BuddyPress, is a set of plugins and themes, which can be used to extend the functionality of WordPress MU and bring social networking features to a new or existing installation. These suite of plugins can be used either independently or cumulatively to create a complete social network. Some specific plugins could also be used to add desirable features to your existing blog network.
BuddyPress has recently released its new version 1.1. This new release includes a substantial number of core code improvements as well as an array of useful new features.
Some highlights of this version are:
- One click internal bbPress forum integration. This allows you to set up group forums in no time.
- A global forum directory (example) allowing you to easily browse public facing forum posts regardless of the group they are attached to.
- Completely re-written theme handling. Now, one theme controls all of your installation. There is no hidden HTML and everything is in the template ready for you to tweak.
- Easily create themes that are upgraded automatically when BuddyPress is updated.
- Total site administrator control of all content within an installation. Edit user’s profiles, update avatars, mark users as spammers, manage all groups, delete site activity entries.
- Activity streams everywhere. Activity streams can be filtered allowing for feature specific activity streams or adding an activity stream to your custom plugin.
- A new status updates feature is included in BuddyPress 1.1. Actions and filters are included to allow plugin developers to hook into any external service.
- An awesome group extension API allowing developers to easily extend groups and add completely new features.
Download the latest version of BuddyPress here.
What is Buddypress?
It’s a set of plugins and themes (each adding a distinct new feature) developed originally by Andy Peatling allowing a WordPress MU (Multi-User) blog installation to become a social network also.
All of the plugins could be used to create a complete social network from scratch, or you could use specific plugins to add desirable features to your existing blog network.
Later on, Buddypress was acquired by Automattic, the makers of Wodpress MU and WordPress blog software, and the author joined to their team.
The features Budypress has are:
* Extended Profiles
* Private Messaging
* The Wire
* Activity Streams
* Blog Tracking
Some upcoming features in 2009 are:
* Status Updates (Mid 2009)
* Photo Albums (Late 2009)
To have Budypress running on your server you need to have the following:
* A working installation of WordPress MU, version 2.7.1 or greater
* PHP version 4.3 or greater
* MySQL 4.0 or greater
* The mod_rewrite Apache module enabled
Budypress might not be a contender now for Social Engine, DZOIC Handshakes, WebNetwork, Boonex Dolphin, Alstrasoft E-friends, Elgg, PHPfox, PHPizabi but in the near future it could be as new features will be added and, especially, because it can reach a good chunk of the market thanks to many WordPress MU installations which are already there.
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).
An improved version of the quite known online dating software and social network SkaDate was launched these days.
SkaDate 7 is a completely new business software solution with a full set of up-to-date features for online dating and community web sites.
Now users may embed codes of favorite clips from any video sharing sources such as YouTube, Yahoo video, FaceBook, Metacafe, and others – it will save bandwidth and disk storage of a website, import contacts from popular email services like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, track replies in forum topics, use new interface for creating blogs and so on.
SkaDate 7 introduces the new core engine with excellent performance which makes uploading a web site’s pages on average twice as quick then before.
In the new version customers and their users will find a number of general improvements and several features rewritten from scratch.You can test the demo here.
Just as they launched the new version the company already has an update: SkaDate 7 Update – Build 7.941 (improvements for News Feature, Text Formatting, Smilies, Ajax IM, Profile Notes, Rate Photos, Photo Approve tool, Site Suspend and added three new templates).
SkaDate is a PHP/MySQL web software and it’s running best on a Linux server (some additional software – for video processing – is required). See the server requirements here.
To get a glimpse of their new version watch this screencast presented by Natalie Antonova.
Skalfa eCommerce is the company behind SkaDate dating software and it’s based in Indiana, USA and Czech Republic (although some people say they are from Kyrgizstan actually).
Elgg, the content management system and social network creator, reached the version 1.0 Beta, finally (after spending some time in the versions 0.x…).
Soon the team will announce the stable release (at least for now because I am sure that, even after the release, bugs will be found by the rest of the users – like always it happens in software development).
It seems Elgg became a rising star among open source content management software systems according to this report: http://www.waterandstone.com/downloads/2008OpenSourceCMSMarketSurvey.pdf
- The Elgg project has shown increasing mindshare and brand strength since inception. Recently
publishing activity and awards can only boost name recognition. The evidence shows in the social bookmarking metrics, where Elgg finished near the top of the list. Yet despite those positive signs, engagement in the blogosphere is sadly lacking — a troubling statistics given that
this system is focused on Web 2.0 social interactivity. Elgg also faces challenges in terms of developer support, though this is perhaps not yet a source of concern given the relative youth of the project.
According to that report WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal are the most used open source content management systems today (phpNuke and Mambo are the things of the past, it seems – you are a king one day and a peasant the next day if you don’t keep up with the demands. And that happened to phpNuke and Mambo – Mambo seems again has internal troubles among the team members. A new project called miaCMS spawned from Mambo.).
