Why build a social network component for Joomla

Why build a social network component for Joomla

On August 8th 2013, I received an email regarding a very interesting question, it was why did we take the route to re-invent the wheel since Facebook already exists. My answer to him was fairly simple, why do you even build a site when there are millions of sites that are already out there :)

No, we are not re-inventing the wheel and we do not have plans to re-invent the wheel. Our primary goal for EasySocial is to bring a change to the way social network extensions behave on a Joomla site. We have heard tons of comments from the Joomla community that there isn't any decent social network extension that already exists in the Joomla extension eco-system, and so we decided to develop one after receiving hundreds of requests from the Joomla community.

easysocial-features.jpg

There were many users also asking to combine our existing Joomla extensions like EasyBog, EasyDiscuss and Komento into one single social networking platform, because they saw that the collective features of these extensions can possibly integrate and work like a social network. We didn't want to build plugins to connect them all, so we thought how about if we build a more solid tool for that purpose instead.

This baby project was initially started almost a year ago when we were playing around and integrating with existing solutions such as JomSocial and Community Builder. We didn't take this seriously because our initial goal was not to compete with any of these extensions. It was just exploring around during our free time. As time went on, more and more users were requesting for a new extension. This is when things got a little serious (too serious maybe :p).

We started building a framework layer that works across all Joomla versions. Slowly, we got the hang of it, and up till now we have made over 9,500 commits. Yep, that's right, 9,500 commits for the first revision of the software is just amazing. The team is extremely enthusiastic about this project and they have given their best in this project. Yes, that's right it's a team effort and not mine alone.

To tease you with some of the awesome stuff that we're working on, I have some screenshots of EasySocial:

 EasySocial - Profile

EasySocial - Management

EasySocial - Conversations

EasySocial - Stream

 

We will be releasing a beta of EasySocial very soon! So if you want to test it out, you can sign up for the mailing list at http://stackideas.com/easysocial

Thank you once again for your continuous support!



 

Comments (84)

Appreciate the time and care you take in creating and perfecting your extensions before releasing them into the wild. We use EasyBlog on our network of sites, as well as Kommento. Joomla itself is a fine "blank sheet" platform / framework for 3rd Party Developers like StackIdeas to respond to specific needs of the customer marketplace. Community Builder and JomSocial are two quality-conscious extensions that are evidence of that, and I'm confident EasySocial will be too, and it too will have...

Appreciate the time and care you take in creating and perfecting your extensions before releasing them into the wild. We use EasyBlog on our network of sites, as well as Kommento. Joomla itself is a fine "blank sheet" platform / framework for 3rd Party Developers like StackIdeas to respond to specific needs of the customer marketplace. Community Builder and JomSocial are two quality-conscious extensions that are evidence of that, and I'm confident EasySocial will be too, and it too will have its niche of customers. Thank you for the update on all the hard work you've done, and thank you for being great listeners to the customer (sitebuilder) marketplace.

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Hello John,

Thanks for the kind compliments and the support

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I am really glad that StackIdeas is going to introduce a new social networking extension for Joomla. Because I was one of them who ask some social networking features on your exisiting extensions.
Regarding why we need a social networking extension, yes there is Facebook, but I consider, Facebook is like communism of internet, killing all unique colors of webosphere. Maybe, by the help of EasySocial, many small but unique and strong social network sites will appear.

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  1.    zaf

Thank you for the kind words Zafer Greatly appreciated!

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I like the clean look of it, the flat layout style is nice. Will the first version of it come with Video and Photo viewer, or it this plan for later release?

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  1.    Rampagerabbit

Photos and albums will be included on the first release. Videos is planned for a later release We don't want to cook something half baked

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  Comment was last edited about 4 years ago by Mark

You have my support!

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  1.    Kiril Y.

Thank you Kiril I hope you enjoyed those screen shots!

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  1.    Mark

I like these screenshots The design of EasySocial looks great! You are using Bootstrap, do you?

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  1.    Kiril Y.

Yep, that's right! It's riding on Twitter Bootstrap

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Looks really nice! Will it work together with Jomsocial, or will that make no sense? And if so, do you have any plans of migration tools?

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  1.    Per Torstensson

It doesn't really make sense to have it running side by side with JomSocial since it does pretty much the same thing but of course if you really need to have both of them running concurrently, it shouldn't have any issues at all

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Mark, I was wondering if there will be a simple way to migrate data from JomSocial to EasyBlog? For example, private messages, wall feeds, and friendship relationships?

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  1.    Kasama

Hm, it doesn't make sense to migrate to EasyBlog However, if you meant EasySocial then there would be a migrator for JomSocial that will be included in the extension

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  1.    Mark

Woops, and thanks Mark, can't wait.

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One more question.. I was wondering if you guys have any plans for adding real-time chat features to EasySocial, similar to facebook's chat system, or TigraChat for JomSocial?

