Version 1.8 Kevin Jardine London Elgg Meetup 23 November 2011
What is Elgg? Frameworks Applications Elgg ? PHP Cake Ruby on Rails Zend Framework Content management systems WordPress Dr...
Elgg: hybrid <ul><li>not a framework - you can install it and it does a lot immediately without additional coding </li></u...
Elgg's strengths <ul><li>Rapid development </li></ul><ul><li>Ben Werdmuller's original goal: “Elgg should do nothing” </li...
Elgg 1.8 <ul><li>Major goal: make Elgg easier to theme </li></ul><ul><li>Complete reworking of CSS and view system </li></...
Examples of default behaviour <ul><li>elgg_view_entity() works (sort-of) with no additional coding - uses title, descripti...
Menu system <ul><li>Elgg 1.8 introduces a standard set of Elgg navigation menus, moving navigation away from the previous ...
 
CSS <ul><li>Goal: create a sitewide consistent look and feel </li></ul><ul><li>Previous monolithic Elgg CSS file now split...
JavaScript <ul><li>Elgg 1.8 introduces a JavaScript framework built on top of jQuery. </li></ul><ul><li>Includes Elgg-spec...
Form management <ul><li>Elgg 1.8 begins to address one of Elgg's traditional weaknesses - form management </li></ul><ul><l...
Adding to Elgg's strengths <ul><li>Elgg 1.8 further enhances Elgg's primary strength as a rapid prototyping and developmen...
Elgg is not for everyone <ul><li>Elgg 1.8 introduces even more of an “Elgg way to do things” </li></ul><ul><li>You need to...
Elgg's fundamental issues <ul><li>Plugins can have unpredictable interactions </li></ul><ul><li>Some plugins are better wr...
Room for improvement <ul><li>Notifications are not scalable and are almost guaranteed to white out large group forms. </li...
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What is new in elgg 1.8?

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Presentation given by Kevin Jardine at the London Elgg Meetup on November 23rd 2011

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What is new in elgg 1.8?

  1. 1. Version 1.8 Kevin Jardine London Elgg Meetup 23 November 2011
  2. 2. What is Elgg? Frameworks Applications Elgg ? PHP Cake Ruby on Rails Zend Framework Content management systems WordPress Drupal Joomla PhpBB Photo gallery
  3. 3. Elgg: hybrid <ul><li>not a framework - you can install it and it does a lot immediately without additional coding </li></ul><ul><li>a bit more specialised than a general CMS </li></ul><ul><li>comes with a core set of plugins to create a functioning niche social network </li></ul><ul><li>certain functions (eg. friends) are built into core </li></ul><ul><li>but far more extendable than a specific application like WordPress </li></ul>
  4. 4. Elgg's strengths <ul><li>Rapid development </li></ul><ul><li>Ben Werdmuller's original goal: “Elgg should do nothing” </li></ul><ul><li>Means that it can be extended in almost any direction by plugins </li></ul><ul><li>You need to do very little to set up a plugin and then Elgg implements a large set of default behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Implement non-default behaviour by overriding </li></ul>
  5. 5. Elgg 1.8 <ul><li>Major goal: make Elgg easier to theme </li></ul><ul><li>Complete reworking of CSS and view system </li></ul><ul><li>New user interface </li></ul><ul><li>Many deprecated or altered functions </li></ul><ul><li>Breaks most existing plugins in exchange for more functionality </li></ul><ul><li>Elgg does more automatically than ever before </li></ul>
  6. 6. Examples of default behaviour <ul><li>elgg_view_entity() works (sort-of) with no additional coding - uses title, description and tags fields if available </li></ul><ul><li>elgg_list_entities() creates full listing pages complete with pagination </li></ul><ul><li>elgg_register_entity_type is all that is needed to make the title, description and tags fields of any entity searchable </li></ul>
  7. 7. Menu system <ul><li>Elgg 1.8 introduces a standard set of Elgg navigation menus, moving navigation away from the previous sidebar focus </li></ul><ul><li>site, title, filter, entity, user, topbar, breadcrumbs, footer - many options! </li></ul><ul><li>simple tools to add to menus and (since this is Elgg) to over-ride existing menus and remove items </li></ul><ul><li>elgg_register_menu_item(), elgg_unregister_menu_item() </li></ul>
  8. 9. CSS <ul><li>Goal: create a sitewide consistent look and feel </li></ul><ul><li>Previous monolithic Elgg CSS file now split into more than a dozen over-ridable component files </li></ul><ul><li>Many standard classes for navigation, buttons, form elements - more to learn! </li></ul><ul><li>Easier system to add page or plugin specific CSS files but these should be used sparingly </li></ul>
  9. 10. JavaScript <ul><li>Elgg 1.8 introduces a JavaScript framework built on top of jQuery. </li></ul><ul><li>Includes Elgg-specific JS functions like elgg.echo() for language strings and elgg.get_site_url() </li></ul><ul><li>elgg_load_js() function for adding page or plugin-specific JS </li></ul><ul><li>namespace standards </li></ul><ul><li>encourages strict separation between JS and HTML generation </li></ul>
  10. 11. Form management <ul><li>Elgg 1.8 begins to address one of Elgg's traditional weaknesses - form management </li></ul><ul><li>Sticky form system provides a standard way to repopulate forms on error, logout or token timeouts </li></ul><ul><li>standard elgg_view_form() system provides a framework for form actions and form over-rides, adds standard XSS tokens </li></ul><ul><li>Elgg still needs a more powerful form API in my view </li></ul>
  11. 12. Adding to Elgg's strengths <ul><li>Elgg 1.8 further enhances Elgg's primary strength as a rapid prototyping and development system for niche social networks </li></ul><ul><li>Elgg's default functionality reduces development time and generates a site with consistent behaviour and consistent look and feel </li></ul>
  12. 13. Elgg is not for everyone <ul><li>Elgg 1.8 introduces even more of an “Elgg way to do things” </li></ul><ul><li>You need to like or at least be willing to live with the way Elgg does things </li></ul><ul><li>over-riding Elgg's default behaviours can easily customise your site, BUT: over-rides can slow performance, increase development costs, introduce inconsistencies or bugs, and need to be upgraded every time you upgrade core Elgg </li></ul>
  13. 14. Elgg's fundamental issues <ul><li>Plugins can have unpredictable interactions </li></ul><ul><li>Some plugins are better written than others </li></ul><ul><li>Like any complex software, core Elgg has bugs </li></ul><ul><li>The core developers are extremely responsive to bug reports but are more likely to act on them if you supply a patch </li></ul><ul><li>Speed controversy - niche social networks typically prioritise a rich feature set over raw speed </li></ul>
  14. 15. Room for improvement <ul><li>Notifications are not scalable and are almost guaranteed to white out large group forms. </li></ul><ul><li>Elgg needs more rapid prototyping tools like a sophisticated drag-and-drop form builder </li></ul><ul><li>Elgg needs more themes (especially free ones!) - hopefully the Elgg 1.8 release will help with this </li></ul><ul><li>jQuery UI should be fully supported to allow for richer user interfaces </li></ul><ul><li>roles and permissions </li></ul>

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