phpFox Alternative?

Folks - besides SocialEngine, what SN scripts do you think are a better investment than phpFox?

I am looking for alternatives, as I do not believe that v4 stable will be released before they go out of business and\or before the end of the year. All the ALPHA versions of v4 that they have released thus far have not been viable at all despite them claiming otherwise. It is a well known fact that the "legacy" v3 is far more stable... but their business acumen and practices - or there lack off, tell a grim story - at least to me it does.

Comments

  • It depends on what you need. The main ScriptTechs site is phpFox v3. The categories with subcategories are a big thing for that site. The overall feel of it is also a big plus.

    In testing other scripts for our BryZar support, as we are providing support to any script, we've found Boonex Dolphin to have some nice features but it's heavy when the server is not optimized for it, which the testing server isn't.

    We found Oxwall very basic and, though ok for some, it wouldn't replace phpFox features.

    SE is close but heavier. Still, it seems the closest thus far. With an optimized server and support, it's still a good option if you need to change.

    We won't try Macagoragas script as we didn't like his business practices.

    We've yet to try Moosocial for our own reasons.

    Buddypress is ok for a very basic addition to Wordpress but not a full featured SN script. The competition to Buddypress, Peepso looked interesting. Still, it's an addition to a blog script. If you need just basic SN features, it might be a good option.

    If you aren't looking for SN features, we can list some others we've been checking.

    Right now, for our own uses, we haven't found an alternative other than SE if not using phpFox. We still like v3.

  • I agree with what @BryZar posted above. If you're looking for the closest alternative to PF, then Social Engine (SE) would get my vote. It's similar in options and in appearance.

  • I should white label the one I have been forced to develop for our community...

  • Oxwall and mooSocial look interesting, but I have never tried them.

    I do agree that V3 is the real deal at least for now.

  • edited June 2016

    I can share some perspectives on Buddypress and SE.

    Buddypress is "free" but it requires a lot of customization. With BuddyPress, the biggest issue is UI/UX and backend control.

    It is absolutely true that WordPress has 27000 themes. However there is no guarantee that any of them fits into your needs. WP themes will be nice for blogs. But BuddyPress and Blog are 2 different things. So be aware.

    We sank a lot of money into BP because many enthusiastic pundits endorsed it. Suffice it to say the ideology of open source nirvana and reality of an unappealing site are not the same.

    When we were told to look at SE, we abandoned BP in 3 days. What a great upgrade we thought. It has all the backend controls that are not available in BuddyPress. To a social media site, that is the most important.

    We were also told SE was a lot more reliable than Phpfox by our would-be "partner" Younet. At the beginning, we did have a lot of fun trying out SE which had all kinds of controls so hard to build in WordPress and BuddyPress.

    However, you will soon find out that SE plain vanilla can not be rolled out to users. Its UI is old and ugly. We did not know SE had an incurable disease: slowness. The other thing about SE? It has many Dev companies building all kinds of cool looking templates and plugins for it. But they are mutually exclusive to other vendor's work to a varying degree. The better ones more so.

    If you really want SE, try Hire Experts or SocialEngineAddons. Avoid Younet at any cost.

    We went with Younet. After spending thousands of dollars and almost 1 full year working with them. I switched to Hire Experts. After signing up with Hire Expert's monthly 39 dollar subscription, it gave me a site in 4 hours which was immediately it was MUCH better than Younetco's. Does that tell you something?

    SocialEngineAddOns is another one to consider if I decided to stay with SE. But they are hardcore sales guys, who want a lot of money upfront and only 3 days to let me test to be eligible to a "money back guarantee".

    We decided not to. The reason: speed.

    On the testing site Younet put together, the time to load a page was 21 sec. Now keep in mind we insisted upon setting up the testing server with the same CPU, memory etc like a live production server.

    Younet "optimized" it to 9 sec. We were horrified. They told us to go Amazon AWS. After spending 200 dollars migrating, my monthly bill went to close to 200 dollars. Younet did not warn me beforehand. Then advised me to anticipate to rise to 1200 dollars a month soon once uses start to sign up. Talking about speed, AWS load time was 8 sec. If you test most of Younetco's recent implementation, it is that "normal" range. Plus the UI/UX. Younetco could not get what US customers want. But they think they know a lot better. You might have to type up your requirements with a lot of nice screenshots 3 times. And beg for attention. Tthey have a product manager to "kindly" "coach" you for weeks to first help you realize how ignorant you are about technology. He of course promises to solve all your problems. Oh yeah, to do that you will budget 4000 dollars and award the contract to one of his close buddies outside Younet. By the way, site speed 4 sec and below might be just an inachievable pipe dream.

