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

What is Elgg?

Elgg is an open source platform for building social websites, especially social networking sites. Now that sentence may require some parsing, so let's start with the fact that it is free open source software (FOSS). This means you are free to use it however you want, free to modify it, and free to redistribute it. Its development is managed by the nonprofit Elgg Foundation and developers from all over the world contribute code to make Elgg better.

Elgg is used to build social websites. It has social networking in its DNA and provides all the social features mentioned in the preceding section. Think of the buzzwords that you associate with social media: blogging, sharing, tagging, friending, or tweeting. Elgg does all of that.

Elgg is a platform that provides the building blocks for creating great social websites. While you can install Elgg and immediately begin using it as a social networking site, most of you will want to customize it. Those of you who are not developers can download plugins to change the look and feel or add new capabilities. For the developers, almost every part of Elgg can be customized by writing new plugins.

The recommended server configuration for running Elgg is called a LAMP stack. This stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP and is the most common hosting environment on the Web. Linux is the operating system, Apache the web server, MySQL the database, and PHP is the server scripting language. Elgg can also run on other operating systems such as Windows or Mac OS X and with other web servers.

With some basic experience setting up web applications, you can go from downloading Elgg to having a functioning social networking site in 10 minutes. After it is installed, you will spend time evaluating it, testing different plugins and themes, designing your site, and building new plugins (if you are a developer). This book serves as your guide to the process of creating a site like one of those shown in the following screenshot: