Drupal, an open source server based content management system (CMS) and which we have mentioned here (built in PHP/MySQL technology), can support a wide range of web designing including blogs, community, promotional websites and many more.
Drupal provides easy tools with the help of which various sites can be easily developed. Its minimum requirement and easy installation makes it even more user friendly. Various modules available with Drupal.org further enhance the scope and usability.
Here we are presenting a few modules which can come extremely handy while building a college community website based on Drupal.
Enable users to create and manage their own ‘groups’. Each group can have subscribers, and maintains a group home page where subscribers communicate amongst themselves.
This module will be helpful in creating groups for members like teachers, students etc. You can even group students according to their class. The advantage of this module is that, we can have group posts that are only visible for those group members.
See the Organic Groups module in action here.
This module will display any views date field in calendar formats, including CCK date fields, node created or updated dates, etc. Switch between year, month, and day views. Back and next navigation is also provided for all views.
You might find it useful for posting college events and other stuff to be shown on the calendar.
Movable Type, the well-known blog software company, just launched “Motion“, which integrates activity streams, microblogging, and portable identities into a software package that can be installed into the company’s hosted publishing platform, Movable Type Pro.
You can use it to create a public Twitter-like microblog for your existing community, or you can use it as an internal instrument to monitor and track activities in social networks from around the web.
To use this free piece of software you will need an appropriate Movable Type Pro license (see here). The team can help getting you started.
What this software does (according to Movable Type):
* Create a private, custom action aggregator to track sentiment and glean intelligence from conversations around the web through action streams.
* Provide a private microblog community for simple internal employee or team collaboration.
* Publish a public microblog to nurture and grow your community while increasing your page views.
* Create a public social network to connect to your community across the web instead of competing against other social networks.
These are the features of Motion:
* Action Streams
Collect and share actions from across the web, from dozens of supported services including Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Delicious, Digg and more.
* Rich Microblogging
It’s easy to post text, links, images, audio or embedded video with just a click.
* Powerful Profiles
Motion profiles show their actions from across the web for all your registered users. Site members can follow each other, and easily upload profile pictures.
* Sign in with any web account
Your community members can authenticate with their existing account from Google, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, or any OpenID provider. Now half a billion web users can comment or vote on your content without hitting a registration barrier.
Watch a demo below or read their Frequently Asked Questions.
This Java based content management system is at version 4.0 now (don’t confuse this web software with Ma.gnolia.com – the social bookmarking web service).
Magnolia CMS it’s, maybe, not well known to the large audience but it is powering many of the government websites as well as Fortune 500 enterprises.
This new version introduces production-ready content delivery templates that provide a large set of out-of-the-box functionality. Content delivery is search-engine optimized, follows accessibility guidelines and introduces support for mobile devices.
The new Templating Kit allows designers and programmers to quickly and easily build best-practice web site designs and to control the complete layouting life-cycle (part of “Supersonic Templating” bundle). There are ready made templates for Magnolia 4.0 to create custom designs that dynamically adapt content delivery to various devices, including the iPhone. The standard templates are search engine optimized (SEO) and follow W3C accessibility guidelines. Multiple Web site designs for front- and back-ends can be managed from within Magnolia’s browser-based administration interface.
These are, in short, the new features of Magnolia content management system, version 4.0:
* New Standard Templating Kit
* Enhanced email module
* New templates management module
* New Multi-Site module (Enterprise Edition)
* Incorporates Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practice
* Access control, workflows, automated backups for design elements
* Follows Web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG2 and Germany’s BITV)
* New web forms module
* XHTML-conformant page templates with table-less CSS layout
* Smart view-port detection to provide optimal browsing experience on any device, including mobile devices such as the iPhone
* Supports FreeMarker Templating language in addition to Java Server Pages (JSP)
Magnolia CMS 4.0 can be downloaded immediately because it’s free (open-source). I am talking about its variant called the Community edition because Magnolia has also an enterprise variant which is not free (it offers more enterprise functionalities).
The support for the enterprise edition is provided by Magnolia International LTD. and starts at $12,000 (doesn’t seem cheap but it is for big enterprises and government after all (not for small businesses).
