What are your thoughts?

Hey all.  I am creating a network that requires all the SN staples like friend rosters, messaging, blogging, group formation etc... and the web designer I am working with recommended Elgg as a platform.

However, the aesthetic will be a huge factor in development.  It needs to look entirely streamlined for its one and only purpose, to have custom color scheme, logo and layout that resembles nothing I see here.  Has anyone successfully accomplished that, and might you give me a heads up as to the difficulties?

Looking forward,


  • Hi Adam. We did a complete rewrite of the views in order to match with the existing site. How was the experience? In two words... a nightmare :)

    Ok, I exaggerated a bit, but I found two main problems, inconsistency and a certain oversight in the coding of the mods (even in those included in the basic package).

    I think there is a lack of a style manual because every plugin imposes its owns rules, but even worse, most plugins use different criteria between pages, inside the same page or even in the same line, mixing for example inline and concatenated variables, double and single quotes, etc.

    On the positive side, the core is robust, in concept and coding.

    We are adding the elgg comunity to our existing site. As we use semantic XHTML in the site, we had to rewrite almost all views. You won't see a radical change in the appeareance because we opted for a calm design, but it has a lot of changes from the original.

    The site is http://www.shertonenglish.com/social/
    It's not public yet, but we plan to do it in a couple of days. If you want to take a look and you don't want to register, ask me for a test user (because there is no public pages except the main page).

    Default language is spanish, but you can change it to english by clicking the US flag.

    (Please forgive my bad english)

  • ShertonEnglish ?? Ahh I remember.. ;-O

    It has been some months.. If you remember Morgar ? Nice to see you've almost completed your customizations.

    I like what I see.. great work.

    And guys.. if you're reading this..  Compare http://www.shertonenglish.com/social/ and http://www.shertonenglish.com/

    ... You;ll see why I applaud. I remember now Morgars queries and looking  at 2nd site to try to give some ***Ismall advice ;-) Yet another Elgg site that rocks !

  • Many thanks Dhrup. Of course I remember you answered my first questions month ago, when I began with this project. It took a little more than I expected :)

    I finally integrate phpBB for more than authentication, it is also using the permission and language system, and the message queue for notifications.

    I planned to write a post announcing the launch and explaining what I did, but I didn't have the time yet. There is always something more to be fixed.

    Thanks again. More news later :)

  • @morgar, how have you added this feature that people must login to see pages/profiles/blog ?

  • Hi ombre. It has two redundants parts. On the client side, a simple JQuery script redirects all Elgg links to the login dialog if you are not logged in. But, as the user can have the javascript disabled, you need a backup on the server side. In my case I am using phpBB authentication that is loaded at te beginning of every page. If the user is not logged in, it redirects to the index page.

    I'm not sure, but I thinks it should be easyly done with a plugin for the standard Elgg authentication. I will try if I have the time.

  • Completely new here, and to Elgg. We’re in the same situation as the initiator of this post, looking for a platform on which to build our social network. We too need all those core SN staples, but as in the use case above, we also need complete customisation of the front-end.

    We took a look at Drupal to build our backend, but with specific functionality for our site in mind (to which individual user-based access rights management on database writes is crucial), Elgg seems more appropriate. We were really impressed by the elegant data model of Elgg, putting access rights, right in the core of each entity, and modelling relations between entities according to RDF principles.

    However, extensive user input requires lots of customly built views (forms etc.). Too get to grips with all our custom front-end and UI elements, we have come to appreciate the Smarty templating engine. Too, we are allready using MooTools as javascript framework, instead of jQuery, and we have our css files built with SASS (allthough, alas, not php). We took a look at Elgg’s views system, but would prefer to still use our Smarty templates.

    Elgg documentation states:

    “As powerful as this system is, you may find that you want to use a completely different template handler (…) This can then hand off to something like Smarty, or the template handler of your choice.”

    Did anyone actually did this allready? A quick search in the community site here, returns no results…

    Could Smarty (and SASS and MooTools for that matter) be used to build the frontend, in conjuction with the Elgg core? Any estimations on how vast such an integretion would be?

  • Morgan, Great work! I am interested in how you integrated the newest members to the login box. Willing to pay if need to, there are few other cool things you have going there i would like to know about. I am working on couple of projects and think these could be a great plus to it. Hola me on here or if you prefer smarkwakeup@yadsocial.com


  • @elggboy
    el hombre tiene un nombre
    no morgan

  • @Dhrup: Thanks man, you are right, I'm not the pirate :) BTW, your spanish are better than my english :)

    @elggboy: I took the Custom Index plugin as a base, but I rewrite it entirely. The integration you mention is only html/css work. I will send you an email later.