Some of the features described in this Overview and Quick Setup chapter may only apply to the for-a-fee Akeeba Ticket System Professional edition.
Akeeba Ticket System (ATS) is a support ticket system component. It allows users of your site to submit support tickets. Typically it's used to provide support for software and hardware sales, but it can also be used for a plethora of other uses such as providing paid expert opinions (consultancy), answering pre-sales requests in any business sector (even in retail) and so on. The key difference to a forum is who gets to view the request and who gets to reply. With a typical forum everyone with access to a forum category can see and reply to all posts. With a ticket system only the user who filed the ticket can view it, unless it is public (public tickets are readable by everyone). In any case, only the user who filed the ticket and the designated support staff on your site can reply to tickets. This allows for finer control than a forum when an authoritative reply is required to the request.
In fact, we developed Akeeba Ticket System because of the limitations we kept on bumping on with several forum systems. The major limitation was that everyone could reply to a thread. This had the usual outcome that User A was talking about Problem X and, on the same thread, User B was talking about Problem Y. This had historically led to great deals of frustration for users and support staff alike. Akeeba Ticket System solves this by incorporating the concept of ticket ownership (the user who submitted the ticket get posting access to it, other users who are not member of the support staff don't).
In order for this to work, ATS is deeply integrated with Joomla! ACLs (access control lists). This is a very powerful feature and requires a little bit of reading to get it right. If your ACL setup is flawed, ATS will behave as told which would be completely different than what you intend. We have assembled a short list of very useful, free documentation on Joomla! ACL which will help you understand how the Joomla! ACL system works and how to make the best possible setup:
ACL concepts overview (beginners)
Joomla! ACL: Access Levels (beginners; scroll all the way down for a very good video)
A case for role-based ACL (advanced)
Implementing role-based ACL (advanced)
PWT ACL (formerly known as ACL Manager) is a third party commercial component which can help you effectively managing ACLs on complex sites.
Continue reading on for a sample, albeit very simple, setup of a ticket system.