Buddypress vs Elgg; a case study and best plugins/add ons to spice up your Buddypress or Elgg Social Networks. Bonus: pros and cons of Buddypress and Elgg

These days I am trying two "Social Phenomena," which dont inherently fall under an astonishing 100 billion market cap, namely, "Buddypress" - an addictive free open source social networking script by very people behind Wordpress.org - and Elgg, another budding social script which will enable you to set up your own social network in full blossom.

"A social network in a box", "out of box" or whatever the official description of the Buddypress plug in says, according to developers who frequent to the site and the project, the project is under heavy criticisms that claim that the project is ostensibly moving backwards rather than forward. Updates arent constant. With so many negative feedbacks for unnecessary calls that the script perform when processing a request, few more bad mouthed buzzes and well argued articles that question the drive and the direction of the future of the plugin, I was at first bit hovering to choose Buddypress out of the rack. Similarly Elgg isnt moving with swift steps either. Most plugins are not updated to the latest release or are already abandoned and most functions of the plugins which state that they are compatible with the latest release are sadly deprecated. If you frequent to the community you may notice that several hundreds of plugins still require some sort of patch up once or twice. So if you choose Elgg you may someday or some way loose or mess up your entire site easily with a handful of fancy plugins. Unlikely Buddypress developers are compelled to produce the best as they address a much larger audience

However "The Single I" decided to make the most bold step with "The most plenary pile of the best plugins available for both citadels along and try to put both into action and watch who kicks its own bucket or kick the other out of the race. Here comes the list of the most prominent pros and cons of the so called Social Networks out of the boxes (listed with the pure generosity

and Cons of Buddypress

1. Its a truely amazing piece of software that delivers what it promises
with few exceptions

2. 1000000 downloads to date and still counting

3. A nice layout. Favourite and comment buttons are elegant.

4. The installation can be empowered by 19000 plugins. From such a huge number, there should be something that you will admire

5. Users get nothing for participating in your network. Even no simple signatures for forum posts at least
(do you expect that to happen around a social network? I might be wrong)

6. No option to limit the cloud of emails due to be delivered through your resources limited shared hosting package

7. Lack of good themes

8. Further developments of most Buddypress plugins are left in uncertainties. Selecting or depending on Buddypress oriented plugins is too risky. No one knows when will now budding plugins be abandoned

9. No poll option at the moment

10. Every additional plugin you add to the installation is a massive overload on the processor

11. Cashe plugins retard the way Activity Stream behave

12. Users cannot be assigned a maximum number of groups that he or she can create. It will shatter your social network into tiny pointless pieces and will be another Google Group thing

13. Member activities are limited. You cannot have a farmville for it

14. The Buddypress group forum and the site wide forum use same page for displaying content. You have to manually put an end to the quarrel

15. Nothing that pertain to Buddypress including Group forums can be exported or imported

16. The latest release adds only already available plugin options like profile privacy

Elgg, pros and cons

1. Email notifications can be turned off with a plugin
(more than one plugin)

2. More than 1500 plugins + themes though most are outdated
(buddypress has only 400 or so)

3. A nice handy group page creator. Sub pages can be created too . The page thing is totally different from Blog thing. Pages behave in the exact same way as Wikis

4. Site wide blogs and group blogs

5. A five star plugin is available

6. All the things in an Elgg is well integrated into one network. Because its such a solid, stable and unique platform. For an instance, the buddypress at the moment of writing doesnt have a classified ad plugin (has one but its a crap). If you go with an available classified plugin for Wordpress the plugin data wont be daintily hooked up with the Buddypress. So not so well integrated across the entire website

7. Each module out of an Elgg like Blog, File, Page, The Wire can be turned off he you feel them unnecessary

8. Cannot creat subgroups. A real pain in the back was triggered by searching for a plugin that can handle the thing. But I was unable to

9. Bluehost doesnt host Elgg sites

10. The admin dashboard is of poor quality

11. The community is bit lackluster

12. Buddypress has the most powerfull and meaningful add ons though its small in number. Buddyspess wins with quality over quantity. Most plugins you find at the Elgg site are language packs and only a few from the rest stand out from the crowd

13 Elgg plugins are light and as a result whole the installation is light. Loads faster than a Buddypress

14. Some plugins arent updated for years and most available plugins are craps. These have many bugs and no any countable words on updating them in the future. Buddypress also has many plugins that already abandoned but in the Elgg site its more of a convincing and nasty nature
. At least Wordpress is mightier than Elgg

15. The default theme of the Buddypress is horrible. Contrarily Elgg is an eye candy

16. Though many plugins are incomplete, the Elgg dashboard is well indicative. It shows what is deprecated in the latest version and clearly states whether the uploaded and extracted thing is a plugin or something else

17. Elgg boldly shows its logo at the up left corner. Its ugly and directly linked to the Elgg site.

18. The Elgg plugin directory is not comfortable to navigate. No search option available

19. Elgg plugins are full of bugs

20. No settings for user roles. They are simply admins or members. No user roles, no user permissions. Not so good even as a social network. The purposes that most people use these softwares are for building niche groups. Non of them want to build the next facebook. On the other hand Buddypress comes with these options built in. Without premium user options monetizing part will be hard

