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Upgrading Team Webgalli site to Elgg 1.8.3

Posted on: April 8th, 2012 by Raez Mon 4 Comments

Friends, today we have completely succeeded the upgrade of our old Elgg 1.714 website to the new Elgg 1.8.3. It was a wonderful job. The best thing about it was that no core modification was needed for our development. Following are the things we have implemented in our Elgg 1.8.3 Installation

  • A neat and clean theme.
  • Custom user Icons for Elgg profiles
  • Created our own mathematical captcha system.
  • A premium user level and user privileges
  • Converted the entire elgg group system to a plugin store
  • Advanced search functionality for Team Webgalli plugins
  • An awesome activity page
  • Synchronized Elgg installation with our Blog platform which is on wordpress

PS : We have moved the Elgg optimization tips to a separate page, which you can read here.

In details

A neat and clean theme

Team Webgalli’s original site design had received many awards for simple website design including CSS Gallery, CSS Mania, Most Inspired sites. So we had to stick to the original design and ported the same design to Elgg 1.8 with a neat home page and more ajaxified and jQuery powered. The elgg’s new js library is more easier to understand and reuse.

Custom user icon for Elgg profile icons

The Elgg’s default user avatar is very ugly. We replaced it with a custom user icon matching our theme. It was so easy. The new elgg_unregister_plugin_hook() made it easier for us to code most of the functionalities of site.

Mathematical Captcha system

If you take a look at our registration / contact us form etc.. you can see the mathematical captcha system. Actually captchas are outdated as most of the elgg spammers are humans. But we noticed that immediately after going online (before we implemented captcha) we got a bot attack on the user registration form and got 50+ user registrations in less than 20minutes. Thats why we implemented a captcha system (in less than 5minutes time) and this stopped the junk user registration.

Premium userlevel and privileges

With our own premium user plugin for Elgg 1.8 we created a premium access area for the elgg website. So only our Team members are able to access these areas including plugin upload / edit / etc…

Elgg plugin store

We have reused the group plugin for the plugin store functionality. Due to lack of time, we reused that instead of developing a new plugin for the store. The discussion and the group access system help us to maintain individual plugin and the subscribers can take part in discussions. We unregistered the group page handler, then registered our own page handler with access to premium members only. It was just 10 minutes work only. This including the sorting system you see on all plugins page. We also removed all the links on the sidebar by using the elgg_unregister_event_handler() function. Then the other modifications where adding extra group fields (We know profile manager plugin can do this, but just for adding an extra five fields such a heavy plugin is not needed).

Advanced Search on plugins.

We have implemented the advanced search functionality on plugins. Now the users can sort the plugins and find them easily based on Elgg version, plugin type and on key words. This is fully ajaxified.

The activity page

We have added a three column activity page for the Elgg website. This gave the site a new look for the users and converted it more into a community than from a commercial site.

Synchronized Elgg installation with WordPress

As we are using WordPress for running our blog site, we just created a similar theme for the WordPress site and installed it. Now the users wont feel the difference, when they switch between the two sites. It is not the look and feel alone. We have done a common integration of the user systems on these two platforms. Elgg manages the user registration and authentication and WordPress is acting as the slave here. If you are logged in to Elgg, you are also logged in to our WordPress site.

PS : We have moved the Elgg optimization tips to a separate page, which you can read here.

Keep watching this space. We will post more details soon which will help you optimizing and making your elgg site faster. Mean while you can have a look at this page too, which is an excellent tutorial from the Yahoo Developer Network. Make sure you have optimized your webpage as per the yahoo guidelines.

Happy Easter!

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4 Responses

  1. Carminha says:

    interesting. thanks for sharing.

  2. Berta says:

    nice informative post. another knowledgeable one.

  3. Ariana says:

    that’s really nice research.

  4. […] Hello people, through this tutorial we will help yoou in increasing the performance and speed of your elgg website by some simple tweaks. Check these and let us know your feedback. These are all based up on our inferences on upgrading our home site to Elgg 1.8.X […]