    The day we moved to Hire Experts, the page load time dropped to 3 sec per page. Younet claimed it was totally impossible until we made them test themselves before firing their (swear removed). Mymonthly hosting bill dropped from 200 dollar range back to 59. We thought we all died and went to heaven. No more typing up the same requirements up and up again, to be condescendingly criticized about our total ignorance and unworthiness. Hire Experts was fixing our issues left and right.

    Speed remained a bottleneck. 3-4 sec per page was a LOT better than what Younet delivered. But after trying Phpfox, we again found the SE site slow. Hire Experts is the BEST implementer of SE. But there is only so much it can do. It was not Hire Expert's fault. It was the limitation of SE.

    We decided to dodge the bullet, and tried Phpfox.

    Here is some data:
    Our Younet SE site (5 testers): 7-21 sec to load a page;
    HE site: 3-4 Sec
    Google: 1.2-1.4 sec
    Phpfox; 0.8-0.9 sec

    Speed IS user experience or the most important part of it.

    Is Phpfox perfect? No. It still lacks themes. It is still young. WordPress has 27000 themes. We had to abandon it in the end.

    Another major issue with Phpfox? As the demand is high, some times the support you get is not as responsive. But hey, Younet was more than responsive. So responsive that they have time talk to convince you that as a stupid piece of crap, you are lucky enough to be salvaged by their glorious wisdom.

    If you are a PHP guru. Choose WordPress and Buddypress. You can write your own codes, and build your own stuff. Maybe you can look into Drupal Commons. So nice if you can use it 100% as is or you know coding well.

    Otherwise, if you are like us, Phpfox is a safe bet. We wish we knew that 1 year and 20,000 dollars ago.

    Jing

    markp
  • edited June 2016

    Let me also share what I learned about the vendors.

    1) Younetco. You will see on the surface they have the most plugins like in Phpfox. But be aware you will find all the extra functions not something you think it to be. They are "frivolous" with problematic UX.

    They say they are the biggest in Socialengine. They have 800 clients.

    Younet is based in Vietnam.

    2) Socialengineaddons. They have some gorgeous site. They are a lot high profile.

    They claim they have 6000 sites as the clients. Socialengineaddons is based in India.

    3) Hire experts. Hire experts is a little Kyrgyz company. To those not familiar with Kyrgyz, just know it is one of the former Soviet republics. Hire Experts humbly claims itself to be a "small outfit for Socialengine". So small they have "only" 10,000 clients. So Hire Experts double the size of SocialengineAddons. Socialengineaddons is about 7-8 times as big as Younet.

    Hire Experts does exactly the opposite of Younet. It relies mostly on Socialengine native components while focusing on UI/UX. It is a very smart choice. Socialengine functionally is not lacking that much. Its biggest issue is UI and UX. Younetco's innovation is more like adding a GM dashboard onto a Camry. If it functions, it might be okay. But what if it does not. And Younet's prominent weakness is UI/UX.

  • Please keep on track with feedback on various other SN scripts. We don't want to spiral this like it did on the old forum as we want to attract third party developers for our Projects area. The good developers that we want to attract will not come to a site with controversy. I assume all of you want to get access to some great developers. :) It is our hope to do that once we can open the Projects section (which will be similar to Upworks).

    For now, any other Social Network scripts that you've tried? For me, v3 is what I use for mine. I actually liked v2 better but it's far too old to use now.

  • Has anybody tried Elgg out?

  • edited June 2016

    I want to add one thing. I have signed up with BryZar, which is on par with if not better than Hire Experts in terms of responsiveness and effectiveness. Hire Experts is the gold standard for SE world. I could not comment on other support providers. Too new here.

    I have looked into Elggs. It is free. But right off the bat, you will see it does not have all the modules. This to me is a red flag. If you go to Peepso site, which is a JomSocial offspring to fit WordPress, it is apologizing profusely for not delivering Event module timely. (By the way Peepso seems to know all too well the pain of BuddyPress's UI and UX causes, if you look into their design.)

