Book Image

Elgg 1.8 Social Networking

By : Cash Costello
Book Image

Elgg 1.8 Social Networking

By: Cash Costello

Overview of this book

As an updated version of the first ever Elgg book, this is an excellent resource for those interested in Elgg development due to its attention to detail, clearly written style and knowledgeable author. - Dave Tosh, Elgg co-founder. In his book, Cash Costello makes full use of his skills in development and communication to tackle the complex subject of Elgg social networking. This easy-to-read guide gives end users, new developers, and old pros alike a solid base to start their venture into social media with Elgg. I highly recommend it as a useful and enjoyable read. - Brett Profitt, Elgg Lead Developer The web is becoming increasingly social as millions of people use it to blog, share, post, 'friend', 'unfriend' (which was made the Oxford word of the year in 2009), comment, and chat. Elgg ñ your award-winning open source social networking engine ñ is tailor-made to create any social networking or social media website you can imagine. If you want to create a social networking website from scratch using Elgg, then this book is exactly what you need.Elgg 1.8 Social Networking covers everything you need to know about building a social networking site with Elgg. It begins with instructions for installing Elgg, continues with a guided tour of its capabilities, and finishes with practical advice on deploying Elgg on a production server. And in between, it is packed with information on configuring and customizing Elgg through plugins and themes.This book is a learn-by-doing guide to creating your own social networking site. It includes three sample case studies on how Elgg could be used as an e-learning tool, an intranet application for organizations, and a niche social networking site. Step by step it takes you through the installation, configuration, and customization of Elgg. Valuable advice is sprinkled throughout the book to enable you to build your site like an expert. For developers, this book provides a multitude of options. First, there is a tutorial-based section that systematically teaches you how to build plugins. Soon you will have ten plugins for use on your site in addition to all the knowledge you have gained. Second, if you prefer a quick overview, this book has an appendix that describes Elgg using the terminology and design patterns common in web development. Third, if you are interested in creating a theme, it also includes a design tutorial and a catalog of Elgg's view templates. The book then goes on to describe what is involved in running a production website. It has sections on selecting a hosting provider, configuring and tuning the server, backing up the site, and dealing with spammers.
Table of Contents (21 chapters)
Elgg 1.8 Social Networking
About the Author
About the Author of 1st edition
About the Reviewers

Social features

As you have used social sites such as Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter, you may have noticed features common to many of them. These features distinguish this new generation of social web applications from the less interactive websites that came before them.


A profile lets users describe who they are. It can be as simple as a name and a few vital statistics such as location and age or as elaborate as a complete listing of a user's background, likes, dislikes, and interests. A profile usually includes a photo (often called an avatar) that represents the user throughout the site.


Social sites often let you "friend" or "follow" other users. These relationships define who is in your social network and are often used to control access to content. For example, a user may set the permissions on a photo so that only friends may see it.

Content sharing

Many social sites focus on sharing content; think Flickr, YouTube, or Blogger. People not only share photos, videos, blogs, and files, but they also comment, rate, and recommend.

Activity and notifications

With all this sharing and commenting, people need a way to keep track of what is important to them. An activity stream that displays the latest activity relevant to a user is one technique. A good example of this is the news feed in Facebook. E-mail notifications are another common method for staying updated on what is happening.


Not only do people form relationships with other users, but they also join groups organized around shared interests or purposes. These groups often mirror the communities that people join outside of the virtual world of the web: alumni groups, sports fans, book clubs, and charities. Social websites enable these groups to form and thrive regardless of the location of the members.


Social interaction on these websites is not limited to commenting and sharing content. Encouraging communication between users is another important attribute—whether in public such as a message board or discussion forum or in private with real-time chat or e-mail-like messaging.

These are the types of features that are expected in today's websites. This expectation has created a demand for frameworks and web applications that provide social functionality. Solutions range from hosted social networking sites from providers such as Ning, to sets of plugins that extend content management systems such as Drupal and WordPress, to full application frameworks focused on social networking such as Elgg. The end result is that it is easier than ever to create custom social networking websites.