Download Magnolia Community Edition here.
If you want to build an online community which would have the characteristics of YouTube (video sharing), MySpace (social networking), Facebook (social networking), Odeo (audio-video search engine), Flickr (online photo sharing) and Match (online dating) then you will need a web software like Boonex Dolphin.
Dolphin incorporates all the features which above sites have but at a fraction of the cost: free.
And now Boonex just launched an alpha version (public preview) of the latest Dolphin 7 – called also Hookie (the stable version is Dolphin 6.1). The version will be the last which supports their current engine. The next Dolphin, version 8 will be based on a new engine called Poseidon (which is BoonEx proprietary software engine and development framework).
More details about Dolphin 7a preview release you cand find on Boonex blog .
Dolphin 7 community software is (will be) 100% open-source (including Flash Apps, Adobe Air App, iPhone App and Android App).
Big news from vBulletin forum software makers: vBulletin 3.8, vBulletin 4.0 and Project Tools 2.0, Blog 2.0 add-ons
The makers of vBulletin, a very popular forum software, announced the upcoming of two versions of their software: vBulletin version 3.8 and 4.0 Although the team is primarily working on the version 4.0 they didn’t forget about the version 3.x.
Later this year they will release the version 3.8 which will have some more new features like (snippets from their announcements forum):
- * Private Messaging Improvements
vBulletin 3.8 will have a number of changes and improvements to make the system easier to use and manage.
Users now have the ability to change the sort order in private message folders from the existing date-newest-first default.
They have added also Quick Reply to the private message viewing page, removing the need for a visit to a separate interface.
In order to find what you are looking for more quickly and easily, there’s now an inline search system too.
Also, as an anti-spam measure, it’s now possible to limit the number of private messages any user may send in a given period of time.
* Social Group Discussion Topics
While the current ‘social group messages’ system allows messages to be posted to a social group, unlike forums it does not allow messages to be divided up into discussions. Being one of the most requested features the team will implement this in the version 3.8. Social groups in 3.8 now have the ability to contain individual topics, each with reporting, inline moderation and many of the other tools one would expect from vBulletin.
* Social Group Avatars
In the new version, when users create a social group, they can upload a picture to represent the group, which will be shown both on the group page, and on the list of groups.
* Social Group Categories
To help users to find more easily a social group that they’d like to join, the administrator can now create categories to which social groups can belong.
* Most Recently-Updated Albums
Bringing users’ album pictures out of the dark recesses of their profile, vBulletin 3.8 has a system to display the most recently-updated albums from all users in a unified interface. Now everyone will know when your members upload new pictures!
* Moving Album Pictures
It’s now possible to move pictures from one album to another, rather than having to delete and reupload (that’s much more user friendly!).
* Thread Prefix Permissions
For the administrators who want to be able to limit the ability of their users to access thread prefixes and prefix sets, vBulletin 3.8 now gives you that ability.
vBulletin 3.8 will have the same system requirements and recommendations as vBulletin 3.7.
To see the features of the current version click here
vBulletin 4.0, the much expected big release
The team has focused on working on this important release (while working on 3.x too).
vBulletin 4 is an extensive rewrite of the vBulletin system, aimed at providing a superior experience both for users and administrators, while providing a much faster development cycle for vBulletin4-based features and products though code flexibility and stability.
Architecturally, vBulletin 4 follows MVC (model-view-controller) object oriented principles, allowing far greater capabilities in code re-use and extendability. It will make far more extensive use of caching and is being designed to be scalable on a level that previous vBulletin versions have not been able to achieve.
Webligo, the team behind SocialEngine just launched the version 3.0 Beta of their social network software.
Being a beta software the company advises the users of SocialEngine to NOT install this version over their production version. But they can install and test on a test machine if they want.The upgrade costs for the actual clients is $25 and there will be no more costs to get the stable 3.0 version when it comes out from Beta (the new buyers will have to pay the regular price of $250 for one license).