    We do not need many fancy features. But the basic 6 components should be there: Activity wall, Friends, Forum, Group, Blog and Events. It needs to handle messages well. It needs to parse videos and online links well. If an application can go on without these for years, I have to question the seriousness of its user base. Why should Peepso apologize for lack of Event when Elggs can go on for years without Blog? Most importantly, WordPress by itself has many super nice free Event plugins. In theory a user could just use one of these without any handicap. (Group Event plugin in BuddyPress will render many parts of a WordPress site 404 not available)

    The only logical explanation is that Elgg users do not need all these. Well, do I belong to one of them?

    Oh yes, that can be addressed by inserting plugins and hiring someone to handle customization. If so, why not Drupal Commons which is arguably the most complete package. It is free if I decided to accept the product 100% as is. I would rather get something that a part of it serves all my needs, than to bet on something that misses vital organs from the beginning.

    However, be aware of UI and UX. There is no guarantee that Drupal knows what UI and UX ought to be for you. Their imagined world might have little intersection with yours. Hence, fitting a theme and do some customization will be inevitable.

    Most of us are not proficient coders knowing PHP, Javascript, JSON and CSS inside out. To anyone with a computer science degree, Drupal might be great. If not, then Drupal will cost a lot more to customize. Dev company's inability to handle UI and UX is what drove us away from BuddyPress and Younet after spending a lot of money. Without good UI and UX, you are like inviting kids to "enjoy" a pack of celery without any catchup. It might be a stretch of imagination to assume they will stay.

    To users, UI, UX and security are 95% what they care after all. If this is perceive missing. we are inviting a world of hurt.

    Jing

  • edited June 2016

    Jing - very thorough and informative.

    I brought up Elgg for one very specific reason. It is open source and as somebody mentioned in an IM here (Identity Protected) with the right open source framework, we can collectively contribute to building a viable alternative. And, If with the collective knowledge that we have, we can provide direction into the development of the platform. Further, the Open Source community is not a greedy community as most of them are hobbyists.

    I fathom to say that I HAD been reasonably happy with phpFox up until about a year and a half ago, and after selling off my last site, of which I signed a 2 year non=compete with the buyers, it is time to get into the game. That said, phpFox is NOT the way forward. They are too screwed up to think straight - in my opinion.

  • Metro - can you be more specific on your comment "They are too screwed up to think straight"?

    If you are big on Open Source, what about BuddyPress, JomSocial and Drupal Commons?

    Jing

  • Metro -

    Here is one quick question

    "Further, the Open Source community is not a greedy community as most of them are hobbyists."

    I do not disagree at all.

    BuddyPress is exactly like that. Almost all plugins are done by hobbyists. This also is what I read as their drawbacks. Because it lacks direction, it is progressing very slowly. Peepso is determined to take advantage of it.

    Jing

  • If you have been around phpfox for the last year, you would quickly find out that v4 is nowhere close to being in Beta, several old timers would agree that what is being touted as beta 4.4 is in reality alpha v4. Further, they... Phpfox are in an identity crisis, and I have strong reason to believe that their eminent dismiss is nearing.

    When you start screwing with your old customers and developers - in essence, the hands that have kept your lights on for years, darkness will follow you. I am of the opinion that they are "bencing" (pun intended) on new customers that they will try and suck dry.

    With open source, at least you are free to fork out and team up.

    @gujingc said:
    Metro - can you be more specific on your comment "They are too screwed up to think straight"?

    If you are big on Open Source, what about BuddyPress, JomSocial and Drupal Commons?

    Jing

  • I've given Humhub a look also. For a basic script, it's not bad, but it lacks a lot of the features and improvements that PHPFox v3 has.

  • Thanks Mandi for your feedback.

  • We need more developers for phpfox.

  • Any thoughts on MooSocial?

  • There was a topic for moosocial in the old forum but it has not been imported, the last post was from January 2016 as we are in March 2017 it may be interesting to see the path traveled in a year. There are now more than 20 new plugin and the advantage that I find is that unlike other, plugins are develop directly by the team

  • I'm moving mine to SE. Since both Ray and I are working for SE, it seems like the best choice. :)

  • I know Donna, I followed a little this saga, fox died for me, I'll see from time to time but I would never trust this script again.
    I will use mooSocial for a mini city guide, with quality members, the goal is not to be thousands.
    I also have a license from socialengine, besides it is the best license in the world since you only pay it once, and that the updates are really free.
    When version 4.9.0 comes out I intend to look closer ;)

    data66
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