Good Morning Bonsaiko, *amended response (the post would not allow editing)
The free portal creates a link between Joomla and Suite CRM. The module that links the two is actually created for Joomla - that’s just what was developed and what is available. I suspect it was likely requested by a Joomla website developer in the first place. In any event, the portal provides restricted access to Suite CRM, i.e. the ability for the portal user to review their case and create new cases that either reads or inputs information back to Suite CRM and its database. Essentially, Suite CRM creates the portal password from the contacts dialogue within Suite CRM, emails the user using the Email address that is manually entered by an admin for the contact record (to be manually created by an admin) (an Email address in the contacts record is required for this to work and) and then it also inputs that randomly allocated password into the Joomla database to enable the login to work. For cases to be created automatically from Emails, it doesn’t pull through the user’s first name, surname or subject from the Email received in the group Email inbox that you will need to setup either.
The plugin does kinda work on Joomla. It’s very basic and has extremely limited functionality. I’m rather frustrated with it since the idea behind a portal is to allow an element of self service and, by that, automation. It doesn’t, as standard, for example, allow for a contact to be created from a case automatically set up by an Email arriving in a group inbox, it therefore also can’t automatically create a portal user from an Email without custom coding. As i’m not a coder, it’s of exceptionally limited use since you need to manually create a contact still, trigger a portal login and interact with the portal user by logging in to Suite CRM. The limited functionality to me defeats the object.
You can’t get a customer portal access set up directly within Suite CRM although you could effectively create the same thing using security groups within Suite CRM to lock down any irrelevant functionality (and also turn off irrelevant options using the menu filter in the admin drop down) and then create a user allocated to that security group and have them log into Suite CRM directly. This is where I really don’t understand the benefit of the portal at all and it’s a ballache for a non Joomla developer to implement.
I happen to be a Joomla user of 16 years so it was no sweat for me. You do need to configure both the plugin in Joomla to point to your Suite CRM instance using the full directory path and entering the administrative Suite CRM username and password, you also need to activate AOP within the Suite CRM admin drop down and point it to the Joomla instance. Once this is set up, you need to publish or use the login module and create a new menu allocated to the “registered” module, you can then enter menu items by using the wizard and selecting the portal option. In turn you can then enable the functionality of the portal including the ability to review cases and also to create a new case (even though there is a button to create a new case randomly within the review cases and no option as standard to turn it off. It’s a bit of a mess really. There is a drop down once you review a contact record to create a portal user that is easily missed unless someone tells you this.
To do anything useful it would appear that you need to create logic hooks. This is way beyond me and I can’t pretend after what the portal appears to be able to do, how limited it actually is, particularly in terms of a lack of any useful automation and how irritated I am after a week of trying to get the darn thing set up. My advice is not to bother with it unless you can code. This is why you will get people selling you paid for portal solutions as they have capitalised on Sales Agility (the company behind maintaining Suite CRM)'s ineptitude in designing and maintaining something that meets yours and my obvious needs in an era of self service and clients wanting things “yesterday”.
I guess the one thing to say about the portal is, because it is so extremely basic, it is easy to use for someone not confident with using the web or the concept of self-service at least. I hope that the reply is helpful. PGR is a good man left to do the majority of everything alone so frankly don’t expect to much unless you are willing to pay or code it yourself (Suite CRM is not as free to self host as it might have appeared to begin with). The code appears to be managed with minimal (if any) research of what user’s want or any attempt to recognise user trends to inform the forward direction of the project and coding tasks. I wouldn’t waste a week like me just to become bitterly disappointed. If you do and you have any problems, make sure your PHP curl module is functioning properly and that you completed the cron job instruction at install. If you pay for hosting, your customer services should be able to check these things for you, particularly if you do not have shell access to your web server.