Create Social Network Using Joomla Open Source

Freebies, Inspiration, Joomla

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Social network accomplishment has become a inevitability for successful websites. Joomla!, the admired Open-Source CMS, has some great and affordable ways to bring your site to the social networking level. Let’s appraisal how.

Author: Rick Blalock

This article will walk through the beginnings of setting up a social site using Joomla. Some of the end goals and solutions will vary depending on your needs.

Joomla! shouldn’t just be looked at as a CMS but a framework from which to build your applications and complete your dreams. Before you jump in and start lacing jointly extensions to build your site, proper planning and a roadmap is necessary.

After establishing the site purpose we need to know the site requirements. Start by asking questions:

How will people use my site?

Users will create custom content and events. They will also comment and review past events and content.

How will they interact with others?

Interaction will come by having user created groups, messaging, blogs / articles and helps, etc.

How much control do I want to give them?

Users will have unrestricted access to create content, events, comments, etc. Moderators will monitor the activity.

Are there features I can offer users to generate site income?

Users may purchase banner ad spots on the different pages.

Once we obtain answers to our questions, we need to create requirement guidelines to help us find the right Joomla plugins to use. We need the following features:

  • Messaging / commenting system for user interaction towards custom created content.
  • Event creation, registration, etc.
  • Blogging
  • Groups
  • Banner system
  • A Forum for helpful discussion threads (it’s in our purpose statement)

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Find Plugins

With any large CMS community such as Joomla! there will be a lot of good and bad extensions to choose. Using a bogus plugin could make or break your website. It’s significant you get it right the first time! Providentially, Joomla! has some great extension directories for us to look at; each with reviews, ratings, and more. Here are some good possessions for Joomla! plugins:

JomSocial

Create your own social network, Now everyone can create a thriving, unique and interactive Joomla! community… effortlessly!

Customize profile fields, Create groups. Invite friends, Send private messages, Comment on walls, Share photos, Follow updates via activity stream, Integrate 3rd party components with our robust API, and much more…

jomsocial

EventList

EventList Jomsocial support available

Julien worked hard the last time on EventLists Jomsocial support. He came up finally with an improved application and an EventList Plugin which is mainly responsible for two things. Display the user avatar on the registration part of EventList and updating the activity feed of Jomsocial. The Plugins are available in the EventList-Plugins section of our download area.

eventlist

MyBlog

MyBlog is a feature-filled, simple to use, user gracious and powerful blog constituent for the Joomla! CMS. MyBlog features front-end blog editing with Dashboard, RSS feeds, Technorati pings, Trackbacks, support for multiple blog users, avatar support for Gravatar and Community Builder and much more.

myblog

Kunea

Kunena, translated from Swahili meaning “to speak”, arose out of a fork of the previous Fireboard forum with a new team and some of the previous developers, including numerous Joomla core developers.

Many fixes and new features which had been planned for past releases but never implemented have been added to the initial release. Kunena 1.0.x is fully well-matched with all prior versions of Fireboard and upgrades are automatic. Migrating from Fireboard to Kunena couldn’t be easier. Simply uninstall Fireboard, update any menu links, and you’re ready to go.

kunea

JReviews

JReviews is for anyone who needs a powerful review website or advanced content management capabilities. It will also extend the power of your Joomla and Mambo website.

  • Content Construction Kit (CCK) functionality, with or without reviews
  • Detailed multi-criteria ratings and reviews
  • User Favorites and MyListings management
  • Multi-field search capability
  • Advanced templating and presentation modules
  • Front-end is translated into over 20 languages

jreviews

JomComments

We hope you like the new site design and it’s our sincerest wish that it will now be even easier than before to browse & review our many Joomla components, like My Blog, Jom Comment and Nice Talk.And don’t forget to check out our new social networking component, JomSocial, at JomSocial.com. While you’re there, you can read about this exciting new community extension, browse customer reviews, watch customer testimonial videos, and demo the product yourself.

jomcomments

Ad Agency

iJoomla Ad Agency is Joomla Banner/Ads Extension designed to help publishers earn revenue by placing ads on their Joomla sites. Advertisers can submit and upload their ads online, buy packages, start campaigns and run reports. Publishers can do all that on advertisers’ behalf, as well as create zones, add payment methods, approve or reject advertisers, ads and campaigns, and a whole lot more. iJoomla Ad Agency gives your Joomla site its very own ad agency — and it’s the only comprehensive ad serving extension for Joomla. If you’ve got the traffic, iJoomla Ad Server packs everything you need to make money from it.

ad-agency

I had some formative factors in deciding the mechanism to use. I wanted to make sure they were well supported, had good developers behind them, incorporated with each other, and easy to customize

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You will notice that some of these are commercial plugins and the core plugin we’re using, JomSocial, is quite expensive. There are free alternatives out there to try as well. Community Builder is a quality Joomla! extension that could accomplish a lot of the same things JomSocial does. It has a lot of extension integrations available as well. There are open-source commenting and banner ad extensions you can find in the Joomla directories. Amy Stephen and some other developers are creating the impressive new blog extension, Tamka. It should be available for BETA soon!

Implementation

Using Joomla’s installer we can systematically install our extensions into the site. Once this is done, all that is left is configuring the individual extensions and tweaking our layouts. Let’s go over some of the highlights:

jomsocialtemplates

JomSocial Customization

You will find the settings for JomSocial are easy to manage. Because of the nature of our social network, our users will be doing a lot of the managing and setup too! Some of the initial things that must be done are:

  • Setup initial groups
  • Setup user profile fields and information
  • Setup the user point system
  • Customize the look and feel

To control the look and feel, JomSocial has many templates to choose from or you can create your own. You can also use template overrides to customize the site too!

eventlist2

EventList

Allowing users to create their own events, venues, etc. is important but you should have some initial ones created to fill things in. As with all the extensions I chose, EventList is easy to customize the look and feel to match the site. You can edit the CSS file right from the administration panel if needed. Once EventList is up and running we need to install the plugin integration with JomSocial.

Blog, Comments, and the Forum

These extensions follow suite. Configuring them and linking them appropriately in your menus is all you have to do.

Conclusion

Each of the extensions we chose should be easily implemented into our site. As mentioned before, one of the reasons I chose the above extensions is for customization. Most have templating / view files where you can change the markup and CSS to mold it to the look and feel of your design.

With so many extensions available for Joomla!, it’s easy to setup a cost-effective social network. Here are some Joomla! social network launches (for your inspiration):

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Comments and Discussions

  1. Winford Traister, 28 March 2010

    Thanks for the post that you have. I came across a new one the other day. They look open , but very similar to linkedin.com with more of a social business directory look and feel. Nice clean interface though.

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