The team has some advices for the users who want to try the new version:
- The plugins won’t be available for this version because many files were changed so the team expects bugs. If you try to install the version 2.0 plugins over the version 3.0 then you are asking for trouble. The team will announce the version 3.0 compatible plugins as they come out (in the client area).
- If you found bugs don’t hesitate to let the team know! They eat bugs for breakfast so hopefully, with your contribution, there will be no bugs left in this new version of SocialEngine social network software. And the stable release will make way to the clients faster.
- After upgrading to the new stable version the team will still keep the version 2.0 on their server (in the client area) for a while. That until the software and the plugins for the new version will be fixed and running smoothly.
So, if you are a SocialEngine client go to the client area and test the new version 3.0 Beta!
And if you are not a paying client then you still can test it here: http://184.108.40.206/ (this link like might not work anymore after SocialEngine 3.0 Beta becomes a stable version)
Find out more information on Charlotte’s blog (one of Webligo’s founders).
AbleSpace and AbleDating (social network & dating software) has all the professional features that will be enough for you to create sites like YouTube, MySpace or Date.com in one package. I’ll review them a little bit below.
It has been developed by Abk-Soft, US Company with Russian roots and employing dynamic staff of over 30 freelance programmers from Russia managed from US.
Their main product contains lot of interesting modules, like 3D virtual city, Flash technology based profile editor to replace HTML, CSS profile customization, Video Chat, Video Sharing, Friends, Groups, Flash postcards, VoiIP technology based telephone, Flash based chat rooms, Flash games, Romantic virtual 3D chat rooms, Greeting recordings, Classifieds, Photo Gallery, Personal Blogs, Biorhythms, Love Match calculator, Instant Messenger, Mailbox, MP3 Player, favourites, forums, etc.
The administration allows setup the site for various community purposes, allowing three level memberships, affiliate programs, banner rotations, free trial memberships, newsletters, auto approvals, unlimited number of languages, e-mail and phone number automatic filtering, etc. Currently it supports PayPal, WorldPay, GoldPay, 2CO, NetBilling and PaySystems gateways but can be configured to any payment gateway for small fee.
Their templates based architecture allows changing site look and feel instantly using growing number of ready-made templates.
The installation service is free or if you want to do it yourself, its five simple steps following the screen and can be completed in minutes.
The product comes from two versions:
Existing site owners can also buy their 3D city module to any of site for $400.
osTube www.ostube.de is a social networking media platform allowing the sharing of music, video, pictures and documents. It has been developed by AUVICA GmbH in Munich, Germany. Their other product lines are MyRadio, Reisepanne, and VIMP.
osTube is available by three product editions: Community, Professional and Enterprise. Community edition is free but you can’t run any ads and social networking communities with it. The Professional edition allows banner and video (priced differently) ads as Enterprise edition is a not priced solution for commercial projects which can include Live Streaming, Mobile payments, etc.
Professional edition costs $149 to manage Google AdSense ads with some extra templates and you should spend $299 when you want to run video ads and have more templates included.
Starting to evaluate SocialEngine I was positively surprised how technically open and well programmed it was. It’s expandable with plug-ins and uses Smarty to customize its look and feel.
After the trial download I had Groups, Blog and Photo Album plug-ins included and their website says that Events plug-in is currently available which I was able to look from their website. Social Engine was developed by innovative Californian software company Webligo whose business mission is to brainstorm new innovative ideas to be profitable at early stage and sell those to larger companies who can fully realize their potential. Webligo previous project BlogHoster was sold UK based Splashpress media in 2007 and since 2006 they have worked with SocialEngine (www.socialengine.net). Webligo was founded by Alex Benzer and Charlotte Genevier, who met as Pasadena Polytechnic high school in 2000.
The installation comes as downloadable compressed file which you should decompress to your server. Files will be extracted starting “files” subdirectory which was little bit odd as I would expect to run my program from the virtual root I created for it.
You will get an email which contains your installation key and attached license.txt file. You should copy this file also to your server application files directory before starting files/admin/install.php otherwise it complains and does not start. That was an odd thing to do but I assume that when purchasing you will get just new license file and not an installation key. The license file was encrypted anyway so I assume they will send me a new license.txt file after a purchase.