Joomla Connector for Alterra PIM


   Download: Joomla Connector for Alterra

Export of Products from Alterra to Joomla CMS

Joomla is a free Open Source Content Management System that is suitable for corporate websites. It offers full flexibility and scalability through a large number of existing interfaces and plug-ins – such as the Alterra Catalog component demonstrated here. 

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Fig.: Website of KLW made with Joomla and Alterra PIM.

If you maintain a website implemented with Joomla, the component offers you the possibility to integrate objects (e.g. products) and properties that are managed in Sepia Alterra into your website.

AlterraCatalog: Backend Manual

Catalog Manager

The Catalog Manager manages your catalogs. Open the Catalog Manager via the Joomla administration menu: Components -> AlterraCatalog -> Catalog Manager. 

AlterraCatalog - Admin Menü

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With the help of the Catalog Manager you can create, edit, synchronize, deactivate, archive and delete your catalogs.

AlterraCatalog - Katalog Manager

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A catalog is not limited to categories and products; all types of data objects contained in a hierarchical structure can be saved.

  • Partner details
  • Services
  • Manufacturer or supplier details
  • ...

The information is stored in so-called PIM (Product Information Management) objects. These objects form a hierarchical structure, and can be managed using Sepia Alterra© (Product Information Management System). The data can then be synchronized by Sepia Alterra© to AlterraCatalog at the push of a button. Sepia Alterra© provides you with the ability to configure and manage all kinds of data objects. For more information about Sepia Alterra©, visit the PIM Software page on our website.

Edit a catalog

To edit a catalog, either click on the title of the catalog or select it using the selection box in front of the title and then clicking on "Edit".

AlterraCatalog - Katalog Bearbeiten

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Catalog – Basic Data

Title This is the title of the catalog.
Alias The alias is used by the system to generate SEF (search engine-friendly) URLs.
Access levels  Here, you can select the access level group, which is permitted to view the catalog.
Description A description of your catalogue.


Alterra PIM Options

As mentioned above, the catalog data can be synchronized using the Sepia Alterra© PIM software. To do so, the component needs certain information from the source system.    

PIM object path The root paths of the PIM objects that should be included in the catalog.
Language ID Language IDA PIM object can contain information in different languages. Therefore, the desired language ID must be specified here.
Connection parameters This is a semicolon-separated list of key/value pairs instructing the component about the way, via which the data is to be obtained.


Connection parameters

The following connection parameters must be specified. The remaining parameters are dependent on your system containing the product data and the connector to be used.
Basic parameters (system, type)

system [sbs2 | sbs3]: The PIM system to be used.<br/> (SBS3 is not yet implemented in the current version.)
type [http | soap]: The connector type to be used.<br/> (Soap is not yet implemented in the current version.)

SBS2HttpConnector: additional connection parameters

To use the SBS2HttpConnector, the connection parameters system=sbs2 and type=http must be used. The remaining parameters – as long as they do not deviate from the default values – are optional.                    

host Host address of the PIM server. (default: localhost)
port PIM server port (default: 80)
user Http user when using htaccess. (default: empty)
pass Password of the HTTP user.
export_path The path to the export script.
manage_path The path to the management script.

A valid connection parameter string would be structured as follows:


Creating a Catalog

To create a new catalog, click the "New" button n the Catalog Manager. Then, you are redirected to an empty form where you can specify your catalog details.

AlterraCatalog - Katalog Anlegen

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After entering the necessary information, save the catalog with "Save" or "Save & Exit".
Now you can find the new catalog in the Catalog Manager. 

AlterraCatalog - Katalog Manager

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Synchronize Catalog

To synchronize an existing catalog with Sepia Altera© select the catalog and click on the "Synchronize" button. Depending on how many PIM objects need to be synchronized and what type of connection is used, this process may take several minutes.

After synchronization, you can find the contents of the catalog in PIM Object Manager. 

PIM Object Manager

PIM Object Manager maintains your PIM objects. To get to PIM Object Manager – from within Joomla – use the path "Components -> AlterraCatalog -> PIM Object Manager". If you are already in the administration area of the AlterraCatalog component, simply click on the "PIM Object Manager" tab.

AlterraCatalog - PIM Objekt Manager

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PIM Object Manager will now display – depending on the filter settings – the hierarchical structure of your PIM objects.

As the management and processing of PIM objects is performed outside of this component, you can only change the status and sorting of an object. Of course, you can also delete individual objects from the catalog. 

PIM Object Importer

PIM Object Importer provides the ability to import object structures from servers other than the PIM servers configured in the catalog or from XML files. (This functionality has, however, not been fully implemented yet and is therefore currently not offered.)

