Where is everybody??

This place seems like it was once filled with activity, but now its all but empty. Is there something I should know?

  • @ Evan Winslow  , I like your suggestion, maybe the best question is, How can we make elgg community user friendly.

    @  ura soul   , I agree with your observation about  "numerous other social network applications available today, which are attracting many new or old users of elgg and the lack of lack of real-time updates in elgg.

    My first suggestion and question  is;  Where did the Elgg Search Bar Go? It is harder for new user who are searching for topics which had been solved before. Even the older users have to search some of the issues on elgg through google which does not help most of the time.

    1. https://community.elgg.org/discussion/view/105668/does-elgg-need-better-search

    and many more might be the reason... I might be wrong though

  • A very good point about search, Tom. Actually, this has already been fixed but the fix needs to be pushed live:


  • In general I agree that Elgg needs to be more modernized. This is rather difficult work to do right in a sustainable way for the core team. There's a lot more than just slapping on a new feature. Some of the things we take into consideration:

    • It is testable and tested, so we don't have to worry about regressions
    • It is extensible and provides a clear, useful, intuitive API for plugin developers
    • It is thoroughly documented.
    • It is performant enough to be run on low-power hardware (e.g., shared hosting and smartphones).
    • Is backwards compatible with everything else we already have.

    For UI stuff, we also would want to make sure that:

    • It works across device screens and capabilities
    • It is accessible to those with disabilities (we're horrible at this now)
    • It is themeable

    For now I am focused on refactoring Elgg's internals to handle the testability part. We're not even there yet with Elgg core, so what hope do plugin devs have right now? Who has ever written a test for action code? Anyone? I'd love to know how you did it. For Elgg core, users taking actions (a central feature of "social" software), has no validation that it actually works. Isn't that scary? I'm trying to change things there.

    IMO one of the main things that caused my old Stanford project to never take off was our lack of ability to make changes quickly and confidently, because the plugin code we wrote was impossible to test. The whole system was brittle and had a (deserved) reputation of being unstable.

    Similarly when I do custom personal projects they are also just very hard to do well because they can't be tested automatically (and I don't care to do it manually -- not scalable), so I frequently get bug reports of critical aspects of the system not working for whatever reason. I'm at the point where I just leave things alone because I don't care to make changes that might break things again. This is a sad way to work. 

    I really like Elgg. It's better in many ways than other software I see out there. Add that to the fact that I'm just more familiar with it after so many years of working on it. I want it to succeed, but my fear is that stagnation will take over because people are afraid to make the necessary changes to keep things healthy and moving forward.

    So what are people up to? That's what I'm up to. Sorry for the wall of text.

  • @Evan, I think you really hit the actual issue here. Concerns about stability, testability, BC, extensibility etc.. are holding back innovation. Understandable and arguable. But besides from insiders not really defendable.

    Progress comes with bumps. Some are going forward, some are going backwards.

    In short: Focus more on fixing than on preventing until the platform is so dominant that the opposite is true.

  • I think the original intention of the question of Mike44 maybe wasn't "Where are the Elgg devs and what's instore for the future of Elgg?" but rather referring to the decrease in activity of "normal" Elgg users - rather asking question than answering them. Core devs have even started more discussions recently than before.

    I also noticed quite a decrease in threads of people asking for support during the last several months. There are still some people asking questions but I think much less than before. Also, questions asked specifically on plugins have decreased a lot.

    I don't know if people might simply have less problems right now, i.e. they do not require any help, or if there are less people around. I guess only some download stats of plugins if available or stats about daily / weekly site visitors could answer the question if there are really less people around.

    Maybe people are also slightly on hold right now waiting for the final Elgg 1.9 to get released any we might have more activity again afterwards.

    Or the number of new users on the community site is kept lower than in the past due to the fact that certain email domains are no longer allowed to be used when registering an account. While this might keeps spammers out it might also discourage valid users from using Elgg if they are not even allowed to register an account.

    @ura: what are these "numerous other social network applications" you mentioned? I think I've missed them completely so far...

    @Evan: improving testability is surely an important thing for developing / maintaining Elgg core. But I don't think that many end-users of Elgg are really much interested in that. With end-users I don't even refer to people who will register on a site created with Elgg but to the people who decide on using Elgg for creating a site. Only very, very few of them will ever code on Elgg core or write a plugin on their own. They will rather use what's available as it is. For them it might be more important what front-end features come with Elgg and the available plugins out-of-the-box and not necessarily what happens in the background.

  • Improving testability is surely an important thing for developing / maintaining Elgg core. But I don't think that many end-users of Elgg are really much interested in that. For them it might be more important what front-end features come with Elgg...

    Stability is a feature.

  • We'll get there with the fancy new features. I want them. Everybody wants them. Trust me, I'd much rather be working on making Elgg slick, ajaxified, etc., but that just can't happen until all this other stuff gets done or we will have lots of BC problems. We simply can't break everything in the process. That's all I'm saying.

  • Once we get to a certain threshold of testability, I really think the features can start pouring in. We're just kind of in a rut right now, unfortunately.

    I do like your theory about people being dormant because they're waiting for 1.9... we'll see...

  • @iionly - there are many.. i didn't bookmark them. here's a search that lists many:

    and from that search:

    some are open sourced, some are paid.. there are many.

    @evan: i have already coded a plugin that converts elgg lists to be ajaxed - and have made other ajaxed views for my site (login and lost password). i haven't published it as i have more features to integrate into it.
    i agree that having the other backend parts ready would be beneficial and i prefer that these aspects of core are resolved first. i am just pointing to why the traffic is slowed.
    using the elgg community, compared to facebook et al, is quite a dated experience now.

  • My top priority is always help elgg users. I'm always here.

    So what are people up to? That's what I'm up to. Sorry for the wall of text.

    Well, Evan we are currently:

    Working on my own fork of elgg (PiGo LMS) because we will try to offer it to a local private University. Over 6 months of heavy testing with students, doing homeworks and online tests on a shared hosting to test if it can run well with very limited resources.

    Also, working on integrating WebODF with elgg. This is our star project, that we are implementing in PiGo and we want release here in the elgg community.

    What is WebODF?

    WebODF is a JavaScript library that makes it easy to add Open Document Format (ODF) support to your website and to your mobile or desktop application. It uses HTML and CSS to display ODF documents.

    Why is our star project? Well, I was working with OwnCloud, FengOffice, and SugarCRM. I realized that something was missing in elgg. Most elgg networks are collaborative networks, and it hit me that elgg lacked a way to display Open Document files (without a third party). Most file viewers for elgg (Including Ours) rely on third party viewers, and it is bad because some want to keep documents private. WebODF allows you to view ODF files without using a third party.

    The second integration we are working on is the ability to create new ODT files within elgg. For instance, may be you have an elgg network for your organization, and you need to write a report, but you're not on your computer or may be you don't want to install a software (like Microsoft Office or Open Office), you want to keep everything centralized within your collaborative network. That's where WebODF enters! No need to download software, runs on a low-end computer and tablets without issues. You can add formatting and also add pretty images to your report, and all within elgg.

    So, that's what we're up to!