Revision as of 16:41, 30 April 2013 by Mattes (talk | contribs) (Develop and debug)

API status: In Development


Abstract. This article is mainly for UI developers and introduces the concept of upsell from a technical point of view. In short: End-user has a set of so-called capabilities. UI, however, offers functionality beyond that limited set for promotion purposes. Actions, e.g. inline links, that require missing capabilities trigger an in-app upsell. This process leads to a trial period or a new subscription. Technical challenge for the UI developer is to check what the end-user has, what can be shown beyond that, and how to handle upsell. It is also possible for hosting companies to easily integrate their own online shop into OX Upsell, since the internal mechanisms are loosely coupled via events.

Enable upsell

In order to configure upsell server-side, just create a new file or append to existing (mind the double-slash; this in not a typo! plus: changing such settings requires a backend restart):


Each line enables a specific capability for upsell. That means whenever a feature misses one these capabilities a special upsell-related event is triggered.

Hint: For simple demo purposes, you can enable an internal upsell configuration by appending "&demo=upsell" to the URL. Needs to reload page, of course.

Upsell Wizard

Shipped with 7.2.1

Hosters usually want to offer context-sensitive content in an IFRAME if the upsell is triggered. Therefore, App Suite comes with an integrated but optional plugin that takes care of this. Just enable plugins/upsell/simple-wizard. This plugin registers for the event "upsell:requires-upsell", opens a modal popup, and loads a custom URL in an embedded IFRAME.

Custom content in an IFRAME

Wizard settings

In order to configure this server-side, just create a new file or append to existing (mind the double-slash; this in not a typo! plus: changing such settings requires a backend restart):

Settings Description
url Custom URL that is loaded in IFRAME; can contain special variables.
overlayOpacity CSS opacity value for overlay; default is 0.5
overlayColor CSS background color for overlay; default is black
zeroPadding If true (default) there is no inner padding inside modal dialog, i.e. the IFRAME covers the popup
width Width of outer popup (not IFRAME) in pixel
height Height of IFRAME in pixel
closeButton If true (default) the wizard shows its own close button

Custom URL variables

The plugin offers a set of variables that help providing context-sensitive content. $missing is probably the most prominent one. Other variables help identifying the user. An example:

Variable Description
$context_id context_id of current user
$hostname hostname of current session, e.g.
$id The trigger's identifier, e.g. "io.ox/files". Can refer to an app or to an inline action. See $type
$imap_login The current user's imap login
$language The current user's language, e.g. de_DE or en_US
$mail The current user's primary email address
$missing The set of missing capabilities, comma separated, e.g. "files"
$session The current user's session id
$type Either "app" or "inline-action". Describes what triggered the upsell. See $id
$user The current user's login name (can include context name, i.e somebody@foo)
$user_id The current user's numeric id
$user_login The current user's login (usually without context name)

Develop and debug

While experimenting or developing, you can use the following helpful functions:

// get plugin (this must be properly loaded, otherwise you get a runtime error)
var wizard = require('plugins/upsell/simple-wizard/register');

// if you have no chance to enabled this plugin server-side, use the following approach 
   // but don't use this in production plugins, it's just a hack for console: 
   // if you don't know the difference please take a look at 
var wizard; require(['plugins/upsell/simple-wizard/register'], function (w) { wizard = w; });

// get variables (optional: options from upsell:require-upgrade event)
wizard.getVariables({ type: 'app', id: 'io.ox/files', missing: 'files' });

// get URL (optional: options from upsell:require-upgrade event)
   // replaces placeholders ($foo) by variable values
wizard.getURL({ type: 'app', id: 'io.ox/files', missing: 'files' });

// get all settings (can be changed on the fly)

// global upsell events; parameters: (e, popup)
ox.on('upsell:simple-wizard:show:before', _.inspect);
ox.on('upsell:simple-wizard:show', _.inspect);
ox.on('upsell:simple-wizard:close', _.inspect);

