phpvms for dummies .pdf
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This guide is intended to help the un-experienced in PHP in particularly Phpvms to easily
install and use this freeware software.
This is a proven product and any issues will go un-noticed by the beginner. You have heard
the term "Pilot error" well this does apply here. Anything that can or will go wrong with the
installation or use of its features will be a result of something you did wrong or something
that isn't active on your server.
So before you run to the forum un-hinged as I did once, understand ahead of time these
people do not get receive any monetary benefits for helping you. So if you have an issue,
please have all your information on the problem before you post. Be courteous, respectful
and to the point. In other words don't ramble on. Too much information is not helpful.
It is to be understood, I'm not a programmer, just a user like you, so this Guide for Dummies
is intended to get you up and running and provide you with preliminary information to get
This is not a technical instruction on php or phpvms
What is phpVMS?
phpVMS is the most popular, free, virtual airline software, with support for various ACARS
applications (kACARS, FSACARS, XAcars, FS Flight Keeper, and FSPassengers), AJAX-driven
administration panel, complete with financial reports, schedule management and various
other features designed for realistic operation of your virtual airline.
So you wish to be a Virtual Airline operator.
If your are an experienced VA operator you may skip this message.
The success of your VA is dependant on a couple of factors. Your decision to go your own
and experience the thrill of operating a VA is totally contingent on your personal investment
into its development, management and your willingness to share the daily responsibilities of
running your program. Phpvms is a complete Virtual Airline website package with all the
tool you will ever need to manage and develop your virtual home in the VA world.
For a complete list of features & downloads, please visit the Phpvms web-site
Section 1: Download the latest version of Phpvms from www.phpvms.net
Section 2: Setup your host server and create database
Section 3: Uploading to server and run the phpvms installer
Section 4: Setting up site information
Section 5: Administration panel
Section 6: Skins
Section 7: General information
1.01 Downloading the latest version of Phpvms. Understand this file is in zip format. I
suggest you create two folders in your document folder. Call the main folder phpvmsdownload. Inside this folder create another folder and call it phpvms. The zip content is not
in a folder, the files are loose. Now unzip the phpvms file content into the folder you made
1.02 It is a good idea to browse around the folder and get familiar with its content.
There are two folders that are important to you the beginner. "Install" & "Lib" I will share
more about install after you have uploaded to your server and setup a database on same.
1.03 Click on the "Lib" folder and you will find additional folders. The only one that is of
interest to you at this time is "Skin"
1.04 Click on the "skin" folder and you will see
a folder called "crystal" the "crystalsidebar" folder is not included in the latest version. I will
talk about this skin later. It is far more versatile then the "crystal"
1.05 There are two images that are of interest. "topbanner" & "h3" Topbanner is your logo.
Whatever design you choose to represent your site must be contained within the boundary
of the image size and you must (as a beginner) maintain the file extension. (.Jpeg, .png et
cetera) You can design your logo and replace the Phpvms logo "topbanner" remember the
1.06 The "h3" is an Icon used on the site. Below is a snippet from my site showing the
replacement of the "h3" icon? Again whatever you use, you must confine yourself to the
image size and extension. The hat is the "h3" repainted or replaced with another image.
At this time these two images is all you need to replace before you upload the phpvms folder
to your server and you don't have to change "h3" this is your preference.
1.07 The balance of the images really can not be altered without changing some code for it
to appear. The "crystalsidebar" skin on the other hand is user friendly but as I indicated
above, it does not come with the latest version of Phpvms. The main advantage of the
"crystalsidebar" is the number of pages is not limited; meaning link bars across the top of the
page in "crystal" is limited. Having sidebars allows for presenting far more information via
2.01 Setting up or prepping your server prior to uploading phpvms.
Before I continue this is VERY IMPORTANT. You have made a decision to get into the VA
Business (If your are an experienced VA operator you can skip this information) so if you are
going to go through all the effort to make your VA dream come true, Please do not use one
of the many free server host available, your just looking for a hornets nest of problems and
incompatibility issues with Phpvms. There are several hosting packages available in the top
ten list that are reasonable.
Powweb.com offers hosting and free domain for $3.88 a month for the first year, unlimited
bandwidth and all the bells and whistles you need.
Hostmonster.com & Ipage.com have the same package you just need to contact sales and
ask them to match powweb.com price for the first year, they will. Ok moving on.
2.02 Whether you're securing a server or you're converting to Phpvms on your server, there
is no order in this process. You can setup your database and then upload phpvms or visa
versa. But you can not run the installer until the database is setup.
This nest piece of information is for the new member of the VA community. Many of today's
host service utilize the same control panel. I run three servers and they are identical. So let's
setup your database. Before you jump into this, put a little thought into what you're going to
do now and what you might want to do in the future. Have a game plan and keep records of
everything you do. Ok, if you have your link to your control panel head there now.
Scroll down until you see these options. Now, click on "Manage MySql"
2.03 Ok, now if your control panel looks like this, the button I'm pointing to is "Add
Database" Click on it.
2.04 In the Database name, enter phpvms_prefex. Prefix can be whatever you wish. I will
explain later. Enter a "User name" & Password. I suggest you don't use your site login
information. Click on "Add Database"
2.05 Ok, now your database is set.
2.06 Unless there is something you wish to change, just click on "Set Permissions" Your done.
Let's head back to your computer.
