Aura Menu Downloader is one of Cosoft’s new web applications that's another step towards a fully integrated web-based solution for Aura.
The menu downloader will serve as a full replacement to AEC's menu download options for the stores that will be using it, and is designed to be used in conjunction with the new Menu Builder application that will be used by the Menu department to design and maintain menus for brands.
Menu Builder and Menu Subscriptions
Menus will now be distributed via a subscription system. A subscription is very similar to a profile except that a store can have multiple subscriptions rather than a single profile. When the store downloads the menu, AES will create a unique menu file for that store based on their specific subscriptions.
In addition, all of a company’s menus will now be stored as a single ‘master’ menu on the Menu Builder and the menu items, stock items, picklists and discounts will be assigned to subscriptions on a per-item basis. This allows us to have a single menu item assigned to multiple subscriptions for combo menus so the menu department only has to make a change once.
This also means that the way menu ID’s are set has changed - where previously menu files would be named according to the PROFILEID_MENUVERSION.MNU format, eg:
The subscription service will use a STOREID_MENUVERSION.MNU format for menu files:
NB: This also means you should not use one store’s menu file for another store - the subscriptions may be different. If you need a menu file for a store, consult the menu department.
In the majority of cases single-brand stores will only have one subscription and combo stores will have a subscription for each brand. The system was designed to be able to handle more complex setups, but we are not likely to implement any more complex setups for some time.
Each company that uses the menu builder will have two extra profiles added to it for Menubuilder. One profile for stores that only have a single brand and are on the menu builder, and another for combo stores. This way a glance at a store’s page on AES will inform us that they use the menubuilder and even if a new instance of AEC is installed they should not receive the default menus.
When a company is moved onto the menubuilder, a request should be submitted to move the store to the correct profile.
For store on a Menubuilder profile, the menus that they will receive will be based on the subscriptions set under the Menu Subscriptions tab on AESweb:
If a store needs to change their subscription, there is a Request Subscriptions Change button that Support can use. The Toggle Menu Test button is available for the Menu Department to set a store to receive test menus.
Store Server Setup and Operation
NB: Before using menu downloader and the menu builder/subscription system, the store must be re-authenticated after their profile has been changed to a Menubuilder profile on AES.
In addition, before menu downloader is installed, AEC MUST be set to DISABLE .mnu extensions. This is done so that we don't have two programs attempting to download and activate menus independently.
To do this, open AEC Control Panel and log in. Then, click Settings > General, and remove ',mnu' from the list of recognised extensions.
Click Save Changes and restart the AECService.
Aura Menu Downloader is released via the updater. It will download to the patches folder as MenuDownloader-x.x.x.x-Setup.exe, and will install silently.
Like AEC, Menu Downloader will create a service called Menu Downloader, which appears as below in the task manager:
This service can be activated and deactivated with net start/stop auramenudownloader in the command prompt.
The Setup will create a new folder in the Aura directory called Menu Downloader, which will contain the program and menu files. Note that menu files for the downloader are kept separate from the AECDownloads folder to avoid conflicts with AEC.
In the MenuDownloader directory, you will find several folders and files.
Menus that are waiting to be activated are stored in the Pending menus folder, and activated menus are moved into the Loaded Menus folder.
The service executable (Menu Downloader.exe), service manager (nssm.exe) and uninstaller can also be found here.
Menu Downloader has a web interface that can be found by running the Menu Management web shortcut in the Menu Downloader Directory, or by accessing http://localhost:8081 directly in any browser.
The app interface is very simple. Similar to AEC, we can see the status and versions of active and pending menus.
The downloader will poll for menus automatically at 30 minute intervals, or when the service is first started. If you want it to check immediately, click Check For New Menu.
Redownload Menu forces a re-download of the current menu. This will need to be used whenever a store changes their subscription, otherwise Downloader will assume the current menu is up to date.
Restore Backup Menu will revert to the last backed up menu.
View Log Files will let you view the logs of the downloader. Click AECService_MU.log.20xx-xx-xx to view the contents of the log for the day.