SocialEngine Blog

SocialEngine is the best way to create a unique community website. Let your friends, fans or customers geek out about anything you want.

Spencer’s Adventures: Atlas Sneak Peek

image19Hey! Over here!! Guess what I found? Oh boy you’ll never guess. :DI was sniffing around Ray’s office, it smells of bacon. I love bacon! I found a hidden stash of bacon in his desk so of course after munching on that, I had to look for more. Well, I found…

Atlas

This new theme bundle is full of great features! Ready? Check this out!

Customizable Splash Page

You can edit the text that shows on this page to make it a fully customized experience. The background image is totally up to you! Best of all – it rotates between however many images you decide to load for it! WOW! Great stuff!!

image14

Auto-complete Search

Yes, that’s right! Atlas includes an auto-complete feature for searching! Now how awesome is that?

image4

User Drop down Menu

Now this is pretty cool. A drop down menu for the member’s profile, account and logout links.

image17

Posting to the Feed

New look for posting a feed status. This sleek look will surely entice your members to post!

image18

Writing a Comment to a Feed Post

Sleek design invites members to comment and keep the discussions moving along!

image3

Blogs that Pop

That’s right! Your blogs will practically pop off the screen with this new design. Blog views are designed for optimal viewing pleasure. (Requires Blog plugin)

image13

Profile Header Improved

A nice, sleek profile header to delight your members! Who could resist this?

image20

Photo Section Thrills

Designed to emphasize and create a dramatic effect for your site’s photos. (Requires Album plugin)

image5

Exciting Music Player

Impress your music lovers with this eye-popping music player! (Requires Music Plugin)

image16

Re-Designed Activity Feed

This newly designed activity feed brings a focus to the activity on your site. Your members will appreciate this easy to read format.

image15

Member Browse in the Spotlight

Put a spotlight on what counts – your members. This design focuses attention on each member and encourages member interactions with an easy to find “Add Friend” link.

image9

Full Width Videos in Feed

That’s right! You can now have full width videos in your activity feed. Your members are going to love this and want to add more and more videos! (Some features require Video Plugin)

image12

Full Width/Height Chat

Want more space for your chat? No problem! Atlas provides a full width/height chat room. (Requires Chat Plugin)

image6

Forum Topics

Designed for optimum readability and navigation. Your members will love spending time in your forum. (Requires Forum plugin)

image11

Editing a Form

Designed for ease of use, this design shows the edit form in a clean format. (Blog edit shown below requires Blog plugin)

image1

Browsing Entries in Sections

Designed to focus on content, your members will find items displayed in an attractive format.

image10

It’s Responsive!

That’s right! This is a responsive theme that doesn’t require the mobile plugin. This screenshot shows the responsive profile.

image7

Dress it up with Profile Banners

Atlas includes support for members to add profile banners!

image21
Phew! That was a lot to dig out. The good news is, this theme will be for sale in the marketplace soon. I have to go now. Ray’s keyboard smelled like bacon so I cleaned it up some, with my tongue, and accidentally ate his S. Maybe he won’t notice. 😀 Your pal Spencer.

Posted in Company Updates | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

SocialEngine PHP 4.9.3 Release

socialengine 4.9.3

Hello!

Hot off the presses, SocialEngine PHP 4.9.3! This minor release addresses some issues that were reported by clients in our Github along with a few issues our staff found during further testing. We’ve also included some minor improvements to current features.

Designers will be thrilled as we’ve added support so the main layout can be edited allowing much greater flexibility in themes. This will check if default.tpl exists and if it does, it will load the layout from there. Additionally, if a ‘head.tpl’ exists they can add additional data to the sites <head></head>.