3.03 Uploading to server and run the phpvms installer.
I'm sure at this point I have to assume you have your FTP setup and your ready to upload
"Phpvms" When I make these references, they are more directed to the new VA operator
and not to the VA community at large. I'm basically trying to help those with prepping for
the installation of Phpvms and setting up their base site.
Understand, what you call your Phpvms installation folder has no bearing on the install. The
illustrations I have included are just for reference and provide a visual aid.
What is shown below is the server side of your FTP. Whatever program you use upload the
whole folder to your server. In my illustration I call it phpvms.
3.01 Now click on the folder and open it. In here you see a folder called "Install" click and
open this folder.
3.02 In this next illustration I have outlined the "Install.php". Please understand this is not an
executable file. What you need to do is right click on this file and scroll down to properties
"Click" open and copy the URL path to the "Install.php"
Highlight the location field and copy the complete URL to the installer
4.01 Having done this, please paste it into your browser address bar.
Before you hit go, let's pause for a moment so I can cover a couple possible issues. Just a
recap, if you insist on using a free server host. You could experience a host of script errors so
running to the forums and asking for help, you may have a long wait. It is important that
when going to the forums for help. Indicate right off you are using a commercial host service
or a free server host.
It is a good Idea to look-over your folder before you execute the install. A quick browse to
make sure the files was uploaded. Just compare the files in your PC folder to that which you
4.02 Please hit go on your browser. If your upload looks good and all goes well the next
screen you will see is below.
4.03 Ok, this is very important you get this right the first time. "Database Name" Enter the
name you gave your database when you set it up on the server. "Database Server" if you
were just running a static html site you could leave this as "Localhost" But because this is a
4.04 php application you will need the "MySQL" path from your server, basically it looks like
this. "Username.hostnamemysql.com" this is one of my servers
Database username & Database Password is the one you used to setup your database on the
server. Don't change the Database Type, leave as MySQL.
"Table prefix" this is important. If you intend to run more than one phpvms website on the
same server, you need to enter a prefix to the "phpvms_" you can use the prefix you used for
your database but I suggest you make it something unique. If you do not do this there will
be a conflict between your main site and the additional sites. Each instance of this "Phpvms_"
requires a unique prefix.
4.05 You can click on "Check database connection" sometime it will respond other times it
won't click on "Next Step"
The next step will show the database table installation. This is not a complete image, just
intended to show you what to expect.
Scroll to bottom click on "Continue" if all went well you will get this next screen. This is your
Site setup screen. Your Administration user information.
Fill out all fields. This screen is self explanatory.
If all went well your next screen is below. Where it reads "and then proceed to admin panel
here, click on here.
5.01 welcome to the phpvms administration panel.
Please note the red bar. You need to go back to your installer folder and either delete it (The
installer folder) or rename it. You may have to zoom in on some of these images to read
Ok, Lets have a quick look at the default "Crystal" skin. Your home page. On the left sidebar
scroll down to "View your site" click.
If you created a logo as I mentioned earlier then it would show at this time. What I didn't
mention is your working on a white back drop. But you haven't done anything yet as your
still reading this guide.
5.02 Notice the FrontPage and the text. This can be changed by going back to the admin
panel and on the sidebar you will see a heading called "News and Content" Click on "News"
this is your FrontPage edit. Now to the right click on "Edit" Now you're viewing the News edit
page. This page only effects what is on the front page of the site.
5.03 There are rules you must be aware of. You can not have margins, you can left, right and
center but no indents. You can not double space words in a sentence or double space
paragraphs. If you do you will have little square boxes. You can change the complete text for
your FrontPage here. In the subject box, where is reads "Welcome to Phpvms (in Orange) you
can enter your heading. Note this is a one time change so get it right the first time because it
can't be changed with the editor. The other content can be changed at anytime.
5.03 Please notice the position and spacing of the default text. Advanced users no what to
do but you as a new user should maintain the default format.
5.04 Creating pages. Translated, if you want a page that is accessed by a link bar, just like the
news editor creating pages is done from the admim "News & content" just click on "Pages"
again you need to remember the rules. At the top left you will see a task bar "Add Pages" &
"View Pages" click on "Add Pages" looks just like the news page. Pages once created and
enabled at the bottom will appear on your upper Nav bar. It's time for you to explore.
6.01 Before a close this guide I would like you to see an option to the default crystal skin.
The earlier version of phpvms had two skins to choose from. "Crystal" & "Crystalsidebar"
6.02 This is the "Crystalsidebar" this is user friendly and makes for a beginner skin and a
great user skin. You can change the entire look without changing any code. Just repainting
the images in the skin image folder. Below is a repaint that took me all about 20 min.
(Fig 21) this is a 20 min repaint now a 5 min template.
6.03 The Crystalsidebar skin I'm sure is available from some source but if you can't find it,
you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject indicate "Request Crystalsidebar
Section 7 General information
Just a couple things you need to know to avoid asking on the forums. In the Admin panel. If
you create another airline, you can't delete it, the best you can do is re-named and disable.
You can not delete aircraft, airports again all you can do is disable them. These are found in
Well gentlemen, this is about as far as I can go. I do not have the knowledge to communicate
advance options available in phpvms.
If your fortunate enough to connect with someone to help you out. A couple of basic feature
you would like is the Airmail Module, Who's on-line and having Award images show up as
images in your profile and pilots list in lieu of text. I have it on my main site but not my subsite. Had it done for me but I can't do that for myself and I can't help you. But if you go to
the phpvms forums and do some searching you can find a lot info.
I hope for some of you this guide was helpful.
David (Bluemax) Zaleski