// special event to customize settings.
   // triggered before creating dialog instance;
   // second parameter refers to a local copy of wizard settings
ox.on('upsell:simple-wizard:init', _.inspect);

// open wizard manually;

// close wizard manually

// disable wizard (unregisters event)

Some examples for customizations in UI plugins or in console:

// get plugin (this muse be properly loaded, otherwise you get a runtime error)
var wizard = require('plugins/upsell/simple-wizard/register'); 

// extend IFRAME constructor (see
var custom = function (iframe) {
  return iframe.css({ border: '5px solid #08c', boxSizing: 'border-box' });
wizard.getIFrame = _.compose(custom, wizard.getIFrame);

// use an event to customize the IFRAME
ox.on('upsell:simple-wizard:show:before', function (e, popup) {
    .css({ border: '5px solid #08c', boxSizing: 'border-box' });

Close wizard

The upsell wizard can easily be closed via javascript or by redirecting the IFRAME to a prepared HTML page. In order to see this in action, run the following code (step by step):

// get plugin (this must be properly loaded, otherwise you get a runtime error)
var wizard = require('plugins/upsell/simple-wizard/register');

// open wizard;

// redirect now

Custom backend systems that run on a different domain cannot use javascript to close the wizard [1]. However, such systems can redirect to close.html. Since this page is part of the UI and therefore located on the same domain, it is allowed to call the wizard's close function.

Custom development

This section documents some of the inner workings of the upsell layer. It should provide some useful insights and hopefully helps at implementing custom upsell solutions.


Whenever the user starts an app or clicks on an inline-action, a capability-check is performed. For example, all inline actions have native support for such checks:

new Action('io.ox/calendar/detail/actions/sendmail', {
    // this action requires the capability "webmail"
    capabilities: 'webmail',
    action: function (baton) {
        // send mail

If the end-user does not have "webmail" (e.g. in a files-only setup) but calls this action, a proper event is fired:

// if any action misses a capability
// which provides the following data for apps:
  type: "app",
  id: "io.ox/mail/main",
  missing: "webmail"
// and for inline-actions:
  type: "inline-action",
  id: "io.ox/calendar/detail/actions/sendmail",
  missing: "webmail"


There are lots of different capabilities. They are defined on the server-side and basically they are just strings. Let's keep it simple and understand them as either services (e.g. mobility), specific functionalities (e.g. multiple_mail_accounts) or applications (e.g. calendar). Some obvious examples:

Capability Description Upsell trigger (if capability is missing)
calendar User has "Calendar" app
  • Mail/All recipients: Invite to appointment
  • Top bar
  • Launch pad
contacts User has "Address Book" app
  • Mail/App recipients: Save as distribution list
  • Calendar: Save participants as distribution list
  • Top bar
  • Launch pad
infostore User has "Files" app
  • Mail: Save in infostore
  • Top bar
  • Launch pad
portal User has "Portal" app
  • Mail: Add to portal
  • Contacts: Add to portal
  • Files: Add to portal
  • Top bar
  • Launch pad
tasks User has "Tasks" app
  • Mail: Remind me
  • Top bar
  • Launch pad
webmail User has "Mail" app
  • Calendar: Send mail to all participants
  • Contacts: Send mail
  • Contacts: Send vCard
  • Files: Send as link
  • Files: Send by mail
  • Top bar
  • Launch pad
// list all available capabilities

An example: Free-mail users might just have webmail and contacts. If infostore is enabled for upsell, end-users will see the link to store mail attachments. But since this capability is missing, the event "upsell:requires-upgrade" is triggered which starts the upsell process. Upon successful completion this process should unlock the capability infostore for the end-user.

The advantage of using rather atomic capabilities as the foundation for upsell is that developers don't have to consider and implement sales programs or marketing matrices in UI code.