Fixed Issues or Improvements Made:

  • Fixed – all remaining privacy issues for each SocialEngine official plugin.  
  • Fixed –  Zend_Form_Exception: Form elements auth_view and auth_comment have the same order. 
  • Fixed – banned IP not deleted from database when deleted in admin. 
  • Fixed – mail Templates: Post on Profile does not use updated [footer] template. 
  • Fixed – if no subscription plans exist, Admin can still allow users to select on registration.
  • Fixed – ad campaigns not working when no network is chosen.
  • Fixed – undefined variable and undefined index for photo albums.
  • Fixed – private profile shows photo and name.
  • Fixed – page title not changing for multi-language translations. 
  • Fixed – error for core plugins (albums, blog, polls, etc) when no privacy is selected for member levels.
  • Fixed – undefined property error stdClass::$user.
  • Fixed – remove “publish to Twitter” from private messages. 
  • Fixed – API error with 2Checkout if account not approved at 2Checkout and admin tries to disable it from payment gateway settings.
  • Fixed – added phrases for Blog Photos, Forum Photos, Classified Photos and Wall photos for translation; privacy and notification settings; IM Chat – toggle notifications. 
  • Fixed – UI issues for music manage page options and music upload icon; “next” icon; user profile icon in mini menu;  .
  • Fixed – ad rotation issue where ads with less views would show and not show others. Set to show ads in a random pattern.
  • Fixed – deleted user’s notifications remained in engine4_activity_notificationsettings database. 
  • Fixed – phrase truncation issue with language array file.
  • Fixed – in poll and music plugin, “Friends only” privacy issue if user has no friends.
  • Fixed – Top Referring Sites page shows all referring URLs, changed to show up to 100.
  • Fixed – Video plugin error when member is in a network and there are no videos on the site.
  • Fixed – issues setting memcache settings and connection refused error.
  • Fixed – photo attached in mail compose is cropped. 
  • Fixed – changed the Twitter api link in Admin Panel settings to update it with correct URL.
  • Fixed – Google font URL in theme was causing a 404 error, updated URL.
  • Fixed – subscription on signup not progressing for popup form.
  • Fixed – Admin Panel RSS feed for News & Updates changed to ajax load to ensure there is no load delay.
  • Fixed – announcement undefined variable tabIndex.
  • Fixed – memcache details could not be saved in admin and memcache refusal error.
  • Fixed – PHP notice: “fgetcsv(): escape must be a single character” for translation.
  • Improved – thousand and decimal separator improvement to allow for varied locales. 
  • Improved – privacy improvements for member browse page to hide profile pics from showing for private profiles and hide blocked members from showing to members that blocked them.
  • Improved – include page title in title tag in Admin Panel.
  • Improved – optimized album widget privacy performance. 
  • Improved – added setting to choose between icon or label for Insignia theme mini widget menu. This improves accessibility for clients with screen readers.
  • Improved – added emoticon (smiley) and code snippet buttons to TinyMce editor.

NOTE: Please make sure that you do a complete backup of both files and database before performing this upgrade. Please have the backup performed by your host or a developer if you’re not comfortable with performing it yourself. Always check with third party experts for compatibility with any products you use before upgrading.

Important: If you are on a version below 4.9.2, you will need to follow the steps in this blog before upgrading and apply the patch mentioned.

You can also browse the complete changelog for more details about the changes and fixes implemented in this version.

You can download your copy of version 4.9.3 from your client account. To upgrade, please view our upgrade documentation or, if you’d rather we take care of the hard stuff, you can order an upgrade and we’ll do it for you. Fresh installs should follow this installation tutorial or you can order an installation ticket and our team will get it installed in no time!

Thank you all for your help in posting any bugs you may have found! If you find any more issues, please let us know by filing a bug report in our Bug Tracker or by contacting us here. Lastly we’d like to encourage you to stay connected with the community.

With Great Respect,

The SocialEngine Team

Posted in Release Notes | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Explosive Growth Potential with SocialEngine Niche Communities

Growth with SocialEngine niches

Hi there! Today, we’re exploring the explosive growth potential with SocialEngine niche communities. Grab a beverage, hop in a comfy chair and let’s spend time exploring this topic together.

What is a “niche” community?

