you do so, the blocked hours will be credited back to Development hours available for your account.

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After the issue enters the locked phase, you cannot decrease the number of hours invested or resign anymore. Still, you can increase the number of hours invested to speed-up the issue acceptance.

5.11.Shared Issues Vocabulary

Investment – (participation share) is a number of development hours purchased you are willing to invest into a shared issue

Estimated Hours – total number of hours needed to realize the issue; if the sum of individual user investments reaches or exceeds this value, the issue will be developed

Due Date – a deadline before which the Estimated Time needs to be reached, otherwise the shared issues will be canceled and removed from the Shared Issue List without being realized

Issue Phase– a phase in which the shared issues currently is; this defines whether users can still freely change their investment or resign from the issue (see Shared Development Phases)

% Funded – a percentage ratio of the Estimated Hours already funded by the individual users investments

Blocked Hours – hours you have invested in issues, that are in open or locked phases


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