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Hello Kasama,

There are pretty good chat systems out there like JBolo and we don't actually have any intentions of rebuilding that at this point of time

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thanks mark for the second Preview i almost think that christmas is coming for a lot of us four month earlier and i hope that EasySocial will allow me sometimes the JS and JSPT core functunality, so that i'm able to use your JS to EasySocial Migrator

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  1.    René

Thank you Yes it will include a migrator where you can migrate your JomSocial data over. As for JSPT, not too sure what type of specific features are you looking forward to but we do have proper multiple profiles in place.

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I`ts good if you can offer a jomsocial migrator

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  1.    sazz

Yes, it will come with a built in migrator

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Hi Mark,

Ever since i saw the Skype preview in June I have been looking forward to the release of EasySocial, knowing it will be a first class addition to the Stackideas stable of excellent products (it is why we use all of them). We are trying to time our own upgrade to Joomla to fit in with EasySocial and with Joomlart's JA Fixel and EasyBlog template release this week the perfect combination is now in place, can't wait for ES to go live!

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  1.    Richard

Thank you for the kind compliments Richard We have made tons of UI and UX improvements since the previews on Skype

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Will event submissions be a feature in EasySocial? I haven't seen any mention of it in various blogs I've read about EasySocial.

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  1.    mary karshner

Events might not make it into the first release but it's in the pipeline. EasySocial is extremely scalable, so it really shouldn't take that long

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Why not Facebook? Simple. They haven't exactly instilled much trust over the years. Corporates and clubs who want these features aren't keen to be seen "partnering" with Facebook.

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  1.    Richard Pearce

Thanks for sharing Richard

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  1.    Richard Pearce

Thanks for sharing Richard

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When is the approximate release date? Is it going have a option to "check in" and Auto Posting to Facebook,Twitter?

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  1.    Anirudh Kumar

Sorry, but we don't have any dates currently but yes it will include auto postings to Facebook. Twitter will come in the next release.

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I waited for JomSocial 3.0 for such a long time and I was just about ready to make my purchase but now I'm rethinking my decision. I use EasyBlog, EasyDiscuss and Komento and I'm very impressed with these extensions but I'm even more impressed with the support team...amazing. I always wondered why you guys just didn't develop a social component to tie everything together instead of relying on JomSocial etc.

Can't wait!

Regards
TDB

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  1.    Troy D Bertrand

Thank you for the kind compliments Troy

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Hi Mark,

Compliments !!

However, unsure, what functionalities can be achieved through Easysocial
Would you mind stating usage of Easysocial as value addition for a website owner (especially for an Automobile site), so that i can plan and opt with Easysocial on date of launch. Basically - what features and in what way can Easysocial be used to extend dynamics of site.

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  1.    Gagan Modi

Thank you Gagan. The first benefit that I could think of for your site is that you'll be able to harvest more information from your users with the built in profile system Wouldn't it be nice that you get to know your current audience better? After all, you are going to monetize on your site and it's best that you know you are monetizing from which user segments

Then it comes to interactivity as well as social sharing. We all know Google loves content and building content alone takes time....

Thank you Gagan. The first benefit that I could think of for your site is that you'll be able to harvest more information from your users with the built in profile system Wouldn't it be nice that you get to know your current audience better? After all, you are going to monetize on your site and it's best that you know you are monetizing from which user segments

Then it comes to interactivity as well as social sharing. We all know Google loves content and building content alone takes time. By building an interactive community on the site, you are actually building a healthier and lively community around the site which eventually generates contents for you

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  1.    Mark

Ahaa, sure
Hope the content will be all SEO Friendly, with moderate tools too. Am almost on verge of upgrading site
Will keen to be part of Social extension. Hope to get a demo too - so that can test on how it goes on with the site.

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Thank you for the teaser update on EasySocial. From the screenshots Easysocial looks to be a real winner showing that you and your team thoroughly planned, and then put a lot of feedback and thought into creating this unique social extension. As others I look forward to beta testing EasySocial.

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I really like this section of your post: "We will be releasing a beta of EasySocial very soon."

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Thanks Randall

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I must say your timing couldn't be better… just like some other members, I was thinking whether I should renew my JS membership to migrate to 3.0 but now that I know you guys are coming… I'm taking some time to think.

In fact, the only downside is the event management that will be there in the second release because I really need it for my website. Otherwise, I'm really looking forward to seeing your work provided the quality of EasyBlog and Komento !

Please consider adding a plugin to...

I must say your timing couldn't be better… just like some other members, I was thinking whether I should renew my JS membership to migrate to 3.0 but now that I know you guys are coming… I'm taking some time to think.

In fact, the only downside is the event management that will be there in the second release because I really need it for my website. Otherwise, I'm really looking forward to seeing your work provided the quality of EasyBlog and Komento !

Please consider adding a plugin to use photo album in stories… or in EasyBlog posts.

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Thank you Sébastien Although it wouldn't be in the first release but I am pretty certain that the second version wouldn't take too long We just need to get the foundation ready

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awesome. this sounds like new extension that will have the centralized badge system.