A simple explanation of a “niche” community is a community that focuses on a particular topic for a specific audience. Facebook started by initially focusing on Harvard students.  Later they expanded it to higher education institutions in the Boston region, the Ivy League schools, and Stanford University. Facebook gradually added support for students at various other universities, and eventually to high school students. Today, Facebook has roughly 2 billion monthly users.  

Why is a Niche Important?

Having a focus for your community can make it easier to acquire members via search engines. As you add relevant keywords, titles, descriptions and content, your site should show up in search engines as people search for those same terms. This makes it much easier to achieve better search engine ranking.

For example, maybe you enjoy crafts. If you search Google now for “craft community,” you’ll find a large amount of websites focusing on that general topic. Let’s narrow this down a bit.  Perhaps your favorite craft is pottery. If you focus your community on pottery, you could gain the benefits of the “craft” and “pottery” keywords and have an easier time targeting your ad campaigns to people interested in that subject.

Why does a niche community grow faster than a general community?

A niche community has content specifically targeted towards people with that same interest. This content attracts like-minded individuals who join and share their own tips, advice, great finds, etc.

By providing good content for your niche, it’ll be easier to attract members looking for information, friendship, help, tips, etc. People will be far more likely to join a community that specializes in something they’re interested in than a general site with no specific focus. As these members join, they’ll share the site with their friends and family. Hence, your community becomes stronger and much more likely to succeed.

How can you cater to a niche community?

When starting a niche community, you’ll want to add lots of content – blogs, photos, events, classified listings, polls, forum posts and anything else that goes with the focus of your community. As you attract members, they’ll add their own content, comments, likes and other interactions to contribute to the activity of the site. You can additionally use the various import tools in SocialEngine Cloud to grab RSS feeds from other sites to help populate the content for your community. SocialEngine PHP has an RSS plugin that allows you to grab content from sites with an RSS URL.

It’s a good idea to have a theme that complements the type of community you’re making. For example, a light theme with bigger fonts does well with a community that focuses on written material – news, literature, blogging, etc. Whereas, a photo community may be better with a darker theme that accentuates the images in the photo section and feeds.

Changing phrases can help further focus on your niche and make a great impression on members. For example, “Blog” phrases can be changed to “Articles” or “Stories;” “Videos” could change to “Films”; “Forum” can be “Arena.” You get the idea. Likes, friends, activity feed and all the other phrases are versatile in SocialEngine PHP and allow you to decide how you want your site to feel for your members. With SocialEngine Cloud, you can change menus and categories to match your niche.

Niche communities can achieve exponential growth. It takes time, dedication and creativity to achieve these sorts of results. If you focus on a topic you enjoy or are an expert at, you’ll have a much easier time setting up and growing your community.

Now that we’ve explored what niche communities are and how they can be built with SocialEngine, we’d like to highlight a few extra resources we think you’ll find to be helpful.

Useful Tutorials:

SocialEngine Cloud

SocialEngine PHP

Useful Third Party Products:

This is not a full list. It’s just a sample of third party products for SocialEngine PHP that might help with niche communities:

In addition to the above for SocialEngine PHP, there are themes for SocialEngine Cloud that might help with your niche.

If you have questions or feedback, please join us at our community and let us know your thoughts!

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~Harriet Tubman

 

Posted in Tips and Tutorials | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Nominate SocialEngine PHP for the 2017 CMS Critic Awards!

SE-CMSbanner-nominate

Hello Everyone!

Summer is off to an awesome start! That also means it’s time to nominate SocialEngine PHP for the 2017 Best Social Network Software award. Thanks to all of your support, we’ve had the honor of winning this award for the past two years in a row! Our team is humbled by the outpouring of support we receive from all of you each year.

Our commitment to provide the best social network building software is as strong as ever as we continue to make improvements based on your feedback. Please show your love for SocialEngine PHP by nominating us again this year.

Head on over to https://www.cmscritic.com/awards/2017-web-nominations/ and nominate us for the following:

Best Social Network Software

They only allow one selection this year and any with more than one option chosen will be disqualified.

Deadline for submitting the nominations is August 27, 2017.

Thank you all for being so amazing and being the driving force behind everything we do.