Example dialog

Whenever the event "upsell:requires-upgrade" is triggered there should be some response for the end-user. Usually an upsell dialog should open. This can be implemented as follows:

function showUpgradeDialog(e, options) {
    require(['io.ox/core/tk/dialogs'], function (dialogs) {
        new dialogs.ModalDialog({ easyOut: true })
            .build(function () {
                    $('<h4>').text('Upgrade required')
                    $.txt('This feature is not available.'),
                    $.txt('You need to upgrade your account now.'),
                    $.txt(' '),
                    $.txt('The first 90 days are free.')
                this.addPrimaryButton('upgrade', 'Get free upgrade');
                this.addButton('cancel', 'Cancel');
                opacity: 0.70,
                backgroundColor: '#08C'
            .on('upgrade', function () {
                ox.trigger('upsell:upgrade', options);
            .on('show', function () {
      'upsell:requires-upgrade', showUpgradeDialog);
            .on('close', function () {
                ox.on('upsell:requires-upgrade', showUpgradeDialog);

function upgrade(e, options) {
    console.debug('upgrade', options);
    alert('User decided to upgrade! (global event: upsell:upgrade)');

ox.on('upsell:requires-upgrade', showUpgradeDialog);

 * convention: 'upsell:upgrade' is used to trigger final upsell
 * the current user and user_id can be found in global variables ox.user and ox.user_id
ox.on('upsell:upgrade', upgrade);

The second event "upsell:upgrade" can be understood as the final imperative to request the upsell server-side.

Example portal widget

Besides waiting for the user to click on such links, it's always a good idea to offer explicit controls to trigger an upsell. One option is creating a portal widget that advertises a premium subscription:

 * This work is provided under the terms of the CREATIVE COMMONS PUBLIC
 * LICENSE. This work is protected by copyright and/or other applicable
 * law. Any use of the work other than as authorized under this license
 * or copyright law is prohibited.
 * © 2013 Open-Xchange Inc., Tarrytown, NY, USA.
 * @author Matthias Biggeleben <>

     'gettext!plugins/portal'], function (ext, api, gt) {

    'use strict';

    var title = gt('Upgrade to premium');


        title: title,

        preview: function (baton) {

                $('<div class="content centered" style="cursor: pointer; padding-top: 3em;">').append(
                        $.txt(title + ' '),
                        $('<i class="icon-star">')
                    $('<div>').text(gt('Click here for free trial.'))
                .on('click', function () {
                    ox.trigger('upsell:upgrade', {
                        type: 'widget',
                        id: 'io.ox/portal/widget/upsell',
                        missing: ''

Accessing upsell settings

The upsell configuration is located in the namespace "io.ox/core", the path is "upsell/enabled". Example:

// get all capabilities that can trigger upsell

// contains data like this
  infostore: true,
  portal: true,
  tasks: true

If upsell is not enabled and the end-user lacks specific capabilities, the app or the inline-action is not shown. If upsell is enabled by the upper configuration, inline-actions are shown and trigger the upsell event "upsell:requires-upgrade" if clicked (but do not execute the action itself).

 * if you want to create your own controls, you can use the following helpers 
var upsell = require('io.ox/core/upsell');

// check capabilities (space-separated) 
upsell.has('portal webmail');

// get missing capabilities (would return "calendar" in demo mode) 
upsell.missing(['portal webmail', 'contacts', 'calendar']);

/* checks if upsell is enabled for a set of capabilities 
 * true if at least one set matches 
upsell.enabled(['portal webmail', 'webmail calendar']);

/* convenience function: "visible" 
 * checks if something should be visible depending on required capabilities 
 * true if any item matches requires capabilities 
 * true if any item does not match its requirements but is enabled for upsell 
 * this function is used for any inline link, for example, to decide whether or not showing it 
upsell.visible(['portal webmail', 'contacts', 'calendar']);

// likewise if neither capability set nor enabled for upsell, we get a false 

// in case something weird happens (usually bad configuration) debug() helps

// and this one

Upsell in OX6

Please also consider this article as it also covers backend aspects.