In addition, you can also use it to synchronize your configured catalog with Sepia Alterra©. To do so, select the catalog you want to synchronize from the "Catalog" list and click "Synchronize". 

AlterraCatalog - PIM Objekt Importer

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Click the "Options" button to open the component configuration.

Configuration: PIM Object

Here, the behavior of the component for displaying PIM objects is configured.

AlterraCatalog - Konfiguration

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Standard object loading depth Default setting to determine how deep the component object should download the hierarchy of the PIM object to be displayed. If this value is set to "1", a PIM Object is loaded with all its direct children. If this value is set to "2", all children to the 2nd level are loaded. A value of "-1" indicates that the entire hierarchy below the PIM Object should be loaded. This feature should be handled with caution, as – in complex structures – it might result in several 100 MB being loaded to the memory.
Product object types
Product object types
Defines a range of PIM object types as a product.
Product loading depth
Sets the loading depth of object types that were defined as a product.
Object types category Defines a selection of PIM object types as a category.
Category loading depth Sets the loading depth of object types that were defined as a category.

AlterraCatalog: Front End

Incorporation of Catalogs and PIM Objects

The incorporation of catalogs and PIM objects is done via menu items.

If you haven't generated a menu yet, you can create a new menu by selecting "Menus -> Menus -> New Menu".

Create a new menu item in an existing menu: "Menus -> [Target Menu] -> New Menu Item".

AlterraCatalog offers you 5 menu types to choose from. 

AlterraCatalog - Menüeintragtypen

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List all catalogs Creates a list of all catalogs shared in AlterraCatalog.
Individual catalog This is the entry point to the display of a catalogue. The catalog details and a list of the root PIM objects will be displayed.
Individual PIM object Displays the details of a single PIM object.
Individual PIM object with Category Layout Displays the details of a single PIM object. "catalog" is used as the layout for displaying the PIM object.
Individual PIM object with Product Layout Displays the details of a single PIM object. "product" is used as the layout for displaying the PIM object.

Customize the view of the data

Three different views are used for the representation of the data in the front end.

catalogs The "catalogs" view shows the list of all available catalogs.
catalog The "catalog" view displays one catalog.
pimobject The "pimobject" view can be displayed with different layouts.


To do so the component proceeds as follows:

  • All PIM objects, whose object type is defined as product, are displayed with the "product" layout.
  • All PIM objects, whose object type is defined as category, are displayed with the "category" layout.
  • Undefined object types are displayed with the "default" layout.

However, there's the possibility to create layouts that are used for a certain object type. If there is, for example, an object type "TYPE_FOO" and this object type has not been defined as product or category, the component is trying to display a PIM object of this type with the "type_foo" layout. If such a layout should not exist, the layout changes back to "default".

Customize layouts

To customize the appearance of the various layouts, create the following directory structure under "html" in the current template directory.

  • com_alterracatalog
  • catalogs
  • catalog
  • pimobject 

The directories catalogs, catalog, pimobject are template directories for displaying the catalog list, a catalogue, and a PIM object. Within these directories, you can overwrite the layout templates used by AlterraCatalog.
To overwrite the product layout, for example, first copy the file [joomla_root]/components/com_alterracatalog/view/pimobject/tmpl/product.php into the pimobject directory you created. From now on, this file is used for the display of products. 

Generate object-type-specific layouts

To use object-type-specific layouts, you will need a new layout template file that bears the name of the object type. If you want to create your own layout for a "TYPE_FOO" object type, you have to create a template file named type_foo.php in the template directory for PIM objects (pimobject ).

Still under development…

The following points are currently still under development and shall be implemented in future versions.

PIM Object Importer: Import from PIM Server Import PIM objects from a PIM server, but with different data than set out in the catalog.
PIM Object Importer: Upload & import XML file Loads an XML import file on the server and imports it.
PIM Object Importer: Import XML file to server Imports an XML file that is already on the server.
PIM Object Importer: Import from directory Imports all XML files from a directory.
AlterraCatalog CLI Sync AlterraCatalog CLI Sync can be used to synchronize catalog data via the shell. This feature is particularly suitable for cronjob-based synchronizations.
AlterraCatalog Menu Module Generates a menu based on a catalogue and its PIM objects that can be incorporated anywhere on your Web page.
AlterraCatalog Search Plugin
AlterraCatalog Search Plugin Allows searching for PIM objects via the Joomla search function.
Object type based loading depth Allows the definition of loading depths for different object types.


   Download: Alterra Catalog - Joomla Connector 


Sepia GmbH & Co. KG

Ernst-Gnoss-Strasse 22
D-40219 Düsseldorf  - Germany

Phone: +49 211 51 419 75

Phone alternative: +49 211 74 958 712 0


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