With Great Appreciation,

The SocialEngine Team

Posted in Company Updates | 7 Comments

Spencer Explores the SocialEngine Marketplace

spencer explores socialengine marketplace

Howdy!

It’s been a fun week! I’ve been learning to swim! So far, I can do the dog paddle almost like an expert. Great, right?

I love to visit the SocialEngine team after a swim! They just get so excited to see me. I thought they all wanted a hug so I obliged each one. Oh they just loved it! They loved it so much, they put me in the Spencer room. That’s a room just for me. It has toys, chewed shoes, and some things I found and hid under my blankie. After a nap, I decided to go dig around the marketplace and found some great stuff. Good ole Spencer loves to share so have a gander at these:

Courses/Learning Section – Create courses and allow your members see lectures and try to complete tests! By SocialEnginePro . “I suggest a course on dog grooming…”

Social Publisher – Transform your website into a social hub around your member’s social identity. By SocialEngineMods . “Gee, this would make it really easy to post all about good ole Spencer to all social media outlets at once! You know you want to ;)”

Reactions/Emoji – An effective way to increase engagement and measure your members’ sentiment. By Radcodes . “I wonder if they have dog emojis…”

Scroll Top – Add a scroll to top button. By Web80 Team. “No one likes to be lost at the bottom of a page. This helps them pop to the top!”

Whoops! The team made me stop digging around. Now they have to patch the hole I made. Sure was fun though! Have a look at all of those great things I found and see if some of them would fit in with your site. You might find them as awesome as I did!

Thanks for spending time with me! Keep your tails wagging and your fur dry! Until next time, this is Spencer signing off. 😉

Posted in SocialEngine Marketplace, Spencer's Digs | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Introducing SocialEngine’s Mascot Spencer W. Ebligo

SocialEngine Mascot

The SocialEngine team would like to introduce you to our new mascot, Spencer W. Ebligo. We had tremendous response for the naming campaign and are so appreciative of everyone that participated. With all of the creative names that were submitted, we felt that Spencer was the best choice and suits his personality perfectly.

The five runner up names were:

Skeeter Esquire
Soul Elektra
Stewie Edison
Sax W. Ebligo
Saidi Edrick

Congratulations both to the winner and all the runners up who have some great prizes coming their way! In appreciation for the time everyone took to send qualifying names, we’re also giving a 10% discount on a SocialEngine license to anyone that participated with qualifying entries. In addition to that, SocialEngineSolutions is giving a 30% discount on any products purchased from them. Full details about this surprise consolation prize is coming in emails to those that qualified.

Keep an eye out on our websites and various authorized places around the net for appearances from Spencer W. Ebligo.

With Appreciation,

The SocialEngine Team and Spencer

Posted in Company Updates | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Grand Opening! New SocialEngine Community

grand opening socialengine forum

Hello!

Recently, we announced that we would be opening a new community based on our SocialEngine PHP software. We are pleased to announce that it’s open! Come check it out here!

As we mentioned we would not be importing users, please sign up at our new community. For clients and experts, please be sure to choose the right profile type and “subscription” in order to have access to the areas you will want access to. Note that all subscriptions are free. This was just to aid with spam fighting and with sorting members into the correct member levels. Trial clients can also choose the “client” type and subscription. It would be best if you all use the same email that you use for your account with us as we will be checking to make sure everyone is in the right member levels.

For those without a license, you can also have a place in our community provided you choose the “Regular” profile type and the “Regular” subscription type. Please read our terms before joining as we will remove any members that join in a level they do not belong in. This is to protect our clients’ and experts’ privacy. If you accidentally joined in the wrong type, please contact us to fix your account.

This new forum will be used for issue reports and feature requests as mentioned in the previous blog. We will close out the public Github issue tracker once we release 4.9.3 when it’s ready soon. We’ll keep the Github feature section open for now as there are a lot of current feature requests, but please submit new feature requests in the new community.

