Some positive feedback

Hi! I'm a new user of elgg. I'm just getting into it, but so far I am absolutely in love. Let me go through this in sensible order:

  • elgg is a bit obscure. I found it when I specifically looked for social networking software. Before that, I had never heard of the package. I'm not a complete CMS outsider. I've even heard of a lot of smaller/less widely adopted CMS systems (such as such, e107). People need to be aware of your package before they will download it.
  • The elgg website, especially the forum structure, was quite confusing to me at first. I'm the type to browse around and figure things out. Most of your potential customers are not. They will come, get confused, and move on to another product.
  • Installation was ridiculously easy. Set up a database. Upload the software. Fill out the fields. EASIEST CMS INSTALL EVER.
  • Installing plugins, also easy. I uploaded the Plugin Installer. Activated it. Easy click and install for most plugins.
  • wew
  • Plugins that need additional coding or are not based on a standard mod install had easy instructions.
  • Remaining non-installing plugins resulted from poor packing by the uploaders. Some plugins had multiple nested directories instead of the single directory they should. In every one of these cases, it was simply a matter of unzipping, clicking a level down, rezipping, and then using the nice Plugin Installer interface.
  • Every single plug in I downloaded (a few dozen of them) worked with only one error.
  • The single error I encountered required nothing more than a rewrite rule fix. The solution was already provided by another user in the plugin's thread.
  • It is impossible for me to emphasize enough how easy the installation of both the main software and plugins went for me.
  • I was particularly impressed by the general lack of errors, technical humps, and so forth. No other CMS/social software has ever been so cooperative, especially once a few dozen plugins are thrown on top.
  • The plugin for drawing articles from MediaWiki is particular keen and is seriously one of the best features available to add to elgg.
  • elgg provided the basics I needed out of the box and easily became almost all that I need with a couple of iframe hacks, short of integration with third party software or acceptable alternatives to those software packages.
  • I'm using a brutish iframe hack for forums and project management. Nothing available for elgg is remotely close to my needs for these purposes. It works and it keeps the elgg frame around the other pieces, but it's three distinct logins. (Yes, I'm aware of the phpBB "integration". I appreciate the work of the uploader, but it's still an incomplete log-in bridge with no other functionality after a year. I am also aware of the Vanilla forum integration. Vanilla is woefully feature-sparse, with not nearly enough plugins to make up for the lack of robustness. For Vanilla 2, there's not even enough plugins to replicate the features of other lean/small forum products on the market!
  • Themes. The themes selection is rather sparse and limited compared to other software. For people like me who are not HTML/CSS savvy, this is a serious drawback. I know enough to know how to customize colors and images, but not enough to make other substantive changes to themes. 

The confusing site, lack of substantial integration of major third party CMS/social solutions, and limited choices in templates are barriers for adoption among new users. That noted, I love elgg. The ease of installation, almost complete lack of problems, and delightful functionality are absolutely top notch. Find ways to improve the site navigation/forums and expand the variety of themes and you're talking serious blockbuster potential within the social networking/CMS world. The product itself is impeccable and I am going to strongly recommend it to anyone who needs this sort of software solution.


P.S. On the matter of the iframe and third party integration, I posted elsewhere about third party integration and my ugly iframe hack.

P.S.S. Upon editing my post, it added a ridiculous number of strong and em tags through it. Fixed through direct HTML edit, but a bug you may way to check out.

Feedback and Planning

Feedback and Planning

Discussions about the past, present, and future of Elgg and this community site.