We’ve developed SE4 with the primary goals of improving SE3’s customizability and extensibility. SE4 will not only be a turnkey white-label social network, but also a broadly-applicable social content platform in its own right.
The platform will be designed with a high level of modularity so that third-party plugins, skins, and other custom scripts can be easily implemented and adjusted. Internal scripts and templates will be highly granular to avoid upgrade conflict issues. SE4 will also be substantially more accessible (especially for mobile devices) thanks to thorough HTML4 standards compliance and fluid, div-based layouts. To improve extensibility/scalability, we’ve re-written the SE core on top of the highly-acclaimed Zend framework, which carries substantial documentation and a very active developer community with it.
While development is now underway, we do not yet have a set deadline for a public beta. This will be announced as soon as our development team has set one. We will directly contact every third-party developer currently listed on our third-party mods page when a beta is available so that they can begin upgrading their products.
Here is a tentative feature list for SE4:
- Improved activity feed with member photos, in-feed posting and comments
- HTML4 standards-compliant layout for increased accessibility
- Renovated default skin with new, cleaner look
- Built-in profile picture cropping tool
- Automatic detection of locale & date/time from member’s browser
- Users can belong to multiple networks (i.e. sub-networks)
- Network affiliation is now shown more visibly on members’ profiles and in search results by default
- Members can search for each other geographically (if geo-fields have been created by admin)
- Completely renovated DB structure, improving scalability for large installs
- New database abstraction layer lays the foundation for future data extraction and database interoperability
- Upgrade from partial caching support to full Zend-driven comprehensive caching with various options
- Significantly leaner HTML output
- New content management system (CMS)
- Layout can now be modified with drag & drop simplicity
- New media manager allows for all media, such as images, to be viewed and edited directly from admin panel
- Widgets can easily be added or removed from the admin panel
- Vastly improved front and back-end modularity, making third-party development much easier
- Third-party plugins can now easily add custom pages to the signup process
- Comprehensive API
- More script/template granularity, designed to ease customizations and minimize conflicts
- Streamlined upgrade process for platform and plugins
- Language packs can now be edited from the admin panel or directly in the pack files themselves
- Admin now has its own member account and can appoint moderator-level members
- Member content can be moderated by admin/moderators right on the network, outside admin panel
- Improved and simplified network (i.e. sub-network) creation and management
- Admin can now broadcast a message to all users at once
- Admin can post announcements above the news feed
- Pre-populated location-type profile fields now available (State, Country, ZIP)
- Redundant fields (those that appear for multiple member types) now combined into “global fields”
- Removed constraint on maximum number of profile fields
From this point forward, we will strive to be as transparent as possible about the upcoming development cycle and release. However, please keep questions about SE4 to a minimum at this point as we are focusing all of our efforts on development. Again, thank you all for your continued support and enthusiasm for SocialEngine!
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