It is our goal to have a vibrant and close community where everyone feels comfortable contributing and interacting. Please feel free to contact Donna, our Chief Evangelist, at the new community if you have any concerns. Our other staff is also available for questions but may not be on as often as she is.

With Appreciation,

The SocialEngine Team and Mascot

Posted in Company Updates | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Responsively Mobile with SocialEngine

background template2

Our recent SEPHP 4.9 launch saw the introduction of our fully responsive Insignia theme. This article will introduce you to concept of responsiveness and how you can go responsively mobile with SocialEngine.

First, what is a responsive theme and why should you care?

According to StatCounter, “The combined traffic from mobile and tablet devices tipped the balance at 51.2 percent, vs. 48.7 percent for desktop access”  in a study last year. Many of these devices can have differing screen sizes. This can make it a challenge when visiting websites that aren’t “mobile ready.”

For example, if a user with a smartphone visits a site that doesn’t resize to fit his or her screen, they might not see important buttons, be able to sign up, log in, log out, or interact on the site. With that experience, they are far less likely to come back.

Here’s a view from a smartphone. In this view, we’ve used a standard theme and disabled the mobile plugin to show you what issues can be faced when a site is not mobile friendly:

image1

Notice in the image that the settings menus are cut off. It should show the change password and delete account menus. This is how it looks in a responsive theme:

image2

With a responsive theme, such as our Insignia theme, the site naturally scales down to fit the screen. This gives a seamless experience for the user and delivers content to them without hampering the view.

Ok, Responsive Themes Sound Great! What about a Mobile App Instead?

Great question! Mobile apps can be a good option if you have the spare cash to purchase the app and the yearly fees for Apple and Google. In most cases, you want to have a mobile app customized to your own site. Why? Because mobile apps need to work with every feature of the site. Since most sites have different features and settings, a custom app usually needs to be made in order to give the best experience for those using it.

Mobile apps require quite a bit of upkeep as well, which means more expense when upgrading or changing site design, logo, etc. Many find the price tag for a custom app a bit out of reach. There are third party experts that sell mobile apps and may have lower pricing for custom work. If you need a mobile app, it would be best to contact them for pricing it to suit your site.

Budget-wise Options for Mobile Devices with SocialEngine

As we showed you above, a responsive theme can be a great option as it “responds” and resizes to fit varying screens. SocialEngine also has a “mobi” plugin that further assists in delivering some items better for mobile devices. Using both of these options ensures a great experience for members of your SocialEngine community.

As such a high percent of people use mobile devices now, mainly smartphones, it makes sense to ensure your site responds well on those devices. Our Insignia responsive theme allows a great deal of flexibility to change colors and more via CSS.

If that’s not to your desire, there are third party experts with responsive themes as well. Each of the theme experts can answer any questions you may have about their themes. These are affordable options to have a more custom look with a responsive design.

We hope you’ve found this helpful! If you have any questions about this article, please feel free to ask at our community.

Today’s quote:

“Your positive action combined with positive thinking results in success.”~ Shiv Khera

Posted in Tips and Tutorials | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Name the SocialEngine Mascot and Win!

Hello!

We’re so excited to introduce the newest member of the SocialEngine family. We’ve just got one problem. Our mascot doesn’t have a name yet. That’s where you come in. We could use your help to name our brand new mascot. In appreciation of your help, whomever submits the best name will win items worth up to approximately $6,300 and five runners up will receive discounts worth up to approximately $1,700 each  ! That’s a total of more than approximately $15,300 in value!

A bit of background info on our mascot:

  • Our mascot is a Saint Bernard pup.
  • Our mascot loves the spotlight!
  • Jazz and blues are favorite music genres. In fact, our mascot barks out a tune when a good song is heard.
  • At parties, our mascot has a howling good time!
  • Our mascot makes no bones about being a “people” pup and adores our staff, our clients and third party experts.

SocialEngine Mascot

Adorable, right? We can’t wait to see what name wins!