21. Has some game plugins

22. Compared to Buddypress community, the Elgg site is posh. There are handsome developers and very hot feminines too. Whole the Buddypress thing looks like abandoned and gloomy

23. Developer's suit is built in and can be activated at the developers disposal

24. Elgg isnt mobile friendly out of the box. A huge disadvantage these days

25. Good Adsense plugins are sparse

26. Mostly used for academical institutes. Throws me off setting up a general social network with it

Best Plugins to empower your Buddypress social network

1. Ads Manager WP/BB
An Adsense manager specifically designed for Buddypress

2. BP Unread Posts
Creates new post icon if there are new posts in the thread

3. BP Webcam Avatar
Adds a webcam snapshot option for avatar

4. BuddyPress Activity Plus
A Facebook-style media sharing improvement for the activity box.

5. BuddyPress Activity Stream Extras
A collection of small tweaks for the activity stream

6. BuddyPress Docs
Adds collaborative Docs to BuddyPress

7. BuddyPress Groups Directory Extras
Display additional information for each group on the groups directory page

8. BuddyPress Introduce

9. BuddyPress Portfolio
This plugin allows each user to create his portfolio on your website

10. BuddyPress Rate Forum Posts
This plugin allows rating of BuddyPress forum posts and user karma.

11. BuddyPress Share It
Adds a share button to your BuddyPress site to let people share content on Twitter, Facebook and Google Buzz without having to leave the page.

12. BuddyPress Topic Mover
Allows BuddyPress group mods and admins to move a forum topic to another group they are a member of. An improved version of BuddyPress Forum Topic Mover.

13. BuddyPress Tweet Button Adds a button to your BuddyPress site to let people share content on Twitter without having to leave the page.

14. BuddyPress Twitter
Let your members and groups show their Twitter Follow Button on their profile page and group page. Using the twitter's @ username widget, the plugin fetches your members and/or groups username and displays their folow button in the member's/group's header.

15. Recently Registered
Add a sortable column to the users list on Single Site WordPress to show registration date

16. User Switching: Instant switching between user accounts

Stay tuned. I will add the best plugins to spice up your Elgg site soon and more pros and cons that will help you to take the wisest decision possible. To be continued........

Buddypress Alexa Traffic Rank: 7,908
Traffic Rank in US: 7,330
Sites Linking In: 22,665

Elgg.org Alexa Traffic Rank:12,233
Traffic Rank in IN: 5,445
Sites Linking In: 7,927

Also here is a confession from a former Elgg developer (contacted her through email)

Hi there, Samila!

"Thanks for getting in touch. Personally I like Elgg more than I do BuddyPress, but then BuddyPress is more supported, but then again, not so much. The problem with Elgg is that every time a new version is made, the plugins break. Sadly there is not a lot of developer support, so a lot of the things you will find won't work with 1.8 or even 1.7. They are constantly updating and updating and leaving people behind because of this. Who wants to build a social platform on something that becomes out of date in a month's time? And unlike something like WordPress/BuddyPress, it's really hard for the average developer to code for Elgg because there's too many files that you have to make separate files to hook into the default setup. It's a nightmare for people who just want to theme the thing. It's not clean code either. It's very bulky. No web standards. BuddyPress is much easier to design for as it's built by the same team behind WordPress. But it doesn't have many plugins either, and the adoption in the beginning was really high, but I found that most sites that used it in the beginning switched to their own system built from the ground up a few months/a year later. There is really no point to open source social networks when spammers can dig through the code themselves and find ways to get their stuff into the system. Better to patch up your site on your own than leave it to other people."

Her personal site jessicalares.com

I contacted another former Elgg contributor who went by the name Stephen O'Connor through email. Here is how the conversation went

Me: Now its 2012. Which you recommend? you have been a regular at elgg.org. But not much now. Why?
Stephen: Honestly, I had hoped that we could use Elgg or BuddyPress for school, but I got tired of trying to get it to happen. The superintendent didn't get it and the BOCES tech person opposed it as it was eating into her turf. I have been administrating a WordPress Multiple user blog set up for students in a closed garden set up for some years. At this point it would be easiest to go with BuddyPress

Me: Do you recommend buddypress or Elgg for big networks? Which is the one to go with to have a large user base? which one is the most stable?

Stephen: I've never worked with either on any sort of large scale. My bet would be WordPress.

1. Which script eats the CPU and the RAM most?
2. Who will survive? Elgg or buddypress at the end?
3. is updating plugins cumbersome in Elgg?

1. Which script eats the CPU and the RAM most? I don't know at this point. Not running either on my server.

2. Who will survive? Elgg or
buddypress at the end? It appears that Elgg is fading. All the original devs have moved on.

3. is updating plugins cumbersome in Elgg? Nobody does plains better than WordPress

Part 2: The best free social script? There is no such a thing

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