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Thanks Al

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Very nice.. Luv it!

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  1.    Ireg

Thanks!

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Like many, I just did not renewed my JS subscription when I saw you were about to release a social component.
I liked too much EsasyBlog, tested EasyDiscuss ... no bugs, translated in my language, wonderful support ... I just can't wait ...

Do you plan a Bundle with all your extensions at an affordable price ? including current subscriptions (EasyBlog for my part)

See you soon

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Thanks for the support ArrO! We don't actually have any solid idea about the pricing or bundles yet but we'll announce it as soon as it's available

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Let's me advice something.
My local is thailand.
Some user create an account with thai language (non utf-8) that can confuse with complex characters.
I always request the Jomsocial team to make an option for username field like communities builder.
I can choose only a-z|A-Z|0-9 characters for username field through CB backend.
Custom field is required for user registration. Has easysocial this options?

On the other hand.
The size of component should tiny. Jomsocial use a lot of resource.
Reg...

Let's me advice something.
My local is thailand.
Some user create an account with thai language (non utf-8) that can confuse with complex characters.
I always request the Jomsocial team to make an option for username field like communities builder.
I can choose only a-z|A-Z|0-9 characters for username field through CB backend.
Custom field is required for user registration. Has easysocial this options?

On the other hand.
The size of component should tiny. Jomsocial use a lot of resource.
Regards,

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Do you mean regular expressions filtering? This is actually in the pipeline, not sure if this could make it into the first release but we already have some ideas on how to work on it

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I am excited to get this extension and I am sure it will be a great extension for everyone for social networking site.

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Thanks Saurabh

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Will there be a way to customize the user profile layout. I mean like move things around. I think that's what both Community Builder and Jomsocial lack. Everyone is so suck on the Facebook Layout. I would like to create my own thank you very much. Oh and I read that you said something about Jbolo, but have you guys looked into Cometchat intergration.

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  Comment was last edited about 4 years ago by ibrahim clayton

HI Mark and other talented people at StackIdeas,

Looking forward to this - I know you and your team make things happen and it is wonderful news to hear this. The support and applications are the best to be found for Joomla - at least in my opinion. One question - will it be able to use multiple logins? Like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin etc.

Regards,
Rob

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Thank you Rob Yes, the first version would include Facebook logins but the rest would be in the pipeline. Just like EasyBlog where we initially rolled out Facebook auto postings first

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One more question. Will EasySocial be able to integrate with K2 or Zoo? This is a question I always come across in CB and JS forums. So I'm pretty sure you'll get it too. Over and over and over again.

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We don't actually have an "app" available for that yet but it shouldn't be too difficult to create this but we first need to get the base of EasySocial out first It would also work with all of our products on the initial version

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Question about Join Now: Will there be a Join Now module that will allow for Admins to create a unique look with an image for the login or Join Now screen area of the site?

It was always an issue with Jomsocial and in their new version they finally addressed it.

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It really shouldn't be too difficult to create such a module. In fact, you really can create it on your own using just the built-in html module in Joomla

You just need to add the html codes to display the form

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  1.    Mark

Thanks Mark,

In regards to creating one I think it would be very important to have such a module especially for those Admins that are not familiar with adding the HTML codes. After all your branding is all about Making it Easy to create a social site.

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Hi Mark

Will EasySocial have group functionality, similar to CB GroupJive?

Regards
Michael

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Hi Mark,

I'm glad to hear stackideas will tackle such extension. There is definitely a need in the joomla world for such extension. It's actually healthy. Even for jomsocial and CB. That will push them to move forward instead of stagnating.
Although we can see some noticeable improvement in JS since it's been taken over by a new team. There are still too much of this and too little of that if you see what i mean.

And knowing how your extensions are well designed (front and back end), I'm...

Hi Mark,

I'm glad to hear stackideas will tackle such extension. There is definitely a need in the joomla world for such extension. It's actually healthy. Even for jomsocial and CB. That will push them to move forward instead of stagnating.
Although we can see some noticeable improvement in JS since it's been taken over by a new team. There are still too much of this and too little of that if you see what i mean.

And knowing how your extensions are well designed (front and back end), I'm looking forward to see it in action.

I'm sure i'm not the only one here wondering, but when will we have a chance to read more about the features or highlights?

Often using JS on intra/extranet, I'm particularly interested in knowing if there will be custom field for profiles but more importantly custom field for groups.
I never understood why after so many years (at least 3) that it's been asked by many users to the JS team, that no custom field for group are existing. I'm not a php guru, but the logic must be very similar to the profile one, therefore not that much of a major and complex feature to implement.

Someone needs to think social network outside of the box. Social network (of any kind) should not be just about sharing pictures/videos of your holidays or friday night beer party...
IMHO, there is a huge untapped niche market to tackle.

Anyhow, i'm looking forward to see it action.

Cheers

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