Here are the rules of the contest:

  • We will only accept family friendly names. (No profanity or adult-themed submissions please)
  • Submission form must be filled in completely.
  • Email address must be valid in order to claim the prize.
  • His first name should start with “S” and last name “E” in order to have initials of S.E.
  • You agree that by participating in the contest, you release any rights to the name you are submitting.
  • Names cannot be copyrighted or trademarked by other companies; movies; celebrity names; or other publicly known names.
  • SocialEngine staff will choose the best name from the qualified entries submitted.
  • Winner and runners up will be notified by email and posted in a blog announcement. By entering our contest, entrants agree to receive emails from SocialEngine and third party experts in regards to the contest.
  • In the event that two or more people submit the same first and last names, winner will be chosen at random by a drawing of names.
  • Winner must respond to the winning notification email within 14 days to receive the prize or it will be forfeit. **SocialEngine assumes no responsibility for email transmission reliability. It is the winner’s responsibility to get back in touch with SocialEngine in order to claim the prize.
  • Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash. Licenses cannot be resold. Licenses cannot be transferred once claimed.
  • One entry per person.
  • In the event that no suitable name is submitted, winners and runners up will be drawn at random from those with qualified entries.
  • Contest void where prohibited by law.
  • Contest entrants must be above legal age for their location in order to participate. It is the contest entrant’s responsibility to check laws in their location.

Prizes

Grand Prize:

Prizes for Five Runners Up:

  • Five runners up will receive a 35% discount to purchase a SocialEngine license.
  • $20 discount on one theme of your choice from Pixythemes.
  • 30% off discount for any plugins from Racodes.
  • Choice of 50% off of one plugin from SocialEngine Mobi.
  • 20% off any plugins from Hire-Experts LLC.
  • Any two plugins for 50% off from SocialEngineSolutions.
  • 50% off all Plugins and Mobile Apps from SocialEngineAddOns.
  • 50% discount off any plugin or theme purchase from Webhive.

We want to thank all of the wonderful experts who have contributed prizes for our contest. As a bonus, SocialEngineSolutions has offered a 30% discount off for five of their plugins; Pixythemes has offered $10 off any theme; and SocialEngineAddOns has offered a 15% discount on the next order to anyone submitting a qualifying entry.

Submit your entries here from now until July 5, 2017. Winner will be announced on July 7, 2017. Runner up prizes will also be awarded. Good luck!

Sincerely,

The SocialEngine Team and Mascot

Posted in Company Updates | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

New SocialEngine Community Forum Coming Soon!

background template2

Hello!

We are super excited to announce that we’ve been working on something great for our clients and experts. After much feedback, we’ve decided to change our founder’s community to use SEPHP as it’s geared towards a forum and can allow us to offer more communication opportunities for everyone.

Our SECloud product is an awesome product for “Reddit” news aggregation niches, Twitter-esque networks, and many other types of communities. However, for our own needs, we need the features that SEPHP offers in the forum plugin, poll plugin and others. As such, our community will change. The current community will be kept as a read-only archive in order to preserve all of the wonderful content that everyone has contributed. We anticipate our new community to open near the end of June.

The new community forum will allow experts to post in an expert-only area so they can get coding help, provide expert feedback about things directly related to their needs, etc. It will have a member only section for posting bugs and feature requests – moving us away from Github where clients have mentioned a few times that they felt it was disconnected and it forced them to sign up for an external site. Some were not comfortable signing up and posting there. Moving it “in-house” seems best for everyone.

The new forum will be public for now. This will allow our “trial” clients to be able to post, as well as others that might have questions or tips to offer. We will also have a private client’s only section that will be monitored by staff.

You’ll need to join the new forum as we decided not to import users. We encourage you to set your privacy settings how you want them when you join. Please make sure you select the correct profile type and member level when joining so you have access to the forums you need. You’ll see subscriptions on the signup page. All subscriptions are free. We just need to ensure everyone is able to get access to areas they need and also it helps prevent spam.

Thank you for all of your feedback regarding the community and for helping make this new community a vibrant network for everyone.

With much appreciation,

The SocialEngine Team

Posted in Company Updates | 13 Comments