So, congratulations Elgg! And work harder to become a king! I wish you success!
Now, some updates from Elgg…
Elgg had one of the most powerful features from the day it was built: the access control. Whatever you create in Elgg (a blog post, an uploaded file, an element of your profile, etc.) can be restricted to as many or few people you want (very granular control).
Which is maybe one of the reasons Elgg, at the begining, started to be used as a social network creator in schools where the privacy is a big thing.
Now, in the latest version 1.0, they’ve refined that even more: creating collections of friends is easier even before. If you are not satisfied with Elgg’s individual-based access model you can swap it with something else: a roles-based access, for example.
More details about the access control and version 1.0 update on their official blog.
You probably are eager to test the new version, right? Well, hold your horses! The version 1.0 will be released to the public sometime this summer.
In the meantime you can still get older versions of Elgg CMS: 0.2 to 0.9.
BoonEx (the australian company behind Dolphin Smart Community Builder and other software) release a security patch for its dating and social network software.
This fixes the XSS (Cross Site Scripting) vulnerability found the last week (Orca version allows inserting malicious code into a new topic title).
It is an easy patch to apply so you should do it immediately!Here are the steps to be followed:
* Backup the Orca and groups/orca folders (a regular backup never hurts anyway!)
* Get the patch named Dolphin 6.1 Patch 4. This is compatible with any Dolphin package: SmartPro, AdFree, Free
* Unzip the archive and upload its content to the folder where you have Dolphin installed (overwriting the files with the same names)
Example: Open the “orca” directory on your server, and at the same time open the “orca” directory in the extracted patch on your PC. Upload all files contained in the “orca” directory of the patch to your server’s “orca” directory overwriting those with the same names.
* Edit the build number in the inc/header.inc.php file, replacing $site['build'] = ’3′; with $site['build'] = ’4′;
* Go and login to the admin panel and recompile Orca languages as described there.
After all these steps you should have Dolphin 6.1.4 patch successfully installed.
About Dolphin community builder
Dolphin Smart Community Builder is a free, open source software that allows you to build any kind of online community. Social networks, dating sites, content sharing portals…all these can be created very easily and deployed in an instant. You can have Myspace, Youtube, Flickr, Facebook and Match combined in one package.
With a huge variety of features & options, you can quickly develop your very unique and successful website. Checkout the full features here!
It is written in PHP/MySQL so it runs well on Unix/Linux but also it can run on Windows (but you have to use Apache for Windows, not IIS web server).
See a demo of their product here: http://www.boonex.us/ (a demo of their admin section is here)
Download Dolphin smart community builder here! (the free version, you can also order a paid version which will be ad free).
SkaDate is a social networking and online dating software platform supporting videos and photo albums. It can be seen here: www.skadate.com
Ska Date has been developed by Skalfa eCommerce, employing 18 dedicated programmers and support staff. They recently opened their representative EU office in Czech Republic instead usual UK. Besides dating software their other product line is Chuppo rich media applications, which are actually part of SkaDate.
Sites features are customizable from administration module, like Press, Search, Photo, Multimedia, Profile view, Events, Messages, Virtual Kiss, Friends Only Photos, Flash chat, Instant messenger, Photo rate, Profile Rate, Friends Networking, Polls, Ads, Tags, Bookmark, Blocklist, Chuppo Recorder, Forum, Blogs, Password Protected Photos, Profile comments and HTML usage in profiles.
They also offer a hosted version of this software. Check it out here
From administration module was possible to assign cost for each event or leave it as free service. The software supports unlimited membership levels allowing setup events for each level and limiting even the event usage per day or month.
SkaDate supports several payment gateways like PayPal, ccBILL, SecurePay, Authorise.net, SecPay, etc.
The navigation menu was customizable to each member level group so members will see only functions allocated to the membership level.
The administration module allows customization of multimedia and photo parameters, limiting the number of invitations, creating virtual kiss templates, enabling the friends’ network and customizing the profile fields which can be even dependent to each other.
Customizable watermark can be added to photos and videos to protect copyrights.
The product becomes with 18 layout templates and the customer can get additional templates free of charge from their website when those will become available free of charge. I assume that knowing little bit CSS the programmer can write their own templates for the site.
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.
PHPMotion is a truly free open source media social networking platform supporting video and audio social networking.
It’s downloadable from www.phpmotion.com website after you had registered to the software support forum.
Latest stable version was 1.2 but I tested and evaluated version 2 beta which worked without any crashes and with only small inconveniences.
The product installation was quick however you must have lot of open source modules pre-installed to your server, including LAME MP encoder, Libbogg and Libvorbis, Mencoder and MPlayer, FFMpeg-PHP, GD Library 2, etc. which was taking a week of my time to get those running afterwards to find out that my service provider does not support background processes and MP3, MPEG files download.
So you should consider the hosting service where those modules are already installed. PhpMotion website lists four of hosting ready service providers, where the starting price $2.99 was per month.