August 13, 2008

Elgg and WP-BuddyPress - Evolving the Social Networking space

New BuddyPress Default ThemeImage by Andy Peatling via FlickrScheduled for release on Aug 18, Elgg v1.0 is set to create a stir in the world of social networking scripts. With an open-source strategy, it has won the laurels of many. It already has a well established community for the Classic Elgg v0.9, and hopes to expand its market with the new release. The v1.0 is advertised to be more flexible and robust in design, and allows developers to create custom social apps with ease.

The best feature of Elgg is the access controls that empower users to control who can see their data. Elgg is used by a few Universities and large organizations, and thus demonstrates its scalability.

However, here are a few things to have in mind before you embrace it for your new webapp.

  • The community is not as large as that of Wordpress.
  • There are no ready-made plugins yet for integrating thirdparty components with Elgg (Ex: Integrating a MediaWiki or BBpress). You may expect them in future.
  • Its hard to find developers/freelancers for developing with Elgg
  • There are not many themes available out on the web.

Well... A good alternative to Elgg is BuddyPress, a project backed by Wordpress. BuddyPress is a set of WordPress MU specific plugins, each plugin adding a new distinct social feature. The idea of BuddyPress is to take a standard vanilla installation of WordPress MU and turn it into something that represents more of a community building tool, or niche social network. The new theme developed by Andy is awesome. See it for yourself on the sandbox.

BuddyPress is still new and half baked right now. Wordpress has promised to complete the project by the end of this year. The lead-developer Andy Peatling has done a terrific job of adding the social layer over WP-MU edition. He is now employed by Automattic, the company who makes Wordpress.

BuddyPress or Elgg??? Hmmm...
  • Wordpress has a larger community, easy to find freelancers to work on it, plenitude of themes and plugins, and has a huge community.
  • Elgg v1.0 on the other hand has the best access controls for users, more flexible in design, and has been well-tested for over an year.
  • Developing on Elgg may require more work and tech knowledge to integrate various third-party components, build a theme, and configure it.

Next week, I will get my hands on both of them and test the waters. So until then, I cannot choose one over another.

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6 Comments:

Logen said...

I was searching for Wordpress plugins to bridge Elgg with WP when I found your blog.

Having read your entry, it might be too early to look for such a plugin. Sighs.

ecm said...

any additional comments on elgg v. buddypress? i've tried to install elgg a few times and couldn't even get that far. WP on the other hand was relatively easy. I'm starting to lean toward BP...

Seshu Karthick said...

Logen,
I also wanted a plugin to bridge Elgg with WP MU. If there is a Single-signon plugin of that sought, I'd be jumping with joy.

Anonymous said...

Installing elgg 1.0 was very easy for me. WP is also very easy to install, however I am having problems installing BuddyPress to my existing WordPress installation.

I am following the the installation instructions: http://trac.buddypress.org/browser/trunk/INSTALL-README.txt

But it ends up being a mess. Any help for dummies will be greatly appreciated.

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